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Saturday, August 27, 2016

Time to Vote - for a Cat, that is!

We do our best to stay out of politics on this blog, but it is time to vote for PETS ON QUILTS 2016.  See the button link in my sidebar?  Just click it to take you there.

Darla and Alfie asked me to tell you that they would appreciate your vote. Of course, you can only vote for one cat, so you will have to pick one, LOL.  Darla is #17 and Alfie is #18.

How to vote? Just leave a comment on the Lily Pad Quilting post from the sidebar button link.  You can vote for Favorite Cat, Favorite Dog, Favorite Other Pet, and Favorite Pet-themed Project.  And by leaving a comment/vote, you are entered into a drawing to win one of lots of great prizes - be sure to check them out! You can also get additional entries by leaving a comment telling if you have visited some of the other entries, or if you follow the hostess, Lily Pad Quilting. Lots of ways to win!

I am off to vote - but I am torn between my two babies! Voting closes next Wednesday or Thursday, so be sure to visit over the next few days.  Thanks for your support, furrrends!!

Cathy maroon

As August Draws to a Close ...

... all I can say is “thank goodness!”   We had some incredible heat this month, but luckily the last several days have finally given ‘way to cooler temps. While I can’t exactly say that fall is in the air, it does feel as though we have turned the corner and left the worst of summer behind. The mountains are beginning to show bits of color, and evenings are pleasant enough to open windows and let in fresh breezes. I expect that even the kitties will be showing signs of growing thicker furs soon!

As far as the Rainbow Scrap Challenge goes, August was a bust for me. The colors of muted/misty purples and hazy/fugly greens were already incorporated in their prior respective months, so I concentrated on the alternate color of gray, which I expanded to mean any gray/black neutral.  The only thing I have to show for this week (and it was really sewn a couple weeks ago) is a light purple “crayon” (missing the contrasting white to finish it into a block) that I decided to make from light purples to get a start on one of next year’s colorful projects.


Since the pattern for the crayon quilt calls for two purples; a light/lavender and a dark purple, I did this lighter one with scraps I scrounged in boxes that were going for donation to a crazy quilting “Stash Dash”. I added a few light purples of my own... and a crayon was born.

So, my totals for this month were only my 12 RSC sampler blocks plus one crayon block. And I did sew together 50+ HSTs, but they are now put away for some future use. And I did a table runner out of black, white and orange for Halloween.


In mid-month I began stitching along with Lori Holt’s Cozy Christmas sampler. This week we made the second block, the Cozy Cottage. The beauty of this sampler is that you cut all the center pink pieces out at once, as well as the strips that surround it, and then you can make all the flying geese and HSTs for the block borders ahead of time. I did a lot of cutting and sewing, and got those done, so that future block construction time will be cut in half. As the blocks are completed, I am sashing them and will construct the rows. By the time I finish the 12th block, all that will be left is adding the quilt borders for an easy finish.


In other sewing, my Aria blue/orange top is done except for the final borders, which I am wrangling with now. And I am almost done constructing the monstrous back. This will be delivered to a long-arm quilter next week, so I don’t expect to see it back in time to add the binding and call it a finish for the 3rd quarter Finish-Along. This is only the second quilt I have ever farmed out for professional quilting, but I`m a wimp. I don’t feel like wrestling it through my Bernina; it’s about 86x102” (but I know Cathy L in Iowa could do it!)

Finally, DH is going to use his electric sander to finish up the door frame around the new basement door. I have caulked and hand sanded it (and given it all a base coat), but it needs a smoother, more professional finish. When he does that, I can paint the final coat and he can add the hardware. No news on the start of the living room remodel yet, which is OK. We are harvesting and doing yard maintenance.

Next month I will be spending a week in Missouri at a Crazy Quilting retreat. This is the 10th annual Crazy Quilting International gathering, and I have been to every single one. One of my dearest friends, who always used to come from Canada to spend a week with me before or after the retreat, passed a year ago. I still miss Diane. But many sweet friends from Florida, Washington state, Nebraska, The Netherlands, and Kansas will be there. In fact, three of us will be making an afternoon jaunt up to Missouri Star Quilt Company the day before the retreat officially starts. I was there last year, but haven’t seen the main shop since its remodel. We can’t wait!

