Tuesday, April 4, 2023

A Couple Other March Finishes

It was 40 degrees when I got up this morning, which was a nice change from below freezing temps. April has arrived in Maine, and that means less snow, longer days, warmer temperatures, and... flowers! My daffodils have been up for quite a while, but they are refusing to bloom until it warms up.

I finished this little strippy last month for my granddaughter. I was going to donate it to a good cause, but she saw the top and wanted to know if she could have it. Of course! It's a perfect little nap quilt for spring.

I quilted this in a variegated pink thread, and the daisy swirl pantograph looks so nice on it.

The pink flannel back will make it soft and cuddly.

Wiggle Time in 30s repros is finished too, which used up more fabric scraps from the quilt chapter bin. It takes most of a fat quarter to make one row, and I only had enough fabric for three rows. So I added a row from my own stash and duplicated one fabric for the fifth row.
For the backing, I pieced together larger chunks of that green and yellow fabric and used up most of that. Then from the 30s scraps that were left, I cut and pieced a scrappy row on the back. I really like this, maybe more than the front, lol.

Tis the Season came back from the longarmer about a week and a half ago. When I see the lovely stitching that a computerized longarm will do, I'm tempted to trade in my Tin Lizzie. It's a whole lot of money though, so I guess I'll think about it for another year. 

I have the binding sewn to the front and have yet to start hand stitching it to the back. 

My focus for the rest of this month is to finish the top of my Christmas Words quilt. This was a Moda QAL called Letters to Santa that started last July and finished at the end of November. I've been wanting to make a words quilt, so I issued a Christmas Words challenge to my quilt chapter for this year's Maine Quilts show, because the show theme this year is Christmas in July. It simply won't do for me not to get my own quilt finished, so I have to get this done!!

There are 6 or 8 filler blocks scattered throughout the quilt to even out the rows--trees, wreaths, stars, gift boxes, etc. For only one of those fillers, I wanted to make a palm tree, just to remind myself of this year's theme. I'll have to locate a paper pieced pattern somewhere. 

Thursday, March 9, 2023

Some Finishes

Yikes, it's been several weeks since I blogged! I don't always realize how much time has gone by since the last post.

The weather has been crazy over the last couple of weeks. Seems like for a while there we were getting snow every other day. And it seems like we've gotten more snow this year than the last couple. 

I'm busy all the time with lots of different things. I've done two more loads in the freeze dryer this week--fresh asparagus and chili; and a load of sweet bell peppers going in tomorrow. We still can't get over how different freeze dried food looks, and the fact that it's so close to fresh or freshly made when it's rehydrated.

I fit in as much sewing as I can; but you know, some days it just doesn't happen. I did finally get some finishes last month. The Coastal Cool sampler quilt came back from the longarmer, and she did a beautiful job.  

Above is a picture of the whole quilt from my pattern cover-- and mine looks just like that, haha. It's a big quilt, so it's hard to get a view of the whole thing at home. The dimensions are odd for a bed quilt, but it still fits better on a double than a queen, so that's where it will go. 

I finished this scrappy quilt on the last day of February. My quilt chapter had an in-house silent auction, and I bought this top plus some extra fabric that went with it. The top was already assembled, but I added one more vertical and horizontal row to extend the size. It was a fast finish, and I thought it would make a fine donation quilt. 

This is an interesting pattern. I hunted high and low for the name of it and finally found it under a couple of different names, like Whirligig. My friend referred to it as Fun Patch, so I named it One Patch Fun Patch. 

It really is a one patch quilt, and Kathy Doughty used an improv version of it in a couple of different ways in her book 'Making Quilts'. One of those was "Fractured" which was a favorite of Wanda's at Exuberant Color. I'd like to use this one patch again, only in a different layout.

I used a variegated gold thread for the quilting because I thought it went well with all of the different fabrics; and I quilted it with a daisy swirl pantograph. I used this same panto on one of Shar's quilts, and it's getting to be a favorite of mine.

At the beginning of March, I got the binding on the Ribbon Candy quilt, that had been hanging around the sewing room for too long. 

Coincidentally I used a pantograph called Ribbon Candy too. Not sure I like it, but it's done!

I am working on getting the binding on a small quilt for my granddaughter right now; and this one, another Wiggle Time quilt from Cynthia Brunz Designs, is on the frame. I used that same daisy swirl pantograph for both quilts.

Monday, January 23, 2023

Dutchman's Puzzle

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! The northeast corridor got snow on Friday-- about 6" for us--and we're in the midst of another big storm today. I think we got at least 6" last night and today, and it's still snowing. 

The last few weeks have been quite busy with the usual day to day stuff, soap making, puzzle building, and a weekend visit from my granddaughter, who will be seven this year. She likes to work on her little puzzles while Grammie works on the big ones. 

