Saturday, January 21, 2017

Purple Scraps and a Finish. And a Start.

Is it February yet?

Just kidding! I’m not done with my purple scraps yet for January, but I think they have just about done me. The problem is that I have so many solid and batik purples left over from the Magic Carpet quilt and the Cityscape quilt that the sameness is getting to me. But I am persevering!

This is what I got done this week, purple-wise. To see other purple-y goodness, join us at Angela’s So Scrappy blog for Rainbow Scrap Saturday.

First up, Cynthia Brunz’ lovely block pattern, Geese Migration. Using simple squares and flying geese, I couldn’t resist making two. These weren’t in my original plans, but plans are meant to be changed, right?

Then, to dig a bit further into the 2.5” scraps, I made 11 plus blocks.

And another unplanned block (SQUIRREL!!) was this foray into bow-ties, thanks to seemingly half the RSC ladies who are doing (or have done) these. I had never made bow-tie blocks before, and oh my are these fun! I finally stopped at 38.

Because of getting side-tracked, I didn’t finish all my Friendship Star variation blocks. But they will be done by next week, and I will show them then. I also hope to use my purple  crumbs and 1.5” pieces to sew up a purple slab or two for future use.

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This week I also quilted the Cool Blue Green Improv block quilt, which was one of my many 2016 Rainbow Scrap projects.

This was comprised of my blue, teal, green and purple (cool colors) improv blocks from last year. The blocks finished at 8” and are set 7x7. With the sashing, it finishes at 72x72”.  The backing is a hodgepodge of blue and green fat quarters and large scraps.  The batting was Frankenpieced from strips of leftover Warm and Plush, my go-to batting that I buy by the 25-yard roll.

The quilting was very simple; wavy lines using my walking foot. I used the long wavy stitch on my Bernina, setting it to maximum length and width.  They are NOT supposed to be equal distant apart, but rather four vertical lines per column and then one in each of the sashes. The waves got off here and there as my foot pedal cord kept shorting out. I am taking it to be repaired or replaced this week.

This was my First Quarter Finish Along Goal #3 and my second finish of the quarter.

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For those of you who just visit on Saturday for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, I wrote a post yesterday about our recent living room remodel. It shows the before and after photos. I know some of you may be interested and some not, so I decided to do it in a separate post. If you are interested, the post is HERE.

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Darla has been my constant companion lately, especially in the studio. These were taken on Wednesday or Thursday, when she felt it was time to really step up her game.

Mom, that ruler isn’t lined up correctly!

Wait! You need to sew another line and then trim in between to get 2 HSTs.

What kind of thread are you using? I’d better check this out. 

Sewing time is over! It’s Kitty Loving Time now!

Later, when I was back in the studio without The Supervisor, I got to sewing on the quilt I will make to take to one of my BILs in AZ next month. Yep, a simple Disappearing 9-patch.  All the big blocks are sewn, trimmed and pressed. About half are cut up and shown below.

The original plan was to have some sort of pattern, but it became obvious as I used random pieces and fat quarters from my stash, that a pattern was not going to develop. I still don`t know what the final layout will be, but I should be able to find something a bit more exciting than the hodgepodge above. But it will be the 11 blocks across as shown and then 13 rows down. Also, the blue is really more of a teal, but that doesn’t translate well with the camera.

And there you have it - my sewing adventures for the week. I can’t wait to see what everyone else has been doing!

Cathy maroon
Friday, January 20, 2017

Living Remodel Done - Before and After Pix

Usually if I blog mid-week, I prefer to do it more Wednesday-ish. But here it is Friday, and I decided to just go ahead and blog today even though I will have my weekly Rainbow Scrap Challenge post tomorrow. Besides, the remodel may not interest a lot of the quilters, so they can come see this or not, as they choose.

We have lived in this house for about 14 years, and this remodel of the living room was the last really major thing we have attacked. I do still want to update the laundry room, but it’s nothing that we can’t handle ourselves in a weekend. But the living room...... that was a major project.

When we moved in, the living room (and indeed the house) was immaculate, but very dated.  It was built in 1963. The sage green carpet was almost everywhere in the house except for the bathroom and kitchen. But the kitchen had blue and pink indoor/outdoor carpet, so that was even worse! We gutted and remodeled the kitchen in 2006, and refreshed it last summer with white paint, a new light fixture and some sliding shutters for our sliding glass doors. Major improvement - and you will see parts of that in one of the pictures.

Here is a living room BEFORE photo, taken just before demolition began. Underwhelming. Obviously, a lot of the knick-knacks, etc. are already removed. In previous years, we had already replaced the large living room window with double pane windows (that open on the sides), insulated the ceiling, and added shutters. Infrastructure/basics first.

