Saturday, August 29, 2020

Purple Roundup for August

All year I’ve been making a single-colored quilt every month, following along with the Rainbow Scrap Challenge (RSC) color of the month. I call them Creature quilts just for fun in naming them, plus they are donated to Quilts for Kids to provide creature comforts. Well, for purple August, I needed another color in addition to purple to get the quilt up to a good size. Long ago I chose orange as the additional color because it’s one of my favorite colors, I have tons of orange scraps, and I love purple and orange together.

Originally this was going to be Creature From the Molten Volcano, but the sad truth of my scraps was that there was no volcano to be had. Or sewn. It was just not a viable creature. So, like Elvis, it left the building, folks. And who entered then? Why, it was the Creature from the Sunset Savannah! (YAY!!) I present to you this quirky creature...

The very loud Creature from the Sunset Savannah finished at 44.5 x 52”. It’s my 33rd quilt finish this year, which is one more than all of last year combined. Of course, most of my finishes have been smaller (less than 60” on all sides), but some have not. They are mostly just utility quilts for donation, and sometimes when I take pix, they look a bit wavy. But they’re always square and look much better once they’re laundered and get their lovely crinkles. :-)

Creature From the Sunset Savannah was the last project I wanted to get done for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge’s purple August. As I usually show at month end, here is my recap of blocks made from purple scraps. As usual, I’m linking up to Scrappy Saturday.

There were a total of 65 blocks this month, although one of those Beachcomber blocks (top left) isn’t pictured. I can’t wait to start a new color next week! (Can you believe that it’s almost September?) I think we’re due for either yellow or red.

I’ve spent a lot of time in the kitchen preparing and freezing vegetables from the garden. No pictures of that this week. So much has been going on..... our friends/neighbors from across the street moved away (only a couple blocks, but still, waaaaaaaah....); doctor appointments this week for Bruce, and ... he finally got his new robo-arm yesterday! Hooray!!

He’s supposed to wear it 2-4 hours at a time for at least a couple times per day and practice using it. He says it’s a bit heavy, but they say he’ll get used to it. Of course, the grandkids (and sons and sons-in-law) are all having fun making jokes like “be careful when you scratch your eye!” (and worse, as you can imaging with guys -  potty humor). One grandson asked if he could catch fish with it! I’m sure the questions and entertainment value of the grandkids’ questions and observations will be priceless.

And since the picture above makes it look as though Bruce only has one robotic arm and nothing else, I want to show you that all is well with his left arm too, LOL.

Since they had to amputate Bruce’s right arm above the elbow, he will not be able to have any finger function in a prosthetic. So they said that this double hook which grasps (opens and closes) and articulate like a wrist (spin) is the best option. He’d have fewer movement options with a phony skin-look hand. He will wear a t-shirt under it and should be able to wear a long-sleeve shirt over it in cool weather. You can see in the above picture that the length of the prosthetic from shoulder to elbow is a bit long. They’ll shorten that down the road. So, Bruce has been practicing. And every time I walk by him, he gooses me with it!  hehehe 

So, after my purple sewing was done, I turned my focus to working on the quilt I’m making for my DIL’s mom’s Christmas present. Here is the first block of Tyrol. Can I say how much I love this???

And then there were two, then three, and then FOUR!

There will be 1” sashing between the blocks (the pattern calls for 2” sashing, but I’m trying to reduce the amount of white). I also have a colored border planned. This is from the free pattern by Melissa Corry called Florabelle Bloom.

I have sixteen blocks left to sew. My goal is to sew four (or more if possible) per week in order to finish the top by the end of September. I’ve been sewing these slowly and carefully to maintain all the points. That’s a new experience from the slapdash method I use on the Creature scrap quilts!

That’s about it from here. Have a good week; be safe and wear your masks in public. 

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Purple and Orange

Well, THAT’s an exciting blog title, eh? Kidding! I was going to title it “I Can’t Think of a Blog Post Title”, but I’ll have to save that gem for another time. I’m attributing my brain fog to the orange, smoky skies outside. It appears that the west half of the USA is on fire and the east half is poised for hurricane season. If only we could share, there would be a lot less destruction. Who’s going to tell Mother Nature?

This week was same old same old here. I did make a great stir fry this week. Heck, I make one a couple times a month, but it’s especially nice when so many of the ingredients come from your own garden. And there is a peach pie to make later today with what’s left of the peaches we got at the Farmer’s Market last week. I’m the queen of pre-prepped meals, but I do break down a couple times a week and fix something that didn’t come out of the freezer. If I have to. I guess. 

