4.29.16




The blackberries are in full blossom.




4.28.16

Lavender and Lily
My lovely lavender. I have six lavender plants and they seem to be two or more species. I would like to fill the space to the left of my stairs with all kinds of lavender. I found out it IS cousin to Rosemary, another plant I like very much. I have one of those on down the side toward the "cooking" area where I have basil, chives, onions, garlic. The basil is sickly. I should water it more.

4.27.16



My battle with pollen continues. Last night, as the sun was setting, I got halfway around my deck with hose and mop. I am one of those lucky people who has a wrap-around, 360 porch. My hose doesn't reach all the way around, but I bought an extender and one of these days, I will get the rest of that pollen! 

You should see my car. Most of the time, it is difficult to know if it is green or blue. In pollen season, it has a definite green cast.

4.25.16

Monday Mantra


I will try my very hardest, but sorrow and loss have been dogging my steps.










4.24.16

My heart isn't in it, but I am keeping up with the weekly blocks. In fact, routine is a good thing when times are difficult. I won't guarantee my sewing is at its best, but my mind can be at rest--from time to time. Handwork with Netflix is helpful.

Here is block 20 of Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson's Splendid Sampler, Nature's Walk, designed by Vicki Tucek of Pickle Dish Patch. Mine is quite a bit different but the idea is still clear. I deleted ladybugs which annoy me inside my home, left off the butterfly that I couldn't make conform to my standards and replaced it with a bee.

Here is block 21 from the above mentioned Splendid Sampler called Sweet Candy, designed by Kris Thurgood of MyGirlFriendsQuiltShoppe






Temecula Quilt Company's Circa 2016 I used up a lot of little bitty pieces for that.

4.21.16

Steadily working through my started projects, sidetracked just a little bit. 

lovefrombeth's pattern store link is HERE
I found this cute pattern called STORAGE PODS by lovefromBeth, and before you ask for a copy from me, please know that makes me uncomfortable. 

If I feel saying no will affect our friendship, I will make you a copy and secretly pay the designer. To do otherwise is stealing. Enough said on that subject.


So, I bought, downloaded, and made one yesterday. 

I was afraid at the beginning that I couldn't do it, but it was really easy. It takes two fat quarters of fabric for the whole thing. 

I think I would like mine to be larger, and to tell the truth, larger might be a little better for my purposes. Anyway, I enjoyed the whole thing.

Also finished the machine work--binding and all--on a charity quilt; just have the handwork to go.  This was a charm pack and the leftover black and white strips from the quilt below.





Continued on my funny circles. I think I will call that one Scrapbag Serendipity. You can see the orange back of the Quilt-As-You-Go, with the pink binding strip. I have it organized that the sections will show on the back, but on the front it will look like a normal quilt.

I am going to try to make a label for it. There are a lot of quilts I have made that are wandering this earth without labels.

In Splendid Sampler news, here is 19% of my project. I am enjoying the challenge, but it seems to me some of these ladies have gone out of their way to make intricate and difficult "show-off" blocks to separate the wheat from the chaff. That may not be true, but I surely feel like chaff on some of them. A bad day sewing still beats a good day cleaning house.

4.20.16

My version of a Quilt-As-You-Go.
Well, part of it, anyway!
Practicing my machine quilting.

Last year, Country Stitches had a Scrappy Club. 

They gave away Fat Eighth of a yard of black, and a Fat Eighth of a yard of White--different blacks and whites each time. 

I added some of my own black and whites and grabbed some orphaned greens. I saw that maybe I could add in some hot pinks and oranges. 

Then I set about appliquéing circles. Lots of circles. Lots and lots. I have  block sets like this one that add up to 99 circles.

Plus one for practice. 

I thoroughly enjoyed my free motion experience. I found that my earlier blocks had less uniform petals but the centers of the circles had more character. By the time I got to the top row, the petals looked nicer but the centers were boring. It was fun, fun, FUN!.

I have an idea of how I am going to join the segments but I have stalled out on trying it. I guess I should just dive in, right? Otherwise, I have 12 placemats and 3 square table toppers that need to be bound!








