Saturday, March 25, 2023

A Finish, A Plateau, and Some Fun

Good morning! It was another crazy busy week - lots of errands, appointments, places to go and people to see. I won’t bore you with a deep dive, but will share some of the highlights.

Last Saturday, my friend Ruby and I attended the International Quilting Day festivities at the Sandy City Senior Center. (No, Jenny, those Seniors weren’t scary at all! LOL). There were actually about a hundred  people there, of all ages. Mostly women, but several men too! Ruby and I each brought our machines, a fabric strip set (“jelly rolls”) so we could sew Jelly Roll Race quilts. Oh, and we brought fruits and salads to share for the pot luck luncheon. That food was fabulous, and we were able to nosh on veggies and hummus, fruits, popcorn, soup and little tastes of all sorts of other goodies while we stayed well within our Weight Watchers good food guidelines. I’ve been on a weight plateau for the last couple weeks and have started a new morning exercise routine (stationary bicycle) to shake things up a bit, so nothing to report this week in that regard.

But take a look at this awesome quilt top I finished at the International Quilting Day event. I combined certain strips to make a custom color combo from two Island Batik jelly roll sets that I bought a couple years ago when we visited Missouri Star Quilt Company. One is a sewing theme and the other is floral.

The color placement is a bit wonky, as always seems to happen with a Jelly Roll Race, but I don’t care. I love it so much. I’ll quilt it soon-ish, once I complete my other March goals. And once I figure out how I want to quilt it!  This will be mine, all mine! Ruby’s quilt turned out even more interesting. I had put together 40 width-of-fabric strips in greens and blues from my stash. I’ll try to get a picture of it for next week’s post. 

I sewed these two last elephants over the weekend too.

They round out the “herd” that will appear in this, the final elephant quilt. Here are all the elephants and the border fabric, below. My hope is to have this quilt finished by the end of the month. When it is, I will do an official Elephant Trunk Show of all the elephant quilts I’ve made. Stay tuned!

This Green Strings and Horses quilt top got basted, quilted and bound this week.

I forgot to get a picture of the back and label, but it is going to Quilts for Kids. It finished at 42x48”. I’m linking up to Scrappy Saturday for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge

My final share for the week is this green “Creature” Quilt I’m working on using scraps and orphan blocks. It’s only partially sewn as I’m still puzzling out what will go where. 

I haven’t come up with a Creature name yet, so I’m open to suggestions!

The other highlights of the week included me renewing my passport, Bruce renewing his driver’s license, us contracting with a landscaper and scheduling some landscape work to begin next week. I talked a little bit about my idea last summer in this post HERE (see the last photo). The only change is that they will cap off all the grass sprinklers in that area and run drip irrigation tees/stubs (whatever they’re called) through the front beds on both sides of the porch. With that in place, we can hook up drip tubing to irrigate all the front flower beds and front pots on a separate station. That station can then be watered daily with targeted drip lines which will take less water and finally make it so I can fill in those beds with perennial plantings (and annual pots) and develop the beds. The work will actually begin happening on Wednesday, weather permitting. 

Have a great week!

Saturday, March 18, 2023

At Least it’s Green Inside!

Although we’ve had a few days of promising spring weather (sunshine!), the forecast for next week is calling for more rain and snow.  Out in the garden, nothing is budding yet and there’s no sign whatsoever of my earliest crop,  rhubarb. The only green I’m seeing is inside my sewing studio as I work to beat back the green, green growth of scraps in my stash! Green is the March color of the month for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge (RSC).

My first green project of the week was to sew up 9 Split Nines blocks.

I had three more blocks left over from stitching them in RSC2021 that were residing in the block orphanage. After introducing them to their new friends, there were an even dozen. Hopefully they will all find homes in one of at least two quilts I plan to make with this year’s blocks.

Then it was time to start on my green string blocks. Originally I had planned to sew 56 blocks, at 6” finished size, to make a quilt 42x48”. But then I remembered a chunk of fabric I had been given with whimsical multi-colored horses on a green background. There was enough of that to cut out 10 blocks, so I only needed to sew 46 string blocks. Here’s a close-up od that fabric.

And here are the quilt blocks all posing together on the design board.

The top will be sewn together in the next week, and can hopefully be pin basted and quilted too. I did baste a couple more community quilt tops during the week, as well as the Rainbow Bear Paws quilt. Then I went ahead and got that one bound for my only finish of the week.

Yes, many half-square triangles were harmed in the making of this quilt. But I’m not even apologetic about it. It’s a Quilt for Kids quilt, and as far as I know, the Quilt Police don’t recruit kids! I quilted it with a basic stipple, and inserted a blue stripe down the middle of the backing to make it fit.

Rainbow Bear Paws finished at 40x50”.

Today, my friend Ruby and I are attending the World Wide Quilting Day at the Sandy (UT) Senior Citizens Center. I’ve never been to a senior center before, but I guess there’s a first time for everything. And truth be told, at 69, I guess I am a senior. But I do prefer to hang around with young people, or at least the young at heart. Given that we are having a pot luck luncheon, a Jelly Roll Race quilt session and a Give-and-Take fabric table, these ladies (and maybe gentlemen?) sound like they may be a fun group after all!

Saturday, March 11, 2023

Just Goofing Around

It seems I’ve been pretty busy doing all sorts of things lately, except sewing. Well, I have been doing some sewing, so that’s not entirely accurate. But there were two or three days where I never even made it downstairs into the studio. 

Last Saturday, I added small white borders to the Bright Blocks quilt. I’ll show that momentarily. I also cut out pieces for some of my green March blocks for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. On Sunday when my friend Ruby and Cousin Kim were here to sew, I got those mostly sewn up. Let’s take a look.

