Saturday, June 29, 2019

June Sewing Recap

The month may not be quite over, but I’m probably not going to finish much else before it’s official. Actually, I’ve been spending a lot of time quilting some small baby-sized quilts for Quilts for Kids - I think I have 6 of them on hand - and that’s been a nice change from the dark blue scraps of June.

I also made my One Monthly Goal (OMG) target, which was to finish the BASE of the Blossoms and spokes wall hanging.  So, I’m linking up to Patty’s OMG linky party at Elm Street Quilts.

Bruce asked me what the blob of peach stuff in the basket was. “Gum?” Haha! I had to explain that it’s the base for the flower collage. You know, in case there are little spaces in between the collaged fabric flowers. You can see (near the handlebars) that I actually cut some flowers from floral fabrics. But It’s just too difficult to get lots of disparate floral prints to play well together. So, I’ll probably use the pattern instructions and templates to cut flower and leaf pieces from various prints to fill the basket. But that’s a task for later - maybe next month?

And here are the blue blocks I sewed in June for my various Rainbow Scrap Challenge projects.

The 5.5” crumb blocks that I made (8 of them) were made into four Beachcomber blocks. In the future I’ll show and count the Beachcomber blocks instead of the component parts. Anyway, my blue blocks totaled 66 this month.

Cousin Kim made these shorts for her adult son Nick from some of the African fabric I brought home last year. He really liked the fabric. So, since his favorite shorts had worn out, Kim took them apart and used them as a pattern to make the new ones. Th new pair is sheer perfection in craftsmanship. Even the pockets have french seams. They look store-bought and fit Nick perfectly! Way to go, Kimmie!!

My Crumbcakes flimsy is done and still waiting to be basted.  I’m just too tired to baste it now because to do that I’d either have to completely clear off my four sewing tables or mop the dining area floor. I just can’t face it this weekend! The past week was crazy: Farmer’s Market, two trips and hikes around Wheeler Farm, farewell gathering at Weight Watchers for our retiring leader, tending granddaughter on Tuesday, entertaining grandkids all day Thursday, entertaining sewing friends (Wednesday afternoon sewing!), Quilts for Kids workshop and sewing, grocery shopping, errands. I’m pooped. Tonight we’re having dinner at son Ryan (and DIL Kim’s) house with them and the grandkids Eason and Lauren. Should be a nice, relaxing visit. And I don’t have to cook!

I’m going to do a separate post in a couple days on the Wheeler Farm visits with the grandkids because they’re so cute and because there is so much new at the farm this year. We love that it’s just a block away from us. But right now, it’s time to go relax....

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Deep Blue Sewing

Last Saturday I attended another fun meeting of volunteers for Quilts for Kids here in Salt Lake. It was held at a new-to-me fabric/quilting and scrapbooking store called Heartfelt Crafts. They had lots of fabric, but I didn’t take the time to look. Not because I’m being frugal or anything, but because that is going to deserve a separate, dedicated trip there to explore. It will happen soon. At the QFK meeting, I quilted one youth-sized quilt on my Bernina 550QE. Those of you who’ve been following me for awhile know that I’ve named my Bernina machine “Bernadette”. Well, I was having some thread issues and asked Bernadette to please behave herself, forgetting that one of our volunteers is named Bernadette too! We got a good laugh at that, but I’ll just have to remember to not talk to my machine in public!

My primary stitching this week was sewing up blue Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks. Our color for June, mid to dark blues, is keeping me hopping. But I got the rest of them all whipped out this week.

First I did three 9” string blocks. This completes 32 of the 42 I need. 

Next came the International Sisters Blocks. I sewed all 8 of these blue Sisters. Half will be for my uses, and half will be for Harambe Humanitarian quilt purposes. That’s why you will see twins of many blocks as I go through the colors to make these.

I also went back to the color orange and sewed some more orange Sisters, and here is the whole group together, having a meeting. I could sew these blocks all day long!!