I think that’s about it for now. Today I will get that border sewn on Aria and finish piecing the back. Then I need to begin focusing on packing up my lace (etc) inventory to sell at the retreat so I can finally close up my Etsy shop next month.

Linking up to Rainbow Scrap Challenge at So Scrappy.

Cathy maroon
Saturday, August 20, 2016

Kitchen Done! And Other Stuff

This is going to be a post with a lot of pictures, because I have a lot to catch up on. So, let’s get started.


To start off, this month for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge I am working on my gray scraps, such as they are. All I really did on them this week was sew together a bunch (like 50+) half square triangles in 3.5, 2.5 and 1.5”. I have no immediate plans for them, but they’ll be of use sometime down the road, I’m sure. Over at Angela’s So Scrappy blog, the ladies there have more misty/hazy purples and greens and grays - why not hop on over?

The front porch columns are done! The kitchen is done! The living room demolition has not yet begun (thankfully) because I need a break for a week or two. I am so tired of painting, cleaning up, painting some more, sanding, cleaning floors, dusting, painting, etc. etc.

So, here are some pix:

We do plan to seal the front walkway before winter. It is concrete; embossed and dyed to look like flagstone. Our house faces north, so the porch area is in shade all winter and gets a lot of water, ice and snow.


Yeah, so I didn’t paint the columns crazily after all. I started to add colored stripes, but it looked so bad that I couldn’t paint over it fast enough.

As for the kitchen, when we moved in in 2003 (left picture below), it was stuck in the 1980’s and had blue/pink indoor/outdoor carpeting in the kitchen to match the white with pink and blue wallpaper. Our refrigerator didn’t fit.  In 2006 we did a full gut and remodel, adding hardwood floors, new cabinets, etc etc. (middle picture).  It has served us well, but needed fresh paint and some new window coverings. While we were at it, we added a new fixture because the old one was too dark, and replaced the dishwasher.

Here are the pictures looking east:
Left: 2003  Move-in                    Middle: 2006 Remodel                   Right:  2016 Refresh

And these are looking west:
Left: 2003 Move-in                 Middle:  2006 Remodel                   Right: 2016 Refresh

We still want to replace the table and chairs with a farm table, chairs and bench. But that will have to wait until next year. And, obviously, I need to get some things up on the walls...

With our new refrigerator (from February) and dishwasher, the cats can’t knock toys and things underneath. When we replaced the refrigerator, there were 19 straws underneath (they LOVE straws). I thought that was bad, but the dishwasher was replaced there were 34 straws!! Unfortunately, I still have to do a monthly fishing expedition under the stove/range to get things out. Yesterday there were no straws, but 2 shriveled apricots, 4 catnip mice and one of my wool pincushions. Actually, I was hoping to find a flash drive that has gone missing, but so far no feline is talking! (It has our wills and foundation information on it. Bruce is convinced the cats hid the flash drive to protest not being included in the wills).

So, in preparation for the living room demolition chaos to begin next month, we are choosing paint colors, hardwood flooring (since we cannot match the kitchen floor exactly, we will go darker) and pick out a fireplace gas insert.

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

As promised, here is a picture of the quilt that my cousin Kim finished this month. She has been working on it about 2 years BY HAND. She finally used my Kenmore to sew on the borders. I did the quilting (simple loops) and she attached the binding by machine, then finished it by hand. I think it turned out beautifully! Way to go, KIMMIE!!


Aren’t the colors gorgeous? It’s for one of her granddaughters, Trini (who used to sew on Sundays with us).


Kim so enjoyed sewing on the machine again, that she had her old Kenmore serviced and will be using it to work on a quilt for her other granddaughter, Zoe. We expect it could be done by Christmas!

I have been working on sewing the rows of my Aria quilt together, and am 80% done with that. Pictures of that next weekend. I also hope to begin quilting Notting Hill during the coming week.

Finally, I bought the kit for Lori Holt’s Cozy Christmas Quilt, and am participating in the quilt-along. There are 12 blocks, each with an appliquéd center and pieced borders. I am not a fan of appliqué, but I loved the fabric line. So one block a week is do-able.  This is the first block, called Cozy Bell:


That’s it for now. Thanks for dropping by!

Cathy maroon
Sunday, August 14, 2016

Alfalfa, at Your Service!