When the demo began, we removed the bench hearth and had intended to remove the brick and mirror as well, but the brick was mortared to the exterior brick, so we brought the wall out in front of it by a few inches instead. That gave us the room and opportunity to insulate the wall. And as an engineer, DH was able to add in all the specialty wiring for electricity and media. Note that the 2x4’s around the fireplace are metal to meet code for a fireplace.

The former wood-burning fireplace had a gas line, so we converted to a gas-burning fireplace insert so we could enjoy the clean-burning fireplace often (due to environmental regs, we rarely ever burned wood). We were also able to make it smaller, shifting it to the right a bit so it would not be as noticeably off-center. It still is off center, but much better.

And here is the “after”! We didn’t get the leather couch and ottoman until the second week of January, but we were patient. The custom bookcases were painted white by the builder, and we (meaning me) painted the walls Agreeable Gray by Sherwin Williams. The cabinets on the right side (as you look at it) house all our media stuff, from DVD player, turntable, etc etc. They are remote controlled (as is the TV and fireplace) by DH when he sits in his leather recliner. The left cabinet contains grandkid toys for now, but eventually (as they grow up) it will be for extra quilts and seasonal pillows, etc.

The dark hardwood floors are a really elegant-looking contrast to the white and gray. The rug covers the seating area.  Sometimes I use the ottoman as a coffee table, and sometimes I drag it a couple feet over to my chair and use it as .... an ottoman!!

The cats prefer the cloth couch, which is no surprise. At least, they prefer it if our laps aren’t available, LOL. I still need to get something for the wall on either side of the clock (that I can finally SEE when I am in my chair!!) I’m thinking of a couple wall plants or sconces or something. Something that will contrast texturally with the hardness of the wall and clock. But that’s the decorator in me talking. 

This is the view looking back towards the entry (which would be behind my striped chair) and the dining area (through the left opening). The door (replaced last summer when we refreshed the kitchen) goes down to the basement. You can see how the dark of the new hardwood floors ends at the top of the stairs. We were pleasantly surprised to find the original hardwood - in excellent shape - throughout the upstairs, so we kept it. That meant we had extra dark hardwood, but our contractor really wanted it for his house. So we traded for labor and other expenses, and it was a win-win. The only repair on the floor was filling a few tiny carpet nail holes area across the threshold into the bedroom. Then it was swept and buffed. Done and done! The hallway and bedroom still got their new baseboards, though.

We are still looking for the perfect coat rack or shelf with hooks for the wall above and to the right of the vintage radio. All things in time. The above pic looks down the hall (this is just a small tract home) and into the library/study.

The plain floor of the bedroom required a rug, of course, and we opted for this sisal-type mat to go with the African theme (most of which you cannot see) in this room. To make it non-slippery, I Googled for an answer and Martha Stewart came to the rescue.

Here is Alfie showing how I used the leftover caulking to apply strips to the back of the rug. Let it dry for a few hours, and voila!  I may have to add a few more strips later - we’ll see.

And, that’s the end of the tour. I’m so thrilled that it’s finally done! It will be awhile before we tackle anything else, that’s for sure. Thanks for dropping by!

Until tomorrow,
Cathy maroon
Saturday, January 14, 2017

First Finish of the Year

How has your week been? Here in the Salt Lake Valley it’s been cold and wet. The sun made a brief appearance yesterday but is back in hiding today. We’ve had rain and snow (mostly rain) all week. Great sewing weather!

In my last post (if you didn’t see it) I listed out my goals for the first quarter of this year’s Finish-Along. I have a finish to show later on in this post (a Rainbow Scrap finish!), so let’s move on to Rainbow Scrap Challenge matters. This month is purple, and this week I focused on working with strips.

First up are my four 8.5” strip blocks. I’m still on the fence about adding the lighter colors, but there you have them. These are really the dregs of my scraps, as the best pieces went into the bookcase project.

The bookcase project, you ask? Yep, a rainbow bookcase. Here are my four purple 12” blocks for 80% of the “bottom shelf”. The last block will be made of dark neutrals (black/gray) when we get to those....

I’ve got more pictures, close up, to show you while I talk about this FUN project. You can click on the pictures to see them better. And all my imperfections. What a learning experience! My favorite part is picking out the book titles from my selvages.

The names of fabric lines make good titles for books (or songs, come to think of it). I just cut them out of the tightly-woven selvage and stitched around them with a tiny stitch. Do you see the book Fairy Frost? Dover Hill? Between Friends? And of course, Prince Charming!

As you can see , the books aren’t perfectly rectangular. I just eyeballed rather than measured everything (and with my vision issues, I should know better). But look at those titles...... Jazz (with music notes!) Anything Goes. Architextures (on the wood-grain print).

