Saturday, September 24, 2016

Roses are Red, So Are My Quilt Blocks

It’s been two weeks since I posted. As I had mentioned, I flew to Kansas City and spent a week in Missouri at a Crazy Quilting retreat. Yes, we did get a couple hours to visit Missouri Star Quilt Company, but the weather was terrible. The clouds were dark and ominous and It was pouring rain. We got drenched going from car to storefront and back.

However, we did manage to visit the newly-remodeled main store and then a couple of the specialty stores. My haul included three lengths of fabrics that I'll use for backings (2) and borders (1). The Doans have done a great job of moving the shops so that many are together and connected to each other (side by side) or on the first or second floor with stairs/elevator access between floors. The town of Hamilton got some new sidewalks and looks better than ever.

It was great to see my friends again at the retreat; we make it a point to get together at least yearly. Here is a picture of (L-R: Colleen Anderson, Carol Kramer and me).  Colleen lives in Nebraska. Her husband Mark went to high school with (and knew)  my husband Bruce in Bountiful, UT. It was a total coinkydink that we discovered about 6 years ago! Carol and I met ten years ago when she and her hubby Woody attended the John Campbell School in NC at the same time Bruce and I did. Carol and I shared a CQ class, and we became fast friends. Carol and Woody have visited us in UT and we have visited them in Florida - or at retreats in between.

So, in the intervening two weeks since my last blog post, I’ve done a lot of stitching for my Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks/quilts.  I finished all three red litters of cats; one mama and 12 kittens each.  Two red litters are still just blocks.....


...but one has been pieced into a quilt top. A Kitty Flimsy (or a Kitten Kaboodle) (or whatever) has been born!  It needs an ironing terribly, as it somehow went from hanging on the design board to decorating the floor in a rumpled heap while I was gone. Alfie and Darla aren’t talking....


And then there are the ten monthly 16-patch blocks. They are just randomly adhered to the design board - not pinned nor even trimmed..... I think after doing the gold/yellow blocks next month (which will total 90 blocks), they will be used as alternate blocks with some other style block that I`ll do next year. After that there will be enough to separate the blocks into color stories (like blue-green-purple or orange-yellow-brown) and make 2-3 quilts.


I made one red Dresden on a pink background this month, as seen below. I have not been feeling the love with these blocks all year. But when I finished this one yesterday, I trimmed all the blocks down to 19” and began pinning them up on the design board.


And surprisingly, I loved it! The final block will be stitched next month; a yellow-gold wheel on a pink background.  The quilt will finish at about 74x74”. I decided against flip corner triangles, sashing or borders. But that may change, too. Right now I think there is enough color and interest going on as it is, but.....  Not sure if this is the final layout.


And I have managed to keep up the pace with the Cozy Christmas Sew-Along. The first six (of 12) blocks are done and sashed. They look a bit wonky pinned up on the design board, but they’re actually pretty accurate.  :-)


The living room remodel has begun, with some demolition scheduled for this weekend. We were not able to match the exact shade of engineered wood from our kitchen floor, so we went a couple shades darker and found a gorgeous hardwood (not engineered, just regular ol’ hardwood) for the living room. We are also carrying the hardwood up the short stairs (3 half risers) down the hallway and into the back bedroom, which serves as our library/music room/exercise room/guest room. It will be ordered next week so it can get here and acclimatize itself for a couple weeks before installation.

The fireplace insert contractor is coming out later this week to do the firebox measurements once the existing brick hearth and facia is demolished. The placement of the new, smaller box will not utilize all the existing firebox space in order to finally make it centered on the wall (don’t know if that description makes sense). Installation will be two weeks after measurements/ordering. In the meantime, the carpenter will be out to take measurements and begin the design drawing of the shelving units, mantel, etc.. The projection is that it all will be done mid-Novemberish. As long as it’s done by early December, I’ll be happy. It appears I won’t be decorating for fall this year, but I definitely want to decorate (and have new furniture) by Christmas!!