4.19.16

TEA TIME TUESDAY

Photo from BARGAINBRIANA.COM
I have to believe it is iced tea weather. I bought my favorite, Tazo Passion, on sale last week. The porch is cleaned off where my rockers and glider are, the afternoons warm up to the low 70s. 






Perfect to make a pitcher of the COPYCAT STARBUCKS PASSION ICED TEA, let it cool, and wash down the rest of the porch, put away the mop and bucket, then sit down and enjoy.

Bargain Briana shows adding sweetner to the mixture, as well as a recipe for passion lemonade. I find the passion tea is fine without any added sweetner but the idea of adding lemonade to it is intriguing. 







4.18.16

MONDAY MANTRA
I had a mantra all picked out, but so many things have happened to so many people I care about in the past few days, I decided at the last minute to go to a different one.

When you can't change your circumstances, you can change your attitude.

A message to my friends seeing troubles right now: You can get through this. You can.


*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  * 


Block 18 from Splendid Sampler is called Lina's Gift, designed by Pat Sloan. I really enjoyed this one. I made my leaves  of different greens because I didn't have enough of one of them.








Block 19 from Splendid Sampler is called Measure Twice, Cut Once, designed by Jane Davidson. Not very difficult at all, after I decided to "embroider" with Micron Pigma brown for the tape measure.











The next block in the Temecula Quilt Company series, Circa 2016, the designer called Four Patch. A deceptively simple name, don't you think? There is almost as much going on here as in the Birds in the Air Block. 

I was trying to get ahead on some of those 120 Half-Square Triangles she requested, also, but so far, all I have done is get them cut and then sorted dark/light.
I am all caught up on my Second Saturday Sampler, and if I can get the pollen washed off the porch and walls of the house this week, I may take my blocks outside for a photo shoot.  That quilt is called Amish with a Twist. I rarely want to make a quilt exactly like anyone else, but this one appealed to me. Then, of course, after I got started, I saw that I wanted to change one of the colors and how the applique' will look.

I have resumed my membership with Southern Appalachian Modern Quilt Guild and we have a block a month to explore. I have scaled mine down and...well...you will just have to see and hear the story another day.





10.12.16

TUESDAY TEA TIME

I have not made any more tea and cup themed blocks, but I have looked around at some. My favorites for today:


Here is a real work of art by Kate Themel. Coffee Break 3 is deceptively simple. 

Just a few cups stacked up on some saucers. But look at how she gives them that 3-D quality with shading through fabric choice and stitching placement.
Look at the dimension and movement.


I also found a more simplistic, playful design. This is Maartje Quilts in Amsterdam. She has a tutorial that includes what looks like paper-piecing and serendipitous slicing and stacking. CUTE!

However you spend your day, take time for a cup of tea and comfort.

Oops! Forgot to show you Temecula Circa 2016 BIRDS IN THE AIR yesterday.











Also, I am now 17% finished with Splendid Sampler. Here is Block # 17, Family Stars, designed by Kimberly Jolly of the Fat Quarter Quilt Shop. As far as 6" blocks of more than 50 separate pieces, this one was quite easy. NO RIPPING!!!








4.11.16

MONDAY MANTRA
Do What You Can. Then, QuiltyFriend adds, "And then just do a little more than you think you can." Sometimes I CAN!

From Sunday:
Three shirts, wool socks, heavy winter jacket, lined leather gloves, ready to take the dog out.

Supposed to have been a peach-salmon
color. Lovely, none-the-less
The day started blue and gold and green and beautiful at 32 degrees. 

I had cut some of my tulips to bring in, left a few, which looked okay this morning. 

The wild Blue Flag I transplanted last year looks like it is sending up new shoots all over the walkway garden. The hyacinths look like they are finished for this year, and as usual, most of my daffodils did not do anything except use up nutrients looking leafy and green. 

