Saturday, April 27, 2019

Finishing Aqua Scraps and a Flimsy

This has been the quintessential spring week here in the Salt Lake Valley. Take yesterday, for example. It was nice but cool in the early morning. Then around 10:30 am the rain showers started. We headed to the grocery store, and by the time we came out an hour later it was sunny, drying, and there were only a few puffy clouds in the sky. So we put the groceries away, had lunch, and Bruce went to work out in the yard. Two hours later it was raining and thundering again and he had to come in. Then the whole cycle repeated again before dinner. I tell you, it’s hard to figure out how to dress for the day!

I have been concentrating on finishing my One Monthly Goal for April, and I did it! But first, let’s talk about wrapping up Aqua for April in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. Here are my blocks for the month.


Top Row, L-R:
4  Selvage 4-Patches, 8.5” unfinished
8  Cracker Blocks, 7.75” unfinished
5  Crumb Blocks (6.5”) sewn with last year’s blocks into 3 13.5” Crumbcake blocks

Middle Row, L-R:
8  Anvil Blocks, 8.5"
12  9-Patch variation blocks, 6.5”
8  Garlic knot blocks, 8.5"

Bottom Row:
1 Selvage Tumbler Row (sewn to two previous rows)
4  String Blocks, 9.5”
2  Bitcoin blocks
Total:  52 blocks

Here is how the Bitcoin blocks are looking to date. I probably should be keeping track of total inches sewn as I would like to use them as a border for a Rainbow Scrap Challenge quilt in the future.


I’m linking up to Angela’s Scrappy Saturday link-up, where the scrappy fun never ends!  In addition, I have a completed goal to share. My April OMG - One Monthly Goal - was to complete the top of my Good Fortune quilt. Good Fortune was Bonnie Hunter’s mystery quilt-along quilt that began in November of last year and was revealed in January.

My quilt top started the month out in pieces - not even all of them at that! I had decided to initially make about half to two-thirds of them to begin with. I wanted to wait for the quilt reveal to see what it looked like and what size I would eventually want.

As it turned out, I did like the quilt quite a bit, but prefer rectangular quilts to square ones. So I made several fewer blocks and eliminated one small green/neutral inner border.  I had to do a bit of quilty math and creative piecing on the final side center borders (inserting a narrow strip where the blue HSTs meet in the center), but it all worked out.


I’ll never get an award for my piecing, but I am proud that I was able to keep those borders from flaring out. I had to remove and resew those scrappy neutral borders just inside the final border, but it was worth it to keep it all squared up. The flimsy measures 54” x70”.

So, I’m linking up to Elm Street Quilt’s April OMG Finish post. And breathing a huge sigh of relief!  I now have a few days before the RSC color for May is announced, so I’m going to piece a backing and select a binding for Good Fortune, then just play with my string scraps for a few days while I think on some goals and projects for May!

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

3 Quilts for Hands2Help

Yesterday I mailed off three donation quilts for the annual Hands2Help charity quilt drive that Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict runs. I’m linking up to the final tally post HERE.


Jack’s Basket is a nonprofit group that celebrates the birth of children born with Down Syndrome. They provide parents with love and support, and a basket filled with a blanket/quilt, supplies and information. These two quilts - actually a quilt and a double-sided flannel blanket - both measuring approximately 36” square (as requested) were mailed off yesterday. 


I also boxed up and mailed a bed-sized quilt to the Carolina Hurricane Quilt Project. They are trying to provide thousands of quilts to families who lost their homes in the tragic hurricanes of last year.  Yeah, the picture shows it boxed up.


But here’s a picture of the quilt (made last year and held for Hands2Help) before it was boxed up.


I have eight more quilts that I’ll be donating locally to Quilty Hugs, but I will hand deliver those like last year and blog about them separately. For now I just wanted to get these three in the mail and accounted for.  

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

I have three quick pictures from our front yard, which is still in the midst of its spring clean-up. So no wisecracks about the messy beds!

We bought this Talavera hanging pot last February in Arizona. I had visions of hanging it on this shepherd’s hook in the front yard with pansies. I used to have a bird feeder there, but the birds prefer the backyard where things are more sheltered. Anyway, as I was hanging it the first time, it slipped from my hand (the s-hooks were not strong) and it fell against the fancy concrete edging of the flower bed. It broke into four pieces. But the breaks were clean, and Bruce was able to glue the pieces back together again. After letting it dry for a few days and replacing the s-hooks with a stronger gauge, I replanted it and let Bruce hang it. 