Join us over at So Scrappy for a wonderful stroll through some creative uses of red scraps!!

Cathy maroon
Saturday, September 10, 2016

In the Red . . . Scraps. And a Finish!!

The highlight of my week was on Monday when our daughter Emily (actually, she’s Bruce’s daughter from his previous marriage, but now she’s mine too!) brought her 3 kids over on Labor Day. Her hubby Chad in in the US Air Force and is stationed overseas for a year. So, since her son Deacon (age 8) needed help with a Cub Scout balsa flyer project, Grandpa (DH) was happy to step in.

That means that Emily and I, along with Abbie (7) and Gunner (3) got to hang out. We picked veggies (that is always great fun for little kids) and grapes, played, made pizza for lunch and talked and talked. And one thing I found out is that granddaughter Abbie is now bonkers over CATS. I knew that two of my other DGDs, Remi and London, were crazy for cats, but this was a new infatuation for Abbie and news to me. So, that means I now have THREE cat quilts to make for Christmas.

You know the cat quilts; each consists of a mama cat and 12 kittens per litter, like the red one on the right that I made this week. Six litters per quilt. I would have been finished with sewing felines after this month. And then..... dear Abbie. Needless to say, I will be sewing an additional six mama cats and 72 kittens in the next two months.

Anyway, I ran out right away and bought another couple yards of Kona white for cat and kitten backgrounds and so far I have made two more red mama cats for this month. Can you see them at the left? They are pregnant! LOL. But their litters are not due for another couple weeks because I will be on vacation in Missouri at a quilt retreat next week. Yes, we will be making a trip to Missouri Star Quilt Company. I went last year, too, but it will be nice to see the newly-remodeled store.

And I hope to get the rest of the mama cats (not to be confused with Mama Cass) cut out and sewn this month; one each in green, pink, blue and purple. Then next month I will do three yellow cats and kittens.  And somewhere over October and November the kittens for Mama Green, Blue, Pink and Purple will be stitched. But that is OK!  It’s not like I have anything else to do..... oh wait.....

Now I'm hoping we might be able to hold off on the living room remodel until after the Holidays. I have my RSC quilt to finish, these 3 cat quilts, plus four more quilts for DS1, DS2, DDIL, and DSIL2 (one started/shown last week) The vintage sheet quilt will wait until January, and when Aria comes back from the quilter, I'll only have to bind it.

The RSC blocks for this month were a breeze, and not only did I finish them, but I sewed them to the gray blocks from last month. In fact, although I don’t have a picture of it, everything is sewn together now except the yellow column.....


That was yesterday, and Alfalfa was feeling either very needy or very bossy, because he was with me in the studio supervising everything I did. And he is sitting on my lap this morning as I type this.


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This week I finished quilting Notting Hill, which will be one of the quilts that goes into the pile of 4 quilts that Emily and her sister Stacy will get to choose from for their Christmas present quilt: Notting Hill, Valentine, Birds & Bees and the RSC Sampler quilt). The other two I’ll keep.

Notting Hill done!
Notting Hill was also #3 on my 3rd Quarter Finish-Along goals.  I used the sampler format to practice old free-motion quilting skills and try out new ones. Overall, I am pleased enough with how it went. The sashing was all done in a line pattern. Stippling was used in 2-3 of the blocks.


In one block I used the zig-zag style. It was easier than I thought once I wrapped my brain around it, but it does need practice.  You can also see the border where I did free-form flowers and leaves.


Some blocks had hearts, spirals, waves, or loops. This wavy line quilting, below, turned out to be one of my favorites.


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This week I also finished another block in the Cozy Christmas Sew Along;  Cozy Tree.


I have started on next week’s block so that I won’t get behind while I’m away for a week. Next time I report on these I should have 2 more to show. Yes, Cozy Christmas is another quilt I would like to finish before Christmas.

And yes, I plan on moving into my studio/sewing room and forsaking all housekeeping, cooking (have a month’s worth of meals already made and frozen) and other “extra-curricular” activities. 