Anyway, as usual, there was a lot of sewing happening. First up, I made a small purple basket of and for my purple scraps. I usually use Angela’s pattern, which finishes about 7x10” by 7” high. This time I made it 7x7x7”, because my purple scraps are not that plentiful. When we get to red, I’ll be using that size too.

And then I used more of my bits and bobs to make another purple Beachcomber block. It joins the two I made last year, plus all the others I’ve collected since March of 2019.

Beachcomber is my name for this block, but the original name of the quilt itself was Beach Retreat. I saw a picture of a quilt online a few years ago, and pinned it in my Pinterest. Then I just figured out the dimensions I wanted to use. It was originally in a book called Stash Statement by Kelly Young and the subsequent blog hop. Here is where I first saw it.  Anyway, I like the name Beachcomber for the block, because the scraps of fabric one uses to make the colored portions reminds me of the detritus a beachcomber picks up on the beach.  :-)

Anyway, here are most of my Beachcomber blocks so far. It sorely needs red and yellow. Another five blocks total and I can start sewing it together. 

The States Quilt got quilted and bound this week. It’s ready to head to Quilts for Kids when we have our next local workshop in two months (September’s meeting is way down in Utah County, and I’m not going).  Anyway, States finished at 44x58”, and the back and binding are both from the state names background fabric. And I still have some left over. It will get cut into strips for more strip quilts...

This was my OMG (One Monthly Goal for August, and I’m linking up to the August goal finish post with Patty at Elm Street Quilts

And I’m sad to report that I stitched my last Zipper blocks. I only needed 10 more, but I sewed 12. So I have two extra blocks, plus the extra va-va-voom ladies fabric block, which makes 3 for the back. Here is the first batch I sewed this week.

Say hello to Bob Ross again! I think this finished up that fabric. Then there’s some Kaffe and some Tula Pink as well. 

Then I sewed one more from one of my all time favorite fabrics from Amy Butler. It was from her Lark Line (circa 2012-2013), and I’ve had 2.5 yards sitting in my stash since then. The coloring of the picture below is all off, but you get the idea.  I don’t understand why camera’s sometimes “see” a true color and sometimes not.

That fabric shows up accurately in the next picture, which is the fabric pull and introductory photo for my next quilt project. My DIL Kim asked me (well, actually I asked her if she’d like me) to make Christmas quilts for her parents, who we have known and loved for years. I pulled potential focus fabrics and patterns (on Pinterest), and this is what Kim chose. The pattern is Florabelle Bloom by Melissa Corey, a free pattern located HERE

I pulled the other fabrics to go with it, and have cut all the flower portions out so far. Ignore my scribblings on the paper above; I’m doing something a little different from her pattern or my scribbles. My plan is to do the 20 flowers, but eliminate the outer 2” border of white and colored squares for the secondary flowers. Instead, I’ll have a 1” white stop border then a 3.5” border in the focus fabric. Both Kim and I loved the fabric because it looks very European (Austrian/Italian), and since all three of us (Kim, her mom Paula, and me) have all been to and love the Tyrol region of Austria and Italy, we wanted to feature it as much as possible. Five of the 20 flowers will also be made using that fabric. There are no firm plans yet as to the backing (scrappy? purchased?) or binding. The working title for the quilt is Tyrol. 

I’ll introduce the quilts I’ll be making for DIL Kim’s dad (Bill) and my son Ryan in future posts. I had some great masculine fabric in several prints that coordinate and match other things in my stash; enough to get two quilts out of easily. The backings for those will be big pieced buffalo checks and will require yardage purchases.  Kim and I will go shopping for the backings and fabrics when the time comes. 

Oh! Last but not least..... wait. It is last and it is least. Because I’m mad at it. 

You see, although purple is the color of the month for those of us participating in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge this year, I have always intended to mix my purple scraps with the rest of my oranges for this  monthly scrap Creature Quilt. This month was going to be Creature From the Molten Volcano. I could see it in my mind, and even drew it out! A purple volcano of strip blocks. Fiery orange scraps spitting out in streams and curls (strip blocks, snail’s trail blocks), plus all the other scraps and blocks........ SCREEEEETCH!  The reality of the scraps and orphan blocks I have do not say volcano. See what I mean?

