Saturday, October 22, 2016

Busy Week - and a Finish!

This was another busy week, which was no surprise. Between the living room remodel, the garden, quilting, family and errands ..... whew!  This is a busy autumn, and the weather this week was just sensational.

Yesterday my cousin Kim was over (she won’t be here for our usual Sunday sewing) and we basted two quilts - one was her black, white and red one and the other was my black and purple one. More on those as they’re quilted. Anyway, after they were done, we went out to lunch and then stopped to enjoy some lattes. It was such a perfectly bright afternoon, and as we were sitting in the coffee shop, we looked outside and a car parked right outside in front of us was plugged in. An actual electrical cord ran from the front grille to the building’s outside electrical outlet. Of course I’ve heard of electric cars, but I hadn’t seen one until then. It was a Nissan Leaf. Ha! A perfect autumn sighting. A sign of things to come. We both laughed that we would remember this day; something that is sure to be so common in the future was so charmingly futuristic to us that afternoon. In telling DH about it last evening, he said that there are regular charging stations in downtown Salt Lake for electric cars. I guess I’ve been living under a rock!

While we were basting our quilts, the fireplace guys were installing our new gas fireplace insert. I snapped a quick picture of course.

That is a first coat of paint around some of it, but most of what you see will be covered up by the fireplace trim and mantel. Yeah, the picture makes it look like sixteen different shades, but it’s not. And I have to wipe off the workers' sooty hand marks before I paint the second coat. Hubby will be finishing up the wiring this weekend, I will start painting more living room walls, and our contractor Jeff has to finish leveling out the floor in front of the fireplace and then do the hearth bricks. Then the carpenter can start building the custom cabinets.

But let’s move on to yellow - the color of the month for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. I finished my eight 9” blocks, doing a slight variation on Angela’s suggested pattern.

And then I sewed all the rows together, and the top of my 2016 RSC Sampler Flimsy is done!  It is now in line to be quilted.... but there are three ahead of it. One of the three is the second kitty quilt, which is 5/6 done.  Join us over at Angela’s So Scrappy blog to see more rainbow goodness today!

And speaking of quilting the second kitty quilt, I had a helper when I was working on it on Thursday. Darla was patient for a long time while I worked, but finally she’d had enough and demanded that I stop so she could snuggle and so I would pay some attention to her.

Darla on Kitty Quilt #2 for DGD London
The FIRST kitty quilt is done, and this post also serves as my official announcement post for  my Quarter 4 Finish-Along goals. This was goal #2 on my Finish-Along list, which you can see here.
Goal 2; Kitty Quilt #1
So, this quilt is for DGD Remington. It has kitties in red, blue, purple, green and orange . The 3 kitty quilts I’m making will all be backed with the cute kitty print with the blue background. This was quilted with free-form loops. I’m all about easy quilting!

Alfie wanted me to tell you about the indignities he suffered last month when he went to the vets to have his teeth cleaned. I had promised to tell you about it a couple weeks ago, but forgot, and he has been nagging me constantly.  Yes, his teeth are now sparkly white and his gums totally healed and free of gingivitis; however, a portion of his paw was shaved for the IV. It has mostly grown back, but here we see evidence of the humiliating shaved patch on his forepaw. Alfie is not sure what else may have happened while he was “out”, but there is an ongoing investigation. Or so he claims.

Finally, I have some yellow/gold 16-patch and improv blocks to show next week. They’re done but I didn’t get pictures. I have one quilt planned for the 90 16-patch blocks I made this year, and two quilts planned (one is even started) from the improv blocks. I’ll show those next week too. My studio is undergoing a major upheaval (general cleaning and new furniture), so I’ve not been too good about getting pictures this week.

Linking up to:
Rainbow Scrap Challenge
2016 Finish-Along (4th Quarter Goals)

Cathy maroon
Saturday, October 15, 2016

Mellow Yellow and a Quilt Finish!

The Mellow Yellow is ME. I am mellow because I’m so proud of myself that I didn’t lose my temper while spending way too long (like a couple hours or more) trying to set up my iCloud photo sharing between my iMac, iPad and iPhone. I am so sick of having to take pix on multiple devices and/or email them back and forth...... and then things change whenever there is a major update. I finally did it. A computer geek I am NOT. Fingers crossed.

Since I posted my 4th Quarter Finish Along goals yesterday, I want to start off by showing you the first finish of this quarter. Aria. Our model today is Alfalfa.

