Friday, October 26, 2018

Wrapping up Green October

Last week I forgot to share these black and gray 6.5” selvage blocks that I’d made. Even though October for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge was dark green, I hadn’t finished these dark neutrals in September.  So, I’ve added these 22 to the pile of other selvage blocks and now have 148 blocks, way more than I’ll need for a single quilt, since I’ll be mixing them with solids. I haven’t quite pinned down a layout yet, but it’s not going to happen for awhile yet anyway. Either later this quarter or early in the new year. 

After injuring my neck and shoulders, I finally got in to see the doctor last Monday. He put me on steroids. In the past I’ve had shots for knees, my shoulder, etc., but this is the first time I’ve had a course of pills to take. You start with high doses and taper down to smaller doses over about 10 days. Those high doses were NOT fun (who takes this stuff willingly?)    I normally don’t experience a lot of side effects with meds, but wow, these caused the sleeplessness that the doctor mentioned might happen. After a couple nights of 3-4 hours sleep, I finally added in some Tylenol P.M. and got 8 blessed hours of sleep. The good news is that I had the time to lie in bed and solve world problems, plan a full week fun curriculum for a high school English class if I should ever go back to substitute teach, planned out how I would save and spend a multi-million dollar lottery win - assuming I’d ever enter one, and do a mental Christmas list for the family.

But I’m feeling so much better and trying to pace myself with my sewing and housework. I really want to start doing some interior wall painting, but my saner self is keeping me in check.

However, I did finish the California Poppies Quilt this week.  Since I have no quilt holder around today, this picture on a bed with light from a sunless outdoor window will have to do.

This was another quick and fun make, and went together without a hitch. I had won 40 of the blocks (including 8 I had made) for the August Block Lotto.  Then I made 8 more blocks for a total of 48. The setting is a basic straight set with a light yellow leaf print sashing that I had in my stash. The cornerstones are green and help link the greens in the blocks into an Irish Chain.

This was the first time I’d tried quilt basting spray on a full cotton quilt. When I started quilting again in 2012, the first 6 quilts I made were for the grandkids, and I used Minky for the backs. The quilting spray wasn’t the best with that, so I hadn’t used it since. But this time it worked great and saved me from pinning while I’m healing.

While quilting, the quilt sandwich didn’t seem as taut as I’m used to, but there was no puckering or pleats, so I’m pleased.  For as many quilts as I make, I don’t see the spray basting as a regular occurrence, but it will be great in a pinch. Or a pinched nerve, LOL.

California Poppies was quilted with two shades of Aurifil 50-weight cotton; lighter peachy orange on the front and darker orange on the back in a (mostly) straight grid pattern. The batting is my usual Soft and Plush cotton. The backing and binding are a small orange print. I had to add in a small strip of Jen Kingwell fabric along the bottom of the backing.

So, that’s California Poppies. It finished at 64x84” and will go into the donation pile for Hands2Help next year.  This quilt was #7 on my Finish Along 4th Quarter goals for 2018, which you can see here, and it’s my 20th quilt finish this year. The 4th quarter linky party is HERE.

So, now I can complete my October recap for Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks and link up to our weekly Saturday gathering at Angela’s Scrappy Saturday.

My October dark green (and gray) RSC blocks were:
6   green selvage blocks (2 sizes)
22 gray selvage blocks, 6.5”
3  Squared Away blocks, 10.5"
8  crumb blocks, 6.5”
4  bird blocks, 10.5”      and
18  quarter log cabin blocks, 6.5”
For a total of 61 Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks.

And I finished four quilts in October.

So, despite an injury, I was able to still pace myself and keep things moving along. I am thrilled to be clearing out so many works in process. At this rate, I may let myself do some stash shopping during the end-of-year clearance sales!

And finally, let’s see what’s on the quilting horizon for November.

First, I want to play with my wonky quarter log cabin blocks. Oh, the possibilities!!