They are having an identity crisis. I’m thinking maybe Creature from the Serengeti (which I would prefer to name Creature from the Maasai Mara, which is the Kenyan side of the same geographic region). Or maybe something to do with all the wildfires here in the West? Any ideas? 

So anyway, this is what I’ll be banging my head against the wall working on this week. Wish me luck. Stay safe, friends, and wear your masks! xo

Linking up to: Rainbow Scrap Saturday

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Days of Future Passed

When I was pondering what, if anything, interesting happened here this week to write about (the answer is: NOTHING), the phrase “Days of Future Passed” popped into my mind. Those of us of a certain age (*cough, cough*) may remember The Moody Blues concept album with that title. It was the album that contained Nights in White Satin. And indeed, the Moody Blues has been a major part of the music I stitched along to this week. Should’ve done that last month when we were stitching with moody blues! But a more contemporary version of the expression is spelled “Days of Future Past”, which is an X-Men story line. I don’t know or care about Marvel comics and X-Men, so I picked the older reference. All of that to say that we’re doing the same things over and over, like in the movie Groundhog Day. The future days and weeks will probably be much like the past days and weeks. Same old same old in the Time of Covid. 

But I did get some purple sewing done for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. August is purple month.  I’ll be linking up to Scrappy Saturday, so come check out all the purpley stuff.

First up: Two Scraptastic Stars; one in red-purples and one in blue-purples.

Fifteen Split Nine-patches:

String Blocks (6” finished): 13

In between all of those, I stitched my weekly batch of Zipper blocks. Eleven this time, because it was hard to stop. 

Some of the fabrics aren’t as interesting as when I started, because I’m nearing the end. After these, I believe I only have ten left to reach 99, the number I need for a quilt that will measure 66x81”.

This block is my favorite this week. I love that scrappy fabric that Nann sent me and have used it here as well as in the Tessa Quilt I cut out a couple months ago. I hope to get to that one before year end. Note that I didn’t have enough of any of those solid oranges, so I used them all in a gradient fashion. 

And the block below is interesting too. I bought a fat quarter of this marijuana fabric from Spoonflower last year (when I bought that Bob Ross fabric - remember?)  I used every single square centimeter of it cutting out a mask for my brother, a zip pouch for my brother, and two of these Zipper blocks - one for me and one for Cousin Kim. There wasn’t even a half inch left over!

And finally, I sewed up the last two blocks for my One Monthly Goal project quilt. Nothing too exciting here. I just tried to keep the blocks simple so that the blocks of color would be prominent, and then to round out the colors for the overall balance of the quilt. 

It’s now basted and ready to be quilted this weekend. I really have enjoyed working with that rather wild background print with all the US States listed in brightly-colored abbreviations. I think I’ll just call it the States Quilt (original, eh?)

We are going to head out to the local Farmer’s Market this morning to see if we can get some raspberries and peaches. I want to make more raspberry jam, and the peaches are for eating. It may be a little early for the local peaches, but we’ll see. Then I have to swing by our Quilts for Kids workshop. I am not going to stay and stitch (even though they are limiting it to 10 people), but I do have six finished quilts to drop off. And my friend Bonnae, who is out camping this week, asked me to pick her up some quilt kits to sew on. As for myself, I still have seven baby quilts for QFK that I checked out last month and didn’t get quilted. They were sewn by other people - too bad more of them don’t quilt their own quilts, but oh well. I’ll get to them eventually. For the rest of this calendar year, the priority for me will be getting Christmas quilts done - more on that another time.  

So, for the coming week I’ll sew the last of the zipper blocks, quilt the States quilt, make a little purple scrap fabric bucket and sew a purple Beachcomber block. If I finish those, maybe I’ll baste and quilt some QFK quilts and/or finish up the last half dozen kennel quilts I stared a couple months ago. There is never a lack of  things to do in the studio. 

We’re having my older son Ryan and our DIL Kim over for dinner tonight. Maybe the grandkids Lauren and Easton will come too if they don’t have to work. Bruce and I bought a misting system for the patio, but we need to go to Home Depot and get a short hose for it. My guess is that we won’t get it set up until it’s time to take it down in the fall. Anyway, we’re celebrating DIL Kim’s birthday, so I’ve got to make her Something Chocolate for dessert. Better get my rear in gear!

Have a good week, wear your mask in public and wash your hands when you get home! 

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Hustle and Bustle

We had so many things on our plates this week that the word “busy” just didn’t cut it. Luckily, a lot of that busy-ness was time spent with friends and family. 