Our early spring flowers in the front are pink! We have the bleeding hearts and pink tulips here.  This view is looking east along the front walkway.


And this is the same little bed looking from the other direction. You can see one yellow daffodil in the raised bed to the center left of the photo; the rest of that planter area isn’t visible.

We visited a nursery today to get the last of our vegetable garden starts; seed potatoes and onions, plus tomato and pepper plants. They’re on the covered patio for a few nights and should get planted sometime over the next week. We also bought a few perennial plants for our pollinator habitat, which is mostly done. I’ll blog about that soon. Tomorrow we’re going to Home Depot to pick up some hardware for the second compost bin that Bruce is building, plus I may pick up another couple taller perennials for the pollinator habitat. I try to get some sewing in here and there, and will have some progress to share later this week. 

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Bookmarks, Aqua, Family, Garden

This has been a crazy busy week, and all of it wonderful. The stuff of which memories are made. The weather, which started out rainy at the beginning of the week turned warm and dry by Tuesday, and it has been so delightful to work out in the yard and do things outside.

A week ago, on Saturday afternoon, we got to attend DGD Lauren’s cheer/tumbling end-of-year program. I’ve attended them before, but Bruce has always had to work. Now that he’s retired, he got to come along and see it. It’s amazing what the young ladies can do! You may remember that Lauren went with me and her mom to Africa last summer.


And here is my son Ryan, with Lauren and DIL Kim.


Over the next couple days I sewed on my aqua (turquoise, teal) scraps for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. I finished lots of blocks.

Four 9.5” strip blocks.


Five 6.5” crumb blocks, which joined those that I’d made last year to complete three 13.5” Crumbcake blocks.


And a column of aqua bitcoins to join the other colors made so far this year. This isn’t all of them, but most. I’m hoping to have enough by year-end to make a rainbow border around one of my RSC quilts.  I’m linking up to Scrappy Saturday over at Angela’s blog.


On Wednesday evening, we had a gathering of local Harambe Humanitarian Board members here at our house. We had fajitas, rice and beans, fruit salad and homemade pie for dinner, then set about working on the bookmarks. We finished about 150 (of the 350 we set out to make). Then we had an online meet-up with the other Board Members on Zoom. Here are some of the bookmarks.  

All the fabric is African wax fabric and was brought from Kenya by Marilyn. She has a friend who owns a fabric/dress shop in Narok (the shop I visited when I was there last year), and the friend donated lots of scraps for us.  I did all the graphics for the bookmarks. We were able to get them printed at an Office Max, luckily. Had the tagboard been any heavier, we would have had to go to a real printer. Bruce did the cutting and hole punching ahead of time, while I cut the fabrics with pinking shears. Everything was ready for assembly when the gang got here on Wednesday, so we were able to just talk, work, laugh and listen to music - all 9 of us!
On Friday, Marilyn and OD went up north to Logan (2 hours north of Salt Lake) to Utah State University, where my DGS Easton (Ryan and Kim’s son and Lauren’s older brother) and his fraternity had a fundraiser for Harambe. They set up a couple tables to sell some more African things (the bookmarks, jewelry - ALWAYS the jewelry - sandals and more) for additional funds. Here’s a picture of the gang there. Easton is on the very right (in the blue shuka); Marilyn is the only woman and OD is the only African!  :-)  I can’t tell you how much I love these people!!


It was an amazing success! (There were other youths and tables there too).

We also had two sets of contractors here this week. The first one measured for a new back door and a storm door with screen for my studio. The second was for two new double-paned windows for the front two bedrooms upstairs. Everything is ordered and should be arriving in 4-6 weeks. That completes all the door and window upgrades that we’ve been working on for our home for 10 years! Next year we’ll be replacing all the old INTERIOR doors. We still will have the linen closet expanded this year too, and a couple other small things. More about those as they develop....

And finally, here are a few pictures of the garden. This is way early for much of anything still. After all, it’s only April. Bruce will be planting today (Saturday) while I set up the patio furniture. But the garden beds are ready now. 

I set up the Talavera pottery birdbath that I bought in Arizona last February. There are lots of blooms ready to burst there, and the apricot tree has lost the blossoms and is beginning to bud. Yay!


The tulips are blooming along the grape arbor. The grape vines are awake and beginning to bud. I’ll have to show this same view every month so you can see how they burst forth with abundant growth to shade the patio behind.


Three of our 8.5 garden beds (the .5 is a half-size) are below. You can see the rhubarb. That is another plant that you can practically watch grow! A month ago you could barely see it breaking through the ground. We’ll be harvesting rhubarb in early May!