What I know is that I’m going to do this funky layout, set with 10 blocks across and 12 down, for a 60x84” size. What you see pictured here is about a half-quilt’s worth of blocks stuck up on the design board. When I get to playing with it for real later this weekend, I’ll construct it much as I did the bowties quilt recently. That is to say, I’ll divide the colors up roughly half and half so that the color balance for the top and bottom has the same variety. You know, not all the blues on top and pinks and reds on bottom. Other than that, I’ll just see what happens and while arranging the top and bottom halves independently. Naturally I’ll make sure that the two halves will mesh together correctly.

Secondly, I’ll move ahead in November with All You Need is Love for my daughter Megan. This quilt got its planned borders last week.  Instead of doing a 4.5” border of black and white checkerboard, I did it as 2.5”, which is much better and gives the rounds the size variety they needed. The pink hearts were already sewn at 4.5” and they fit just fine - I just had to use 4 less than originally planned. Then, to make up the downsizing of the checkerboard round, I added a 2.5” border in aqua to get the base up to the size I will need to build the final round onto.

The quilt is now ready for the 8” windmill blocks on the sides, stripe-y fabric treatment on the tops and the final cornerstones. Next week I may be asking your opinion about which windmill block to use - I’m wavering between two, so I’m going to make one of each before deciding.  Right now this looks pretty wrinkly and wobbly up on the design board, but that’s just because the top is pinned and the lower half is just hanging. Believe me, it’s symmetrical because you can’t do medallion style without maintaining the measurements. Wish I could say the same for me......

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

A Mid Week Progress Report and a Finish!

I’m happy to be sewing again, although in small spurts. Tomorrow I’m going to get my next quilt basted (come hell or high water), but in the meantime, just some plain ol’ sewing was called for to scratch my Need To Sew itch.

I had planned to sew myself an apron, and finally got it done. However, there was enough fabric to make two, so I made matching aprons for Cousin Kim and me. In the end, I omitted  the red ruffle at the bottom, seeing much better opportunities for the red in my quilty sewing, hehe.

They’re pretty plain jane, but cute when on. I did some fancy stitching on the upper edges of our pockets; butterflies for Kim (her Etsy shop is ButterfliesandDonuts) and some flowers for me. Only the picture of Kim’s turned out, and it’s hard to see anyway because the thread matches the pocket. But oh well.

This was #5 on my Quarter 4 Finish Along 2018 Goals. My list is here, and the quarterly linky party is HERE.

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I have a pile of mink stoles (and jackets) that I need to get rid of. I was the “lucky” (*cough*) person to inherit those that belonged to my mother, grandmothers, former mother-in-law and.... I don’t know, maybe the dog catcher’s wife or something. Sheesh, I think they multiplied in their hanging case over these years. Don’t laugh - there is even a neck stole of mink bodies (about 3) sewn together. I’m embarrassed to own these things and do not want them!! Originally my plan was to cut them up and make teddy bears for my kids out of them. That never happened, and I have no desire to make them for the grands, either. Should I just take them to the thrift store? Will they even take them? Anyone want them or know of someone who could use them?

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Another thing I’ve been meaning to share. As a member of the Days For Girls organization, I receive a monthly PERIODical (newsletter, but their choice of words is wonderful, isn’t it?). In the October issue under the category of strong women leaders, there was a great article about the Hon. Soipan Tuya, a Maasai woman elected to national office. It talks about her visit to the Great Rift Valley, specifically the Narok area, where she met with hundreds of young girls and parents. She has partnered with DFG and the government to bring some interest changes along. You may enjoy reading the article; the link is HERE.  If some of the faces and styles and colors look familiar, well you may just have read my recent posts about my visit to the Maasai Narok area of Kenya this summer!

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Finally, I had to share these cute pictures with you. Cousin Kim and I usually go walking every Wednesday morning, and last week we were once again at Wheeler Farm, our favorite place (even better than Disneyland!).

They are really getting into the spirit of Halloween this year!  We just laughed and laughed at this.

The school kids (there are always busloads here on field trips) thought it was cool, too. Then we went inside the barn, because I had to get a look from the inside.