After all those blocks, my blue scraps were down to bits and partially-sewn pieces, and lots of leftover blue HSTs (half-square triangles) from my Good Fortune Quilt. So, I tackled those first, and out of all those HSTs came these 4 blocks.

They measure about 8.5” each, and will go into the Parts Department until a use comes up for them in a scrappy leftovers donation quilt!

Next up was the crumbs. To me, it’s just so therapeutic to feed in the little pieces, matching sizes and chaining them one after another. Then pressing, trimming, and repeating the entire process until blocks emerge. My goal was go get some 5.5” crumb blocks (in pairs) done and some 4.5” crumb blocks.

There is no immediate plan for the 4.5” crumb blocks, but they may become the center square of future scrappy star blocks. However, there is a plan for the 5.5” crumb blocks. But first, let me show you what emerged.  Eight 5.5” blocks and six 4.5” blocks.

The 5.5” crumb blocks are being sewn into a block that I’m calling Beachcomber. It is based on the blocks in a quilt called Beach Retreat by Kelly of My Quilt Infatuation. Now, I didn’t buy her pattern, so I don’t know how closely my blocks match hers in size. I just liked what I saw on Pinterest and figured out what I want to do. Here are my 4 blue Beachcomber blocks PLUS a column of bitcoins thrown in.

It’s hard to see the white borders on the sides of the blue crumbs because the pictures I take with my little Canon camera are awful. My iPhone does a better job and I should use that instead. (Mental note made).  I went back and sewed up my orange 5.5” crumb blocks into Beachcomber blocks too, and here is what they look like together so far. Each block will finish at 11” square, and this is the new RSC project that I’m working on with my crumbs.

My crumb project from the last couple years, which were first just 6.5” crumb blocks in 2018, and were sewn into 13” Crumbcake blocks in 2018-19, is almost a finished flimsy.  Here is my progress so far. Only the bottom three rows are sewn; the top three are just pinned. I start from the bottom row and work up so that I can let the finished part hang down below the limited space of the design board.

This coming week my goal is to get the Crumbcakes top done, sandwiched, quilted and bound. In other words, finished. And blogged and laundered. I also want to finish the background layer of the bicycle wallhanging. The month-end and quarter-end are coming quickly. And my son Shane has a birthday next weekend (OMG - he will be FORTY!), so there are things to prep for that, too. Yesterday the weather didn’t even break the sixties, so I’m hoping it warms up and we can have a good old fun summer starting soon!

Linking up to Rainbow Scrap Saturday at Angela’s blog.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Busy Summer Days

I know many retirees ask this question; How did I ever have time to work? My summer days are filled with (morning) gardening or errands and housework, then lunch, and afternoons of  sewing and/or reading or more errands. And now the garden is coming on. We have been harvesting lettuce and spinach daily. Cousin Kim takes some and I always take packages of veggies all summer to my Weight Watcher (WW) friends. It’s interesting to plan meals around vegetables instead of protein (meat).

And the rhubarb! Yum! I chop and mix it 50/50 with chopped strawberries, simmer on the stovetop with a wee bit of water (and sugar to taste) for about 10-15 minutes. It makes a great compote that we use as a side dish (like applesauce) or on angel food cake with strawberries and dollop of whipped cream - almost like a trifle. We seem to eat half of what I prepare twice weekly and the rest is frozen for the rhubarb-less months of fall and winter.  Our poor apricot tree is so laden with fruit that we have propped up all the branches we can. When I’m out in the yard every morning, I pick up a bucketful of the still-unripe fruits that fall to the ground. Bruce will grind them up and compost them.

I was able to get a lot of scrappy sewing this week, and am linking up to Scrappy Saturday at Angela’s blog.  Our color for June is blue, from mid-tones to darks. First, I finished 10 anvil blocks.  I just noticed that they are rather randomly placed in the picture, but that’s OK. They’ll be mixed up with all the different colors soon enough!

