Friday, October 13, 2017

PINK ! It's the new, um,

I have no idea why, but this month I'm enjoying the hell out of this month’s Rainbow Scrap color of pink. Yeah, enough to say hell instead of heck! Just picture this fluffy person in her new swivel chair at her sewing machine sewing and rocking away to the beat while my poor cat Darla rolls her eyes and tries to sleep nearby.  And she does roll her eyes!  Anyway, you can see all sorts of pink scrappy sewing and fun over at Angela’s Scrappy Saturday blog post. No eye rolling required!

First up this week was the Geese Migration blocks from the pattern by Cynthia Brunz. I did three of them, one more than I have done every other month so far, bringing my total to 17 of 25 needed. Next year I will add one more of each color when I presumably have more scraps and variety.

Then I worked on plus blocks. Not pictured are four orange plus blocks that I added to last month’s total (so there are now 8 orange pluses instead of just 4). And here are the 21 pink ones that I did. This gives me a total of 114 blocks, which is about 10 more than I need. So I can weed out the ones I don’t like as well and put them on the back or in a kennel quilt. I hope to start assembling the plus quilt before the end of the year.

Next are those sweet, easy, fun Bow Tie blocks. I made 25 of them, and they’ll finish at 4”. At this stage I have 202 of the 304 needed, so about 2/3 done. I am enjoying these blocks way too much.

Oh, and I have to point out two super cute blocks in this group. The first is the middle block in the bottom row of the bow ties above. Notice the pink penguin fabric? That is from my friend Diann, who also made a bow tie block with it. (In my last post, I showed the cute zippy pouch, pin cushion and fabric she sent me).

The second block was a rather serendipitous occurrence as I was chain piecing all these blocks.

Fabric Goddess! HA! How cute is that?

So then I had almost a whole jelly roll left of a pink (and some orange) fabric line called Palm Court.  I began sewing strips together adding a few other bits here and there, not quite sure what I wanted to do.....

It turns out I’m not that adventurous, because I didn’t stray very far from my original idea. But I do loooooove the white with black polka dot sashing!!  The picture below looks rather wonky because half is pinned and the bottom part just hangs.

Bruce came up with the suggestion of expanding my design board to the floor, which might happen some day. But then the cats would just go after the pins anyway (or worse - start climbing it! Sorry, Molly!) So just use your imagination to envision a straight quilt. Besides, I can assure you that the top and bottom widths are less than 1/4” difference (which is as good as it gets in my book).

In the coming week, I will baste both this pink quilt (a future donation quilt) and the Reading Rainbow quilt. And then start quilting Reading Rainbow. I also hope to finish all my pink Friendship Star blocks. There is more pink on the horizon beyond that (vintage sheets, bitty scraps and kennel quilts), but I need to think about those and possible new Rainbow Scrap blocks for awhile.

  Cathy maroon
Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Owls, Gifts, Donations and a Finish. Whew!

You know that when I write a mid-week post, I have a lot going on to write about. Otherwise, if it’s daytime I would be sewing and if it’s nighttime I would be reading or watching Netflix. That’s my life in a nutshell. Not really, of course, but let’s pretend.

First, let’s get the business out of the way. I finally finished the details on the patriotic quilt pieces. This is goal/item #9 on my Quarter 4 Finish-Along list for this year. To recap, this was once a patriotic quilt made by my ex-husband’s grandmother, Georgianna Ryan Muir (“Annie”). She was my children’s great-grandmother.

The quilt came into my life in 1982 when my mother-in-law, Mary Muir Flox was widowed and my brother-in-law packed up her household in North Carolina and drove a full U-Haul truck of her belongings to our Idaho home. He used the quilts as dunnage to wrap the furniture with. When unpacking, he just threw the quilts in our trashcans. I rescued them; there were three.

One of them, in pink and white, I donated to the Sandy City (Utah) Museum in 1998 with the full provenance provided. The second one I still own. It’s mostly white with peach tulips and light blue leaves that have faded a lot. I added a wide eyelet ruffle around three sides and used it in our guest bedroom for a decade or more in the 1990’s. Some day I would like to reproduce it in fresh fabrics. The third quilt was holey and beyond salvation. These three stars were the only viable pieces I could salvage. So, I trimmed and bound them in varying blue Kona solids and  added hanging corners and a pocket to the back of each. They’re about 14” square. In the pocket is a printed copy of the story of the quilt from its maker to the present day. They will be little gifties (stocking stuffers at Christmas) for my three adult children, Ryan, Shane and Megan.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
A couple weeks ago I donated three quilts and 9 pillowcases to a local quilt shop, Thimbles and Threads, for the Hurricane Relief Effort (Harvey, Irma and Katia). They snapped my picture when I dropped them off, and I was surprised to see it turn up in their next newsletter and IG post.