HAHAHAHA!!  He even has hay in his mouth!!!  Naturally, there are scarecrows, pumpkins, witches, etc etc. all over the farm. Plus the annual Hay Maze and Pumpkin Days events for kids and the parents. Fall was always my most favorite time when I worked at the farm, and it just keeps getting better! My hat is off to Reagan S. and the whole team who work there!!

Friday, October 19, 2018

A Pain in the Neck

With the title of this blog post, you might think I’m talking about either the cats or some local teenager, but this is actually a literal pain in my neck. It’s getting better now, and I’ll talk about it later in the post, but first let’s move on to something more interesting....

I was able to baste and finish the Squared Away quilt, and it turned out nicely. Squared Away was the challenge quilt that Mari of Academic Quilter and Angela, the Rainbow Scrap Challenge hostess, set out for us this year. This finish happened BNI (before neck issue).

It finished at 56x56” and is my 19th quilt finish this year. That’s how many I did in all of 2017, so any finishes from here to the end of the year will go toward a personal best. You can see my quilts on my quilts page, link below the header. Anyway, this one will go into the donation pile after it gets laundered.

Squared Away is Goal #6 in my 4th Quarter Goals for the 2018 Finish Along. My list is HERE.  The 4th quarter finish linky party is HERE.

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And if you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, you have probably seen this picture of Darla and Alfalfa.

Well, I had heard that Melissa Averinos, an accomplished quilter, did kitty portraits. Barbara over at Three Cats Ranch had a picture of Smitty (and later Sadie) done by Melissa. So, I posted the above picture on Instagram with the tag #melissapaintmycat and she did!

Isn’t it adorable??  When she paints the picture, you have the option to purchase it at a greatly discounted rate from her normal prices. Naturally, how could I resist?  The picture arrived this week and Bruce and I love it!  I’m going to get it framed and hang it in the kitties’ bedroom (formerly known as the guest bedroom, LOL).  Check out @melissaaverinos on Instagram, or @wierdcatsforever.

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Here is where my next quilting project stands (or hangs) for now. It’s the California Poppies quilt blocks that I won from the August Block Lotto.  The top is all pieced except for the outer border with cornerstones.

I won 40 blocks and added eight more for a total of 48. Then I did a traditional setting and added sashing and cornerstones.

I hope to get California Poppies finished this week, if my neck and arms cooperate and continue healing. I’ve been resting for a couple days and want to get back into sewing very gingerly, avoiding any repetitive movements (like pin-basting a quilt). Time to try out my quilt basting spray!

OK, so the neck..... Last Monday Bruce and I worked furiously in the garden to prepare for winter. While he pulled out all the vegetables plants (after we’d harvested the last of everything), I trimmed the grape vines and climbing roses in the backyard. Then he began mulching everything (he has a chipper) and I cleared the yards of remaining decorations and moved in all the patio furniture. Then I swept. His part took about five hours, mine only about 2 1/2.

But by the next day, my neck (I have TOS or Thoracic Outlet Syndrome) and shoulders were hurting and starting to swell. My right hand was numb on-and-off, which spread to my entire right arm. And the back of my neck was numb. Obviously, there was a pinched nerve there, too. I couldn’t get in to my doctor (out until Monday, when I have an appointment anyway), and his replacement was double booked. I got on a waiting list, but knew I’d have to figure it out myself.

So, it was several days of rest, lots of Advil and Tylenol (great together), and a heating pad.  Rinse and repeat. And it is getting better. I even managed some grocery shopping today (Friday as I write this) and some laundry.  But I tell you, the gods are having a field day with me this week. My shower wouldn’t drain this morning, so I bought some Liquid Plummer and took care of that. Then the clog must’ve moved down the line to the laundry room, because as the washer drained during the third and final load of laundry, the overflow pipe spewed water all over. I’ll let Bruce deal with that when he gets home......

Let’s end this post on a good note. One day this past week we went up to Bountiful to visit our friend Terri (the widow of Bruce’s lifelong best friend Mike, and one of the band members of their group The Muddy Gutter Boys, who performed together for over 50 years).  We went to lunch and gabbed and got caught up with the family happenings. Absolutely delightful, as always. Terri has been on a pumpkin-making binge, as well as crocheting little blankets for the local mortuary to use for infant angels. Way to go, Terri!  Here are the three pumpkins that she let Bruce and I pick out from her Pumpkins for Friends Stash. I posed them on the floor in the living room....  And of course, Darla was right there to see what was happening.