Linking up to:  So Scrappy Rainbow Scrap Challenge

Cathy maroon
Saturday, September 3, 2016

Roll Out the RED Carpet!

Roll out the red carpet, because it’s red month for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge!  Woo-hoo! I’ve been waiting for red for months because my red stash keeps growing and growing.

Last month was a sort of “color rest” month for me, and it gave me a chance to finish up or greatly advance a lot of the projects that I want to have done by year-end. But before I get to those, let me show you my start on Red. It’s not much, as the announcement was just made last night. But it is a good start, and I`m excited (did I say that already?)


My Dresden and Mama cats are already cut out (in the foreground). The rest of the scraps have been sorted by HSTs, strips, and size of scrap. No, that is not all of them - that is just one tub. I have almost another dozen partial FQs or F8s.

There will be no red vintage sheets this month, because I have never seen or collected them. The Vintage Sheet Rail Fence quilt I am making is mostly pastels, so I took last month as an opportunity to sew up the last color - yellow - into 11 rail fence blocks. And then, before I knew it, the top of the quilt was pieced.


I’ve also pieced a back out of miscellaneous pastel floral fabrics, and it is waiting its turn in line to be basted and quilted.

I finished my Aria quilt top and backing. Here is a picture of it lying on the floor before the borders were added. It’s a monster; 86x103”


This one was delivered to the long-armer last week to be quilted. The binding is made and waiting for the quilt to return, which may or may not be before the end of the month. We’ll see. There was no way I was going to attempt this one on my Bernina.

But I am quilting the Notting Hill quilt. I decided that, being a sampler, an overall quilting design would probably not be the best choice. So, I am quilting each block individually, even though many of those individual designs may be simple and repeats (like stippling, loops, etc). Here is a portion of what I have done so far.


Now, if it seems like I’ve done a lot, please remember that this is just the time of year when things start coming together. Most of the actual sewing work has been done month after month. In fact, I only have 5 finishes year-to-date through August. So the three above that are so close will bring me to the one finish per month average.

And this week I also did another block for the Cozy Christmas sew-along hosted by Lori Holt. This week was the Cozy Tree Block. I have sewn my three blocks together, added the sashing, and here is the first row.


And finally, I cut out two new quilts that will be Christmas presents this year. The first is Magic Carpet for son Shane (see info here in my 3rd Quarter Finish-Along goals) and the second is for my DDIL Kim (who is married to my other son, Ryan).  


This will go quickly, because they will be machine appliquéd to the background, not hand appliquéd. And cutting out those orange peels gave me lots more red scraps, too.  :-)  There will be a quilt for my son Ryan, too, but I won’t start that until October.  And I hope to do another Christmas quilt and a Christmas tree skirt, but those are likely just pipe dreams for this year. As you can tell, I am banking on having a lot more sewing time once the garden and outdoor work are done and indoor weather returns.

I’m linking up today to the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. Why not hop over and check out some other great eye candy?

Cathy maroon
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Thursday, September 1, 2016

2017 Crazy Quilting Calendar Available!

It’s my pleasure to announce that the 2017 Crazy Quilt Calendar is now ready for ordering!  This is the first time we (the magazine staff) named a theme and accepted entries from around the world. There were so many talented fabric artists and crazy quilters who entered, and it was hard to judge the entries. But the result is a gorgeous calendar of 12 months and a fabulous cover (cover by talented artist Connie Eyeberg).


Click this link to purchase your copy: Calendar
or go to: http://www.magcloud.com/user/kitty-and-me

Cathy maroon
Saturday, August 27, 2016

Time to Vote - for a Cat, that is!

We do our best to stay out of politics on this blog, but it is time to vote for PETS ON QUILTS 2016.  See the button link in my sidebar?  Just click it to take you there.

Darla and Alfie asked me to tell you that they would appreciate your vote. Of course, you can only vote for one cat, so you will have to pick one, LOL.  Darla is #17 and Alfie is #18.

