Saturday, May 27, 2017

My Studio is No Longer the Emerald City

Once upon a time, about four weeks ago or so, my studio looked like the Emerald City. Like Kermit the Frog had exploded, like a giant Chia Pet had blossomed, like...... oh, you get the idea. That was when I first took out my green fabric and green scraps and green selvages and green sheets and began to work them into sewing projects. Now things are back to normal, the scraps are GONE and the greens blocks have found their places among my works in progress. Here is a collage of this month’s green goodness:

From the top, across:
30 Bow tie blocks (4”)
25 Friendship Star Variation blocks (6”)
16 Plus blocks (6”)

Middle Row:
2 Crayon blocks
2 Selvage columns (although they are turned on their sides and look like rows)
8 Strip blocks, which will be sewn into 2 16” blocks

Bottom Row: 5 Bookshelf blocks (12”).
Not Shown: 2 Geese Migration blocks

In addition to those, I used up all my itty bitty scraps and sewed them into 4 slabs, which then became part of the 9 kennel quilts and one dog bed that I made for Best Friends Animal Shelter this month. Total green blocks for May: 94

Here are six of the kennel quilts using up the various green scraps. They mostly have some donated gold starred fabric on back. Again, these are various sizes, ranging from 12x18” up to about 18x24”. Luckily the animal shelter uses all sizes.

And then here are more three quilts  below; one is turned over so you can see the green starred flannel backing. Those are some old vintage sheet blocks and some kitty fabric (always on the lookout for kitty fabric at good prices) for the other two. I also made another doggie bed from scraps, but didn’t get a picture. However it looks just like the floral one from last month, which you can see in the collage in the post here. So, all told, I took 19 quilts and 3 dog beds to Best Friends this week. That is as much as I took the whole first quarter, so I am getting faster.

And speaking of quilts for animals, one of our local quilt shops had a great sale with 50-75% of tons of bolts of fabric. Even though I arrived within an hour of opening, the lines were already long. But that was OK; everyone was friendly and we chattered a lot in line. I happened to be behind a lovely woman named Jannis. Naturally, everyone talked about what we planned to do with the fabrics, and I mentioned that, among other things, I sew kennel quilts for Best Friends. Turns out, Jannis is another true animal lover. Long story short, as she and her friend finished checking out ahead of me, Jannis generously handed me a cash donation to use toward the kennel quilts (very generous, I might add). I was blown away, and insisted we exchange information so I could send her pictures of what I buy and make with the donation. Or shall I just pass it on directly to Best Friends? Or a little of both? Anyway, here’s a shout-out to Jannis! Thank you once again!!  We are having the Utah Shop Hop next week, and I think I will be looking for bargain kitty and/or doggie themed fabrics to add to my scraps for kennel quilts. I will plan another donation trip to Best Friends at the end of June with whatever I make from those purchases.

In other news this week:

*** I read on Pinterest that vinegar makes a good weed killer, and I can tell you that it’s true! Cheap and non-toxic. I bought a couple gallons and used a sprinkling can to kill off all the weeds growing in our fallow garden beds this year. Easy Peasy.

*** My 92-year-old Uncle Bela (the last surviving member of his generation in my family) died this week. I am so glad I got to spend some quality time with him in 2015 (blogged about HERE).

*** Those darling Mothers Day flowers that I got last week (that looked like a cat) dried out and began looking troll-ish. So, I replaced the “cat” with roses from my garden.....

Finally, my little munchkins Alfie and Darla celebrated their 4th birthday this weekend. They pretended to be mad that I didn’t bake them a cake, but I know it’s not true. Neither one of them will EVER eat any kind of table scraps - not tuna, not chicken, nothing. So here is how they spent their day:

L: Alfie can’t keep his leg still when he gets excited   R: Darla sleeps

Linking up to Scrappy Saturday,

Cathy maroon

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Scraps: Green Light!

More cool cold spring weather this week. It even snowed! Luckily, it didn’t last long and I had protected the flowers I had already planted. The long range forecast shows a slow but gradual warming trend. Maybe we will have summer this year. At least I’ve been able to play with my green scraps to satisfy the green itch!

