Saturday, July 23, 2016

Rolling in the Pink

This week I had a few couple-hour stretches where I was able to make some good progress sewing on my pink scraps. I’m still rolling in the pink scraps (and yes, I listened to Adele when I sewed this week).  Today I’m linking up with the other fun and crazy ladies who participate in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, so come visit us at SoScrappy!

Above are my 16-patch blocks of 2.5” squares. Every month this year I’ve made ten, so I now have 70 on hand. Since we’ve got 3 more months of color before we begin RSC quilt assembly, I should end up with 100. Or maybe just 90, depending on what the colors end up being. At any rate, that should make at least a couple decent-sized quilts. Or I may save some to use as alternate blocks in a future quilt. So many options.

Next up are my vintage sheet rail fence blocks. These were a blast and a breeze to make. How appropriate, since the weather here has been blasting hot and any breeze is appreciated!

These colors and sheet fabrics just make me so happy! Don’t you love their cheery, blowsy patterns??  The addition of this color to the quilt is really going to round out the palette. All I have left to make for this are the yellow blocks when that color comes up.

And I also knocked out 2 Dresdens, although I’m thinking I should start calling them Dread-sdens. I do NOT look forward to doing them any more. They are getting boring to me.

But I do like the centers and the varied backgrounds of plain pink, yellow and blue.

And I really like the various doilies and vintage crochet pieces and yo-yo’s in the centers.

So now I have 14 blocks, and I will make two more; one red and one yellow. The blocks will then be set 4x4, so the quilt will end up being approximately 76x76”.

I’ve also begun quilting a quilt sewn by my cousin Kim, and she did it all by hand except sewing on the border. I’ve finally convinced her to return to sewing with her reliable old Kenmore. If she doesn’t bring him (Ken, the machine) when she comes to sew, she can use my reliable old Kenmore. The Ken twins. They’ve never let us down.  But I do prefer to sew on my Bernina, Bernadette. (You DO name your sewing machines, don’t you?)  But I digress... getting back to Kim’s quilt; I’ll show a picture of it when it’s done. Hopefully later this month.

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It’s still Apricot Madness here at our house. The poor apricot tree had its tallest branch break just as everything ripened. Then we cut down two more branches (and picked all the fruit) that were going into the neighbors yard, as well as cleaning up the apricot mess for them. We have two more huge branches propped up, and Hubby picked then pruned one that was up on the rooftop.

The tree is in the backyard, mostly, but some branches spread out to the front side yard. Below is a picture of the one large branch that is supported and just now ripening in the back.  We are starting our THIRD WEEK of apricots

Below is a picture of the other branches that are supported by a 2x4 AND by the former broken branch. It had a V at the end, so we used it to help prop up the over-laden branches. Picking on these branches will probably begin today. These will be made into fruit leather, because I am up to my eyeballs in apricot jam, puree, dried and frozen apricots.

view from front side yard
My hydrangea bush finally decided it likes where it’s growing in the front flower bed, although this picture was taken past its prime. I should cut some blooms and bring them in to dry.

My flower pots are looking good, but I only put 7 out in front this year. Please excuse the drip irrigation lines leading to each pot. They rather destroy the aesthetics to a degree, but are so necessary. A couple of the larger pots even have two lines. We have them set to water with the sprinkler system.

And if my porch pillars look a bit rough, well, we are working on them. I have scraped them in preparation for a new paint job. Hubby removed the old rotted wood bases and is replacing them with composite bases (after waterproofing the wood).

The one below has the C-clamp on it. The above one gets it next when the 4th side is added. I hope to get them both repainted this coming week. I will re-do them mostly brown, but want to add some color in, like yellow and orange to match the house and front door.  There is even some pale lime green I may add. I’ve been saving Pinterest ideas, but I don’t know how bold I’m willing to go. We will just have to see!

The contractors finished with our rain gutter re-routing and soffit repairs. My new kitchen light fixture arrived. Now I need to get my contractor out to paint the kitchen ceiling so I can paint the walls. Hubby will then hang the new fixture and take the old window coverings off. The new shutters will arrive mid-August. Slow progress, but progress it is.

Cathy maroon
Saturday, July 16, 2016

In the Pink - Finally!!

With the busy days of summer, I thought I would never get to sewing my pink scraps. I’ve had the cats/kittens and Dresdens cut out for a couple weeks, along with the RSC Sampler blocks. But other things intervened until mid-week, when I was finally able to put the (sewing machine) pedal to the metal!