In the front yard, I still have some daffodils in the front planter under the living room window. It’s a northern exposure, so things are a little slower than in our south-facing backyard.


And last but not least (or maybe it is the least....), I have been working on my One Monthly Goal (OMG) for April. I’m trying to get the quilt top of my Bonnie Hunter's Good Fortune quilt top sewn. This week I decided on the size of quilt I wanted and finished sewing all the component parts. Then I got all of the pink/orange blocks sewn together.


Now I’ve started on the green and blue blocks. The first one went together satisfactorily. But the second one gave me fits. No matter how many times I ripped out stitches and re-sewed (three, to be exact), it came out wonky. So I finally took it all apart. I’ll try again this afternoon; sometimes just pairing up different parts helps. 


My goal for the next week is to get the blue/green blocks finished, all of the blocks sewn together and sew on whichever borders I decide to include so I can complete this OMG. And I also want to get some quilts mailed out to a couple of the Hands2Help charities. Hopefully I can get that done and show it all in a mid-week post.

Have a wonderful Easter everyone!
Saturday, April 13, 2019

Aquamarine Sewing Machine

It’s late and I’m writing this post on Friday night, although I won’t post it until Saturday morning. That’s my excuse for such a corny post title, so take it or leave it. But I guess I should clarify that there are no aquamarine sewing machines here, just scraps in that color that are coming out from under the needle. Aqua (teal, and all their friends) are the April color of the month at the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.

This week’s RSC sewing started out with eight Anvil blocks, which will be 8” finished size in a quilt.


I wanted to see how they looked with the other colors made so far, and also with the varying white with black scrappy backgrounds.  Me likey!!


Next up was working with 2.5” squares.  Here are 12 aqua 9-patch variation blocks up on the design board.


And right after that came the eight garlic knots.


I also sewed nine blocks for the Block Lotto. Curiously, the assigned color for the blocks was shades of blue with white. My blue scrap drawer, which houses all shades of blue from light to navy to the green-blues of teal and aqua, is noticeably emptier! Anyway the Block Lotto blocks are called Twin Sisters and finish at 6 inches. I really like these blocks and may make them for RSC blocks next year! Notice the secondary pinwheel pattern?


Other than sewing it’s been a quiet week. I’ve been working on the graphics for the African bookmarks. We’ll get those printed up next week. In between raindrops, we did a bit of work in the yards chipping old dead branches and growth (Bruce) and pruning roses (me). We are also going to build a pollinator habitat from plans we saw in Mother Earth Living magazine, so that necessitated a trip to Home Depot for supplies as well as for some paint so I can repaint the patio wicker furniture (a bi-annual project).

And the most curious thing happened to me at Weight Watchers (now called just WW) this week. For the last year my weight (after having lost 35 pounds in 2017) has stayed stable, only fluctuating in a 3-5 pound range. I was nearing the high end of that little range again, although I’ve been pretty good eating-wise and activity-wise. Then at last Tuesday’s weigh-in, BAM!  I was down 6.6 pounds from the previous week!! WHAT?!?!?!? How does THAT happen? Our leader said it was probably mostly water weight. Well, duh. But that’s OK, I’ll take it. Besides for all those times in the last couple months when I was up a half pound or whatever - when I figured it was just water weight gain - HA!! Gotcha! I have not gone out and eaten junk or felt license to snack or binge this week. And although it would be perfectly natural after such a dramatic one-week loss to gain back a pound or two this week, I’m hoping I can avoid adding back anything more than a half pound. I’ll let you know how that goes....

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Finish-Along Goals for Second Quarter

It’s time to set our goals for the 2019 Finish-Along, 2nd Quarter. I always find this quarterly challenge (with a drawing at the end for prizes based on finishes) to be so motivating and inspiring. So once again I’m linking up to the 2nd Quarter goal-setting post HERE.

I have selected 10 projects/goals for the second quarter. Here they are, in no particular order.


1.  ON RINGO LAKE

This has been in my pile of UFOs (UnFinished Objects) for over a year. In fact, it’s my oldest unfinished quilt project, although I do have some older stitcheries. Unfortunately, until I get my carpal tunnel issues handled, stitching by hand is out of the question. Anyway, I may simplify this from the original on-point setting to something easier. Or who knows... maybe I’ll gut it out as is.