In my last post, I showed what happened to our ornamental pear tree in the front yard. One of its main limbs broke off (Bruce says he relates, LOL). That happened before the damage of Hurricane Isaias on the east coast, so I’m not complaining about our minor mishap. It’s nothing compared to what so many thousands are going through now, and my heart goes out to them.

Our lawn guys moved the downed branch out of the way to mow and edge the lawn. They gave us a very reasonable bid for pruning our trees and bushes, clearing the grapevines off the patio roof, and going through our flower beds (front and two side yards) and removing all the weeds and grass, plus trimming down all the spent perennials. All that work took place yesterday (Friday). We were up at 7am to put in a morning of work in alongside the guys. I deadheaded roses and tended to my flower pots and Bruce weeded the garden and harvested vegetables. Then we got our showers, had lunch and spent the entire afternoon at two different appointments for Bruce. Well, he did. I drove, then napped in the car with the air conditioning on. Our vehicle is a hybrid, so it doesn’t idle. The engine comes on periodically to recharge the battery, but that’s it.

Cousin Kim came over to sew last Sunday. We decided that after 4-plus months of both our families isolating, practicing stringent social distancing and masking up, that we could safely merge our two family bubbles. Her granddaughters will be going back to school online, so once that was decided, we all relaxed.  Kim fell in love with the Zipper blocks, and has started making some. She’s addicted too!  I made ten more blocks this week. The first six are the Rainbow Scrap Challenge color of the month - purple.

And here are all ten of them together. That brown guitar fabric also became additional masks for Bruce and our granddaughter Lauren, who plays the guitar. I made another nine masks this week for various family members. With school and autumn coming, and no end of Covid in sight until next year at the earliest, it seemed like a good time to supplement everyone’s supply.

On Thursday we got to visit our long-time family friend Terri, who recently had shoulder surgery. It was heartwarming to see her again as it’s been 3 months. She visited us out on the patio shortly after Bruce’s arm was amputated. It was beyond great to catch up. Terri and Mike (her late husband who was Bruce’s lifelong best friend) are about as close to being family as anyone can be, and we’ve missed our visits. 

In between visits and yard work, I did get time to sew more purple stuff. Here are my selvage half-hexie blocks along with some fabric half hexies (maybe I should just call them trapezoids?)

I’m not sure if I’m going to sew them in horizontal rows like this or whether I’ll do them in vertical rows. I think I’ll just wait until I’ve been through all the selvage colors, and then play. My guess is that there might be enough to make two or more quilts.

Moving along, I also sewed some Twin Sisters blocks. Have I mentioned how much I love these? Yeah, probably every month! Twelve blocks made in purples.

I also had some time to make three blocks for my August One Monthly Goal quilt. I sewed the yellow spinner block in the top right, the red folded box block in the second row (leftmost), and the aqua block at the bottom. And I played with red for the sashing. What do you think? I like its bold brightness. It really amps up the youth feel, which I like for this donation quilt. Here are things just pinned up on the design board. The red sashing will also be used for an outer border. Just two blocks left to sew. Their designs and colors are already selected.

Also this week, our toaster and my portable small iron died. I guess if we count the fallen tree limb, that makes three bad things this week, so I have high hopes for a quiet week next week. We had replacements in hand the next day thanks to Amazon Prime. Here is the new iron, posing with my new (last month) wool ironing mat (I love it) and my newest little furry squirrel friend. 

That cute little squirrel panel came from Sally with the scraps I won a couple months ago. It will become a wall hanging before fall. But isn’t that plushie CUTE? I saw it at the grocery store in the gift section and couldn’t resist. The cats’ reaction? Totally uninterested. 

I’m linking up to Scrappy Saturday at Angela’s blog. Today Blogger isn’t letting me center my pictures in the post. It’s always something with them, isn’t it? 

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

One Monthly Goal for August

Time to get a move on and declare my OMG for August. 

This project is a partial set of blocks that I was making as a supplement to a local Block of the Month class I began last fall.  The class continued as usual until everything shut down in March because of Covid-19. Then it continued for three months virtually. But in July they decided to meet in person. That’s when I said Adios! 