What would pink be without two litters of kittens with their mamas? If it looks like other colors are showing through, that’s because they are. Ahem. I just lazy-pinned these over my Aria quilt blocks on my design board.

And then below are the Indian Hatchet blocks for the RSC column-along. I decided to do those in the darkest and brightest shades of pink. They are sewn into one long strip but sort of U’ed for this picture. Again, lazy.

But you can see them below, actually sewn in what will be their permanent position between the teal pinwheels and the brown whatever-they’re-called’s. Until the other colors are sewn, this is as far as I care to venture with putting these together. They will not be in rainbow order, obviously.

I mentioned in my last post that I had been to a Farm Girl Vintage Retreat last week (I went to one last year, too, since they are local). Lori Holt has released a cute new Farm Fresh fruit stand pattern as well as four new blocks: watermelon, peach (in my case I am calling it an apricot), peas and carrots. Any of her 6” block patterns fit into the jar, and I plan to complete my fruit soon. There are nine jars, and my first two are below.

A couple posts ago I mentioned that I was doing a red, white and blue flag block as a surprise for the retreat guest of honor, Cathy P from Tasmania. Well, actually I did three (as did most of us); one for CathyP that we each signed, one for Lori Holt, and one to keep for ourselves. So we all signed each others’ blocks, and mine is below. I will finish it into a quilt sometime next summer before 4th of July.  No rush now, hehehe.

The pears and the strawberry are for future jam jars. I have no idea why I sewed my strawberry pink. I am going to re-do it in reds because strawberries are red, aren’t they? I also want to do honey (using a 6” bee block), cherries, blueberry (using blue fabric on the cherry block), and then a couple veggies I haven’t decided on yet.

And that’s it from my sewing room for now. I expect to work on my pink Dresdens and pink vintage sheet rail fence blocks this week. But every day next week I have something going on: Monday my granddaughter Lauren will be here. Luckily, she loves to sew (and I bought her some cute flamingo fabric), so we may get some sewing in. On Tuesday they’re FINALLY coming to do our rain gutters and heat tapes. Wednesday is pretty open, but Thursday will be spent with my cousin and her daughter to help them set up their Etsy shop. I have given them most of my inventory (vintage patterns, vintage fabrics and other things). I will probably keep my vintage sheets for a few more months - and the laces will be sold off at a retreat I will be attending in September. Then I’m free!!!

I’m linking up to Angela’s Scrappy Saturday. Why not come and check out the pinkness?

Have a great weekend!

Cathy maroon
Thursday, July 14, 2016

Quarter Three Finish Along Goals

Hi! I’ve been so busy for the past two weeks, I sometimes don’t know if I’m coming or going.
I will share some pictures below, but first I want to list my goals for the 3rd Quarter Finish Along. The Finish-Along is hosted by several lovely ladies who work their tails off to coordinate our goals with our finishes, hosting link-ups and gathering prizes from so many fantastic sponsors. If you have never looked into this, try the linky in my sidebar or go HERE to see the 3rd Quarter Goals of the many participants.

Without further ado, here are my goals:

1.  Shane’s Magic Carpet.
You’ve seen it in my goals before, but hopefully this will be the last time before I finish it. I intend to work more on finishing quilts this quarter rather than starting any more.

2. Notting Hill Quilt.
This project has always been to add 2 blocks per month to what I had at the beginning of the year. I have sixteen completed and plan to do 2 in July and 2 in August. It then just needs to be sashed, quilted, bound.

3.  Aria Quilt.
The blocks and rows are all sewn, and about half of them are sewn together. A good hour would allow me to finish this top. I will have to piece a border and backing with all the leftover fabrics. I plan to send this ASAP to a professional quilter because it will be a queen bed-sized. If I hurry, I can get it back by the end of the quarter.

4. and 5.  Cat Quilts.
I have 8 litters made. Each litter is a 24x24” square consisting of a 12” mama cat in the middle surrounded by twelve 6” kittens. The litters will be set 2x3 with sashing and should finish about 54x74”.  The two quilts will have some different colors, so when I finish, you’ll be able to see that they are actually two separate quilts. I have some cute cat fabric to back both of them. They’ll be Christmas presents for the 2 granddaughters who are cat crazy like their grandma.

