5.24.16

For my OregonBrother:

It's a NEW DAY!!!!!!
Wild strawberry, growing wherever it chooses.

There is a bird's nest in my fuchsia plant
because it looked like home to a pair of
wrens. There are three eggs at last count.

5.23.16

You know you are old when one of your former students is a headliner at an AARP event...

5.22.16

It has been a very weird, slow, week for me. Last weekend, I helped at the home of friends, clearing away and making new spaces from old. It was a bittersweet task. There were lots of memories, lots of tears, lots of laughter. This is the third time in less than two years I have lost someone and this task has been mine to do. 

The week went on to be slow and reflective, motivation-less. I couldn't puzzle it out. There were things I wanted to do, things I needed to do, but I couldn't get going. Then I realized I was grieving the loss of my longest-time best friend. Shouldn't I recognize grief by now?

Enough of that; I went back to the routines that helped me before. I made lists of three things to accomplish, allowed myself to be pleased if I could accomplish one. I'm getting more done and feeling more settled.

I didn't do much else last week, but I tried very hard to stay up to date with Splendid and Temecula:

Splendid Sampler block #27 was designed by Pat Sloan and is called Sewing Machine. I like the finished block, but this is where I got slowed down the most this week. Part of our work in making new space was clearing out a sewing room and this bock had me going back and revisiting those moments from the weekend. 

Splendid Sampler block #28 is by Charise Randall and is called Stitching Fashion. Mine is modified to retro-fit the dress to the 19th century, since I am using Civil War reproduction fabrics. Also, I didn't think I could handle that much foundation paper-piecing, so I appliquéd. Appliqué allows me the chance to zen in front of the television, needle in hand.

Temecula Circa 2016 for May 13, the designer called Rail Fence. I put mine together in a slightly different way; more like the Rail Fence I am familiar with. Hitler has ruined a lot of quilt blocks for me. I can't stand to see one that looks like it has a swastika pattern, even though the pre-Hitler swastikas are still present in Hindu and Buddhist art.



Temecula  Circa 2016 for May 20, doesn't have a name. I would call it 28 pieces = a 3 inch block. Twice.

I can tell I'm not up to speed yet. One block has too much contrast, the other, not enough. Oh well. I am still sticking to using only batik scraps. 

 have also made some headway on the 120 half-square triangles that are due any day now. 
Step 1 cut squares
Step 2 mark lighter squares
Step 3 sew on marked lines
Step 4 set seams
Step 5 cut and press




I am only a few minutes away from cut and press but I will leave that for next week. I think it is time to clean house! And if the nice weather holds, I will wash off the deck. Again.






5.14.16

Time to catch up!
Temecula's Circa 2016 blocks last week were BOWTIE

I have a Bowtie quilt on my bucket list. 

After making these sweet blocks, it has moved closer to the top of the list. I love this block.


Splendid Sampler block #24 Is Inspector Sidekick, by Michele Foster, of Quilting Gallery.
Splendid Sampler bock #25 Is called Sunday Best, by Anne Sutton, of Bunny Hill. I find her applique quilts enchanting. I have one started, somewhere.

This took a lot of time to prep the pieces. Then, I hand- appliquéd, since that is my favorite applique' technique.






Splendid Sampler block #26 is called Dreaming of Dresdens, designed by Jane Davidson of Want it! Need it! Quilt!, one of the founders of the Sampler. 

I am trying to follow the methods of the designers when I think I can learn something new. This dresden is pieced by machine instead of English Paper Pieced, as I would usually choose to do.




10 blocks, 3 hours. Do I
like this enough to
make more? YOU BET!
For some reason,  I got on a tear about making string quilts. 
This is a GOOD thing, because I have used up a lot of "strings", or strips of fabrics that are basically, leftovers. 

Also, I was able to reduce my stash of light neutrals by quite a bit. I'm working with tan and cream with brown and red strings.
Here are some possible settings. QuiltyFriend has a favorite, and so do I, although, not the same one! Which do you like? 
UPDATE: 81  eight and a half inch blocks have been made.


Diamonds or squares

Barn Raising

Half-Square Triangles or Sails

5.9.16

Monday Mantra

Borrowed from one of my former students:

No matter what trips you up, what slows you down, get back up and keep going. There's nothing stopping you.

He has always been living proof of this. A real inspiration to many.

5.7.2016


I bought a hanging baskets of fuchsia the other day. One for me, and one for my honorary niece. 
These exotic blossoms remind me of HonoraryNiece's mother, my longest-time-best-friend, who passed Tuesday. 