2.  GOOD FORTUNE
FINISHED AND BLOGGED ABOUT HERE.

This quilt, like On Ringo Lake above, is a Bonnie Hunter mystery pattern. Good Fortune is the current (2018-2019) mystery. I have pieced about 60-75% of all the pieces, because I wanted to do a smaller version. This is also my personal OMG (One Monthly Goal) for April, so it’s the highest priority for finish. Yikes!


3.  PINEAPPLES TWO

I did a Pineapple Quilt (with pieced pineapples, not the classic zillion-pieces block) a couple years ago. It was so much fun, I want to make another one for myself since the first one went to my granddaughter Lauren. I’ve already done a lot of the strip cutting.


4.  STRING STARS ON BLACK
FINISHED AND BLOGGED ABOUT HERE.

I just realized that I haven’t blogged about this project yet. It was started back in February when we went on vacation to Arizona. Currently I have 80 out of 120 (I think) blocks pieced. It is such a blast to work on that I have to force myself to work on other things that have higher priority!


5.   ALTERNATE 9-PATCH DONATION QUILT

This needs a better name, too, but I don’t care. It’s just going to be a donation quilt. I won these Nine-patch in Four-patch blocks in the Block Lotto in February. I have to sew several more (but not too many) and will then whip it up into a donation quilt.  This picture shows nine of the blocks together.


6.   STACKED COINS
FINISHED AND BLOGGED ABOUT HERE.

I did a stacked coins quilt last month in gray, blues and reds; a more masculine or at least a more gender-neutral color scheme. This one will use some of my multi-colored scraps in greens, aqua and yellows with touches of other colors and flowers for a more feminine version. I am seriously trying to cull my basket of multi-colored scraps.



7.   CRUMBCAKES

This is a Rainbow Scrap Challenge project that I’ve been working on for over a year. In 2018 I made 6” crumb blocks and this year I’m sewing them into these 13” (finished) Crumbcake blocks by adding black sashing. Sometimes I have to sew up a few 6” blocks to come out to an even number to make the 4-patch Crumbcakes. But I’m down to the last 2-3 colors, so I want to finish it off this quarter to avoid a year-end logjam.




8.   NEWPORT PLACE

Cousin Kim and I both bought this Newport Place Layer Cake (10” pack of squares) a couple years ago. Last year, Kim made herself a small quilt of half-rectangles from hers (which I blogged about HERE). Then she gave it away. So, I’m going to surprise her and make her another one, only in a different pattern and with some Kona Snow, a floral border (fabric on order) and that old Tula Pink clamshell print on the back. Kim follows me on Instagram and Facebook, but doesn’t read my blog (I don’t think), so I think it’s safe to show this.  :-)



9.  LEMON-LIME QUILT

We are doing some updating to our guest bedroom. The gray paint on the ceiling and baseboards will get a refresh of white paint. The dark wood ceiling fan will be painted white and the gray carpet shampooed. And I need to make a new quilt for the daybed since is has an old store-bought (blasphemy!) quilt on it. I bought this Pepper and Flax fabric (and some other coordinates mixed in) at last year’s Utah Shop Hop in May/June. Time to get a move on!! I have mostly sworn off buying single fabric lines as being too matchy-matchy, but (a) these were the exact colors I wanted and (b) I still have older stash to use!


10.  BLOSSOMS AND SPOKES

This one isn’t even started, but I’m adding it to the list anyway. I fell in love with this pattern last year and cannot wait to start it. It has some fusible appliqué, but I don’t care; I love it too much. (After last year’s Groovy Guitars, I swore off doing appliqué, but... like Goal #9 above, I am reneging on that....) I can’t wait to hang this cheery wall hanging in my living room. And I can’t wait to get on my bike (when it stops raining) and RIDE it this spring!!


Well, since I mentioned fusible appliqué, I have to chuckle and tell you that I just ordered two more fusible appliqué projects from Missouri Star Quilt Company. They’re called Sew-fari kits, and I fell in love with the elephant and the giraffe. I’m going to keep the elephant (when I make it) for us and give the giraffe to Harambe Humanitarian for a fundraiser! But these finishes are not on my list for this quarter, because unless I clone myself, there is no way they’ll get made until third quarter!!

Thanks for stopping by!


Saturday, April 6, 2019

April Showers Bring Aqua Scraps

It is showering outside (really!), and the newly-tilled garden beds are loving it. Bruce has fertilized and prepped all the drip irrigation lines. We are ready to plant, and it will start in a couple days with the cool weather crops like lettuce, spinach, peas. The rest will follow in a couple  more weeks.