So that’s what my hair looks like in real life. Miss Clairol and I parted ways last year....

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Owls. I love them, always have. I used to collect them back in the sixties and seventies (not real ones - just owl things). A few years ago I used to make and sell owl softies (among other things) at boutiques. I would take magazine pictures, online pix (not sure if Pinterest existed then) and combine bits from here and there to come up with my owls. I learned quickly that owl feet were problematic to attach to softies and could be skipped altogether.

Anyway, a couple weeks ago I rediscovered some of my leftover owl parts in a plastic case. Most of the stuff went to Cousin Kim, but I kept one or two. And then I decided one would be cute appliquéd to a 12” block to include in my Autumn quilt. Here he is:

That just reminded me of something.... appropos to nothing..... when I was a kid we had a cat (one of many) that I got to name. I named him Oliver Wendell Livingston (initials O.W.L.). Ollie was a great cat........   but I digress....

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

And I saved the best for last.  Today I got a great package in the mail from my friend Diann of Little Penguin Quilts.  We had planned to meet up (with other friends) on our Colorado trip last month, but plans fell through at the last moment. Anyway, I sent Diann a zippered pouch and some fabric and a couple little things. Well guess what? She sent me a zippered pouch and fabric AND a cute pincushion that she made! The pincushion is already in use, and I am here to tell you that one can never have enough zippered pouches. (Forget shoes - zippered pouches are where it’s at).

I loved Diann's little pink penguin fabric when she showed it on her blog, and can’t believe she was willing to part with some of it to send me! The spool fabric will go with some other sewing-themed fabric I have to make a sewing machine cover - a project for this winter sometimes. I hope. Anyway, thank you, Diann!! You rock!

That’s it for now. I’ll be back on Saturday with my Pink Scrappy Progress Report.

Cathy maroon
Friday, October 6, 2017

Pink Scraps Under the Needle and a Quilt Top Finish

Hi all, and welcome to the first pink Scrappy Saturday in October. I’m going to link this post up to Angela’s So Scrappy blog for our weekly Rainbow Scrap Challenge. Join us for some great quilting ideas and eye candy! I have so much to share that this is likely to be a long post, but at least there are a lot of pictures. Some things, though, I’ll save for a mid-week post. Let’s get started!

In my September scrappy summary, I mentioned a quilt I’m working on (off and on) that will take about 450 -  2.5”x5” lozenges. These will be cornered with 1.5” white and black pieces (it is a Bonnie Hunter pattern taken from a vintage quilt). The link will take you to her Free Patterns tab, where you can find a couple of posts regarding the cutting and construction of the quilt. Anyway, after finishing most of the cutting (I think I saved about 50 lozenges to cut from next year’s scraps to avoid too many duplicates), I cornered 40 lozenges. Obviously, I haven’t started applying any of the black corners yet....

So let’s talk PINK, shall we?  I had one 8.5” strings block from last year, and it takes 4 of them to make one big 16” (finished) square. And I am going to need 20 squares altogether. So, I sewed up 11 more string blocks to finish up the three large blocks. That gives me 15 of the 18 required.

And then it was time to focus on selvages. My Rainbow Selvages quilt calls for two pink columns; one light pink and one bright, hot pink. Done and done.

And sewn to the other finished columns it looks like this:

All that’s left is one column to the very right of the purples. Originally I planned a black/gray column. But now I think I will add two columns next month when we do dark neutrals. One will be the black/gray and the other will be browns. It will add another 4” of width, which I think this 72” long quilt will need, making it 60x72”. Stay tuned.

And the last of my pink scrappy sewing this week was my favorite - the bookcase quilt AKA Reading Rainbow. I needed two 12” pink blocks to finish up the red/pink row (you can click on all pictures to enlarge).

And since the only thing left for the bookshelf was one dark block for the bottom corner. So, I went ahead and made a black/gray block of books. I LOVE how this one finished, especially that Egyptian fabric (a scrap left over from making boxers for one of my sons when he was a teenager). And it has the perfect title - Timeless Treasure. Is that serendipity  or what?

And then I assembled all the books, rows, shelves, borders, etc. Oh my, what fun!  Here it is hanging on the design wall.

I know it’s not a very good picture, but we just didn’t get outside for a photo shoot.  This one is planned for pin basting on my new tables in the coming week. It will be the first quilted that way, so I am rather looking forward to it. And then the quilting will begin. I’m planning to do just some basic stippling or loops - a basic allover design that won’t detract from the action on the shelves. This quilt is about my favorite ever!  Hopefully I’ll have more to share on this next week.