6. Farm Girl Quilt.
This one has been on and off my lists for a year. I have enough blocks to finish the quilt in a 7x7 setting. (By the way, see the new watermelon block? I just made that at the Farm Girl Retreat last wee - more about that below).

The problem here is that I was really a beginner last year when I started these. Yes, I had been quilting for 2.5 years at the time, but I had never learned the finer points of flying geese, measuring 1/4” seams, etc.  The blocks range from 12” to 12.5” finished, in various eighth-inch increments.  I hope I’m up to the challenge of fudging on the sashing to make up the differences. And I think cornerstones would accentuate the issue, so those are out for sure. We will see how it goes. Needless to say, I am much more careful on getting my blocks more accurate. It’s a continual challenge...

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Last week we had another Farm Girl Retreat at Thimbles and Threads with Lori Holt. This was called our Instagram Farm Girl Retreat  (#igfarmgirlvintageretreat) because we were there to greet our friend Cathy (Tazzie) Purdon from New Zealand, who is visiting the USA for 5 weeks. So the whole IG group of friends was there, as well as some of Lori’s “peeps” - her personal group of crazy and delightful friends. There were 22 of us, including teacher Lori and guest of honor Cathy.

At the retreat, Lori introduced four new blocks (coming soon) and her Farm Fresh Quilt Pattern (now available at the Fat Quarter Shop). It was pure craziness and laughter with all these women. Beth B (@kitqueen) made everyone their own IG block. Isn’t it cute? She has the most infectious laugh! And several other ladies, including Lori, passed out gifts for everyone.

Here is Lori and Cathy P just as they were presented with the USA Flag Blocks that each of us made for them. They will each have enough (signed) quilt blocks to make their own quilt.

Lori Holt and Cathy Purdon
L-R: Cathy K, Betty, Kristie, Rae Anne, Suzanne

Joanna Cotton and me
Can you believe this amazing dress (below) that Cynthia Horst (@dreamquiltcreate) made for herself from selvages?!?

I met some incredible ladies and had a blast. Yes, I did feel totally out of my league, but as always, I learned a lot and made new friends. It was wonderful, and I was certainly humbled to have been invited.

Finally, apricot season is here. If hubby and I are not out picking apricots (and cleaning up our and our neighbor’s yards from them), we are dehydrating them or I’m making jam or freezing quart after quart..... It looks like an apricot tornado in my kitchen. And did I mention that my daughter Megan is visiting from Seattle this week??

And then there are the contractors. Today they measured for new sliding shutters for our sliding glass doors. The rain gutter/soffit contractors will be here Tuesday to do their repairs and install heat tapes. DH has just about finished making the new porch pillar bases (they are 3/4 installed), so I will be painting the pillars next week. And I have a month to paint the kitchen (and get someone in to paint its ceiling). The shutters arrive 3rd week of August, as does the custom light fixture we are having made from a woodworker on Etsy. Once the kitchen is done, the living room demolition will start. And somewhere in there will be vegetables to harvest with grapes following after that.

At least I’m not bored!!

Cathy maroon
Saturday, July 2, 2016

Looking Through Rose-Colored Glasses, er..... Drawers

July is here and the new color of the month for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge is PINK. Angela and Vickie put the emphasis on hot pink with lime accents. Of course, we don’t discriminate against any pinks, so all are welcome. And I’ll keep most of the lime accents for my margaritas, LOL.

So, since July is all of a day old, I haven’t done much sewing-wise. But, I have searched through all my drawers and piles and stacks, etc., to gather up anything that remotely thinks it’s pink. And I have even begun cutting out cats and kittens so certain feline members of my household will not nag me.

And take a look at the pile of pink sheets below I have to work with. The three at the top of the picture are uncut top and bottom sheets. And they may stay that way for quilt backings or for sale in my Etsy shop, because look at all the other scraps I have without them. I will be making my usual 9.5” rail fence blocks with these scraps. But how many can I make? I`ll probably stop around 15-18 and then cut the remainders into 6” blocks for a future quilt.

And look at how fun some of these are! See the one with the lime accents? I used that as a backing on a small quilt I made last year for my cousin Emma.

I will be going to Missouri again this year (In September) and hope to swing by and visit Emma, Aunt Maria and my Uncle Bela. Uncle Bela is 97 and very sharp of mind. He also still walks unassisted, cooks elaborate Hungarian meals, attends church regularly and knows exactly what is going on in the family and the world. He’s the last of his generation (my parents’ generation) left in our family, and he is totally amazing.