Peach-salmon? Deep black-violet?
Looks like red and dark red to me.
I should dig them up, separate them, replant maybe not so deep. I will keep that on my list. I need a garden kneeling pad. There are a lot of daffs to separate, as well as day lilies that never bloom. Those tufts need some separation, too

This week in Temecula Quilt Company Circa 2016, Birds in the Air. Simple enough? Accompanied by the message that we will need 120 HSTs (squares made up of 2 fabrics, seamed diagonally) that measure 2". Luckily for me, I spent some hours going through my scraps and cutting for some kind of scrappy quilt in the future. I cut some 5", some 3.5", lots of 3", TONS of 2.5" and 1.5". While cutting those last ones--the 1.5s, I kept thinking, "What in the hell am I ever going to do with squares this small?"  But, I couldn't bear to toss a clump of fabric into the dog-bed pile if there was still a usable space left. I decided dark/light four patch. I'm going to keep baskets of them near my machine like famous Bonnie Hunter does when she has tons of scraps. I'm not sure she keeps 1.5", but one day I will have lots of 2.5" four patch--with seams pressed open, you can be sure of that.

Block 16 in Splendid Sampler--Pieces of Friendship designed by Lindsay Mayland at AllPeopleQuilt.com. It was fun to make but I have to confess that I should have pressed all my seams open instead of going for the pinwheel on the last two seams. If you quilt, you know most quilters press seam allowances to one side or the other and talk about how the lumps nestle nicely when seaming two lumps together. 

Despite careful pinning and more than 20 years experience, I have never found this to be the case for me. I almost ALWAYS have to rip out a "nestled nicely" two lump seam because I don't have the knack. What works for me is adjusting my stitch length to quite small--1.5--and pressing open. The small stitch length allows my pins to pierce the matching seam allowances with out removing the stitches. The down side is that if I need to rip out, the stitches are very, very tiny. But I seldom need to rip out. Look at this iteration of Pieces of Friendship. I think I am going to repress those main seams so they are open, too.




















4.4.16

MONDAY MANTRA

"Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races, one after the other." --Walter Elliot


Time for me to start walking and putting yoga back into my routine.




4.3.16

We had some freezing temperatures in the past two days. Still, I have hope for my tulips and the hydrangeas seem okay.
Almost cherry blossom time!

Splendid Sampler block #15 is called Family Affair, designed by Janice Ryan. It took a long time. Unfortunately, I joined the last two pieces sides together, instead of middles together, so mine does not look like the original. I have decided not to unsew it.


This week's Circa 2016 from Temecula Quilt Company.

3.31.16

The first wild violet of spring!
I planted a few sweet onions, and found a Hollyhock plant at the local grocery store, as well as a basil plant. Along with the rosemary, wild chives and garlic, I almost have a kitchen garden. 






Rainyside.com picture
I'm considering making a salad ball to hang on the porch. Here is one I saw on Pinterest. If you are interested, you can go HERE for instructions.












Splendid Sampler block #14 is designed by Janet Clare. It is called Flying High. Here is my version.

I wanted mine to look like November and still use my scrappy Civil War palette. I did not do fusible as suggested, but I did a version of freezer paper appliqué. 


I'm enjoying lots of appliqué lately. I used Floriani to do these teapots for the last of my seven Quilts of Comfort Blocks. 







Now, I'm back to elephants and back-basting.

3.9.16

TEA TIME TUESDAY
This was fun to design, but
took time. Needle turned

Ooops, missed Monday Mantra because I was so busy doing things that brought me pleasure. I sewed and sewed this weekend and yesterday I finished up two more blocks to donate to my guild's Quilts of Comfort. 





Carol Doak's free Foundation
Pieced pattern, "SIMPLE HEART",
 found HERE
I hope they don't think this second one is to "Valentines-y). I used lots of pink. In fact, I am out of pink thread! I "borrowed" some from QuiltyFriend, but that was dark, WOMAN pink. I need some of that namby-pamby stuff. Off to the quilting store!











3.27.16

Today is a little damp, but if it warms up, I will use the damp to help wash off my porch. A wrap-around porch gets every speck of pollen offered up by Mother Nature.

Time to catch up my sewing progress. Here is some of what I have been doing.
Temecula Circa 2016,  the block for March 25 which used leftovers I did not have, but made so I would be ready.











Here are this weeks Splendid Sampler blocks.



Block #13 is called Checkerboard, designed by Pat Sloan. I forgot to adjust my needle to the right, so mine measures 6", instead of 6.5". I like it anyway and I will figure out how to make it work.