Once the quilt was back from the quilter on October 3, all I had to do was trim and bind it. Here is a close-up of their quilting. The pattern is a paisley and flower, which I thought was appropriate for the fabric.

And then, since I was taking pictures, both cats had to jump up and get their photos taken. At one point, Alfie started grooming Darla. That went on until he either got a bit playful or rough or Darla had had enough. Anyway, just like human kids, the nice play turned into a fight (claws retracted). I got a picture or two of them at that point, not realizing until later that I caught Darla in mid-somersault. I love when they do that!!

Anyway, Aria was Goal #1 on my Q4 Finish-Along list (shown here).

This week I did manage to get four golden 16-patch blocks. Bad pic, but it’s all I have.

I threw a few peach scraps in there, in the spirit of the sunrise (or was it sunset?) colors. No matter. The bright and pastel yellows are coming up next week, but I wanted to hold off until I had made my final blocks for the RSC Sampler Quilt.

I’m linking up to the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, too, so why not come check out the fun?

My cousin Kim sews with me every Sunday. Last weekend she finished piecing another quilt top. This one is for her other granddaughter Zoey, who is six and picked out the colors herself. I think she has rather sophisticated taste for a 6-year old!

Kim will add borders this weekend, and then we will baste it sometime (with construction going on here on the weekend, that may be problematic). Isn’t it gorgeous???

Finally, I made my 9th block for the Cozy Christmas Sew-Along; the holly. I still have to add all the sashings, but will probably do that tomorrow.

Oops, I forgot to crop and do some photo editing, but oh well. Besides going crazy with the computer this afternoon, my morning was spent running to Home Depot (to return the extra electrical and media components, a credit that totaled $140) and then heading to Sherwin-Williams to buy paint for the living room and hallway (spent $98 of the aforementioned $140,  even with a contractor discount), and then to Trader Joe’s (pumpkin scone mix, Pumpkin O’s cereal, and peaches and pears). And that used up most of the last of the credit, LOL!!! Our contractor Jeff is adding the tile/stone to the fireplace this weekend. The floors are here in boxes and are acclimating for the next 10 days. This whole construction thing seems to be clipping right along. Either I’ve grown patient in my old age, or...... or what? I think I’ve just grown patient in my old age, LOL!!

Cathy maroon
Friday, October 14, 2016

Quarter 4 Finish-Along Goals

I’m running out of time to list my 4th quarter goals for the 2016 Finish-Along, so here I am sliding in under the wire by a day or two.

Last quarter I only finished one of my four goals, and I even did a post about it (my Notting Hill quilt, here). But then I forgot to link up to the 3rd Quarter Linky Party. Just so much going on....  But I am determined to stick to the program, LOL.  Without further ado.....

1.   Aria Quilt

This finish didn’t make it into last quarter, but only by a few days. I got it back on Oct. 3 or so, then trimmed and bound it. It is now done, but I will do an official post about it next week.

2.  Cat Quilt for Remington
The above quilt, pictured when it was just basted, is almost ready to be revealed. It will be shown in its own post later this month.

3. Cat Quilt for London
London’s quilt is basted and will be quilted by me this weekend. Reveal post will be after numbers one and two.

4.  Cat Quilt for Abbie - right now it’s just a pile of cat squares; you can actually check back on my blog to see the yellow litter (yellow is not in either of the above quilts).  This was a later addition to my Must Make Cat Quilts because I didn’t know until last month that Abbie was in love with cats!!

5.  Magic Carpet Quilt for Shane

This quilt top was so much fun to piece! It’s ready to be basted and quilted.

6.  Vintage Sheet Rainbow Rail Fence

This top is also pieced and ready to be basted and quilted. I’d wanted to do a vintage sheet quilt for a long time, so used this year’s Rainbow Scrap Challenge as an opportunity to work with my sheet scraps. I rather like it!

7.   Rainbow Scrap Challenge Sampler

This one is a column-along quilt. The tenth and final column will be a yellow one which I’ll sew up as soon as it’s announced. Not pictured are the red, green and gray columns, and the blue column is folded up at the foot of the teal and pink columns.

8.   Christmas Quilt for Mike

This is a deer-themed printed quilt top from Pattern Jam. The green and black polka dots will be thin and thick borders. The newsprint fabric will be the backing. This will be for one of my dear sons-in-law Mike, who is a hunter.  My other SIL is on assignment overseas, so he will get a quilt next year.