But first I will be attending a local quilting retreat where Lori Holt will be the teacher. The event is private, and there will be about 20 of us there to welcome our IG friend Cathy “Tazzie” Purdon to the USA. We’re all having lunch together on Tuesday, then a trunk show by Lori on Wednesday evening. The Farm Girl retreat itself will be all day Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. So I won’t have anything to report to RSC until Sunday, if I’m lucky. Anyway, I`m in mad preparation for the retreat....

Above: laid out piles of scrappy fabrics (minus the pinks; I need to get my RSC sampler pieces, cats and Dresden fans cut out first). And my poor Aria quilt on the design board is once again tabled.....

I`m also going to make a single block of this flag pattern for a purpose I can`t talk about yet. But that should only take a half hour.....

And if all that isn’t enough, the apricot tree is s-l-o-w-l-y ripening and going to want picking beginning in a few days. I checked it this morning and the only fully ripe branch is a high vertical one that hubs had talked about cutting back. My guess is he is going to want to do it tomorrow or Monday (his days off) so we can use the salvageable fruit. We lost 2 largish branches last week due to breakage from weight, so all the rest are propped up. So, the color of the month may be pink, but the fruit of the month is apricot.

I’m linking up to Angela at So Scrappy for Scrap Happy Saturday. Come visit!

Cathy maroon
Saturday, June 25, 2016

Teal Totaling

As June draws to a close - this is the last Saturday - I have no new teal blocks to show. However, I do have my totals and recap and other things to show as well. So glad you dropped by for a visit!

This month I completed only one teal Dresden block. Then there were the 12 double pinwheels, the 10 sixteen-patch blocks with black and white centers. Can’t forget the Mama Teal cat and her 12 kittens; those 13 blocks were sewn into one litter.  And finally, with the remaining scraps of teal fabrics, HSTs and flying geese that have accumulated over the year, I sewed 13 improv blocks that will finish at 8”.

That was a total of 49 teal blocks, a respectable number.  Now, with six months of RSC sewing done, I have a total of 12 Dresdens (probably will be 19” blocks made into 1-2 quilts), 8 kitten litters (2 pink and 2 red left, then the 2 quilts will be assembled), 58 rail fence blocks from vintage sheets (none done this month), 74 8” improv blocks and 60 16-patch blocks (8” each).  Those improv blocks or 16-patch blocks may be divided into two color stories to make 2 quilts each, depending on how many I end up with after we’ve made through all the colors.

So all my sewing this week related to my Aria quilt. The larger squares start at 5” and are 4.5" when sewn. The sashing is 1”, and the green/blue rows are 2.5x5” (half a charm square) pieces sewn together on end. I am pleased with how it’s going, but I had hoped to be farther along by now.

At least all the rows are sewn together; so now it’s just a matter of sashing and connecting the rows.

And cutting more 1.5” strips because I’ve already used up a whole jelly roll of them.....

Now I don’t think I will be able to finish this by month-end. So, since it is going to finish in the neighborhood of 86x105” when the sashing and borders are done, I think I’ll get it professionally quilted instead of wrestling with it myself. Then I can go on to new things.

And speaking of new things, Angela will be announcing the new July RSC color soon. But in the meantime, why not join us over at So Scrappy to check out everyone’s teal progress?

Have a lovely weekend!

Cathy maroon
Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Aria Quilt Course Correction

Thanks for all your input on the colors for my Aria quilt. I was stuck on the idea of keeping this quilt in one fabric line, which I normally don’t do. It limits creativity, and in this case made it impossible to come up with a cohesive color palette.

I love this line by Benartex. But although I had bought yards and yards of fabric, there wasn’t enough of the various coordinating support prints. Maybe I should’ve just made a whole cloth quilt from the feature fabric, which I love. Ha! I will have enough to use on the back, so that may happen after all.

First, I apologize for the bad pictures. The right section of my design board is under a soffit in my studio, so that portion is always darker, even when I try to remove the shadows.