The actual class blocks were done in solids, while these supplemental blocks use a busy bright colored text print with the state abbreviations as the background. From that print I’ve been pulling bright colors to play with it and simplifying the blocks. This will eventually be a kids donation quilt. So, this is where the project is starting at the beginning of August:

Seven blocks are done, but I need to make five more 12” blocks to have a 3x4 setting. These are 12-inch blocks (finished size) and I’ve decided to sash and border it in bright red. The resulting quilt should measure approximately 44x58”, which is a good size for a youth donation quilt.  So that’s my goal - to finish the 5 blocks, assemble the top, baste, quilt and bind this donation quilt by month end.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

This is what we woke up to this morning. Our Bradford Pear Tree (ornamental) in the front yard lost one of its main branches sometime during the night. We’re grateful that it didn’t happen during the day when there a lot of walkers and bikers active in the neighborhood.

Our lawn guys are also arborists. They actually come on Tuesdays, so I texted them a picture of this to give them a heads-up. When they got here, they dragged it off to the back of the driveway and were able to do the usual mowing and edging.

Apparently, Bradford Pears are known for shedding large branches like this, and he said the tree should be fine. It will look a little naked from the above angle, though.  Our trees are normally pruned in late summer/early fall, but apparently this tree didn’t want to wait another month.  

They’ll be back on Thursday to chop up the branch and haul it away and give us a bid for trimming some of the other large outreaching branches. We also have some other things that need to be trimmed, and we’ll just get all the big fall stuff done early. 

Starting tomorrow morning at VeryVeryEarly O’Clock, Bruce and I will be out in the garden  cutting back and dividing our irises and daylilies. And weeding. Then we can empty our compost/mulch bins into the beds before the fall chores start.  It’s always something!

Saturday, August 1, 2020

July Recap and Creature from the Blue Precinct

Today is the first day of August. Actually, I’m surprised that I even realized that because half the time I don’t even know what day it is!  Angela, the leader of our online Rainbow Scrap Challenge, announced last night that the color for August would be purple. I’ll be getting started on those scraps later today.  But for today’s post, I can show you what I worked on and finished up this week. So, I’m linking up to the Scrappy Saturday link-up party there.

My first finish was the pineapple quilt, Pina, that I finished a few days ago. Yesterday’s blog post goes into detail about that, but I’ll throw in a quick picture of it here 

And I finished my monthly color quilt for my “Creature” quilt series. These are donation quilts that I’ve been making this year from scraps and orphan blocks that have been accumulating. This month’s quilt is Creature From the Blue Precinct. Now, you can decide for yourself if you want “precinct” to mean a voting precinct or a police precinct. They’ve both been in the news lately. All this little quilt wants to do is wrap some love around some child! 

Creature From the Blue Precinct measures 40x49”. It should be a great quilt for a boy. I purposely included some old sea-themed scraps throughout. The back and binding is a leftover scalloped print that makes the binding look way more wavy than it is. I’m confident the wonkiness will soften up and look better once it’s laundered.

I also sewed up eleven Zipper blocks this week. I have about thirty-some more to go!

And finally, my dark blue scrap recap for July (picture below).

Top Row:  6 International Sisters blocks, one scrap bucket and 18 selvage half hexies.
Middle Row: 12 Twin Sister blocks and lots of selvage columns (possible future coin quilt?)
Bottom Row: 20 string blocks, 1 Scraptastic Star, 18 Split Nine blocks

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

On a personal note, July was a hot month here in Salt Lake and I felt drained.  I’m sure the Covid crisis and staying at home (mostly; we still have to visit doctors and buy groceries) doesn’t help the energy level or mood. Bruce is doing great. The mechanical arm is coming along in the building/customization process; next week they (Bruce and the prosthetist) will be focusing on the elbow. Bruce has been practicing manipulating a myo-electric tester device with wires hooked up to his stump nerve endings. The occupational therapist has him doing exercises to increase his range of motion and to learn to relax while he’s manipulating the muscles he’ll need. They will also be getting him a steering knob for the car and they’ll teach him how to steer on a simulator when he gets his new arm. The progress is slow, but steady.  

I am so grateful for my family, friends and fellow bloggers. We’ve managed to stay in touch with family via the phone (and video calls) and the rare socially-distanced visit. This week I even got a hand-written letter from a friend, which was so thoughtful! I intend to pay that one forward because it was so cheery.

But I’ve been battling the blues and the “Covid 15”, the definite tightening of my clothes from too much sitting and eating and not enough walking and saying NO to snacks. I hope the lethargy of the hot summer dissipates after August. At least the veggies in the garden are coming on, so there is plenty to do in the kitchen (besides eat) as well as in the studio. And how can I not be happy when a gentle paw on my cheek wakes me up every morning?

Wishing you all a nice week of family, good health and lots of fun, scrappy sewing!