9.  Petals for Kim

My daughter-in-law Kim picked out the pattern and the Bonnie & Camille fabrics. These orange peels need to be machine appliquéd to the blocks, then stitched together, etc. Should be a quick and easy make for Christmas.

10. Ryan’s Manly Quilt.  Unlike my artist son Shane (who picked out the colors of his Magic Carpet quilt above), Ryan is more comfortable with darker, more sedate colors. This fabric is Black Tie Affair by Basic Grey for Moda.

11.  Wild Dresdens

This quilt top was another Rainbow Scrap Challenge project this year. It will eventually go on my guest room bed.

This quarter, I am confident that I will finish at least 80% of this list, as they are slated as Christmas gifts.  Then I can start the new year with very little on my plate!!  YAY!!

I’m linking up to the 4th Quarter Goals for the 2016 Finish Along. Why not hop over and see what others have planned?

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Golden Sewing Opportunities

This month at the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, our colors are golden - yellows, golds through yellow-oranges, and it is a perfect opportunity to use up those scraps that have been breeding  collecting in our boxes and bins. And a perfect opportunity to see some gorgeous eye candy over at Angela’s So Scrappy blog because it’s Scrappy Saturday!

For my part, I was able to finish up a yellow and gold Dresden and a Mama Cat with her litter of kittens.

The Dresden is on a pale pink background and finishes up the 20 I needed for a quilt. Hopefully I can get that top pieced this week.

As for the cats and kittens, two tops are pieced, and this is the second litter (of 6) for the third quilt. All are for my granddaughters for Christmas. And yes, sometimes I dream about these cats in my sleep!!

My Aria quilt is back from the quilter! We picked it up this week. Below is a picture after trimming but before binding. It is actually all done now, and I took a series of pictures of it on our bed, where it now resides. But I will save those for the Big Reveal when I announce it as my first finish of the second quarter for the 2016 Finish-Along. That’ll probably be next week.

And I finished my Cozy Christmas block for this week; the cup of cocoa with marshmallows. I still need to embroider some “steam”. Here it is pictured (just pinned, not sewn together) with the Gingerbread Man from last week, whose buttons are also just pinned on for the picture. Eight blocks down, four to go. And those four are all cut out......

I’m going to keep this post brief. The contractor is due here in about an hour to begin building the new wall, and I have to hop on my exercise bike and then shower before he gets here. Then I can sew all day!  YAY!!!!

Cathy maroon
Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Some Fun Stuff

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a mid-week post, but so much is going on that I just had to slow down for a moment and share.

First, I wanted to give all my crazy quilting and/or embroidery friends a heads up that the special Holiday issue of Crazy Quilt Quarterly has been published. You can order it HERE in either printed or digital format, or both.

It’s another fun issue and focuses, as you might imagine, on the Holiday Season (mostly Christmas). There are some great patterns and tutorials as always. Why not order your copy now??

I got a call this morning that my Aria quilt was ready at the quilter’s. So, off we (Bruce and I) ran. He took a comp day today for working so much last week, so he is home with me today and tomorrow.

Anyway, freeway closure notwithstanding (a truck full of ammonium nitrate flipped over, so you can imagine their caution), we drove to get it. On the way home we stopped at Costco for lunch and a couple things, then at Trader Joe’s to stock up on All Things Pumpkin. That would include (imagine my best Bubba Gump voice....) pumpkin scone mix, pumpkin ravioli, Pumpkin O’s cereal, pumpkin spice muffin mix, pumpkin granola, pumpkin spice oatmeal.....

Back to the quilt...... I still have to bind it.  So, it didn’t make it in time for the Quarter 3 Finish Along goals, but will be the first one ticked off on my Quarter 4 goal list!!

Construction update: contractor will begin building new wall this week. Floors ordered and paid for (2 weeks to come in, two weeks to sit and acclimate); fireplace tile ordered and paid for (2 weeks to come in). That will be installed pretty much the same time as the fireplace insert.  We are going to get a big dumpster delivered to take away all the old brick, carpets, fireplace stuff, and all the other broken furniture and junk we have had back in our backyard hidey-hole for a year.