So, doesn’t it look better? Maybe not perfect, but certainly passable. I left in a couple of dark blue pieces above, but added in others in lighter shades. The smaller rows across will be done in blues and greens while the block rows will use the feature print plus several coordinates from the line PLUS a few other golds, oranges and teals pulled from my stash.

closer view, right side

closer view, left side

If the pieces look wonky, it’s just the way they are pinned on the board. So far the piecing is right on the mark. I hope to get it all pieced by Friday so I can begin basting it on Sunday. Saturday is a big family gathering here, so there won’t be any sewing time then. I would really like to finish this by month end, less than 10 days from now, so I can count it as a finish for my 2016 Finish-Along Quarter 2 goals.

Darla thinks I should be cleaning up my fabric stash. Too much fabric is all mixed up. But for now it will stay. We are hoping to begin the living room remodel (and kitchen refresh) in July.

Right now, we are waiting for the final bid for the living room work. We’ll be ripping out the fireplace faux brick, hearth, mirrors (so eighties!) and carpet so we can re-do the fireplace. There will be new tile, a gas insert and mantel for the fireplace.  The fireplace will be flanked by new built-in cabinets and shelves. The TV will go above it and speakers and lighting will be added. Hardwood floors will be laid in the living room, stairs and upstairs hallway to match what is already in the kitchen. I got Bruce a new recliner for Father’s Day, and we have one other newish chair we plan to keep. Other than that, we will get new living room furniture, rugs, etc. And we’ll replace one interior door going down to the basement.  The other doors and closet doors will have to wait until next year to be updated. And we are still waiting for the rain gutter contractor to install heat tapes and do some minor gutter and soffit repairs. With all the rain we’ve had in June, they got way behind in their scheduling.

And finally this summer we will paint the kitchen, add a new fixture over the dining table, and add sliding shutters for the glass doors. We gutted and remodeled the kitchen about 10 years ago, so it only needs some cosmetic refreshes. These planned changes have kept me busy watching remodeling shows, pinning pictures, saving brochures and paint chips and visiting showrooms. On my Pinterest account, I have a board for Living Room Remodel and one for Lighting. Not only am I compiling choices, but building a budget. We are sort of striking while the iron is hot and Bruce is working, before officially re-retiring.  But it has cut into my sewing productivity these last couple weeks!

I hope your summer is going well.

Cathy maroon
Saturday, June 18, 2016

(More) Teal Reveal

This week I was able to finish up my teal blocks for this month. Yay!  Here is what's new:

First, the 16-patch blocks. They are just hanging on the flannel-covered design walls, not even pinned. So excuse their wonkiness. They have been trimmed to 8.5x8.5 inches, but it doesn’t look like it!

And I finished the teal Dresden.  Got it all sewn down and a teal yo-yo made for the center.

And my last thing is always the improv blocks done with the leftovers bits and bobs (including countless HSTs). This is one of my very favorite things to do each month. This time I had enough teal (and white or white/teal) to make 15 8.5” square blocks. Again, they are just hanging on the design wall. I really want to find a cool layout for these improv blocks (that number 74 total so far this year) when the time comes to sew them together.

So now I am back to working on my Aria Quilt. I cannot seem to come up with a good layout. You’d think that was something I would have figured out long ago. But nooooo.... So, here is my dilemma (and its history).

I have this beautiful fabric, most of which is pictured directly below; yards and yards of the main print, 2 yards of the blue, a FQ of the next, 2 yards of orange and a half yard of the leaves on white. You will see the pattern I originally was going to use (along with added white). I did my daughter’s quilt in this pattern.  (BTW, that post also show’s Alfie and Darla’s official  shelter kitten portraits).

And then, months later I switched to the pattern below that I did my Helen’s Garden quilt in.

Moving forward another few months, DH Bruce said he would like it made into a bed quilt in the pattern I used for my son’s wedding quilt (minus the octopus and other motifs I added). So, I began cutting out blocks, using 1.5” white strips instead of the 2.5” strips.

And here I am this week, using trial and error on the design board to weed out the looks I don’t like, which is pretty much everything so far.

        1. Boring placement            2. Not enough contrast           3. Blue matches, but screams

I am ALMOST ready to go back to one of the first two patterns.  I have lots of yardage and could still get more of the light blue floral in pic #2 and the orange ikat-like print (XXX) in #3. Or better yet, I could just add in several other matching fabrics from my stash. The solid blue needs to be softer. This is a perfect case of what matches does not look good.

What would YOU do??? Help!

And while you ponder on that, why not join us at So Scrappy for Scrappy Teal Saturday?!

Cathy maroon