How to vote? Just leave a comment on the Lily Pad Quilting post from the sidebar button link.  You can vote for Favorite Cat, Favorite Dog, Favorite Other Pet, and Favorite Pet-themed Project.  And by leaving a comment/vote, you are entered into a drawing to win one of lots of great prizes - be sure to check them out! You can also get additional entries by leaving a comment telling if you have visited some of the other entries, or if you follow the hostess, Lily Pad Quilting. Lots of ways to win!

I am off to vote - but I am torn between my two babies! Voting closes next Wednesday or Thursday, so be sure to visit over the next few days.  Thanks for your support, furrrends!!

Cathy maroon

As August Draws to a Close ...

... all I can say is “thank goodness!”   We had some incredible heat this month, but luckily the last several days have finally given ‘way to cooler temps. While I can’t exactly say that fall is in the air, it does feel as though we have turned the corner and left the worst of summer behind. The mountains are beginning to show bits of color, and evenings are pleasant enough to open windows and let in fresh breezes. I expect that even the kitties will be showing signs of growing thicker furs soon!

As far as the Rainbow Scrap Challenge goes, August was a bust for me. The colors of muted/misty purples and hazy/fugly greens were already incorporated in their prior respective months, so I concentrated on the alternate color of gray, which I expanded to mean any gray/black neutral.  The only thing I have to show for this week (and it was really sewn a couple weeks ago) is a light purple “crayon” (missing the contrasting white to finish it into a block) that I decided to make from light purples to get a start on one of next year’s colorful projects.


Since the pattern for the crayon quilt calls for two purples; a light/lavender and a dark purple, I did this lighter one with scraps I scrounged in boxes that were going for donation to a crazy quilting “Stash Dash”. I added a few light purples of my own... and a crayon was born.

So, my totals for this month were only my 12 RSC sampler blocks plus one crayon block. And I did sew together 50+ HSTs, but they are now put away for some future use. And I did a table runner out of black, white and orange for Halloween.


In mid-month I began stitching along with Lori Holt’s Cozy Christmas sampler. This week we made the second block, the Cozy Cottage. The beauty of this sampler is that you cut all the center pink pieces out at once, as well as the strips that surround it, and then you can make all the flying geese and HSTs for the block borders ahead of time. I did a lot of cutting and sewing, and got those done, so that future block construction time will be cut in half. As the blocks are completed, I am sashing them and will construct the rows. By the time I finish the 12th block, all that will be left is adding the quilt borders for an easy finish.


In other sewing, my Aria blue/orange top is done except for the final borders, which I am wrangling with now. And I am almost done constructing the monstrous back. This will be delivered to a long-arm quilter next week, so I don’t expect to see it back in time to add the binding and call it a finish for the 3rd quarter Finish-Along. This is only the second quilt I have ever farmed out for professional quilting, but I`m a wimp. I don’t feel like wrestling it through my Bernina; it’s about 86x102” (but I know Cathy L in Iowa could do it!)

Finally, DH is going to use his electric sander to finish up the door frame around the new basement door. I have caulked and hand sanded it (and given it all a base coat), but it needs a smoother, more professional finish. When he does that, I can paint the final coat and he can add the hardware. No news on the start of the living room remodel yet, which is OK. We are harvesting and doing yard maintenance.

Next month I will be spending a week in Missouri at a Crazy Quilting retreat. This is the 10th annual Crazy Quilting International gathering, and I have been to every single one. One of my dearest friends, who always used to come from Canada to spend a week with me before or after the retreat, passed a year ago. I still miss Diane. But many sweet friends from Florida, Washington state, Nebraska, The Netherlands, and Kansas will be there. In fact, three of us will be making an afternoon jaunt up to Missouri Star Quilt Company the day before the retreat officially starts. I was there last year, but haven’t seen the main shop since its remodel. We can’t wait!

I think that’s about it for now. Today I will get that border sewn on Aria and finish piecing the back. Then I need to begin focusing on packing up my lace (etc) inventory to sell at the retreat so I can finally close up my Etsy shop next month.