Eleven Little Bricks blocks. This is such a delightful and easy block that several of us are doing this year. The block is courtesy of Sylvia at Treadlestitches.

I started making these Little Bricks mid-year last year, so these will be added to that pile which already includes some green blocks. The more, the merrier!

On Monday, I finished these Four in Nine blocks while I waited for our housekeeper to show up. She kept pushing our time back, and finally ended up rescheduling for Wednesday afternoon. But I did get the laundry and these blocks done while I waited.

The first two have gray as the dark constant.

The next four have navy as the dark constant.

Tuesday was my weekly Weight Watchers workshop (lost another pound and a half). And then I put together these six Chaser blocks, a block from Cynthia Brunz of Quilting is More Fun Than Housework.  I’m using black prints on these to supplement the color of the month. Must whittle down the black scraps!

These went together very quickly, so I also sandwiched up the Bright Blocks quilt top and got it ready for quilting.  I usually layer up three or four quilt tops at once, but I was feeling restless and unfocused. So I went upstairs and spent the afternoon shopping online and ordering some long-sleeve sweaters, short-sleeve summer tops, a nightgown, a sundress, two pairs of shoes and a belt. Back in January I had ordered two sundresses and two summer tops, and they all fit and were keepers. So I was emboldened to try it again. The only thing that arrived this week (so quick!) was a pair of white sneakers for summer. They fit like a glove and are so dang comfortable. 

Wednesday morning we had our semi-annual dentist visit and cleaning. No cavities or other issues - YAY! Our housekeeper had to cancel again, so we did our monthly Costco run in the afternoon.

On Thursday I quilted and bound the  Bright Blocks top, and Thursday night we went out to dinner with son Ryan, DIL Kim, DGD Lauren and her boyfriend Graham. We always celebrate Ryan’ s birthday and mine together since they’re only five days apart. 

Here is Bright Blocks, which finished at 40x50” and will go to Quilts for Kids.

So you may remember my dilemma with that basket in the top center block. It was a white fabric with tiny colored polka dots, and I asked you guys if I would replace that fabric or ???  Wanda was the first to reply with the idea of adding to the basket with a colored marker to visually beef it up, and several of you echoed the idea. So that’s what I did, and I’m so pleased with the result.

I just added more polka dots with a fine-tipped orange permanent marker. Et voila!

Here’s the backing, which is so perfect color-wise that I’m still pinching myself. 

And that’s it for the sewing this week. Yesterday morning we did the grocery shopping, then in the afternoon we went to the Home and Garden Show at the South Towne Expo Center. It was more home-related stuff and less about garden stuff, but we did get some literature and referrals for some possible outdoor projects (cement resurfacing and xeriscaping) for this year.  

While there, we ran into the son (and grandson) of one of Bruce’s best friends who played with him for 50 years in their folk trio, The Muddy Gutter Boys. Lane (on the right) snapped a picture of us all. It was so good to see them!

Yes, my hair was up and it looked like hell. But in my defense, we had strong winds all day, gusting up to 40mph, and we had to walk into the wind from the parking lot to the expo center. Whew! We walked the entire show - great exercise - and then it was back out into the wind. 

And that was my week. It started raining last night and is supposed to continue all weekend. So, if you need me, I’ll be down in the studio quilting.

Saturday, March 4, 2023

It’s a Jungle Out There!

 This week’s post is going to be short and sweet and lean on pictures. I just had so much going on, so much on my mind and (insert any random excuse here) that I don’t have too much to share. But watch out next week…

I did manage to sew backings for 5 quilt tops. All of these are Community Quilts sent to me by others to layer, quilt and bind. But in order to do that, I had to sew strips and chunks together for the backs. That was how I spent my Thursday (instead of pin basting them). 

It’s my goal to have these layered and at least 3-4 of them quilted and finished by next weekend. 

I did finish my Creature From the Pink Circus quilt. 

This was so much fun to put together. It used 8 orphan blocks, and lots of pink scraps made into Chaser blocks, a checkerboard strip, a width-of-quilt crumb strip and lots of strips and chunks. It’s happy and … and… I forgot to take its measurements or sew on a Quilts for Kids label. But I can do those today. My brain seemed to be focusing on other things this week…

I’ve been sticking to my Weight Watchers food plan and the pounds are coming off. I blew past the 40-lb lost mark (down 42). I had to go out shopping and buy some new jeans and a couple other necessities. Last week I used (ate) my daily points allotment, but very few of my weekly points, which allow us to cover more calorie-laden meals or occasional splurges. But I’m feeling I need to use more of those weeklies (in other words, eat a bit more) as I get hungry at times. Eating more to lose weight… what a concept! Anyway, I have another 21 pounds to go to reach goal, which I hope to reach sometime this summer. And then go another 10 pounds or so under that as a cushion. Even that will have me 20 pounds over what my original WW goal was when I was 21. But 40 years and three children (and my doctor) says that’s just fine!

The color of the month for March in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge is green. I’ll be mixing all my greens - light, dark and bright - together for my blocks this month. 

First up was framing 10 more of these jungle blocks. Hence, the “jungle” referred to in the blog post title. I have 20 finished now, but I still want to add frames in red, orange and yellow. When all is said and done, I’ll have 50 blocks to make into two quilts.

In March I’ll also be assembling this quilt of Bear Paw blocks, which were one of my blocks from last year’s Rainbow Scrap challenge. This is the layout up on the design wall.

The pink strips are just pinned up there to demarcate the sections for assembly. I’ve barely started with the left column, top 4 blocks.  

It’s still snowy and cold here. I just had my annual mammogram (all is well). In the coming week we have our semi-annual dentist visit and cleaning, and the following week is my annual physical. The fun just never stops around here….