The small leaning books on top were problematic; from now on I’ll stick to the stacked books (like in the Anything Goes and Quilters Candy group).  My favorite? Helen’s Garden, on the right.  The names do not match the fabrics - I was more concerned about which titles fit. And I want to explore doing a book series (like the gold banded books above). I can do better.

Why not join us over at So Scrappy for some more purple Rainbow Scrap “reading”????

And this was my first finish of the year - my Rainbow Rails.  It was a 2016 Rainbow Scrap project made of vintage sheets in the Rail Fence pattern. It is now quilted, bound and ready to use. As it was always intended to be summer weight, the batting is merely flannel. It finished at 72”x81”.  This was #1 on my list of Q1 goals, which you can see here.

I’m not sure if you can see it, but the binding is scrappy and roughly matches the colors it borders (orange-green-pink-blue).

Right now I’m in the process of quilting another Rainbow Scrap quilt (blue-green Improv) and will have that for next time.

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In remodeling news, we had a great surprise. When the carpet was ripped up from the hallway and back bedroom/study, we found the original hardwood floors. They were in beautiful condition, although there was one tiny patch to be filled, then the whole thing was buffed. It is generally not recommended to lay hardwood on hardwood unless you run it in different directions, but why would we want to? So yeah, we have three different types of hardwood in the house now. The upstairs hardwood is everywhere (except the 2 bathrooms, which are tile) - three bedrooms and the hall. We left the master bedroom and the girly guest room carpeted for now.

So the hall (and closets) and study are now restored to their original lovely sixties-era hardwood. The new baseboards still need touching up and caulking, and the stair treads will go on today. In fact, it will all be done today and tomorrow. Then we can move everything back into the bedroom and hall closets. And the last of our furniture (couch and ottoman) are being delivered today. YAY!!  If the sun ever shines again, I should be able to finally get some pictures this week!

The remodel feels like it’s been going on forever - and indeed, we started the kitchen refresh in August. But the whole thing is within inches of being done. I love FINISHES of any kind!

Cathy maroon
Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Quarter I Finish-Along Goals

It’s time to list and link up my 2017 Finish-Along goals for the first quarter of the year. This list is so helpful to me, being the organized sort of person I am. I love being able to set goals and check things off.

Loving a checklist is a holdover habit from my working days. DH says I always tell him what I got done every day (not what I did, but what I got done) like I have to prove I was doing something instead of eating bonbons on the couch while watching TV. Yep, sounds like me. Come to think of it, it may have more to do with justifying my summer days to my mother when I was a kid (she worked). Good grief!

Oh well. Regardless, here is my list:

1.  Rainbow Rails.  This is a quilt top pieced for the 2016 Rainbow Scrap Challenge. It’s made with vintage sheets and is currently basted and ready for quilting and binding.

EDITED TO ADD:  FINISHED and blogged about here.

2.  Rainbow Dresdens.  Another RSC 2016 quilt top. Centers are doilies and yo-yos, backgrounds are solid pastels in blue, yellow pink. Needs to be basted, quilted and bound.

3.   Scrappy Improv (RSC 2016) in Cool Tones.  Needs basting, quilting, binding.
EDITED TO ADD:  FINISHED and blogged about here.

4.  Scrappy Improv (RSC 2016) in Warms. Needs basting, quilting, binding.

5.  Quilt for Brother-in-law.  This will be a simple Disappearing 9-patch in black, white, gray and turquoise. An easy make that I need to have done in about a month.

6.  Rose Cottage Quilt in Olive’s Flower Market. I just love the fabrics and have probably bought enough to do three quilts, but this one is for MOI.

7.  Rainbow 16-Patch Quilt (RSC 2016). I actually thought I had sewn these together already as a flimsy until I discovered them in on a WIP shelf. My bad. This needs to be done this quarter to make room for other WIPs!

I was going to add an eighth quilt (my Farm Girl Vintage quilt, which is in blocks still), but I know that there is no way on God’s green earth that I will realistically get to it this quarter. But it will be on the second quarter list, because I am going to put my sewing machine foot pedal to the metal and SEW.

Speaking of pedals, my foot pedal cord keeps cutting out. I just had Bernadette (my Bernina 550QE) in for her annual spa treatment, and they said the connection was just fine. I think they misunderstood what was happening, and I should have been more clear that it was the pedal cord, not the connection. But we are getting by for now, and I don`t want to take it back again until I have to.

Linking up to the 1st Quarter Finish-Along linky party. Why not join us?

Cathy maroon
Saturday, January 7, 2017

Another Scrappy, Happy Week!