Inside, April brings aqua (aquamarine, teal, turquoise, blue-green, green-blue; whatever you want to call the variations) for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. I’m linking up today to our weekly RSC Scrappy Saturday blogpost at Angela’s blog where you’ll see showers of scrappy ideas!

As usual, I kick off my scrappy month by working with selvages. The piles of selvages only seem to keep growing, despite my best efforts to use them.

First up are the selvage 4-patches. I sew 4 of them together like this to make one big block that will finish at 16”. So far, I have done one of each color of the month.


The tentative plan with these is to have nine of these blocks sewn together into a 54x54” quilt. To that I’m thinking I'll add a 4” border of multi-colored bitcoin blocks. The bitcoins are made when all my other larger scraps have been used up and only tiny pieces remain (in other words, near month end). With four months’-worth of blocks under our belt at the end of this month, I should be able to set these out on the design board then to see what it looks like and determine whether it’s a viable plan.

The next selvage project is a row of selvage tumblers; selvages alternated with tumblers of the same color. Since it makes an un-photogenic long row, I like to show the row with its rainbow neighbors like this:



These three rows are actually sewn together now (and look wonderfully wonky as the selvages aren’t totally straight). The red row isn’t connected yet because I will have at least one (maybe two?) rows of orange to add between it and the yellow.


I also sewed cracker blocks this week. Here are the nine that I finished.


Our friends OD and Marilyn and their son are visiting again from Kenya. Marilyn is a Utah native who met/married OD from Kenya. They come about twice a year for several weeks each time to visit family and friends and to manage their non-profit Harambe Humanitarian. They also lead small groups of friends and interested parties on Kenya visits/tours/safaris.

This past week, Marilyn and family came to visit Bruce and I for an afternoon. I’ve been asked to be on the Board of Directors for Harambe, and I am thrilled. Our main goal over the next year is go find a way to get the books we have in storage (current count, between 16,000-18,000) to Kenya. Anyone have a shipping connection? We will be building a library up in the Mau region (Tenkes; see my post HERE) for the Maasai community.

After a house and garden tour and lunch, we went down to the basement studio to work with the Kente cloth (and the other African fabric scraps) that Marilyn brought. We will be making two types of bookmarks to add to the myriad Kenyan things that they bring over every trip to sell at pop-up shops to raise funds. The picture above shows some of the bookmarks I made later in the week with this cloth. These are just the first style of bookmark. The second type will be of tagboard printed with an African proverb and have a snippet of cloth glued on, like these that Marilyn found in Kenya.

We already have sourced, ordered and received the tagboard. The fabric is ready to go. Yesterday at the pop-up-shop (we conduct several of these over the course of Marilyn and OD’s stay) we selected the font style and African proverbs. Bruce is now working to add some of my graphics (original or copyright-free) to the program so we can begin printing them out. We’ll be having a workshop here sometime in about 10 days to add the fabric, punch the holes and add the twine or fibers. Our hope is to get about 500 of these made to sell over the next year. The price point for all of the bookmarks will be 3/$10 (or $4 each).  We’re even talking about setting up a Venmo or Etsy shop for these and other Kenyan goodies.

And to top it off, we’ve had some more friends donate their African fabric, and I’ll be designing and making some African (and African-themed) quilts and wall hangings over the next several months to raffle off (or just sell) at some yet-to-be-determined library fundraiser. So, life here has been full of New and Busy and Exciting.

Life is so much more fun in retirement!!
Thursday, April 4, 2019

April Goal Setting for OMG

It’s already the 4th of April. How did that happen? I have to get my rear in gear and get my goal-setting post done for One Monthly Goal (OMG). I’ve been putting off making a decision on this, but time’s a-wasting!


Last fall and through the holidays, I joined in on Bonnie Hunter’s annual mystery quilt-along. This year it was called Good Fortune and the colors of red, blue, orange and yellow (and a neutral) were based on her trip last year to China. I changed the red to bright pink and the orange to golds and oranges, and got most of my pieces sewn.


And when I say I got “most” of them sewn, that was with the specific intent that I was going to size down the quilt. Therefore my goal was to sew between 60-75% of the number of pieces. Now it’s time to dig through this to refresh my memory and see what I have left to sew. And then comes the construction. I’ve seen lots of beautiful finishes of Good Fortune, and I plan to also modify mine to allow for fewer borders and a simpler setting.

So, simply stated, my goal is to get these blocks into a flimsy (a top) by the end of April. Quilting and binding will have to come later.  Wish me luck. Right now the song “The Impossible Dream” is going through my mind.....

Linking up to April’s OMG Goal-Setting post with Patty at Elm Street Quilts.