I think HMHC would have loved these plants. She liked bright, colorful, flowers, all kinds. She could make orchids bloom and when we all lived in Florida, she had a lot of flowering plants. Their yard was ablaze with color.

The first time I saw fuchsia, was hanging in a planter in Portland, Oregon. My plant is not as abundant, but I have hopes. 

QuiltyHusband, QuiltyFriend's man has been volunteered to hang my basket. I might go get 4 or 5 more so he won't feel like he has made the trip to my house for one small task.



Not my plant, but photos too gorgeous
not to share. Planters in Bridgeport,
Portland, Oregon 
I was ready to put aside my winter clothes. In fact, I had bought some things to wear for the spring-to-summer months. 

Then, out of nowhere (probably not true), when I took the dog out Wednesday night, before bed, and I could see my breath! Like February in Maine! Thursday was cold and rainy. I mean LOW FORTIES. 

Some of my friends in Blairsville were sleeted on. Friday morning was so cold in my house, I had that heavy bathrobe on that was too warm for me to wear this winter. It was 59 inside, so I turned the heat on yesterday.  I could not get warm, so for the first time in more than 30 years, I wore pajamas to bed instead of a nightgown. Still not warm enough. But today, although it started in the forties, is clear and green and lovely. It is making me think of gardening--with my limited shovel ability.

I have a new garden and landscape man, and he planted three Hawthorne bushes for me. They were gifts from some cats I know. The ease with which these were planted (easy for me!) led me to consider some of my mulch patches as possible planting areas. I have a month until he comes back--less if we get more rain and the grass grows as quickly as last time--to plan where I will put what. I never designed any planting arrangements. I will ask QuiltyFriend. She has two green thumbs and just the right knack. I gently brought up the topic of knock-out-roses, and she seemed to think it was a good idea. Now, what else could be on that patch that would frame the roses from below, but not detract?

5.2.16

MONDAY MANTRA
Busy hands, happy heart.
You know what I mean. 

Splendid Sampler block #22 is Goose on the Loose by Amy Smart of Diary of a Quilter. Here is my version, continuing the theme of scrappy Civil War.

It only took six hours for this six inch block. 





Here is block #23 , called Hand in Hand, designed by Kari Carr of New Leaf Stitches.

This was much easier than it looks.






Here are this week's Temecula block, Churn Dash.














Here is ANOTHER block of the month I started, from Quilt Shop on Main in Jasper, GA. It is going to be a sort of gypsy theme. They are providing the fabric. I may supplement with some of my more modern pieces of fabric.

4.30.16

Not Fit to open a FitBit
I finally broke down and got myself a FitBit. It will track my steps, stairs, and sleep. 

Here is how I have used it so far: It has been beside me while I was on the computer all day Friday, trying to link it to my SparkPeople Trackers, my cell phone, and my computer. If it logged sitting as well as steps, stairs and sleep, I would have met my goal and then some.

4.29.16




The blackberries are in full blossom.




4.28.16

Lavender and Lily
My lovely lavender. I have six lavender plants and they seem to be two or more species. I would like to fill the space to the left of my stairs with all kinds of lavender. I found out it IS cousin to Rosemary, another plant I like very much. I have one of those on down the side toward the "cooking" area where I have basil, chives, onions, garlic. The basil is sickly. I should water it more.

4.27.16



My battle with pollen continues. Last night, as the sun was setting, I got halfway around my deck with hose and mop. I am one of those lucky people who has a wrap-around, 360 porch. My hose doesn't reach all the way around, but I bought an extender and one of these days, I will get the rest of that pollen! 

You should see my car. Most of the time, it is difficult to know if it is green or blue. In pollen season, it has a definite green cast.

4.25.16

Monday Mantra


I will try my very hardest, but sorrow and loss have been dogging my steps.










4.24.16

My heart isn't in it, but I am keeping up with the weekly blocks. In fact, routine is a good thing when times are difficult. I won't guarantee my sewing is at its best, but my mind can be at rest--from time to time. Handwork with Netflix is helpful.

Here is block 20 of Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson's Splendid Sampler, Nature's Walk, designed by Vicki Tucek of Pickle Dish Patch. Mine is quite a bit different but the idea is still clear. I deleted ladybugs which annoy me inside my home, left off the butterfly that I couldn't make conform to my standards and replaced it with a bee.

