Monday, May 27, 2019

May One Monthly Goal is Done!

As usual, I’m sliding in at the end of the month to finish up my OMG - One Monthly Goal - for May. YAY! And I’m linking up to Patty’s May Finished Goal post over at her blog, Elm Street Quilts. As always, I’m so grateful to her for hosting this great motivational finish party!

My goal was to finish up the quilt I’ve named Stringy Starry Night (with help from Mari - thanks!). It started the month as a bunch of blocks - I think I had sewn 100 of the 120 needed. But I got them pieced, sewn together, basted (what a nightmare THAT was!), quilted and bound. Today Bruce helped by holding up this very heavy quilt so we could snap some pictures.

The basting was a nightmare because I had decided to use flannel instead of batting to keep it lighter weight. The blocks were string pieced on a foundation of 6.5” black squares. So each block was already two layers thick. But I didn’t buy enough flannel. So I sewed what I bought to some baby flannel I had, but it was still only an inch larger than the top in each direction. That was not enough. And I know that because I tried twice to baste it, but kept coming up short in one area or another. Finally. I took it apart and added my old standby, Warm & Plush batting. Weight be damned!

It quilted fine, although I made it easy on myself by using a good-sized stipple. The backing was originally going to be used for a quilt I made last year (Groovy Guitars for Bruce), but I used something else for that. so this multi-colored stripe on black was perfect for this quilt.

The binding is just more of the Kona black (which, along with Kona White, I keep on hand by the bolt). The quilt finished at 60x72”, a nice-sized quilt for winter. It’s going to be a WARM one!  Bruce has already claimed it.

Here’s a close-up of the backing so you can see it better. As usual with a very scrappy project, I just love staring at all the fabrics, taking a stroll down Memory Lane from past quilts and projects.

This quilt is also Goal #4 on my Quarter 2 Finish-Along List for 2019, which is HERE.

I hope you’re all enjoying your Memorial Day (in the US) and/or your Monday in other parts of the world. It is not raining here in the Salt Lake Valley today, although we are expecting more for the rest of the week, on and off. Then it’s supposed to clear up. FINALLY. It’s been a long rainy month that has farmers worried about when they can plant crops. Or if they’re already planted, the crop growth is way behind usual. We had to replant our Armenian cucumbers and may have to replant some potatoes. But everything else is doing ok, although you can practically see the poor plants drumming their fingers leaves, waiting for lots of warmth and sunshine.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Back from Colorado

This week we took a whirlwind trip to visit my brother Steve in Colorado. He bought a home last year in Montrose County, about a 6 hour drive from us. It’s one hour over the state line from Utah into Colorado - and it’s a gorgeous drive. Unfortunately, it was raining most of the time we traveled there (although the drive home was dry) and it was on/off rainy every day of our visit. I didn’t get any pictures because of that. But we are going back in August, so I didn’t feel too bad about that. This was mainly a working trip; I sewed new kitchen curtains for him and hemmed his living room and dining room temporary curtains (while he finishes painting then gets blinds ordered). Other rooms will be tackled in later visits.

So, all my orange Rainbow Scrap sewing was done on the weekend and on Monday before we left on vacation. I knew that by the time we got home late Friday, I wouldn’t feel like sewing or snapping pictures. We are unpacked, but Mt. Washmore awaits as does the grocery shopping. And I can’t tackle that today until after our morning dentist appointment to get the margins of our crowns filled in. One of the delights of aging.

But let me show you what scrappy sewing I did get done!

Twenty 9-patch variation blocks. They’re up on the design board but not sewn together. This is the layout I’m thinking of using - something I saw and fell in love with on Jennifer’s blog. 

Next is the Bitcoin blocks. I’m only doing these two columns wide instead of three because they’ll be used as a rainbow border for one of the RSC quilts eventually.

And some crumbs. Since I’m done with my Crumbcake blocks (quilt to be assembled in June), I am now using my crumbs to make both 5.5” and 4.5” crumb blocks.

The two different sizes are for two different projects, both of which will be introduced next month or after I finish Crumbcakes in June.

And on the OMG (One Monthly Goal) front, I did get the Stringy Starry Night quilt top sewn together. My goal is to get this basted and quilted over the next few days so I can call it a finish and link up to the OMG finish post before month-end.