And I am still making progress on my Autumn Farm Girl quilt. This week I finished up the Indian Corn block.

I’m almost done with the owl block, too, but I will save that for my mid-week post.

Finally, I wanted to share a recent make for my friend Diann of Little Penguin Quilts. Diann and DH Mike were going to join us on our recent Colorado trip for a couple days, but due to a death in Mike’s family, their plans changed at the last minute. So, I mailed this off to Diann when we got home from our respective trips. Now that she’s received it, I can share.

It’s just a little quilted, lined zip pouch stuffed with some little goodies. It’s quilted with a lefty vine motif.

A couple Christmases ago I made dozens of these for gifts, but this was the first one this year. And it seems that I was a bit rusty and could've used a refresher course! The first pouch I made (below) used my first fabric picks and colors.

But, I forgot the lining! OOPS! See the batting showing on the inside in the picture below. Sheesh.

If I had a dollar for every sewing missssssnake I’ve ever made, I’d be wealthy.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Quarter 4 Finish-Along Goals

It’s time to list our goals (proposed finishes) for the 4th quarter of the Finish-Along. This is a great international group who encourages us to take a look at our works in process (WIPs) and focus on finishing them, quarter by quarter. So many great sponsors offer prizes to the lucky quarterly winners.

The 3rd Quarter finish link-up was early this year, and I missed it. I’m a bit upset (anyone else?) that the deadline for LINKING was September 30. I was madly sewing on the 30th, hoping to finish one more project. Usually we have a few days into the next quarter to get pictures taken and posts written in order to link up. May I register a (polite) complaint to The Powers That Be to go back to that system? I don’t believe it’s an unreasonable request!  Last quarter I listed 15 projects. I finished two, abandoned one and returned the fabric to stash, and had just finished but not blogged the fourth. Now it will go into my 4th quarter goals.

So, for my 4th Quarter Goals, I’ve listed 10 items in no particular order. However, as some are hopeful Christmas gifts, they will have higher priority in the studio.  :-)

1.  Tulip Quilt for Diane

My friend Terri and I have made all the tulips. Now I get to play with them on the design wall and sash, baste and quilt. Terri will do the binding. This will be a Christmas gift.

2.  Guitar Quilt for DH, Bruce. This is an appliqué project that I will resurrect in November for a hopeful December finish. Or maybe it will carry over into next quarter, depending on how it behaves. If the past is precedent, this may be worked in fits and starts with most of its time being spent in Time Out.

3.  Reading Rainbow. I have the red/pink row done and there’s only one 12” block to finish on the dark (purple/black) row on this. It will be a flimsy before mid-month. 

4.  Rainbow Selveges. Needs a more original name, a couple pink columns and a black column. This is one of the lower priorities for this quarter, although I do expect it to reach flimsy status in November.

5.  Autumn Farmgirl quilt.  I have been sewing up autumn-themed 12” blocks and as this post goes live, there are 15 of 20 blocks done. I would like to finish this one this fall, but we’ll see how it goes.

6. Victorian Ladies Wall Hanging.

This is a crazy-quilted project that was the result of a 6-woman round robin started in 2011 or 2012.  All six 6” blocks are complete. Although only 2 are shown in this picture, they are sewn together without sashing. I will back, bind and create a hanging sleeve for it so it can hang in our bedroom. Each block has a picture of a Victorian woman in various pursuits; reading, playing piano, sewing, holding a child, walking, picking flowers. And each block includes some of my vintage lace. It’s one of my older UFO’s.

Work of (L) Rengin Yazitas and (R) Cathy Kizerian

7.  All You Need is Love

Actually, all I need is TIME. This is the 3rd quarter, I believe, that this quilt project for my daughter has been on my list. But she’ll be here at Christmastime, so somebody better get her rear in gear.

8.  Plus Quilt.
Another Rainbow Scrap project, and another lower priority for this quarter.  But it may reach flimsy status by the end of the year.

9.  Repurposing Vintage Family Patriotic Quilt into 3 Wall Hangings
FINISHED!  Blogged about HERE.

This is done except for the labels I was going to print out. Instead, I have decided to hand sew a pocket to the back of each into which I can print and place the story and history of the quilt they were from. A label just wouldn’t be large enough. 

10.  Let it Snow.

I want to hang this one at Christmas!  It only needs the house sewn together, then the blocks sashed and assembled, etc. Close enough to finish this year. It may be number 10, but it is a higher priority than that.