First up, my green Friendship Star variation blocks. I absolutely adore these! I made 25 green blocks this month, which puts my total number of these blocks at 67 so far. I will need a total of 172. This project is likely to carry over into next year.

And then here are the happy little 4.5” bow tie blocks. I made 30 of those. Only half a bazillion to go on these. This is definitely a multi-year project.

Right now I’m working on my scraps and my kitty quilts (small kennel quilts) for the Best Friends animal shelter; I’ll have those to show next week. And speaking of kitties, aren’t these flowers the cutest thing you’ve ever seen? My daughter Megan sent them to me for Mother’s Day. She is a cat lover like me and is owned by two female cats, Lola and Iggy. 

I also finished a crocheted rug that I started on Christmas Day. I totally had forgotten about it  until Bruce and I switched our favorite chairs back to their usual positions. We had traded places because his right arm was out of commission during all those surgeries, so we wanted him to be able to access a side table with his left arm. If that makes sense. Anyway, once we moved everything back, I found this nearly-done rug and finished up the last 3 rows. It’s made from wonky strips of leftover cotton single crocheted with a huge hook.

If it looks wonky, that’s only because.... it is. I haven’t yet blocked it, washed it or tucked in any of the ends. What you see as the length of it was actually going to be the width, but enough is enough. It eats up fabric at the rate of about a half yard - maybe slightly less -  per row. And that was it for my cheap and/or scrap strips. But it was fun and it’s done.

Linking up to Scrappy Saturday.

Cathy maroon

Saturday, May 13, 2017

The Scraps are Always Greener in May

I’ve been cutting green scraps like a madwoman, and I have the dead/numb right arm to prove it. Thank goodness for ibuprofen! I have a lot to show this week, and am linking up to Scrappy Saturday over at Angela’s blog. If you are craving green, that is the place to go!

So let’s get started. This week, I made the green shelf of books for my bookcase quilt. Normally, a row consists of 5 twelve-inch finished size blocks. This time, since the row was going to be all green instead of a combination of two colors (like the blue/teal row), my goal was just to sew a continuous line of books that was all green, 60.5” across, with seam allowance. The number of blocks, per se, didn’t matter.

This is what it all looks like as a finished unit. Sorry for the bad picture and the odd coloring/shadows of my design board. That orange coffee mug is a big question mark; more about that in a moment.

Here are some closer shots, from left to right....

First, my favorite area, with a fishbowl.  Kim and I were sewing together when I came up with this. And since we had just been talking about Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn getting their stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, I had to name them Kurt and Goldie.

In the next section the books definitely seem to be listing to port. I was going to say the section is straight-up books, but they’re definitely looking tipsy. In double checking the actual section, it’s just the way they are pinned to the design board in the picture. Yikes!

OK, here is where I need an opinion. The orange coffee mug is temporarily positioned there. Should the mug stay, or should we vote it off the island?? Or keep it in a different color perhaps? If it stays, I will naturally trim out the handle area before fusing it on.

Moving along, here is the rightmost section.

Once again, I have filled the bookcase with such well known and best-selling titles as  A Walk in the Park, Downton Abbey and (my favorite), Turtle Parade!!  Selecting titles is my favorite part of this process. Yep, I still have some growing up to do!

But wait, there’s more.  Oh my, that sounds like an infomercial. But I digress. I also knocked out my 6” Plus blocks, 16 of them. I have no idea yet if these will become a quilt on their own, or if they will be filler blocks for something else.

This next week will see me sewing on green bowtie blocks, green friendship stars, and finishing the Stars and Stripes quilt top sashing. The blue fabric for the sashing arrived and it looks good, so time to get that moving along.

I spent a good deal of time in the yard this week. First I cleaned up my potting bench and surrounding area to allow our garden service people easier access to the back yard with their huge mower. Our back grass is postage stamp sized (we have more garden, patio and flower beds), but they want to use the big mower. One circle around it will get all the grass. Seriously. Up to now they’ve just been using a weed whacker. But whatever..... Anyway, I also got most of my flowers purchased so that I can begin planting and setting out all my lovely Talavera pots on the front porch area. The irises are just opening up and I plan to make a point of getting some pictures this week. Any green thumbing should fit right in with our color scheme this month!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Cathy maroon

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Green May

Here in the Salt Lake Valley, May is always green. Beautiful, saturated, achingly beautiful green. Most of the trees and foliage are as happy as I am (they told me so) that we are now having warm weather. Last week it snowed; this week it’s been as high as 84 degrees. The outdoors matches perfectly with our Rainbow Scrap Challenge color for May, which Angela at So Scrappy selected as green. I’m linking up to our weekly Scrappy Saturday, and I hope you’ll join us there for some fresh spring scrappy sewing!