Yes, it’s wonky. But that’s OK, because finished is better than perfect. My multi-colored scrap strings are once again manageable.

When we visited Steve, we were charmed by the rural area. There are no fancy stores, although there is a post office, a bank, a real estate office, a couple locally-owned grocery marts and burger joints, a nice little hotel and restaurant, a hardware store, a Dollar General, and a consignment/thrift store. We visited the consignment shop (from where Steve has bought some amazing furniture for next to nothing). What did I find? Six spools of new and partially-used Aurifil thread for 50 cents each, and fabric for $2 per yard.

So this haul of 9 yards of fabric was $18, plus $3 for the thread. Bruce got 26 jazz, blues, rock and classical CD’s for $13 (50 cents each). We listened to several of them on the drive home. What a score!!

Linking up to Scrappy Saturday.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Orange Scraps and May Garden Update

Although I showed some pictures in my last post of the spectacular weather last weekend, it’s turned cool and really, really rainy here. Did the Salt Lake Valley get moved to the Pacific Northwest while I was asleep? We’re in a 10-day rainy pattern, so the pictures I’m going to show of things in our May garden (later in the post) are cloudy and gloomy.

But first let’s talk about happy, sunny things, like the color ORANGE for the month of May in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. There is nothing like a bright, warm color to lift your spirits when you’re sewing.  This week I made 12 anvil blocks that will finish at 8”.

They are fun to make and come together quickly as you chain piece them.  I now have 41 of the 72 I’ll need to make a 64x72” quilt before borders (if I add any). 

Next up was Garlic Knots.  These are also 8” blocks, and I made 10 of them.  I just started these in March (green), and have a total of 30 so far. No plan yet. 

And finally I sewed my orange strings into these five 9” (finished size) string blocks. 

They bring my total of string blocks up to 29 of the 42 I’ll need.  

I still have my 9-patch variation blocks to do this month, as well as my bitcoins. And then, since I don’t need any more crumb blocks for my Crumbcakes quilt (which will be assembled and finished in June), I will start another crumb project. Stay tuned!  

As well, I’ll be starting some International Sisters blocks. That may or may not be an RSC project, but I’ll definitely begin by sewing some of the ladies along with the rainbow color of the month. If you haven’t seen these blocks before (or even if you have), check out the free pattern on Preeti’s blog. She is not the originator of the pattern; it started out as an African Women block. But in the few years it’s been out, the original pattern source has been lost and links are broken. Formal attribution has cannot been made. I know Preeti really tried, and so did I. Therefore, since Preeti drafted it up, she is offering it free. Thanks, Preeti!

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We did get to spend a beautiful, warm Mother’s Day out on the patio and in the garden. Bruce barbecued chicken and we had some family over (son Shane, DGD London plus her mom and other grandmother). It was really nice.  But after that, the weather went to hell in a hand basket. We’ve only seen (or heard rumors of) the sun for a few minutes a couple times in the last week. The rain is certainly great for the garden and it makes me realize we really need to get a rain barrel. But anyway, here are some pictures I snapped this week in the gloom.

Here’s the back corner of the backyard, which I’ve shown before. I missed getting a picture when the neighbor’s lilacs were crazy in bloom. Oops. But we’ve added a shepherd’s hook with a couple pots of flowers back here for some color. The hook we have out in the front yard is very heavy duty and holds a Talavera pot. This hook is of lighter scale, so can only hold two plastic pots of the store-bought petunia arrangements. It’s perfect for this corner. You can see the lettuce and spinach coming up in the garden bed there. And there are three various pepper plants at the near end of the rows.

The rhubarb is going nuts and providing lots of stalks for Cousin Kim to make her pies and for me to make my strawberry-rhubarb compote for the year. The peas are well on their way. Bruce will string some string between the rebar for the peas to climb.

On the east side yard (where our driveway is), we have lots of irises. 

I don’t know what that other blooming thing is, but I think I bought it last year. I can’t remember. (I hope someone doesn’t tell me it’s a weed, haha!)