Hi Peeples! I’m Alfie. You probably already know me because I have posted here a couple of times before. I was going to post again earlier, but my sister Darla was on the computer and took FOR.EV.ER. to get done. Girls!

Today I am linking up to the one and only Pets on Quilts Show over at Lily Pad Quilting. You may remember that I talked about it a couple weeks ago.  Without further ado, here is my official Pawtrait. Mom actually had another picture of me on this quilt, or rather under it, but the only thing that showed was my tail. I didn’t know if you would recognize just my tail (as fine as it is......)


Or should I use the picture below? It was just taken this week when Mom needed me to pose on her new quilted table runner.


You know, I wasn’t always a cat heartthrob. Once I was a little cub kitten. In fact, they say I was the runt (what’s that?) of the litter. This was my first picture.


I think Darla told you in the last post that our other brothers (Buckwheat, Spanky and Stymie) went to live in other places, but my sister Darla and I came to live here with Mom and Dad about three years ago. Mom calls us her Little Rascals.  Hey, if I tell you a secret, will you promise not to tell Darla? The truth is that I really do love her. She is a great cuddle buddy. But just don’t let her know that. I like to keep her guessing!


Sometimes I like to do crazy things or strike crazy poses just to get some attention. I do a great Prairie Dog imitation, too, up on my hind legs.


Here is a picture of me when I was helping mom cut some yellow fabric for one of her quilts. Yeah, I help around the studio.


I always check to make sure her machine is ready to go and, most importantly, that there are no pins on the design boards where cats kids can reach them. Yeah, I always check that. Below is a picture of me (as a teenager) measuring quilts for my mom. 


And just to show you how well-rounded I am, here is a picture of me helping mom in her office, where she used to run an Etsy business. That’s me checking the paper the printer, below. Or maybe I was just steadying it as it printed. I can’t quite remember.


So, please go visit the linkup and look at all the other interesting cats, dogs and other pets on quilts. You will, of course, want to “LIKE” my picture, because, how could you not??

(WINK)

Best Wishes (isn’t that how they sign pawtagraphs?)
Alfie



Darling Darla

Hello everyone, my name is Darla. I am a beautiful (at least that’s what my mom says) brown tabby with golden-orange undertones.  And this is my official pawtrait for the Pets on Quilts Show over at Lily Pad Quilting.


I am three years old, and I love the color green because it sets off my green eyes to perfection. I also have a cute orange nose. Below is my official kitten adoption picture from the Best Friends Shelter where I lived until I was adopted by Mom and Dad.  You can see that my eyes were still kitten gray in the picture.


I came from a litter of five cats, and I was the only girl. My brother Alfalfa (below, left) and I were adopted together. Buckwheat, Spanky and Stymie went to live in other places.  


I want to point out in the above two pictures that I have a built-in necklace around my neck (see the stripe?) and also velvety black back paws, which mom calls stilettos (what are those?) She says I look like I’m walking in high heels when I walk away from her.


As you can see in the picture above, I also have a polka dot tummy.  Yes, I am a very well-dressed diva cat. And I particularly love to lay on quilts. You know, SOMEONE has to test them for softness!



I work in Mom’s studio with her a lot. Here I am (above) helping her with some green fabric. I also like to chase anything that she drops on the floor and generally just hang out and supervise to make sure everything is being done correctly.


Mom says I am a sweet cat (she is my best friend), but I am a little shy. I hope you will “Like” my picture at the Pets on Quilts picture parade. Alfie is going to enter a picture, too, but I bet his won’t be as lovely as mine! And he’s hyper, so who even knows if Mom has a picture of him sitting still.

Thanks for reading, and feel free to write to me any time!
Your friend,

Darla

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Some Sewing, But Mostly Painting

Thank goodness for lists! I made myself lists of Things to Do this week, day by day, and I was able to stick to it.

On Monday, Bruce and I worked in the front yard. He finished up the front porch pillars, which I thought were already done. But he had filling and sanding, etc., to do. On Tuesday, I painted the pillars. I even tried some colored stripes, but it looked terrible. AWFUL. I couldn’t paint over them fast enough.  More pictures on those as soon as I get a sealer coat on the columns.

On and off all week (I call it pacing myself), I painted the kitchen. And sewed. I only have one wall left to paint in the kitchen, but we have to move the big china cabinet to do it. But it will be done by Tuesday, because the shutters will be installed on Wednesday.