This week I did two crayons, since the crayon quilt calls for both a light and a dark green.  Also, the selvage quilt I’m doing needs a green column and a light green (or grellow) column, so I did two of those as well.

The two green crayons are already sewn together but the two green columns are just pinned for now.

Then I worked on my green strips, and did 4 blocks (8.5” unfinished) each of dark greens and light greens.

Next week I plan to work on the green “shelf” of the bookcase, which will be five 12.5” blocks of green books. And after that all the rest, as the scraps decrease in size.

I’ve also been working on a flag quilt (Stars and Stripes by Camille Roskelley) that I started last year at a Lori Holt retreat. We all did a signature block for Lori, one for ourselves and one for Cathy from Tasmania who visited the US for six weeks. Anyway, I finished up all the blocks - a snap with chain piecing.

They’re all on my design board for now, but not yet trimmed or arranged as I want. I’m waiting for some blue sashing fabric that I ordered to arrive. I did go to a local quilt store and bought two yards, but it was too aqua (like is shown in the pattern), and I didn’t like it. The blue I ordered online is a more blue-blue, if that makes sense. It’s a Kona from my color card, so I hope the real fabric will look alright once it’s sashed. Hard to envision from a small swatch.

My favorite flag block of the bunch
This week I managed to get a lot of outdoor chores done, like sweeping the garage, setting up the patio furniture and hanging some flower pots in front. Bruce went back to work, and while I do miss him during the day, it’s rather nice to do what I want when I want. And the cats are good company, when they’re awake.

Darla and Alfalfa

Another local quilt store had a Kaffe Fassett fabric sale this week in conjunction with the UQSM show - Utah Quilting and Sewing Marketplace - the only AQS quilt show in Utah. Not sure if I’m going to the quilt show this year, but I definitely scooped up some great cuts of Kaffe fabrics. I will not show them here yet. You’re welcome.  Paula B has been a bad influence on me with her lovely summer Kaffe quilt she’s making. And Sally, you too!  I might show them sometime, but at least I’m giving you a warning!!

Cathy maroon

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

A Quilt Finished and Gifted

Our son-in-law Chad has returned home for a month from a USAF assignment overseas. He will have to go back for 6 weeks at the end of the month, but for now we are all enjoying seeing him once again. Especially his wife Emily (Bruce’s daughter) and their three kids - our sweet grandkids Deacon, Abbie and Gunner. Although they were able to FaceTime daily while Chad was gone, there is no substitute for hugs in person!

Bruce and I were thrilled that they came over yesterday, Bruce’s last day home before returning to work today. Tomorrow is Bruce’s birthday - the big 70. Or as he likes to say, his dyslexic 7th birthday. Naturally, my card to him is going to be a “Happy Birthday 7-year old” card, with an “0” added in. He’s got it coming, ya know? hehe

So, I have no pictures of the happy visit. They gave Bruce a birthday present, we gave Chad his 2016 Christmas present (the quilt below). We played with the kids and then went out to dinner. Bruce and Chad had a lot to talk about. Both are/were in counter intelligence in the military with respective secret clearances and both are engineers. In fact, if you think of “Q” in the James Bond movies, that is what Chad does. Naturally, their talk was very general, but they had fun comparing places and equipment (1970’s vs today). And it was fun for us to hear about the lifestyle and foods of the place where Chad is stationed.

Anyway, here is a picture of the quilt that I whipped up in record time. Remember, it was a pre-printed panel from Pattern Jam, although I did get to pick out the fabrics before printing.

Look! We took the picture outside! The quilt finished at 62x75” and was quilted with straight (but squiggly) lines.  Chad loved it, and as they are moving to the greater Denver area later this summer, it will come in handy during the winter months.

This quilt is my third of my Finish-Along Second Quarter Goals. It is #7 on the list.

Cathy maroon