And just a little ways away, also on the east side yard but closer to the front, is this grouping. There are lots of little lobelia bunches planted in the bed along the inside of the curbing. That bush at the left by the chimney wall is the new burning bush that Bruce planted. There are more irises; they are sort of tucked away.That is a little nook where I plant the rhizomes I’m not sure of color-wise. Then I can further thin and transplant them to other areas. Our garden dragon guards them. To the very right is a dwarf Japanese Maple that can be seen from the front and the side along the driveway

And our little poppy plant has bloomed! It looks like there is another bud about to open. We used to have a giant poppy here for a decade or more, but it eventually died. We replaced it a couple years ago with this very similar one and are looking forward to it growing!Isn’t that an interesting rock behind it? It reminds me of a pinto horse!

And finally, the front pots are planted and out. Keep in mind, these are early season pictures. Bruce just hooked up the drip irrigation lines, which we haven’t needed yet because of all the rain. Once the sun comes back out and the lines soften from the warmth, we can move them around a bit and tweak their positions to become less visible. 

We got our two last new windows installed this week in the front bedrooms, but that’s a boring picture. But before the blinds go back up, one bedroom will get a wall repainted. It’s scratched up from the futon that used to be against it. I also removed the old valance and rod that was over the window to clean up the look a bit. The paint is purchased and waiting for us to return from my brother’s house next week. The other bedroom will get the ceiling painted, as well as the ceiling fan blades, the closet doors and the baseboards. Time to freshen things up a bit. We’re still waiting for the new back door and storm door for my walkout basement studio. Then we’ve got a few other little projects to accomplish this year. But it’s one thing at a time.....

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Block Lotto and Fort Douglas

I decided to combine a couple unrelated things into one catch-up blog post. What I really need to do is get out in the garden and take pictures of everything that’s in bloom now; our irises are spectacular. Mental note.

In the meantime, let me share a little bit about a quick visit we made last week. We were in Salt Lake City, which is really only 10 minutes away. Our purpose, after grabbing some frozen yogurt that we were craving, was to visit Red Butte Garden. It’s an arboretum in the hills above the University of Utah in an area called Research Park. It’s also adjacent to Fort Douglas. We are members of Red Butte Garden, and our purpose was to attend the members-only annual plant sale to pick up some good stuff for the garden. But we were an hour early, which was more or less planned. After getting a killer close parking spot for the sale, we walked over to Fort Douglas to enjoy the beautiful day.

In addition to being an active fort and a Utah historic site, it's where the Olympic athletes were housed for the 2002 Winter Olympics. These are the homes that were originally built for the officers of Fort Douglas. They are built in a semi-circle around a large green and a bandstand. This is the house at the center. The picture is taken facing east; the house faces west to the green, the bandstand and the view of the valley below. All pictures can be clicked to enlarge.

From the same spot, this is looking left (north).

And then looking South (right and back a ways).

This is the information on the bandstand.

Here’s a view of the bandstand from the west, looking east.

And from the east looking west, with the American Flag flying and a view of the valley beyond. You can see what a glorious weather we were having!

Here is a plaque on the little house that is the oldest building on the grounds. It was actually used as a residence until 1979! The building was locked, although in looking through the windows we could see it was furnished as possibly a museum (there were stanchions) and storage (lots of boxes in the one-time kitchen)

Here’s a picture of the cute little quarters from the front.

The side view shows that there were probably later additions to the original building.

And the back view. It’s definitely been well-maintained even if it sits vacant and unused.

And all too soon it was time to head back (uphill) to the plant sale and get in line. We’re veterans of the plant sale (if not the Fort), and were prepared with our plant cart, membership card and debit card. It’s been about five days since this sale, and I still haven’t planted everything yet!  I’ll post some spring garden and flower pictures soon.

On a sewing note, I finished these ten little modified T blocks for the block Lotto. They look more like crowns to me! Each one measures 6.5” (unfinished).

Tonight we are attending a guitar recital for our granddaughter Lauren. We’ve been looking forward to it since we found out about it last week. Life is good.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Is it Saturday Again Already?

It’s been another busy week with mostly beautiful spring weather. If you’re visiting for Scrappy Saturday at the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, welcome! But during this past week in two separate blog posts, I shared lots of quilts from the UQSM (Utah Quilt and Sewing Marketplace) - Utah’s only major quilt show on the national circuit. If you’re interested in quilts, you may want to check those out.