Here is Block # 14, Scrap Stars, designed by Corey Yoder. This was challenging because of decisions I made along the way. I should have thought the block backwards and saved a lot of waste cutting. I could have used Audrey's methods for a lot of this. Better trimming would have cut down on the distortion. I wish designers would stop along the way and tell us to square up the components to whatever size. This designer did, but not until just before the last step. 

I do really like my color choices, though. You can't tell, but the outer edge is green. The red in the weave makes the camera see it differently.

I have also been working with pink and white fabrics. One of my guilds expressed a need for pink and white blocks to make into Quilts of Comfort. This guild presents these quilts to members who have breast cancer. They just gave out the last one they had assembled and called for more blocks. I counted up and found there are 6 women in my mother's family, and added to that, one in my husband's family that have had breast cancer. I plan to make a block to donate honoring each one. I will put a butterfly on each one, because the butterfly is the symbol of hope.


Here is what I have so far.

The two teapots are for Great-Grandmothers. 








I saw a block like this on Pinterest, so I drafted out my own version. Normally, with work like this, I would have all kinds of beads and buttons and such, but I think these will be given to a long-arm quilter and those things get in the way.


Now I am working on blocks for the next generation down. There are two in that generation, two in the next, and then one, so I have four more to make. 

I really "re-invented the wheel" on this one, I had the idea but couldn't get the math to work out. I spent a lot of time with paper and pencil when I could easily have bought someone else's pattern. But, there is a tremendous amount of satisfaction in envisioning, engineering, and completing. I need another for this generation but it is NOT going to be like this one!






























3.25.16

Lily chased a deer who dropped this, after using my front garden as a produce cart. 







I applied the last of the deer repellant, then hopped in the car to buy some Irish Spring soap. QuiltyFriend says to place shavings of the soap where I don't want deer.




3.23.16

It seems like I have to relearn everything about Zone 6-7 climate every winter, so before I put away my last long-sleeved shirts, I thought I should make a list.

Just for YOU, Mom and Dad.
Found the picture HERE.
1. Have enough pet food and toilet paper on hand for an extra two weeks. 
2. ALWAYS keep a travel pack of tissues and a spare lip balm in EVERY jacket
3. Undershirts are a good idea and keep the cold from creeping down your neck to your knees--tuck them in.
4. Wearing a scarf indoors makes the whole body warmer.
5. Fingerless gloves and mitts are great for most types of handwork.
THIS LINK takes you to Liferoots
where I found the image on an herbal
tea maker's site
6.  Hot tea is good all day, but herbal will let you sleep at night.
7. Two nightgowns and a bathrobe are just fine; you are unlikely to be invited to a fashion event without enough time to change beforehand
8. Socks, but also slippers, which will keep your feet happy. Non-slip treads.
9. Lotion. As a Florida girl, I totally underestimated the value of lotion. I probably only used lotions a couple of times a year before I moved here. In the winter, lotion--LOTS of it--are needed every time any skin is exposed to water. ANY skin. No wants to sit next to someone who is scratching and flaking all over the place.
10. Hot sauce on appropriate foods is a great idea.
11. If you buy "all weather" porch furniture from Maine, you never have to bring it in out of the snow.
12. Don't turn on the wipers unless the windshield is clear of ice and they have been unstuck from the glass.
13. Not the best time to reward yourself with ice cream or gelato--you will not enjoy it as much as you will when it is 90 degrees + outside. 




3.22.16

TEA TIME TUESDAY

If you only knew how much I want to plant pansies, violas, johnny-jump-ups, violets, and oxalis. 

There was frost on the roof today, and at 28 degrees, when I took the dog out, my windshield wipers were frozen to the glass. 

Also, I know annuals are not a good investment. They just aren't.

This year, when my local hardware store has their class on container gardening, I AM GOING. Because pansies AND hyacinths feed my soul.

Other gardening plans include increasing my lavender patch, studying which types of lavender are edible and good in tea, checking into some other edible tea ingredients I can grow myself.

Now, off to check the temperature to see if I can uncover my hydrangeas and tulips and plant my garlic.