Then I finished the garlic knots - 10 of those, too.  The garlic knots use a plain Kona White background.

And finally, 16 nine-patch variation blocks (courtesy of Jennifer C). They are the various blues plus black and white. I haven’t decided on the final arrangement, so you will see (and may have already seen) me play around with these as I sew them every month.

Next week I’ll be tacking blue strings, making some International Sister blocks (thanks to Preeti for the pattern and some dark complexion fabrics!) and then maybe get to crumbs...

I also have made some progress toward meeting my One Monthly Goal (OMG) for June. This is the pattern I’m working from, called Blossoms & Spokes by No. 2 Abbey Lane.

Over last weekend I got the nine blocks crazy-pieced and sewn together. I’ve made them a bit larger (1” wider and 1” longer) than the pattern calls for because I want more background around the flowers and tire.  I randomly pieced more than half the blocks (because I used to be a crazy-quilter and I like that sort of thing), and then used her template to make the rest.

There is one fabric that I think is too dark (I don’t need to tell you because it sticks out like a sore thumb). But I placed it where it will be covered up by the basket and flowers, so it doesn’t matter.

Once the background was sewn, I cut out a basket shape on some solid fabric. Then the instructions had me fuse some web to two fabrics, cut strips and weave them. They were placed over the basket base and lightly fused to it. This is what the basket looks like so far.

That took a long time, and I needed to get more fusible web. JoAnn Fabrics had it on sale for 60% off, so I went and got some. They had so many partial bolts of the Pellon double-sided fusible, and I grabbed all the nearly-gone bolts. The salesgirl thought some pieces weren’t good enough to sell because they were torn up or missing instructions, so she just threw those in. (Heck, some of it is going to get torn up anyway in the collage process). And since I cleaned up bolts, she was only loosely measuring. Somehow, I ended up with over 7 yards for about $8.50. SCORE!

Anyway, this is a picture with the background, basket and the next pieces - the bike frame and flower base - pinned on. My goal is to get those done this next week. After they’re in place, I can get the tire and spokes done, which will complete the entire base, which was my goal for June. The flower collaging will likely not happen until July.

I got the wall painted in our library/Africa bedroom, and that room got put back together. When Bruce cleans up his remaining mess (music stuff - I don’t fiddle with it, no pun intended), I’ll get a picture. The next painting will be the baseboards, closet and ceiling in the other guest room. But probably not this coming week - I have to pace my shoulder!  And we are still waiting for the new back door and storm/screen door we ordered for my studio to come in. We got a notice that the manufacturer has shipped them to the installer, so we are just waiting to hear from the installer to schedule that. Do you spend your summer doing little projects around the house too? 

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Sewing the Blues

Can you believe that in three short weeks the year will be half over? The rhythm of the seasons feels more like an aerobics exercise tune than a waltz, at least to me. But we did have a couple lovely slow afternoons this week where we were able sit out on the patio with our beverages. We read our books, talked and gazed at the garden loveliness, all thoughts of chores and errands and obligations held at bay. It was so peaceful. And when the (inevitable) rain started up again, it was time to head back indoors to the sewing machine!

We have a new color of the month for June in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge - blues from mid-range to dark tones, including navy. I wasted no time getting started because there are a lot of sewing things I want to get accomplished this month in addition to my RSC blocks.

First, as usual, I worked with my dark blue selvages to make 4 four-patches, which I then sewed into one big block. 

Then I cut my dark blue selvage tumblers and blue fabric tumblers and sewed those together into a dark blue row.

Below are the tumblers with the rest of the rows. There will be a light blue row inserted between the teal and the dark blue. But the light blue is for another month. There will be a pink row (or two) above the red and then purple and who-knows-what else below the blue.

I also got a lot more RSC blocks cut, but the only other ones sewn up this week were these nine Cracker blocks. 