On the sewing front, I sewed my column of bullseyes together. They were fun, but are not so pretty in the grays I chose.


Here is a little closer up; the grays range from lightest gray to charcoal to greige. And a print of grays, tans, etc, mixed up. But I know these will play well off the other bright colors of the Rainbow Scrap Sampler. Brown will be at one end and the gray at the other with all the bright colors in between.


Some of the columns are sewn together. Next to be sewn on will be either red or yellow, then the blue, then the green, then the other of red or yellow, then the gray. Clear as mud? I may have to do some shifting around depending on the width of the rows. I think that orange row should maybe have waited.....  But anyway, I am sure loving this!!


Then I wanted to do something with some of my black and gray scraps, so I pulled out the leftover lightening fabric (used on the back of Rainbow Orbs) along with the orange pumpkins left over from my fall table runner last year. I combined that with some text print and made a simple table runner of bullseye and 9-patch blocks. By playing with Pattern Jam  (a free online design tool), and coming up with my own patterns, I was able determine ahead of time which patterns and sizes would work with the scraps I chose. Have you ever played with Pattern Jam? I love it and have designed so many quilts I want to try some day.


Back to this table runner, the back is some cat fabric and the binding is some ancient black with white polka dots. It was a quick and satisfying little project.  I have a ton of HST scraps from the last couple years in grays and blacks, so I will be sewing those up. They may even make it into an improv block or two.


Finally (no picture), I found some light purples (lavenders, basically) in a bin of scraps I have set aside - and add to frequently - for a future “scrap vortex” or “scrap vomit” quilt. It’s where I throw those scraps that don’t fit neatly into one color category. What do you do with your multi-colored scraps?  Anyway, I know that I want to sew one of those crayon quilts (this pattern from Emily Herrick), so I made a lavender crayon. It will go into next year’s pile for RSC projects. When it comes to the purple month then, I will do the dark purple crayon. :-)

Today I will be sewing on my Aria quilt top, and I hope to finish it. Then I would like to start  quilting Notting Hill. There is also a door that needs to be sanded and painted, but that is down the list.....

Why not join us over at Angela’s Rainbow Scrap Challenge Scrappy Saturday? Come and check out all the creative things that our friends keep churning out during these dog days of summer!

Cathy maroon
Saturday, August 6, 2016

Play Misty for Me

Catchy title, but please DON’T play Misty for me, LOL (I love the song, liked the movie, but dislike Clint Eastwood). This month at the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, we are supposed to be working with “misty” purple and “hazy” green. But not having been told to save the misty/hazy/muddy purples and greens (IF there were any even in my scraps), I have none to work with.

Luckily, we were also given the option to work with gray, and I have some of those. But not enough to do all my regular blocks (cats, Dresdens, etc etc). I am doing the RSC Sampler block - twelve 6” bullseye blocks. When those are done, I am going to piece a table runner for my kitchen. Maybe add some oranges in to make it Halloweeny.  And from there, probably some improv blocks.

So for now, I have my 12 sampler blocks cut out and ready to chain piece. Should be quick and easy peasy. I’ll show my finished blocks next week.


The silver (or gray) lining to this month’s color choice (and my lack of scraps) is that I get to work on finishing up two almost-done quilts. Here is Notting Hill, which is now a flimsy. I even prepped the backing and it is ready to baste. I’ll do that on Sunday when my cousin comes over to sew so we can baste it together. It makes for a shorter time down on our knees for two old broads....


And then next up is Aria, which is now back up on the design board and scheduled to be finished over the next couple weeks.

On the home front, I have started painting some of the nooks and crannies of the kitchen work area. Today I also took some chalk paint to some old maroon-colored vases and they are now aqua. Will look much brighter when the living room is done.  We are prepping the new basement door and frame (sanding, filling) and kitchen walls for painting by me this coming week. Also, the front porch pillars are ready, too, so I will have no lack of painting projects. And of course, our 11-year old dishwasher picked this week to die a screeching death (motor bearings). We didn’t even consider repairing it because the inside prongs were rusting away. So, on Wednesday I bought a new dishwasher and it was installed Thursday. Goodbye Kitchen Aid, Hello Bosch. Goodbye Budget.

Cathy maroon