Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Blocks - Crazy, Sane and Mental

Well, the mental block is nothing new. If I want to focus on something, I have to write it down. Yesterday, I made up a list of things I wanted to get done and by golly, I did get most of them done. But sometimes I am unrealistic. In addition to cleaning 2 bathrooms, changing the catbox, cleaning the kitchen and mopping its floor, preparing and mailing my Etsy orders, doing 4 loads of laundry, doing a blog post (that I forgot to send until today), and writing long overdue letters (emails), I thought I could quilt the in-process baby quilt, cut out another one, and dye the last of the seaweed lace. Yeah, only if I went without sleep. So, Monday’s goals will probably spread out over the entire week. And maybe I should go with the flow instead of writing daily goals?

So I said a post or two back that I would share the work that the ladies in our recent Lace & Pearls Round Robin (for Crazy Quilting International) did on my blocks. Previously, I shared the work I did on their blocks, but this is the lusciousness that I got back.

Barbara W. always does amazing flowers!

This is Gayle’s lovely work. Wish I’d given her a bigger piece of lace - my bad.

Connie K did this gorgeous work.

Andrea did the lower right area and Connie finished up this block for her.

Liz R used the lace to make a peacock! Isn’t it amazing?

And this is the block that awaits my stitching.  

A few of my female relatives and I have started a Sunday Sewing Session. My cousins Carrie and Kim (who went to Arizona with us and are really my hubby`s nieces even though they are roughly my age), along with Carrie`s grown daughter Jenny (who has two kids that stay at home with their daddy) get together in my studio from 10am-ish to 2 or 3-ish on Sunday to sew.  Having a regular few hours to stitch has enabled me to get a lot done. I`ve been helping Carrie with our local quilt shop`s Block of the Month (BOM) blocks (which are red and black and white and I have no pictures of because I give them back to her).  And she has been helping me organize my stash of quilting fabric.

It`s not finished yet, but it is sure looking better. Thanks, Carrie! I love you!  :-)

Last year in January I started an online BOM and only got the very first one done. That’s because February’s block was awful - paper pieced center block with 8 sections, and I could not get it. I finally got smart and made the center plain. I figure the quilt police won`t show up and arrest me or anything, LOL.  That block is on the left, below.  The right block is the same line of fabric (Notting Hill by Joel Dewberry) plus some birdie fabric. That pattern is the one we have for March for our local BOM. I don’t like how those 2 strips came together to make that big oval in the lower left, but I am still undecided about fixing it.  What do you think?

So now I have 3 blocks done for this quilt, which will eventually be for me. But it is a long-term project to work on here and there.

Finally, I have another CQ block to finish by the end of June for a friend. I can`t really talk about it, but this is it`s start:

I am still in the idea-gathering stage. I`ve been researching and reading and pinning pictures on a private Pinterest board, collecting online pix, sketching ideas in a sketchbook, etc.  I have given myself another week (until the end of the month) for this phase before I gather all my possible supplies and begin piecing the block.  And then everything will probably change, or at least morph as I go along. It’s always a fluid process, isn’t it?  

Now can you see why I finally cut yesterday’s post short and published the first half this morning?  This second half was way long, and together - sheesh. I need to blog more often.  

By the way, I will have one more post either today or tomorrow. Subject: Lace Seaweed. It is all dyed up and just needs to be packaged and listed in my Etsy shop. That’s what I am doing this afternoon.  Oh, and for those of you who commented (or wrote to me) saying that 11 yards of seaweed lace isn`t very much, I neglected to mention that it is 13” wide. It really IS a lot. I’ve been dreaming seaweed. . .

Cathy maroon

Monday, March 24, 2014

Finishes, WIPs, and . . Hey! Where Did March Go??

I woke up this weekend (figuratively speaking) and realized that the number of my followers (over 350) on the old Google never seemed to be going up. Well, duh, Cathy. That`s because it is defunct. Now there is Google+, Bloglovin’, and other means. So I finally installed those options (I think) in my sidebar. Hopefully I haven`t lost too many followers along the way. No one likes the feeling that they are talking to themselves, right?

First, thank you to my dear cousin Annamaria Kover (Manya) in Romania (actually Szekely, the part-Hungarian region) for sending me a lovely pendant. She had a contest on Facebook, and we all got to comment on which one of four pendants that she showed was our favorite. My favorite was the daffodil pendant, and I was the lucky winner of it. I already had one of her beautiful rose pendants (I was her first customer when she began selling them). So, I snapped a picture of the two pendants together. I love wearing them!!

Manya has some great new egg-shaped pendants and as well as her gorgeous scissors keeps, compacts and eyeglass cases. Very drool-worthy eye candy!  You can visit her on her Facebook Page HERE.

Remember the pink dress I showed you in the last post that I finished for my DGD London? It was a ready-made dress, about 4 years old, that was given to me by a friend. The front embellishments were dirty and damaged beyond repair, so I took them off and made a new ribbon rose. I also added lace and ribbon and it came out very nicely. In fact, I did a double-take when the new Carter’s (children’s-wear store) ad booklet came in the mail.  Look at the cover and the inside picture.