More than anything else, I've been preoccupied with learning all about freeze drying food. The image of empty store shelves during the pandemic has stayed in my head, so hubby and I talked it up and bought a freeze dryer from Harvest Right several weeks ago. Haha, had I known that eggs were going to hit $6+ a dozen, I'd have bought a freeze dryer six months ago.

Since then I've been reading everything I could find and watching YouTube videos on the subject. So far, we've only done one load of bananas and apples; but when the storm is over, we're throwing in a load of mac and cheese and maybe a tray of mushrooms if there's room. My plan is to focus mostly on meals this winter, then fresh produce in the spring and summer. 

I have done some sewing for the Scrappy Rainbow Challenge. The color this month is dark and bright blues. Rather than a rainbow project, my focus was to use up as many of the blues in Barbara's Scrap Bag as I could.

I realized early on that the mix of her prints is so varied that I wasn't going to fit them all into one or two projects, so I worked on a few different blocks. There was quite a lot of that dark navy with the little vine, and I pieced most of that together and am using it as the backing on a small top that used the same fabric as the border.

There are these rectangle bar blocks (I got bored with these pretty quickly); the Eastern Sunrise string blocks; a Scrappy Rectangles block (I got bored with those too); Bonnie Hunter's 2022 Leaders and Enders Triple Treat Challenge; and if I could get a 1-1/2" strip out of a smaller piece of fabric before it went into the string pile, some Bitcoin strips, also a Bonnie Hunter pattern. 

And because I can't make up my mind about much of anything these days, I don't know where any of these projects are going. Except the Triple Treat--that one I'm actively working on. I did come across a pattern called Scrap Happy Rainbow Connection from Amy Smart, which seems to be popular, so I might actually do a rainbow project after all.

Either way, I've whittled Barbara's blues down to this small pile, and I'm working on using up the rest of them, hopefully in one of the above projects.


Over the weekend I dug out these Dutchman's Puzzle blocks and assembled them into a small top because I needed some focus. The edges still need to be trimmed up and borders applied. 

This project is another pretty old UFO, and it's one of my 2023 UFO challenges. With just a few exceptions, I used reds, golds, blues, and greens in the blocks and sashings. I like it so much that I may use some of the left over blocks and make a double sized quilt for my guest room. Still signing it off on the challenge list when I get this one finished though!

Some of that dark blue with the little vine from Barbara's scraps went into the sashing on this quilt too.   

Linking to Oh Scrap!

Friday, January 6, 2023

Ringing in the New Year

New Year's is not a big holiday for us, so it came and went without event. Sister-in-law and I spent a few days building two 1000-piece puzzles gifted to me by my daughter-in-law's mother. 

Because there was not a lot of variety in the color, I anticipated they would be more difficult than they actually were. With two of us working at them, we finished each puzzle in just a couple days. 

This past Wednesday at our chapter quilt meeting, someone gifted me a bag of six more puzzles, lol. So I have plenty to keep me busy. 

In the meantime I've been working on this 1000-piece Norman Rockwell puzzle. I failed to notice that the back of the box said "random cut", so there are a lot of very strangely shaped pieces. More challenging for me, but it's going along.

It's fashionable these days for bloggers to review the year prior. In particular, many quilters are assessing what they accomplished the previous year and what they'd like to accomplish in the new year. I can get onboard with that. I listed 9 big quilts and a grouping of 3 minis on my UFO Challenge 2022 tab and managed to complete 4 big quilts and 1 mini. Even though I didn't get them all finished, three of them were years old UFOs, and I felt good about that. 

I do plan to make myself a UFO Challenge list for 2023, and I suppose what didn't get finished in 2022 should be added to this year's list. The problem is there are so many projects I'd like to finish this year that it's hard to choose just 10 or 12. 

One of the things I'd like to do this year is to participate in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge 2023 hosted on the ScrapHappy blog. I did this a few years ago, and it took me another year or more to finish the quilt. In her write up about this year's challenge, Angela (I think that's her name) mentioned that, instead of a rainbow quilt, you can make some other scrappy or stash busting project, so long as you're trying to focus on the color of the month. That is an approach that appeals to me. The color for this month is bright or dark blue, and I have several blue or blue and white projects I started a while back. I would like to make some headway on those.

Wrapping Up 2022

Hubby, my sister-in-law, and I celebrated our Christmas on Christmas day; and my kids and their kids were here to celebrate with us on the 26th. It was hectic, but we did have a good time. The four-year old who received the Construction Zone quilt was not impressed, lol, and I rather expected that. A four-year old is much more interested in Toys. He might appreciate it later though when the house is cold and he needs a snuggle. His sister did like her Wiggle Time quilt, so I was happy about that. 

I did finish all eight of the bowl cozies for my son and his wife, and those were a hit. Plus I made two for my sister-in-law to take home with her. My other son, who initially declined an offer for bowl cozies, changed his mind and decided maybe he needed some too, lol. So eight for me, eight for him, sixteen more to make. It'll be a little while though, as I am bowl cozie'd out for now.