And I had another good surprise. When I left my former employer Siemens about 8 years ago, it was my understanding that the old pension plan was rolled into our IRAs. But I must’ve missed something (and I am usually a financial whiz). Anyway, I got an official package yesterday to let me know that I have a one-time opportunity this fall to roll my pension plan monies into my private IRA. Really? It’s way more than the cost of our remodel (including planned new furniture), so it looks like someone is watching out for me! Back into the IRA savings it will go, and I am happy as a clam! So why are clams happy anyway?

Until Saturday,
Cathy maroon
Saturday, October 1, 2016

And Just Like That..... It’s October!

Another month means another color at the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. But since today is just the first of October, all I have is a recap of my reds in September and a recap of my busy sewing week.  But you can join us over at So Scrappy to see what everyone else is up to!

Well, this isn’t really everything, but it will do.  There were actually THREE litters of red cats, two of which have been sewn with other colors into quilt tops. More on that in a moment.  Last week I showed you my red Dresden, and all the other colorful Dresdens pinned up on my design wall.  With the final block for October, the top will be complete.

In the lower left of the above picture, you can see four 8” strip blocks I made from reds. Those are going to join the two blue and one pink that I made earlier in the year; strip blocks will be one of my projects for 2017.  Then (bottom right) there are the 10 16-patch blocks, bringing my total to 90, and finally (center, with dark background) the 8 - 8” improv blocks I made. I love red and white. Maybe I should just mix all the red and white blocks together and make a red and white quilt!

So.... last week I showed you one of the pieced Kitten quilts. Here’s a memory refresh.

That quilt is still awaiting basting. But, I did piece the second quilt and basted it. That one is here (lying on the floor, pathetically), posing for a Picture of Proof.

The third quilt is in process and so far only has a red litter. This month I hope to piece as many of the remaining litters as I can; yellow, green, purple, pink and blue.

And speaking of purple, pink and blue, I got my son Shane’s Christmas Quilt top pieced this week. Shane picked the colors and pattern himself. It is called Magic Carpet by Christina Cameli. I tweaked the pattern in two places. First I enlarged the squares along the top and bottom so they are square (pattern has them as rectangles). Then I added a 3” black border on every side so that the squares float against the black. The flimsy measures 75"x89”.

Each color will be quilted with a matching thread (or black for the darkest purple). Not sure how I want to do it yet as I would like to keep the squares visually advancing. Any ideas or suggestions appreciated. I've been searching out what others have done and with the exception of 1-2, I’ve not been gobsmacked by any.....  Not that I could replicate any brilliant quilting anyway, but I do want to at least give it a try. The kitten quilts, on the other hand, will get simple loops or stippling.

So, from here on out until Christmas, my goal is to baste one quilt and quilt one quilt every week (not necessarily the same one, LOL). And in addition to that I need to keep up with the RSC (this is the last of the new colors for the year) and get the tops sewn of the remaining Christmas quilts. 

Oh, I also sewed this little guy this week. Mr. Cozy Gingerbread Man is block #7 of 12, so I am still on course there.

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

Finally, I plan to have some demolition pictures in my next post (either mid-week or next weekend). The demolition last weekend was minor; we (our general contractor and the fireplace guy) needed to see what they were dealing with, so only removed the fugly brass surround and knocked out a few bricks. We have now ordered the fireplace insert, and it will be installed on October 21. 

As it turns out, the brick along the entire end wall of the living room that we thought was a brick veneer is actually whole bricks - and stuck right to the exterior brick of the home. Weird. So, the protruding hearth/bench will be the only part that is demolished.  When the built-in cabinets on either side of the new fireplace (which will be more centered) are built, they  shouldn’t portrude out into the room much more than the existing bench. And once those are done, the place can be painted and the flooring laid. 

We have ordered the flooring already, as it will take a couple weeks to arrive and then need to acclimate itself in the living room (still in boxes) for a couple weeks. It’s going to be a lovely Thanksgiving! Not. But we are shooting to be done by early December. 

So, this week, the bench will be ripped out. The contractor will hang plastic to protect the rest of the house from dust (as if). Over the next three week he’ll build the false wall, run electrical, etc. Bruce and I are going to pick out the tile for the fireplace surround, and I have to sit and design a rough sketch of the the shelving and cabinets we want for the carpenter to begin his design process with. I do have a background in design (and did design our existing kitchen), so it will not be a problem. Yeah, I am Crazy by Design....

I am really enjoying this process! I’m learning a lot and have no reason to dust or vacuum the living room, LOL!

Cathy maroon
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