Linking up to Rainbow Scrap Challenge at So Scrappy.

Cathy maroon
Saturday, August 20, 2016

Kitchen Done! And Other Stuff

This is going to be a post with a lot of pictures, because I have a lot to catch up on. So, let’s get started.


To start off, this month for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge I am working on my gray scraps, such as they are. All I really did on them this week was sew together a bunch (like 50+) half square triangles in 3.5, 2.5 and 1.5”. I have no immediate plans for them, but they’ll be of use sometime down the road, I’m sure. Over at Angela’s So Scrappy blog, the ladies there have more misty/hazy purples and greens and grays - why not hop on over?

The front porch columns are done! The kitchen is done! The living room demolition has not yet begun (thankfully) because I need a break for a week or two. I am so tired of painting, cleaning up, painting some more, sanding, cleaning floors, dusting, painting, etc. etc.

So, here are some pix:

We do plan to seal the front walkway before winter. It is concrete; embossed and dyed to look like flagstone. Our house faces north, so the porch area is in shade all winter and gets a lot of water, ice and snow.


Yeah, so I didn’t paint the columns crazily after all. I started to add colored stripes, but it looked so bad that I couldn’t paint over it fast enough.

As for the kitchen, when we moved in in 2003 (left picture below), it was stuck in the 1980’s and had blue/pink indoor/outdoor carpeting in the kitchen to match the white with pink and blue wallpaper. Our refrigerator didn’t fit.  In 2006 we did a full gut and remodel, adding hardwood floors, new cabinets, etc etc. (middle picture).  It has served us well, but needed fresh paint and some new window coverings. While we were at it, we added a new fixture because the old one was too dark, and replaced the dishwasher.

Here are the pictures looking east:
Left: 2003  Move-in                    Middle: 2006 Remodel                   Right:  2016 Refresh

And these are looking west:
Left: 2003 Move-in                 Middle:  2006 Remodel                   Right: 2016 Refresh

We still want to replace the table and chairs with a farm table, chairs and bench. But that will have to wait until next year. And, obviously, I need to get some things up on the walls...

With our new refrigerator (from February) and dishwasher, the cats can’t knock toys and things underneath. When we replaced the refrigerator, there were 19 straws underneath (they LOVE straws). I thought that was bad, but the dishwasher was replaced there were 34 straws!! Unfortunately, I still have to do a monthly fishing expedition under the stove/range to get things out. Yesterday there were no straws, but 2 shriveled apricots, 4 catnip mice and one of my wool pincushions. Actually, I was hoping to find a flash drive that has gone missing, but so far no feline is talking! (It has our wills and foundation information on it. Bruce is convinced the cats hid the flash drive to protest not being included in the wills).

So, in preparation for the living room demolition chaos to begin next month, we are choosing paint colors, hardwood flooring (since we cannot match the kitchen floor exactly, we will go darker) and pick out a fireplace gas insert.

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As promised, here is a picture of the quilt that my cousin Kim finished this month. She has been working on it about 2 years BY HAND. She finally used my Kenmore to sew on the borders. I did the quilting (simple loops) and she attached the binding by machine, then finished it by hand. I think it turned out beautifully! Way to go, KIMMIE!!


Aren’t the colors gorgeous? It’s for one of her granddaughters, Trini (who used to sew on Sundays with us).


Kim so enjoyed sewing on the machine again, that she had her old Kenmore serviced and will be using it to work on a quilt for her other granddaughter, Zoe. We expect it could be done by Christmas!

I have been working on sewing the rows of my Aria quilt together, and am 80% done with that. Pictures of that next weekend. I also hope to begin quilting Notting Hill during the coming week.

Finally, I bought the kit for Lori Holt’s Cozy Christmas Quilt, and am participating in the quilt-along. There are 12 blocks, each with an appliquéd center and pieced borders. I am not a fan of appliqué, but I loved the fabric line. So one block a week is do-able.  This is the first block, called Cozy Bell:


That’s it for now. Thanks for dropping by!

Cathy maroon