Front shade bed with brunnera blooming
In addition to last week’s quilt show, we visited and dined with friends, met with Emily Bailey from Aunt Em’s Scrapbag (more later in the post) to drop off quilts for Hands2Help, went to a plant sale at the arboretum and walked around Historic Fort Douglas (more on that in a separate post), plus worked in the garden. Whew! This week promises to be just as busy with family visits and Mother’s Day, more garden work (my Talavera flower pots in the front yard are almost finished!), dentist appointments, plus we’re having two new windows installed in the front of the house.

The only Rainbow Scrap Challenge sewing I got done this week is this group of 10 Cracker blocks.

But at least I got the next blocks cut out and ready to sew; 11 Anvil blocks. I spent a lot of time sewing this week, but what was I doing? Well, I knew I had 9 donation quilts ready for Hands2Help, but I decided to hurry and get a 10th one sewn up. 

This is my second stacked coins quilt using the instructions provided by the H2H hostess, Sarah of Confessions of a Fabric Addict. I cut it out on Friday and sewed the strips together on Friday and Saturday. On Sunday I made the blocks and constructed the top. On Monday I basted and began quilting. On Tuesday I finished quilting and binding, and then washed it up. We delivered it on Wednesday. First, here’s the quilt.

I ran out of the green fabric for the sashing, so I couldn’t add borders to the top and bottom. This one finished out at 55x60”.  The backing is the leftover green fabric that I used for my Good Fortune quilt, which is still basted and waiting its turn under the needle for quilting. The binding was a cute green stripe.

The quilting I did with a lot of hooks and swirls and echoes of the swirls and flowers. It’s more quilting than I usually do, but I wanted to just relax and zone out and see what I could do. Overall, I love the texture and am pleased with it, wobbles and all. This quilt, my first finish this quarter, is #6 on my 2nd Quarter 2019 Finish-Along list, HERE.

So, one of the real highlights of the week for me, then, was getting to meet up with Emily Bailey, who runs the Quilty Hugs for Happy Chemo, a Hands2Help charity that actually encompasses 3 outlets; Primary Children’s Hospital, The Huntsman Cancer Center and the Rack Pack (breast cancer patients). This is the second year we’ve met up.

I may be joining Emily and her group for their monthly Quilty Hugs meeting occasionally. It meets the same time as my Tuesday Weight Watchers meeting, but I think I can skip that once in awhile (wink). Anyway, it was good to see Emily again, as well as have another order of the lovely soaps I bought from her Etsy shop hand delivered! Thanks so much, Emily! And I’m linking up to the Hands2Help final tall post HERE.

Oh! I almost forgot. This quilt is also coming together; it’s my OMG (One Monthly Goal) for May. All 120 of the 6.5” blocks are made and have been sewn together in fours to form the 30 large 12” blocks. Here are 16 of them pinned up on the design wall. Putting this top together, plus sewing orange RSC blocks will be my focus for the week ahead.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Quilt Show Part 2

I knew I’d have too many quilt pictures to share in one post, so this is the second (and final) installment of the 2019 UQSM (Utah Quilt and Sewing Marketplace) quilt pictures. It was hard to narrow down which ones to share, but I’ve tried to include a variety. One category that I did not photograph were the traditional quilts done with Civil War report fabrics. They just don’t speak to me, although I do appreciate the workmanship that goes into them. I photographed but am not sharing some of the Special Exhibit quilts. Just so much - all lovely in their own right.

So let’s get to the business at hand. 

Another Youth (age 18 and under) quilt winner, although you can see I cut off the credits.

A couple modern quilts I liked:

A great improv quilt using solids.

The detail on this one was exquisite. 

There was an exhibit of Hot and Cold quilts. These were my favorites:

For this next quilt series, I am putting the credits first so you can read about (or not) how this series of quilts came about through the Social Justice Sewing Academy. There was so many wall quilts, but this stood out to me.

And last but not least, this Bride’s Bouquet quilt. This is a bucket list quilt of mine. I want to use a Tamara Kate floral for the alternating blocks and one of her geometrics for the bouquet bases. I have to find just the right ones, though. Her new line, ABLOOM, is beautiful and is due out in stores in the USA in June. That may be the one!

I hope you enjoyed the quilt show!

Tomorrow I’ll have some pictures of my meeting today with Emily Bailey of Aunt Em’s Scrapbag blog. She coordinates Quilty Hugs for Happy Chemo, one of the Hands2Help charities. She’s an amazing woman with super talent and a generous heart.