Thursday, May 31, 2018

May OMG becomes June OMG.

Another month, another down-to-the-wire goal deadline. This time, I goofed. I thought my May OMG (One Monthly Goal) was to finish the top of this baby quilt, and that I did. Shall we take a look?

I finished all the sashing and cornerstones. It looks a bit wonky at the bottom because the first four rows are pinned to the design board and the last row is just hanging freely.

Anyway, as I began this post, I checked my original goal-setting post in early May and was dismayed to find out that my goal was to finish the entire quilt - quilting, binding and all.  Oops. So, I didn’t make it. In my defense, I’ve been sick much of the last week with a stomach ailment which we have finally traced to one of my meds - and to my age (stomach lining thins as we age). So, I’m taking a break from the medication for awhile (it’s my Meloxicam for arthritis symptoms). Simultaneously I’m beginning to take Pantoprazole, a prescription-strength antacid to give my tummy a break. I’ll be able to start back on the Meloxicam in a week or two, but will have to continue with both down the road. My life seems to be in pill bottles these days.

But on to sweeter things. Our daughter Stacy’s labor will be induced on June 29 (if she doesn’t go into labor naturally first) so this quilt for baby girl Evie now becomes my JUNE One Monthly Goal. Given how much time I’ve been spending in the garden and in preparation for my Kenya trip, this seems do-able but not overwhelming.

I am linking up to Elm Street Quilt’s June OMG goal-setting link party. Why not join us and see what others have planned for June?

Saturday, May 26, 2018

54 Hearts

The last week was a most enjoyable one, with beautiful warm spring weather here in the Salt Lake Valley. I was able to get some sewing in last Sunday when Cousin Kim came over for our regular sewing day. And other than an additional hour of sewing on Monday, that was it for my time in the studio. Instead, Bruce and I spent a lot of time finishing up most of our spring garden chores. We also visited Red Butte Gardens, an arboretum here in Salt Lake City of which we are members. I’ll do a separate post on that. And I did a lot of prep for my upcoming trip to Africa.

But let’s take a look at what emerged from under the sewing needle first. Fifty-four 4” (finished size) hearts.

These will go into the All You Need is Love quilt for my daughter. What better time to get them sewn up than in the Month of Pink for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge....

Mostly I don’t trim these up until I’m ready to sew them in to the top. They’ll be sitting around for at least a couple more months before that happens, so might as well trim only once.

Since we have almost a full week of pink left before month-end, I am going to wait to do my Pink Roundup until next week. In the interim, my plan is to finish the remaining three pink birds for my Birds in the Lattice quilt. And I would love to finish sewing the quilt top of the AB Baby quilt (my One Monthly Goal, OMG). But I’m not holding my breath on that one.

In preparation for my July trip to Kenya, I did lots of clothes shopping. Mostly I needed new summer things anyway, because of the 35+ pounds I’ve lost since last summer. But in addition to some shorts and tops, I bought a bucket (safari) hat. We had our second online meeting/orientation of the travel group. The non-profit status of our group has been approved! Also, I had to submit passport information to begin processing of the Kenyan visa. Now I have to go look for a large suitcase because it will be filled with my donated flannel and some wooden toys (handmade by local gentlemen) for Kenyan kids. On the way home, it can hold souvenirs. My personal stuff will all be in my carry-on.  I also found a beautiful leather journal and purchased it to have a place to write my thoughts and memories. Bruce is charged with finding me a new phone with a good camera. My old iPhone has been behaving badly for months. I’ll probably get a refurbished Samsung Galaxy S8.

I took some pictures of the garden and yard this week. I like taking them at different times of the season, and these will qualify as the early season photographs. Come stroll with me. You should be able to click on the pictures to enlarge them.

This shot shows that most of our backyard is taken up by 8 large raised planting beds. There are two smaller ones behind the middle row (visible in another picture). From the right row back you can see the rhubarb plant. Sharing the bed with rhubarb is spinach. Behind them in the next box is lettuce, radishes and peas. And in the far back bed behind them are pumpkins.

In the middle row we have tomatoes and carrots in the front bed. In the middle bed are onions, a tomatillo and several varieties of pepper.

Below is a closer look at the onion bed. The tomatillo has a cage, and the peppers fill out that row. There are red, yellow and green bell, a banana pepper and an Anaheim. No jalapeƱos this year.

The farthest back large planter of the middle row is all potatoes. Behind that, in the picture below, you can see two smaller planters. In previous years they were tiers for strawberry plants, but that idea was a bust. So this year we separated them and planted them with more pumpkins and some garlic.