Here is block 21 from the above mentioned Splendid Sampler called Sweet Candy, designed by Kris Thurgood of MyGirlFriendsQuiltShoppe






Temecula Quilt Company's Circa 2016 I used up a lot of little bitty pieces for that.

4.21.16

Steadily working through my started projects, sidetracked just a little bit. 

lovefrombeth's pattern store link is HERE
I found this cute pattern called STORAGE PODS by lovefromBeth, and before you ask for a copy from me, please know that makes me uncomfortable. 

If I feel saying no will affect our friendship, I will make you a copy and secretly pay the designer. To do otherwise is stealing. Enough said on that subject.


So, I bought, downloaded, and made one yesterday. 

I was afraid at the beginning that I couldn't do it, but it was really easy. It takes two fat quarters of fabric for the whole thing. 

I think I would like mine to be larger, and to tell the truth, larger might be a little better for my purposes. Anyway, I enjoyed the whole thing.

Also finished the machine work--binding and all--on a charity quilt; just have the handwork to go.  This was a charm pack and the leftover black and white strips from the quilt below.





Continued on my funny circles. I think I will call that one Scrapbag Serendipity. You can see the orange back of the Quilt-As-You-Go, with the pink binding strip. I have it organized that the sections will show on the back, but on the front it will look like a normal quilt.

I am going to try to make a label for it. There are a lot of quilts I have made that are wandering this earth without labels.

In Splendid Sampler news, here is 19% of my project. I am enjoying the challenge, but it seems to me some of these ladies have gone out of their way to make intricate and difficult "show-off" blocks to separate the wheat from the chaff. That may not be true, but I surely feel like chaff on some of them. A bad day sewing still beats a good day cleaning house.

4.20.16

My version of a Quilt-As-You-Go.
Well, part of it, anyway!
Practicing my machine quilting.

Last year, Country Stitches had a Scrappy Club. 

They gave away Fat Eighth of a yard of black, and a Fat Eighth of a yard of White--different blacks and whites each time. 

I added some of my own black and whites and grabbed some orphaned greens. I saw that maybe I could add in some hot pinks and oranges. 

Then I set about appliquéing circles. Lots of circles. Lots and lots. I have  block sets like this one that add up to 99 circles.

Plus one for practice. 

I thoroughly enjoyed my free motion experience. I found that my earlier blocks had less uniform petals but the centers of the circles had more character. By the time I got to the top row, the petals looked nicer but the centers were boring. It was fun, fun, FUN!.

I have an idea of how I am going to join the segments but I have stalled out on trying it. I guess I should just dive in, right? Otherwise, I have 12 placemats and 3 square table toppers that need to be bound!








4.19.16

TEA TIME TUESDAY

Photo from BARGAINBRIANA.COM
I have to believe it is iced tea weather. I bought my favorite, Tazo Passion, on sale last week. The porch is cleaned off where my rockers and glider are, the afternoons warm up to the low 70s. 






Perfect to make a pitcher of the COPYCAT STARBUCKS PASSION ICED TEA, let it cool, and wash down the rest of the porch, put away the mop and bucket, then sit down and enjoy.

Bargain Briana shows adding sweetner to the mixture, as well as a recipe for passion lemonade. I find the passion tea is fine without any added sweetner but the idea of adding lemonade to it is intriguing. 







4.18.16

MONDAY MANTRA
I had a mantra all picked out, but so many things have happened to so many people I care about in the past few days, I decided at the last minute to go to a different one.

When you can't change your circumstances, you can change your attitude.

A message to my friends seeing troubles right now: You can get through this. You can.


*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  * 


Block 18 from Splendid Sampler is called Lina's Gift, designed by Pat Sloan. I really enjoyed this one. I made my leaves  of different greens because I didn't have enough of one of them.








Block 19 from Splendid Sampler is called Measure Twice, Cut Once, designed by Jane Davidson. Not very difficult at all, after I decided to "embroider" with Micron Pigma brown for the tape measure.











The next block in the Temecula Quilt Company series, Circa 2016, the designer called Four Patch. A deceptively simple name, don't you think? There is almost as much going on here as in the Birds in the Air Block. 

I was trying to get ahead on some of those 120 Half-Square Triangles she requested, also, but so far, all I have done is get them cut and then sorted dark/light.
I am all caught up on my Second Saturday Sampler, and if I can get the pollen washed off the porch and walls of the house this week, I may take my blocks outside for a photo shoot.  That quilt is called Amish with a Twist. I rarely want to make a quilt exactly like anyone else, but this one appealed to me. Then, of course, after I got started, I saw that I wanted to change one of the colors and how the applique' will look.