What have we here, Mom?

Hmmm.... this pumpkin stalk smells more like a cinnamon stick

Now, doesn’t my face impurrove the picture??

Friday, October 12, 2018

Dancing in September - IN OCTOBER

Hi friends! I hope you’ve had a lovely autumn weekend. For those of you impacted by Hurricane Michael in Florida, the Carolinas and other areas, I hope your experience was mild and that you and your families and belongings are all safe. How can anyone doubt that the climate is changing when these horrific storms occur now on such a regular basis? I hope you’re registered to vote and that you will give serious thought to supporting candidates whose heads are not buried in the sand on this issue. But enough said of that...... we’ve got scrappy business to attend to!

First out of the gate is my second quilt finish of the month. This one is a Rainbow Scrap project that I started a year or two ago. After showing the flimsy (in a post called Dancing in September, named after the Earth, Wind and Fire music I was listening to) and remarking how the piecing of it made me happy while I listed to music and danced in the September sunshine streaming in the studio (couldn’t resist the alliteration), my friend Louise suggested that I name the quilt Dancing in September. Thanks, Louise! Although it’s now October, may I present the finished Dancing in September.

Dancing in September finished at 65x73” and was quilted using a simple stipple. The backing is a great black and white windowpane fabric I got somewhere (Connecting Threads?) and the binding used up the last of a green print I had left over in my stash. I am so in love with this quilt!! It’s a keeper.

This is my OMG - One Monthly Goal - for October. Now that it’s done, I can link up to Patty’s Finish-up Linky Party at Elm Street Quilts.

It’s also Goal #1 on my 2018 Quarter 4 Finish-Along Goal List. YAY!! See the quarterly linky party here.

And last, but definitely not least, I’m linking up to Rainbow Scrap Saturday, because this was a Rainbow Scrap Challenge project. Today at Angela’s blog we’re having some serious October sharing’ O’ the green. Our color this month is medium to dark greens, plus dark neutrals. Sew ‘em if you got ‘em!

My plan this month is to get all my RSC green blocks sewn up as quickly as possible. Since this is the last month of color before we spend the last two months of the year completing our projects, I wanted to get those done and out of the way. I’m anxious to begin sewing all the RSC projects together!

So, here are the last four (of the 31 needed) birds for Birds in the Lattice. I hope to begin assembly of this quilt during this 4th quarter.

Next up were my Squared Away blocks. First, I made one additional green block from the March pattern (the top one in the picture below), then two blocks from the pattern Mari and Angela gave us for this month.

I got so excited about these now being done, that I put them up on the design wall. And sewed them together!  I even used my reject block (left column, middle blue one). It looks like I still have to add the 1” white stop border! This is next up to be basted and will finish at 56x56”.

Moving along with more green blocks, I sewed up my strings and ended up with 18 quarter log cabin blocks at 6.5” unfinished.

That brings my total of quarter logs up to 138. I only needed 120 for my original plan, so it looks as though I will be able to enlarge it! Another project that’s waiting in the wings for later this quarter.

And finally, I used my green crumbs to make eight 6.5” crumb blocks. For the project I have in mind, I will need this blocks in multiples of four. That means I’m good in the dark green department, but will have to review my other colors and add between 1-3 of several colors. That means this project, working title “Crumbcakes”, will carry over into 2019.

So, this coming week my goals are:
1.  Sew the borders on the Squared Away, and baste. Quilt and bind.
2.  Sew the California Poppies flimsy (already started, no picture today) and baste it.
3.  Sew the black and white checkered round to All You Need is Love.
4.  Sew the pink hearts round to All You Need is Love.
5.  Finish the plan for my rainbow scrap selvage blocks and pick a background fabric.
6.  Sew black and gray selvage squares for Item #5 if needed.