In the last two planters we have spaghetti squash (left planter below), and onions and yellow crookneck squash (right planter below).

This is a view of the tomato and carrot bed looking back toward the house and postage stamp grass. You can see that the grape vines are beginning to climb the lattice along the patio. YAY! These pictures were taken about 10 am, when the sun was still in the east. Anyway, I don’t expect the grape vines to bear fruit this year - the growth reminds me of first or second-year growth coming off those mature, woody plants. But I could be wrong. Regardless, they will provide shade in the afternoons.

And let’s take a look at Mr. Rhubarb. Keep in mind that he was barely visible above ground six weeks ago! I have been harvesting off of this plant every 4-5 days now for a couple weeks or more.

This bad boy has been keeping Cousin Kim and I busy making pies (Kim) and compote/sauce (me) and jam (me) for two weeks. The 7 jars in the right of the picture below are strawberry-rhubarb jam. My compotes are already in the freezer in their containers. And there will be plenty more of those in the coming week. And maybe I’ll even make a strawberry-rhubarb pie for Memorial Day weekend.

The jams in the left of the picture (10 jars) are plain strawberry. I’ll probably make another batch or two of those, depending on how many my kids want.

Shall we continue the early season garden tour?

This is the first rose (Daybreak, I believe) on the rosebush that lives where the front walkway meets the driveway.  In another week it should be going gangbusters, and I’ll get a picture of the entire bush ablaze with blooms.

And here is the front walkway with the planted Talavera pots. There are two plain brown pots of petunias snuck in there for the moment. The shepherds hook we usually hang them on was moved to make room for the newly-planted rose tree (left of picture). We were going to relocate the shepherd’s hook to the right, but it needs rebar support to hold the weight of two pots. We have the necessary post, but the pots would hang over a newly-planted rose bush in that area, and I’m not willing to let them do that. So I’ve got to come up with a Plan B.

May is the month of irises here in our yard, and we are overrun with them. Last year, with Bruce’s cancer scare and minimal gardening on our part, they did not get divided - and they were overdue then. This July and August, it’s my top priority.  This  champagne iris below is a favorite of mine. We bought some unusual hybrids several years ago at an iris show, and this one has been prolific.

These irises, another overgrown patch, are along the west side of the house. They, too, need to be thinned.  But aren’t the colors gorgeous???

And more along the west side. That’s the fence to the backyard, and these irises live under the canopy of the apricot tree on the other side of the fence.

Backing up from the above shot, you can see that whole west/south corner of the side yard. That window is actually my sewing studio. Anyway, if I remove that urn, I’ll have room to spread the irises. I’m all about low maintenance as I get older.  And I’m thinking of building a fairy garden in the urn and moving it to the back yard under the apricot tree. More thinking to do on that, too.

By next week, we’ll have and explosion of roses and more irises blooming. Things have already changed in the two days since these pictures were taken.  I’m already enjoying the fragrance of cut flowers in the house.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Quilting for Charity

This is my first year to participate in Sarah’s (of Confessions of a Fabric Addict) annual online charity drive, Hands2Help. I try to focus my energies to include one or two worthy causes in my sewing rota. Last year it was kennel quilts for Best Friends Animal Society. This year so far it’s been Hands2Help (H2H). And there will be other causes as the year progresses, I’m sure.

When I learned that two of the charities for H2H this year were right here in Utah, and one was run by Emily of Em’s Scrap Bag blog (a blog I read regularly), I knew where I was going to donate my quilts. Emily’s charity is Quilty Hugs for Happy Chemo (the Huntsman Cancer Institute). She also donates to Primary Children’s Hospital, a favorite charity of mine and also of my friend Terri. 

Emily (L) and Cathy (R)

Emily and I met up in April and I was able to give all six of my quilts to her. It not only saved mailing costs, but was a fun way to meet a generous lady. Let me show them to you, although you can see four of them in the above picture.

If you click on the tab "Quilts 2012-2018” (located under my blog header), you can read about these quilts - sizes, names, etc. 

I so look forward to participating in Hands2Help again next year! To all the people who have sewn or organized or donated gifts or time for the H2H causes, thank you. We surely need more of this in the world today. 

Friday, May 18, 2018

A Whole Lot of Pink-ness Going On

My last week can be summed up thusly: yard work and sewing pink. But I’ll elaborate and show some pictures to make it a bit more interesting. And if it isn’t enough pink for you (and even if it is), I would recommend that you visit Angela for Rainbow Scrap Saturday HERE.

We’ll start with the birds. I only finished these four this week; the remaining 3 pink ones will be stitched next week. Hopefully I can show you them all together after that.