I have resumed my membership with Southern Appalachian Modern Quilt Guild and we have a block a month to explore. I have scaled mine down and...well...you will just have to see and hear the story another day.





10.12.16

TUESDAY TEA TIME

I have not made any more tea and cup themed blocks, but I have looked around at some. My favorites for today:


Here is a real work of art by Kate Themel. Coffee Break 3 is deceptively simple. 

Just a few cups stacked up on some saucers. But look at how she gives them that 3-D quality with shading through fabric choice and stitching placement.
Look at the dimension and movement.


I also found a more simplistic, playful design. This is Maartje Quilts in Amsterdam. She has a tutorial that includes what looks like paper-piecing and serendipitous slicing and stacking. CUTE!

However you spend your day, take time for a cup of tea and comfort.

Oops! Forgot to show you Temecula Circa 2016 BIRDS IN THE AIR yesterday.











Also, I am now 17% finished with Splendid Sampler. Here is Block # 17, Family Stars, designed by Kimberly Jolly of the Fat Quarter Quilt Shop. As far as 6" blocks of more than 50 separate pieces, this one was quite easy. NO RIPPING!!!








4.11.16

MONDAY MANTRA
Do What You Can. Then, QuiltyFriend adds, "And then just do a little more than you think you can." Sometimes I CAN!

From Sunday:
Three shirts, wool socks, heavy winter jacket, lined leather gloves, ready to take the dog out.

Supposed to have been a peach-salmon
color. Lovely, none-the-less
The day started blue and gold and green and beautiful at 32 degrees. 

I had cut some of my tulips to bring in, left a few, which looked okay this morning. 

The wild Blue Flag I transplanted last year looks like it is sending up new shoots all over the walkway garden. The hyacinths look like they are finished for this year, and as usual, most of my daffodils did not do anything except use up nutrients looking leafy and green. 

Peach-salmon? Deep black-violet?
Looks like red and dark red to me.
I should dig them up, separate them, replant maybe not so deep. I will keep that on my list. I need a garden kneeling pad. There are a lot of daffs to separate, as well as day lilies that never bloom. Those tufts need some separation, too

This week in Temecula Quilt Company Circa 2016, Birds in the Air. Simple enough? Accompanied by the message that we will need 120 HSTs (squares made up of 2 fabrics, seamed diagonally) that measure 2". Luckily for me, I spent some hours going through my scraps and cutting for some kind of scrappy quilt in the future. I cut some 5", some 3.5", lots of 3", TONS of 2.5" and 1.5". While cutting those last ones--the 1.5s, I kept thinking, "What in the hell am I ever going to do with squares this small?"  But, I couldn't bear to toss a clump of fabric into the dog-bed pile if there was still a usable space left. I decided dark/light four patch. I'm going to keep baskets of them near my machine like famous Bonnie Hunter does when she has tons of scraps. I'm not sure she keeps 1.5", but one day I will have lots of 2.5" four patch--with seams pressed open, you can be sure of that.

Block 16 in Splendid Sampler--Pieces of Friendship designed by Lindsay Mayland at AllPeopleQuilt.com. It was fun to make but I have to confess that I should have pressed all my seams open instead of going for the pinwheel on the last two seams. If you quilt, you know most quilters press seam allowances to one side or the other and talk about how the lumps nestle nicely when seaming two lumps together. 

Despite careful pinning and more than 20 years experience, I have never found this to be the case for me. I almost ALWAYS have to rip out a "nestled nicely" two lump seam because I don't have the knack. What works for me is adjusting my stitch length to quite small--1.5--and pressing open. The small stitch length allows my pins to pierce the matching seam allowances with out removing the stitches. The down side is that if I need to rip out, the stitches are very, very tiny. But I seldom need to rip out. Look at this iteration of Pieces of Friendship. I think I am going to repress those main seams so they are open, too.




















4.4.16

MONDAY MANTRA

"Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races, one after the other." --Walter Elliot


Time for me to start walking and putting yoga back into my routine.




4.3.16

We had some freezing temperatures in the past two days. Still, I have hope for my tulips and the hydrangeas seem okay.
Almost cherry blossom time!

Splendid Sampler block #15 is called Family Affair, designed by Janice Ryan. It took a long time. Unfortunately, I joined the last two pieces sides together, instead of middles together, so mine does not look like the original. I have decided not to unsew it.


This week's Circa 2016 from Temecula Quilt Company.