Having my brother living with us has sure taken a bit out of my studio time.  So much retirement paperwork, insurances, health issues, etc etc. We want to have a yard sale before the permanent cold weather sets in, but I can’t get him to go through all his boxes of crap (that he brought to sort and sell). He has our mom’s ashes stowed in them somewhere, and we wanted to take a trip to her favorite picnic place in the the mountains to scatter her ashes. May not happen until next year. It’s like having a teenager living here again!

Friday, September 29, 2017

Recapping a Busy September

September was a busy and fun, fun month. But lately I feel as though (as the saying goes), “the hurrier I go, the behinder I get”. Do you ever feel that way? Luckily for me, I am moving more and feeling physically much better since I started Weight Watchers back in June.

In September I lost about 5 pounds, making my total to date a loss of 20.2. But even better than that are my two NSV’s (“non-scale victories” as we call them). First, my annual physical was great and my blood work was all in normal ranges, unlike last year. And then my clothes are looser (one pair of pants keeps falling down - goodbye!) and I’m on the verge of moving into the next size down. The smaller pants are ready and waiting in my closet for the cool autumn weather to set in. I did a lot of walking and hiking on vacation, totally controlled my snacking (easy when peaches are in season!) and lost weight. I’m enjoying this journey!

I thought I’d get more sewing done over the last week, but my time in the studio was limited.  I did sew up all the rest of my orange scraps, making three slabs from fabric crumbs. They’ll be used in kennel quilts later this fall. And I made a couple more strip blocks, stars, as well as two Geese Migration blocks. Linking up to Angela’s So Scrappy blog for Scrappy Saturday.

So here is my Orange Collage for September:
Top Row, L-R:  2 Geese Migration blocks, 20 bowties, 4 Plus blocks, 3 crumb slabs
Middle Row, L-R: 2 Selvage columns, 5 Bookshelf blocks (not all shown)
Bottom Row, L-R: 16 Friendship Star variation, 8 Strings blocks

That totals 62 orange blocks for September, rather down from my usual. But that’s OK! I also made several 12” blocks for my Autumn Farmgirl quilt and cut several hundred 2.5"x4” orange lozenges and began adding 1.5” corners to them. Speaking of the Autumn Farmgirl quilt, I used the leftover HSTs from the Friendship Star blocks to make cornerstones. It’s just pinned, but you get the idea....

And here is the start of a pair of Indian Corn blocks for that same autumn quilt....

This week we visited friends and went out to lunch on one of Bruce’s days off. We got to pick out pumpkins from their pumpkin patch, which is bigger than our whole backyard! It was like being a kid again!  We also had family over (twice), including our boisterous grandkids. I would love to be able to bottle just enough of their energy to use to clean my floors after they leave! LOL.

Also, Darla and Alfalfa had their annual physical at the vets. The hardest part of the whole ordeal was catching them after they saw the cage, which was my fault. It would’ve made a good half-hour sitcom. Something about The Little Rascals and their Stupid Human. All that, combined with a lot of autumn batch cooking (lasagna, pot roast, beef enchiladas, chicken rice soup) made for a busy, exhausting week!

And finally, I have something else I made earlier in the month that I haven’t shown yet, but will do that next week after the recipient receives it.....

Have a great week! Have you decorated for fall yet?

Cathy maroon
Monday, September 25, 2017

Autumn in the Rockies

We were finally able to get away to take our long-awaited vacation this year. You may recall that we had to cancel our annual winter trip to Arizona to visit family because Bruce was undergoing arm surgeries for the sarcoma in his right forearm. His scans and tests from earlier this month reveal that it has not returned, which was great news. And with my brother living with us until spring, we had a built-in house and cat sitter. Or should I say that the cats still had someone to supervise?.....

Our drive to the YMCA of the Rockies Snow Mountain Ranch park near Granby, Colorado was a very pleasant 7-hour drive. An hour of that was in Utah, then about 3.5 hours in Wyoming and the last 3 or so in Colorado. The altitude of SMR at the lodge was 8,700 feet, but our cabin was much higher and near the outskirts of the park. We figure it was about 8900-9000 feet. Even for those of us who live at altitude (Salt Lake is about 4750 ft elevation), it was a noticeable difference.
From our upper balcony, looking northeast
We met up with two couple friends and one other single woman, so there were 7 of us total. Our cabin, called Eagle’s Nest, had 5 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms, a gas fireplace, fully stocked kitchen (dishes, silverware, pots, etc), televisions upstairs (not used) and downstairs for the guys. We ladies stayed upstairs and spread out over the living and dining areas there to do our hand stitching and machine sewing.