Next I worked on my quarter log cabins. These are 6.5” unfinished, and this month I did 12. My pink scraps are nowhere near conquered, however. I still have some crumb blocks to make plus dozens of pink HSTs I need to trim up and do something with. I may have to come up with another RSC block to begin sewing in pink.

In checking out my RSC project spreadsheet, I noticed I had planned for 8 multi-colored bow tie blocks for my ongoing RSC bow tie project. Since we aren’t doing a multicolor month this year in the RSC, I took some time to sew up these 8 multi-colored blocks from my multi-colored scrap basket.

The bow-tie block in the upper left is a mix of hot pink and orange and “reads” cooler in real life than the camera shows here. If my count is correct, I only need 16 more blocks total, split among red, teal, and orange.

Last Sunday Cousin Kim and I sewed some zipper pouches. I made three of them out of some African fabric I’ve had on hand for about 10 years (plenty more where that came from). Luckily, I made mine first, because the process was a bit fuzzy and I did mess up. Instead of correctly boxing the bottom, I was not paying attention and instead - well let’s call it a design decision. It’s the one laying down (because it can’t stand up!) The bags I made for DDIL Kim and DGD Lauren are correctly assembled. And they’re identical except for the zipper. In the picture, one shows the front and one shows the back so you can see both sides.

In other preparation this week for my trip to Africa in July, my DIL, DGD and I all made our plane reservations. We will fly from Salt Lake to Amsterdam to Nairobi on the 8th-9th of July and return home in the reverse order on the 20th. I also got to meet half of the married couple who runs the non-profit we are flying with. Her name is Marilyn and she's a Utah native who married a Kenyan Massai man. She and her baby son are back in Utah for about a month due to the death of a family member (she’s an executor of the estate). We met up and I was able to buy myself a pair of killer-beaded Massai sandals (picture soon) that she brought. I also did some other shopping, buying 3 pairs of lightweight capris because all last year’s summer clothes are too big. More clothes shopping still to come - some tops and a hat at minimum.

 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
About 90% of our spring yard work is done, at least for the time being. Bruce has a few drip hoses to hook up and sprinkler heads to adjust. Once he puts all his work tools back in the shed, I can set up the patio furniture later in the week. And now that I’ve planted and set out all the flower pots along the front walkway, Bruce can run drip hoses to them.

This is my bleeding heart bush. It’s past it’s prime blooming time, but it’s still massive and beautiful. It amazes me how it springs to life from such a little bit of near-nothingness after dying back for winter. But still, it only gets second place in the Spring Comeback category because first prize goes to my rhubarb plant (picture next week). We were SURE that my brother Steve had cut it all out because the ground was bare. But no, up it came and now it’s huge again and bearing the best rhubarb in amazing quantities. I’d have to open a rhubarb store if we had one more plant like it. Sometime this week I’ll get a picture of all the raised vegetable beds and show you what we’ve got planted this year. Everything has finally made its appearance above ground. Let the growing begin!

Below is the east side yard along the house. The big snowball bush hides the chimney. For some reason (you can click to enlarge the picture), there was a lot of winter kill on the bush this year. It’s still blooming, but I was hesitant to do any trimming and shaping until I could see what was really dead and what might be late blooming. We plan to have an arborist visit in the fall to prune this baby as well as the apricot tree. I had one arborist lined up earlier in the spring, but he flaked out on me.

I don’t have a full potting shed, but I do have this potting bench area in the breezeway between the carport and the patio in the backyard. The old wire grids are from my craft show days. The potting bench was a $5 estate sale find a dozen years ago. I use S-hooks on the grid to hold my shovels, secateurs, etc. And there are wind chimes too. Always wind chimes.

This is Boomer’s resting place in a corner of the backyard under the apricot tree. The sleeping cat statue marks his grave. (See the picture of Boomer side by side with this statue here). That’s chives in the front. The tall spike flowers are allium. They’re past their blooming time, too, but I love the interest they add.

My garden plans for this week are to finish the flower planting. All that’s left is the alyssum and lobelia that I plant at the front of the flower beds. Once that’s in, and the patio is set up, all I have to do is a periodic weeding patrol.

As for my weekly sewing plans, PINK pretty much sums it up. I’ll finish sewing those birds, tackle the HSTs and scraps, and begin sewing the bajillion 4.5” hearts (actually only 54) for Megan’s All you Need is Love quilt. Wish me luck.


Saturday, May 12, 2018

Playing with Pink

This week just flew by! It was a whirlwind of working in the garden, visiting nurseries and plant sales, attending my great niece Jenny’s law school graduation (shout out to you Jenny - we’re so proud of you!), a quilt show (I posted pictures - Part 1 and Part 2). Somewhere in there I managed to get a bit of stitching done.  