That should keep me busy!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

2018 Finish-Along Quarter 4 Goals

Last quarter I wasn’t able to link up my Finish-Along list because I was in Africa with limited wifi. But I played along anyway, and finished up five out of my ten goals, all of them quilts.  And two of the others are close to being done.

This quarter, with no travel planned and the garden chores winding down for the season, I expect that I’ll have lots more creative time. So here are my 4th Quarter finishing goals. I’m linking up (early!!) to the Finish-Along Quarter 4 Goals post HERE.

1.   Bowties Quilt, AKA “Dancing in September”


Dancing in September (thanks, Louise, for the name idea!) is a flimsy that just needs to be  quilted and bound.

2.  All You Need is Love


This one, a Christmas present for my daughter, is farther along than it was a couple months ago. After I’ve added the checkerboard round, which is half made and the hearts round (all 54 hearts already sewn), there will just be one more round of 8.5” blocks and a final stop border.

3.  On Ringo Lake

This is Bonnie Hunter’s 2017 Mystery Quilt, and the 2018 mystery will begin soon. I’ve got all the components done, now just need to finish piecing the blocks, etc. etc.  If there is a goal on this list that demonstrates that I believe in miracles, this one is it.

4.  Let it Snow


This has been on my list for a year or two, but this is the season to finish it up! I have a place on my living room wall and a wall hanger for it. No more excuses. Besides, it’s so cute and so close to being done!!!

5.  Apron for Me


This was on my list last quarter, and I had the best of intentions, but the quilts were screaming louder at me.  I’m hoping the added sewing time this quarter will let this project get priority, because day-um! I need a new apron!!

6.   Squared Away Sampler


I thought I had a picture somewhere that showed all the blocks we’ve made this year for our 2018 Rainbow Scrap Challenge Squared Away Sampler. But I don’t, so this picture of my two September blocks will have to do. I’ve completed about 21 blocks out of 25 I’ll need. We’ll do more in October, and I’ll add the last two or three by going back and picking up an old color and pattern to finish it off. Then it’s a simple matter of assembly to get ‘er done!

7.   California Poppies


I won 40 blocks in the Block Lotto in August. Eight of them were mine, below. I drew up a plan and needed an additional 8 blocks, all of which are already sewn as I write this. Now I just need to sew the blocks and sashing into a flimsy, then quilt and bind. So, it’s totally do-able to get done this month.

8.  Birds in the Lattice

All the lattice (Irish Chain) blocks are made, as are all the birds except the last 4 green ones. I should be able to knock those out easily and begin assembly of this quilt top soon. Then there is the question of whether I whether I will quilt it myself or have it professionally done. I’m leaning toward the latter. So whether it can be complete by the end of the quarter will depend on the timing and the Holidays...

9.  Selvage Quilt


I have 126 (so far) selvage blocks measuring 6.5”.  I also have a plan to assemble them into a top. I’d really like to get this off my plate this quarter.

10.   Quarter Log Cabin Quilt (needs a snappy name!)


I have 138 of these  6.5” blocks, way more than I’ll need for a 10x12 setting (60x72”). So I may enlarge that and sew a few more blocks. I have a design plan for this, so if I get to it, it will be fun to play with all the colors and see how they all play together.

That’s it for this quarter. I do have one more quilt in process that has all the blocks sewn; however, I need blocks in groups of 4 for the design I have in mind. So, that one will likely be carried over to next year when I can add blocks as needed by color during the 2019 Rainbow Scrap Challenge.

My hope is to finish at least 7 out of these 10 by the end of the year.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Green and Gray Saturday

It’s a green Saturday because the final color of our Rainbow Scrap Challenge year is medium to dark greens. The last two months of the year will be used to finish up our quilts.

And it’s a gray Saturday because... it’s a gray Saturday. There are more rain clouds threatening, and we’re likely to get lots of refreshing rain as we have for the last several days. But it’s a wonderful change from the heat of summer, and it really feels like fall now. The leaves are changing FINALLY and the air is crisp and cool. Our garden plants are in panic mode, trying to produce as many remaining tomatoes, squash and pumpkins and grapes as they can. The peppers are totally chill and taking their time.