I hate to leave things unfinished, so to wrap up the Advent Calendar from Missouri Star, there were a few more notions and doodads, if you will. There was also this pattern for another small quilt, which I like and will make at some point. That day's giftie also included a package of laser cut letters and sewing machine for the quilt; and they're fusible too, which will make sewing the quilt a little faster. The Kona rainbow pack from earlier is also meant to be used for this little quilt. 

The other notion I liked towards the end of the month was these acrylic bolts. These are meant for fabric storage, like a mini bolt. Now I would need about 5000 of these to accommodate my stash, so these are not practical for me. 

They are, however, perfect to wrap binding around until I get ready to sew it onto a quilt. There were three in the package, which is plenty; and they come with labels and clips to hold the fabric in place. 

After the holidays, we took a ride up to camp to check on things. It was colder and a little snowier an hour and a half north, and the house was very cold. There was still open water on the lake, but closer to shore the waves crested and froze. 

We haven't had much snow this year at all, so the skiers, snow mobilers, and snowboarders are not happy about that.

On the way home from camp, we swung by Big G's in Winslow for a late lunch. Big G's has more different kinds of sandwiches than any place I've ever seen, and their claim to fame is "generous portions". And they're not kidding. This sandwich was nearly as big as a dinner plate. My sister-in-law and I each ate a quarter of it, and it was plenty for us. Hubby ate the other half. 

On the way out of the deli, I noticed a metal cart with a sign advertising "bread ends", so I asked about it. Big G's bakes all their own breads and pastries on site, and I suppose they don't want to serve a sandwich with a bread end or a slice of bread that isn't consistent in size, so they bag those and sell them. Which is way better than throwing them out.

They were selling bags of actual bread ends (or heels as we call them), but we found one bag that was full of slices close to the end of the loaf that were not uniform in size. Once we got home, we split up the big bag into smaller bags to freeze. Then I weighed all the bags. For $4.25, I got 9 pounds of bread. Yes, pounds. Such a deal. I had half a slice toasted for breakfast this morning, and it was fabulous.



Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Christmas Week

Okay, the weatherman was right after all about the snow totals for Saturday's storm. It snowed here all day Saturday, and we wound up with about 9 inches. 


I took advantage of a shut-in day to finish the quilting on the Ribbon Candy quilt. Haven't had a chance to trim it up yet, and I surely will not have time to do the binding this week because I still have bowl cozies to finish up before Christmas. But I would love to get this done the week after Christmas and get one more finish in before the end of the year.

I also have some baking I'd like to do. Sunday we drove down to the southern part of the state to drop off some Christmas gifts to my granddaughter's mother's house. My (ex)daughter-in-law loves the stuff called Christmas Crack, which is basically like one of those Chex mixes, with the cereals, pretzel sticks, M&Ms, plus whatever else you want to add, all coated in melted white chocolate. It's pretty addictive once you start eating it. If I can get it made this week, I'll send a tin full down to her when my granddaughter comes for family Christmas on Monday. 

Day 18 of the Advent Calendar was a leatherette cutout of a chick that you stitch together to make a little coin purse. Very cute. The company mascot is a yellow chick, not a duck--I had that wrong. 

Day 19 was a very nice coffee cup with some good weight to it. I have a collection of probably 25 quilt related coffee mugs. Don't ask me why I started collecting them, I just did; so this one will go into the collection. 

Today is Day 20, and there was a rainbow pack of charm squares in the box. There is a project coming up that uses these squares, and I can't wait to see what it is!

Friday, December 16, 2022

December Finish

The weatherman predicted 6-10" of snow for us today, beginning about 10:00 this morning. It finally started snowing at 8:30 this evening. 6-10" ? I don't think so. 

I finished Wiggle Time Oceana yesterday and gave it a good washing so it would be soft and cuddly. 


The quilting looks like swirling water to me, and I love it. The Riptide pantograph was perfect. 

I also finished the four small bowl cozies for my kids. The base of these is about 5 inches. I have cut out four of the larger size and will be working on those over the next week.

Ribbon Candy, a pattern by Doug Leko of Antler Quilt Designs, is the next one being moved into my five-project quilt rotation. And I'm quilting it with a pantograph called Ribbon Candy, haha. I finished this top earlier this year, but I don't think I ever blogged about it. 

These were all scraps left over from my Holiday Solstice quilt that I made in 2020. I used up a bunch of different white-on-white scraps for the background too. I used the wrong side of quite a few of them to make the print less noticeable.


This Debbie Mumm print is what I'm using for the backing. 

The last several days of the Advent Calendar have consisted of a bunch of interesting notions--a threaded needle case, which I've never seen before; a little redwork kit, which will be given to my daughter-in-law; a spool of beeswax, which I will definitely use....

..... a zippered hard case, very nice; fingernail art stickers, which my granddaughter will love....

.... and this thread cutter that uses an old rotary cutter blade, which I've also never seen before. 

Fun, fun, fun!