I’m linking up to Scrappy Saturday at Angela’s So Scrappy blog and to Oh Scrap! on Sunday at Cynthia’s blog.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Also, for those of you who just visit on Rainbow Scrap Saturdays, I did finish my Good Fortune quilt this week and blogged about it HERE.  I also included some garden pictures. Have a great week!

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Setting a Goal for June

I’ve been dithering about whether I wanted to set a sewing goal for June. Last month I set a goal (and met it) of finishing the Stringy, Starry Night quilt. And I even blogged about it here, but then I forgot to link up! Oh well, the purpose is really to motivate us, isn’t it? And so far this year I am 5 for 5.

Therefore, I’m going to go for it and link up to the One Monthly Goal (OMG) goal-setting linky party over at Patty’s Elm Street Quilts blog. That is, If I remember to actually LINK UP, hehe.

So, here is my goal. This is a collage pattern I’ve had for almost a year, and I really want to make this cute wallhanging. It’s called Blossoms & Spokes. These are even the colors I want to use. When you have a mostly-neutral color palette in the living room, these bright punches of color help to keep things lively.

Now, I don’t expect to finish the entire thing with quilting and binding (necessarily) this month. My goal will be to piece the low-volume crazy-patch background and get the bicycle body, tire and spokes and basket pieces sewn on by the end of the month. That will leave the flower collage part to be done later. 

I’ve got a variety of floral fabrics for the basket flowers as you can see from my fabric pull above. It will take some experimentation to see what I like and what will work best. Maybe solids cut into flower shapes will work better.  I just don’t want to have to rush through it. Of course, if it just plays nicely and all comes together, who knows. Maybe the entire thing could be done by the end of the month. We will see!

Good Fortune and Bad Fortune

So, first the bad. My trusty little iron died. It was about 3-4 years old, the longest I’ve ever had one of the little ones. (The big weight-lifting caliber Rowena still functions just fine, dammit!) I use the little one almost daily. Since it plugs directly into the multi-outlet surge protector (like the sewing machines), everything gets turned off when I’m finished working (which really means playing) for the day. Bruce, an electrical engineer, was able to fix it, but it was not designed to be put back together. Insert sad face here! So, I’ll be using an Amazon gift card I got for Mother’s Day to buy a new one - and some new quilting gloves. Since the weekend, I’ve quilted 4 small baby quilts for Quilts for Kids and finally really LOOKED at my poor gloves. They're hole-y and worn out, so I’ve got some serious online quilty shopping to do.

And speaking of Mother’s Day, which was over 3 weeks ago I realize, I also was given an orchid. I snapped a picture of it to prove I’ve managed to keep it alive for three weeks so far. My green thumb is definitely limited to the outdoor garden, not indoor plants and flowers. Here is a picture of the orchid along with some matching irises (pure “coinkydink") from the yard.

I won’t regale you with all the false starts I had in the sewing room today that fall under the category of Bad Fortune. Instead, here is my Good Fortune quilt that I finally added the binding to this afternoon. YAY!  It finished at 55x69” - I intentionally left out one of the borders. This was Bonnie Hunter’s Mystery Quilt-Along quilt for 2018-2019, and the first Bonnie Hunter quilt that I’ve finished - but not the last!

The back is the 2-tone green print that I’ve had in my stash for a few years.  The quilting I did was free-motion flowers, swirls, feathers and anything else I wanted to practice on. It actually looks pretty OK. You can kinda/sorta see parts of it in the picture below.  This was goal #2 on my Finish-Along list for the second quarter. You can see my list here.

Since we were out in the garden snapping pictures of Good Fortune, I had to take some more pictures of the garden. After all, I hadn’t taken any pictures since Monday. HAHA! Actually, we had some incredible weather in the high seventies/low eighties (F) on Tuesday and Wednesday. (Today it’s been raining and is breezy again. I guess those two days were our summer......) Anyway, look at the difference in some of these pictures!

So, this is my Chihuly rose; it’s a floribunda. The picture on the left was taken Monday, June 3 and the one on the left (different angle and time of day) was taken today, June 6.