First up was stitching the remaining 8 bowtie blocks (4.5’) that I’ll need for my RainBows quilt. This is the only Rainbow Scrap Challenge (RSC) project that’s carried over from 2017. 

This brings my total up to (if my count is correct) 264 finished out of 288 needed. They’ll be set 16x18 to create a 64x72” quilt. Still need to sew 8 multi-colored bowties, 6 red, 6 orange and 4 teal. And yes, I keep the info on a spreadsheet, not in my head, LOL. 

Then I got to stitch on my three pink Squared Away blocks. These are sampler blocks, courtesy of Mari of the Academic Quilter and Angela, our RSC hostess. And speaking of Angela, if you drop on over to her blog So Scrappy, you can see this week’s line up of sewn pink goodness!

I love these blocks! They are so varied and fun. My favorite is this block with the African fabric. I’ve collected authentic and reproduction African fabric - this is a reproduction - for years. In fact, another thing I did this week was cut out the makings for three zip pouches for me, my DIL Kim and DGD Lauren, who are all going to Kenya in July.

And here are 9 (of 10 so far) of my Squared Away blocks. I think they look great!

That was all for my official RSC projects, but I am stitching along with the RSC color of the month on this All You Need is Love quilt top for my daughter Megan. First, I added a plain  pink stop border to last month’s gold flying geese border. 

Then I pulled out my leftover Friendship Stars blocks (from Starry Starry Day) and figured out how many more of those I needed to stitch. I had two useable pink ones so only needed to stitch one pink one. More orange and blue and one other color will need to be stitched later. I don’t know what those other blocks are officially called, but I call them lollipops. I stitched three of those. The lollipops and stars will form the next border eventually.

And for Block Lotto I stitched 9 blue and green Rail Fence Variation blocks. These blocks contain fabric from every decade from the seventies forward!

And that’s it. Because it’s raining today, there won’t be any yard work in my plans. So, all I really need to do is go grocery shopping; our cupboards are as bare as Old Mother Hubbard’s!!  Then I can stitch the day away. YAY!   and do laundry.... 

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Quilt Show - Part 2

This is the second part of the pictures of the quilt show that I attended last week. Part I is HERE.  I’m going to show more pictures and do minimal writing this time. In most cases, the pictures I snapped of the name placards did not turn out, so there’s no point in posting them. Where they are somewhat readable, I’ve included them.  Enjoy!

Have you heard of the 70,293 Project? In the words of the founder of the project, it’s a worldwide effort to commemorate the lives of the 70,293 lives of the physically and mentally disabled people murdered by the Nazis in 1940-1941. Needleworkers of all types have been invited to participate, and there was a large display of the quilts at the show. Read about the 70,293 project HERE.

An exhibition of mini quilts honoring women included many first ladies, and traditional female icons (Amelia Earhart, Rosie the Riveter, Rosa Parks). I was bummed that Ruth Bader Ginsburg wasn’t there, but decided this one was my favorite:

Who doesn’t love Betty White??

What amazing use of colors for the shadowy effects!!

Detail shot

There were at least a half dozen ABC quilts, which captured my attention given the baby quilt I’m currently working on. This was my favorite.

Exquisite hand and machine embroidery, plus lots of overdying. Amazingly detailed, it focused on the entomological aspects (study of insects).

I’m a sucker for riotous color!

And finally, there was a display section from a local quilt shop, Elaine’s Quilt Block. The teacher focuses every year on Kaffe Fasset fabrics with a Block-of-the-Month-type challenge. You can use other fabrics, of course, but the class was in answer to a call from quilters for ideas in working with Kaffe fabrics.

So every month, a block was given. Students were encouraged to substitute other blocks, but to keep the size the same.  You’ll notice these three quilts all have that diagonal stripe.
Most of them had the Sawtooth Stars.

They could add checkerboards, pinwheels, and other basic blocks as the months went on, or use a substitute block (of the same size). The same sized blocks were encouraged to keep the assembly from becoming a nightmare. And as the challenge went along, everyone got to play with color and create a unique quilt.

I’m going to definitely explore the Kaffe BOM class at that quilt shop in 2019!

And that’s it for this post. I took dozens more pictures, but they’re mostly for my own reference for ideas - colors, subjects, layouts, etc. Also, I did buy some fabric at the vendor area (it’s hard to pass up when FQs are only $2 each!). The main thing I was looking for were some cute embroidery blocks that I could take on the flights to Africa this summer. I’ll share those in another post sometime later.