It makes me feel good that these are so similar, even down to the tulle overlay.  So, London`s Easter dress is very in-style, and best of all (for me), it was free and a great way to rescue and recycle an old dress.  :-)

This is going to be a long post with a lot of pictures, by the way, LOL.

I finished the baby quilt for my grandson Bear.  My BSR foot for my Bernina 550QE sewing machine came in, so I could finish the stippling.  It is bright and the print is of pirate bears, so it will do. It`s not something that I would make for myself, LOL!

These 2 photos (above and below) were taken on the kitchen floor, under the skylight. 

This is the LAST of the grandkid quilts with Minkee on the back. Hallelujah!!

Below is the next quilt. The top is done and it is pin-basted to the batting and flannel back. I will quilt it later this week. It’s just a baby quilt that will be a gift for one of my daughter`s friends who is having a girl in May. Riley (the friend) will be welcoming Marlee.  Riley has always been special to us.

Well, I am going to close this post. I should`ve just published it yesterday. I have so much to talk about.  So, as soon as this is published, I`m starting on a new post!  :-)

Cathy maroon

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Just a Teaser (if you like Seaweed)

I have spent waaaaay too much time dyeing laces lately.  Awhile back one of my suppliers offered me a deal on some vintage lace that looked to me like seaweed. To a seamstress, that would not be particularly appealing, but to a crazy quilter, WHAT A FIND!   I purchased all of it (11 yards) and now have a lifetime supply of lace seaweed, LOL.

The problem was that this (rayon per the supplier) lace is acting more like a rayon/poly blend and has been quite difficult to dye.  I have been playing with it for a couple weeks and finally found what works and what doesn`t.

There are a few more colors I want to get made up, like brighter oranges, some pinks, plus some greens that are more emerald.  Then I have to decide how to package them (by color? in assortments? with other lace sea growth? some undyed? all of the above?) and then price accordingly.  So, it will be another week before they are listed in my shop. And then we can all go crazy with our Under the Sea themed blocks!!

In the meantime, though, I do have a new Spring Woodland inspiration assortment of fabrics, trims, laces (and beads, buttons, a silkie print) available in my Etsy shop.

I am very close to having not one, but TWO baby quilts done to show off, so I will be back with that next week.  In the meantime, I will photograph and show you my Lace & Pearls blocks that I got back from the other ladies in our recent RR. You will recall that I’ve been showing my work on their blocks, one by one. Now it is time to show you the lovely work they did for me on my blocks.  Later this week.  :-)

Cathy maroon

Friday, March 7, 2014

Lace and Pearls RR Finish

Yesterday I finished Andrea’s  block in our Lace & Pearls round robin. She had pieced these blocks in browns and creams, and previous stitchers had added touches of oranges and reds. so, I happily followed suit because I love orange. Andrea lives in India, and included a lovely paisley fabric which I picked up on and added a lace paisley to the other laces on the block.

In all, I added 5 pieces of lace, two of them vintage.  As is my custom, I decided NOT to add a spider to the spiderweb lace.  :-)

I hope I didn’t overdo the embellishment of the lovely lace motif, above. It is intended to be one of the focal points of the block.

These are now on their way back home to Andrea in India. I know she will enjoy them!!

And as I was photographing the block, Alfalfa (Alfie) just HAD to try to get my attention. Here he is, trying to be cute in this basket of scraps.  He was moving around in it, chasing his tail, and this is the ONLY picture out of about a dozen where he wasn’t a blur of movement.

Hey Mom! Look! I fit in your Easter Basket!!

And I have another finish to show you.  I had wanted to do this last year, but the dress was too big for DGD London.  It was given to me by a former co-worker at Wheeler Farm.  The empire waistline was lined in pink roses that had fallen apart and been stepped on or something. Very dirty - black - and where a couple had come off, the glue had discolored the pink satin fabric.

I have a lot of luscious pink duchess satin in almost the same color.  In fact, I gave some of it to Susie Wolfe, who used it in her pink Christmas Tree Skirt that graced the front cover of Crazy Quilt Gatherings Magazine (Winter 2013).  That reminds me. I need to list it in my Etsy shop.  :-)

So anyway, I made a large central satin rose and a pair of leaves. Then I added pink polka dot grosgrain ribbon into this lovely white beading lace (also in my Etsy Shop, in the clearance section) to cover up the line of glue stains.  I think it turned out darling!  What do you think?

Today, I have to clean up my studio a bit after these two finishes. Then I’ll finish binding a quilt. I am still waiting for the BSR foot (Bernina Stitch Regulator) to be replaced for my new sewing machine. The foot is computerized and decided to die after only my second time using it, which was in the middle of quilting a baby quilt. The dealer said they have never seen a BSR go bad before, but they checked it out and sure enough, even their machines would not recognize it. It is confirmed: I have bad sewing machine karma.  The replacement foot was not in stock (which rather ticks me off), so I am binding the quilt before I finish the little bit of quilting that’s left.

Onward and upward!

Cathy maroon