Chihuly Rose

And this red climbing rose and irises are shown on Monday (left) and Thursday (today, right)

Our vegetable plants have gone nuts and are finally growing by leaps and bounds. Even one of our tomato plants has a tomato!

I know I’ve shown this vignette under the apricot a time or two already this spring with the bird bath, the miniature roses, Boomer’s headstone and the hollyhocks. But just look at how those hollyhocks have taken off. They’ll be blooming soon!

Now, I’m off to see if I still have time to pick a goal for June for One Monthly Goal (OMG) and link up.  

Saturday, June 1, 2019

TGIJ - Thank Goodness it’s June

The ark we’re building is coming along nicely. Bruce has decided that a cubit is roughly equivalent to a rock (as in “whiskey on the rocks”) and we’ve been measuring our drinks with those in mind. Our ark(s) look suspiciously like our bicycles, however, and that’s probably a good thing. The weather is finally forecast for some days without rain this week. Looks like we may be pedaling instead of paddling in June.

This week was a crazy one again, and I am dead pooped. The Utah Shop Hop (quilt shop visits all up and down the Wasatch Front) has been going on, and I am the designated driver. Not because we drink (except coffee), but because Guy Smiley (our car; don’t ask) is much more youthful than Cousin Kim’s car (which is, sadly, nameless).  I have to show you a picture from one of the shops on the Shop Hop, the theme of which was Fairy Tales this year. This was a cute display at Little Red Riding Hood’s place.

It didn’t seem as crowded to us this year, and we only visited about half the shops we usually do (and that took two whole days). However, the bargains were good. One shop had FQs at 10/$20, another had them 6/$13.50 and still another had them for Buy 3 get 1 free (at $3.50 each, so that was 4/$10.50). Normally I don’t go wild with fat quarters, but since I’m looking for some fabrics to use on some of the collage quilts I’ll start working on soon, that worked out well. Plus, there’s always that one fabric you can’t resist, you know?

Also, last night we attended the first outdoor concert of the year at the amphitheater at Red Butte Gardens. I wanted to go last summer to see Jackson Browne, but he was scheduled there while I was in Africa). This time we went to see one of Bruce’s longtime favorites, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. And we got lucky; the rain held off until we got home (late).

It’s not a very good picture, and you can see some of the lights and smoke effects on the stage. But it was really fun and a great concert. Next time we’ll know to bring our own wine.

On the sewing front, I sewed up three new-to-me blocks, the International Sisters. These are the three I came up with. They are so easy and much larger than I anticipated (unfinished size is 10.5”, and they will be set on point like this):

The middle one is a Kaffe Fasset fabric, and the other two are from my (authentic) African fabric collection. I plan to make these in mostly (but not wholly) African fabrics for a quilt for myself. I also want to begin making these from some of the other African-like fabric that was generously given to me by my friend S (I need to ask her if it’s OK if I mention who she is and the generous gift she sent me). They will be used to make wall-hangings (back to back with some authentic African fabric from Kenya) to make double-sided African wall hangings as a funding source for Harambe Humanitarian.

I love these blocks so much!!

And, as always, I have to tally up my Rainbow Scrap Challenge for the month. I’m linking up (late) to Scrappy Saturday and also to Oh Scrap! on Sunday.

So, in addition to the three International Sisters blocks, I made all the blocks you see in the picture above. I’m not going to list them all because I know you don’t need to read all that. The blocks for May (sometimes a “block” is a row, a chunk) numbered 79.

I also finished two quilts in May (see my Quilts 2019 tab just below the blog header) and am about two thirds done quilting Good Fortune. I expect that will finish in the coming week and be my first finish of June. So now I’m gearing up for a Blue June (medium to dark shades). Bring on the scraps!

But first let me catch my breath and get a good night’s sleep.... AAAAAAND just as I go to post this, I hear the rain starting again....