This week wasn’t my most productive ever, but I did get a lot done. But sewing time was vying with autumn preparation things like switching out winter/summer wardrobes, getting my annual physical (part 2), cleaning drawers and collecting things for donation to Goodwill, etc. And fall housecleaning. I’ve decided that when I turn 70 (in 5.5 years), I am going to get a housekeeping service. Life is too short to spend so much time cleaning when I could be doing other things..... following a Squirrel!   I decided I needed a quick change of pace, so I pieced a quick quilt for Darla and Alfie using a panel by Ann Lauer called Cat-i-tude. I chopped it up, added matching fabric (that matches better than the camera is able to capture) and stitched up this 34x44” quilt. And Darla actually napped on it yesterday!

This week I also re-made a Squared Away block - a green square from March - to replace one I didn’t like. The old one will either go onto the back of the quilt or into the Parts Department.  And then I made four quarter log cabins.

There will be more quarter log blocks coming, but I didn’t want to use up any more scraps until the final Squared Away block is announced today. So, by next week I should have my final Squared Away blocks done, plus the 4 green birds and any 6.5” blocks that I can make with the remaining green scrap crumbs.

But I did make some selvage blocks this week. I had used all my green selvages in March, having to mix both light and dark to make the 11 blocks then. But I’ve used lots of green in the interim, so had enough to make these four 6.5” and two 4.5” squares.

My Bowties quilt (“Dancing in September”” is basted and ready to be quilted, so that will get done in the coming week as well. Plus I have another quilt whose blocks are all pieced and ready to be assembled. Stay tuned. And have a great weekend!

Join us over at Angela’s blog for Rainbow Scrap Saturday to see what everyone else has been up to with their scraps.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

About Those Cats ...

Darla and Alfie told me last week that they wanted their own quilt. They’re tired of being scooted off any chair or quilt that is covered with a quilt for me or Bruce. They said not only should parents have quilts, but furkids need them too.

Well, they spoke and I listened.

Last spring, during the Utah Shop Hop, I picked up a Cat-i-tude fabric panel by Ann Lauer. Here’s a picture of the panel.  If you’ll click on the picture, you can see more of the colors that aren’t readily obvious.

 Anyway, I cut up the squares, which are not really square at all, and kept the colored frame around them. I trimmed the black and gray sashing away and added my own black borders on the six “squares”. Then, using the purple, pink, turquoise and some of the green to fill in, I pieced some alternate blocks. It was a fun and quick “squirrel” project.

The colors of the alternate blocks match much better than the picture shows - my camera just wouldn’t SEE them properly. The green is more of an avocado and none of the colors are as in-your-face bright as the picture shows. You can even see the difference in the frames around the cats between the picture above and below. Yet neither is totally accurate.

Anyway, I basted it this morning and plan to quilt it later today or tomorrow. I’ll have a finished quilt to show on Saturday. The kitties are pleased so far, although it doesn’t rank among their favorites....

And a few days ago, Sally posted a picture of her supervisor, Molly. From. The. Rear. Can you believe it? I’d hate to be in Sally’s shoes when Molly finds out, LOL!! You can see the picture HERE.  Alfie and Darla were surprised to learn that Molly wears white bloomers! So naturally, they had to get in on the act and show their fashion wear.

Darla wears black velvet stilettos.

Alfie wears crew socks (he’s such a guy...)

And while we were taking pictures for this post, I figured a couple facial photos might be nice.


Alfie goes in next Monday to get his teeth cleaned. He’s not going to like that, but he’ll be home the same day. Darla’s teeth were not as bad, so she’ll go in after the Holidays.

I’m wondering if Alfie’s predilection for eating Vanicream has anything to do with it, haha.  He started licking Bruce’s arm whenever Bruce put it on his skin after the surgeries last year. I use the Lite lotion for my feet, keep it on my nightstand, and rub it in every night. No, Alfie doesn’t lick my feet, but he sure goes after that spout if I leave anything there. So I don’t. Crazy Cat!