From our upper balcony, looking northwest
Connie and Willy brought their puppy Finley, who is an amazing, sweet and cute puppy at 8 months old.  He loved all the attention from all his new aunts and uncles. And with two dog parks and plenty of hiking paths, he was never bored!

The weather was cool and gorgeous most of the time, but it did rain a lot one night and morning. One afternoon Bruce and I took a hike along one of the trails.  At the trail head, there were huge signs telling you what to do if you ran into a bear, a cougar or a moose. Yikes!  Luckily, we didn’t run into anything except a lot of horse droppings as this was obviously a horse trail.

The way into the forest was down, and I was a bit concerned about going down too far and then having to climb UP to get out. But I needn’t have worried; we just took our time and snapped pictures, marveling at the beautiful landscape and turning colors.  

The first night (Thursday) we all ate at the lodge. After that, Connie cooked all the dinners because she volunteered. Breakfasts were things we had all brought, and lunches were leftovers from dinner or things that the rest of us had bought at the supermarket in Granby. The meals were great (thanks, Connie!), and the rest of us split the cleaning chores. Other than that, we just stitched, gabbed, laughed. The guys watched a couple football games and NASCAR when they weren’t playing with Finley, walking or eating. Bruce did a lot of reading, too. There were several nice chairs and benches on the balconies, and they wrapped around the cabin, so you had your choice of view, sun, etc.

L-R:  Lisa B, Connie K, Colleen A, Cathy K
L-R: Mark A, Willie K with Finley, Bruce K
All of us had so much fun, that we are all doing this again in June 2018, same place, same cabin. We’ll see if we like spring or autumn better, then make it an annual gathering! We all checked out on Monday, and Bruce and I drove 2 hours to Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora to stay with his daughter Emily and her family.

The kids (except the youngest, Gunner) were in school during the 2 days we were there, but we had plenty of time after school and in the evenings to play with them. We came bearing gifts, of course (isn’t that Rule 2 of The Grandparents’ Code?). We went out to dinner one evening and Emily cooked yummy fajitas for us the second evening.

One of our favorite memories was spending time in Barnes & Noble with them as they deliberated on new books and a new toy from Grandpa and Grandma. Or maybe it was the bedtime reading; Emily read to Gunner, Bruce read with Deacon (Deacon did the reading) and I got to read with Abbie (who also did the reading). Or maybe it was the walk around the base with Emily and their boxer Bailey, talking of all sorts of things, or Gunner playing in the backyard while Grandpa read, or me playing American Girl dolls with Abbie, or Bruce teasing the kids that the large white domes on base were really houses for aliens (the kids  knew they were really satellite domes)......  We can’t wait to see them again in June!!!

Now we are back home, the unpacking is done. A day or two of laundry, clean-up, grocery shopping and errands...... and it’s back to the old routine. It was a great trip!

Cathy maroon
Friday, September 22, 2017

Sewing More Orange

Hi! We are back from our fantastic week-long vacation to Colorado. We had a great time visiting friends and family, but I will save the recap for a separate post in a couple days.  For now, I want to link to Scrappy Saturday as our September color is orange. And boy, did we see a lot of orange leaves in the mountains of Colorado!

Before we left, I sewed up 20 bowtie blocks. They will finish at 4” each. I’ve now completed 177 of the 304 blocks needed, so I am 58% of the way to the block finish line. This is definitely a 2-year project.

Next up are the 13 Friendship Star variation blocks that I sewed while on vacation. They are an unfinished size of 6.5” each.  I now have 135 of 136 blocks needed, and we still have PINK to work on. The extra blocks will probably end up on the back of the quilt.

And I have been sewing 12” autumn-themed blocks, using some of my old Farm Girl Vintage blocks and adding new ones from here and there. These five were sewn last week.

I have a total of 4 (first one from a couple years ago not shown) and they will go in the four corners. I still have several blocks to work on: an owl, a crow, a turkey, a schoolhouse, a squirrel and some Indian corn. I am hoping to get this one done by early October.

Finally, I sewed some pillowcases for the Hurricane Harvey/Irma relief efforts. I had hoped to finish 10 of them, but did managed to get just half of them done. That will have to do, as I want to get these, along with 3 donation quilts, off this week. There is a local quilt shop who is collecting, and I may just save myself some postage and take them there instead of mailing them back east.....

We returned home from vacation on Wednesday night, and I have spent Thursday and Friday doing laundry, grocery shopping, errands, housework, etc etc.  I haven’t even unpacked my machine yet!  After one final errand on Saturday morning, I plan to commune with Bernadette (my Bernina 550QE) all afternoon and not come up for air until dinnertime.  I hope you have a pleasant weekend too!

Cathy maroon