This has been a cold week with lots of snow here in the Salt Lake Valley. It clears up for a day or so in between storms; brilliant sunshine and blue skies with glittering snow on the ground. Gorgeous. And then another storm comes in to cleanse the air and prevent pollution build-up. And so it goes. I don’t mind the snow - in fact I enjoy it -  because I`m retired. All I ever have to do is occasionally shovel the walkway for the mailman if hubby and the snowblower aren’t in the vicinity.  But since I’ve only come to live where there are four seasons in my adulthood (I grew up in sunny Southern California), I have never built a snowman. I ALMOST started one last Tuesday, but thought better of it.  :-)  I was in the front yard and could just imagine the neighbors wondering what this crazy ol’ broad was doing....

This week is the first week of PURPLE for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge over at Angela’s So Scrappy blog. Lots of purple goodness to check out! But also, we veteran RSC’ers were asked to share some of our past makes. Rather than add them in here, I have created a GALLERY page (blue link, above, next to “Home”). It starts with my 2016 quilts and goes back to 2012. Enjoy!

So, this is what I got done this week, sewing-wise:

Rainbow Selvages. This is actually four columns; two in purple (or blue-purple) and two in red-purple. The like colors will eventually be sewn together into their own single column, but I figured it was easier to photograph them this way. Besides, each column will alternate from starting with a solid to starting with selvages, checkerboard fashion. So, in the end I’ll have to rearrange a section here and there. No biggie.

These were so fun to whip up! And for now they will go into their little pile and await other colored friends to join them throughout the year.  :-)

Crayons.  The light purple crayon below was done last year (August) when we had the month of misty purple/acid green or do-your-own-thing.  This week I sewed up the dark purple. They are sewn together because they are neighbors on the quilt.  Actually, their length will be the width of the quilt (before borders, etc.)

Planned for next week is the purple blocks of the Rainbow Bookshelf. And then some work with 2.5” scraps.

I found the picture of the warm version of the Improv Scrap Blocks flimsy to show. It has a back pieced for it and is just waiting its turn in line for quilting.

I just totally love it! The sashing is Kona Cream, and I questioned whether it “worked” or not at first. But I think it does. This quilt is set 6x8 blocks and will finish at 62”x72”.

Right now I am in the middle of quilting Rainbow Rails (the vintage sheet rail fence), then after that is the Cool Improv Scraps (like above, only in blues, greens, purple with black sashing), then the Warm Improv above, and finally the Rainbow Dresdens. They will all become goals for the Finish-Along 1st Quarter.

Finally, I stitched up a sleeping bag and pillows for one of my granddaughter’s American Girl dolls. I still need to run to JoAnn and get a 20” separating zipper and sew on the ribbon ties. But It’s fun to show it even at this stage. I took the opportunity to practice my free motion swirls, and as you can see, I do need practice! But it’s OK for this, right?  LOL

I’m feeling a sort of loss, not having kitty blocks to work on! Did you see Missouri Star Quilt Company’s tutorial for this week? It’s a cat quilt!!  I’m almost tempted.......   Almost, but not quite.

Cathy maroon
Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The Sewing Life

Winter at Wheeler Farm (a block from our house)
My winter (for the first six weeks or so of the year) consists of waking up, feeding cats, doing some chores, sewing, meals, running errands - as weather permits), sewing some more, playing/reading on the computer, watching Netflix now and then, sewing and going to bed. Rinse and repeat. It always seems dark and cold (or occasionally light and cold). It’s effectively my HIBERNATION period. I do my best not to go mad. Thank heavens I don’t live in Alaska; I wouldn’t last the winter.....

This winter routine is usually broken when we take off to visit family in Arizona sometime in the first half of February. Usually it’s warm there - south of Tucson, almost to the Mexican border. Shirt-sleeve weather, and gloriously sunny. Sometimes it’s as warm as the high 80’s (F), which feels wonderful. Once, a few years ago, it snowed twice the week we were there. That was not so fun.  I do take my sewing machine and/or some handwork (embroidery, crochet, etc). We do a lot of walking, visit the Tubac Arts Festival, visit family, just hang out and drink, nap or shop. Lots of cute shops there, but more about that when the time comes.

For now, let me just say that so far this winter, life is good. It helps having new things to look at since we just finished the living room remodel. The rest of our furniture should be here within 10 days or so. We did get a new big clock, but I’m still pondering the arrangement of Wall Stuff.  I really wanted numbers instead of Roman Numerals, and Bruce wanted a vintage map on the face. Neither one of us got what we wanted, but we compromised on this because we both liked it and it will go with our stuff nicely. Yes, pictures will come when it’s all done. Anyway, this weekend the laying of the hardwood floor down the hall and into the bedroom/study will start up.  I cannot tell you how much I love seeing the old carpet exit the premises.

4 Block Lotto January Heart Blocks

It’s no secret that I am a devout fan of the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, sewing away diligently on my colored scraps each month. And I have plenty of other quilty projects to finish up and/or begin. Lots of variety. But this year I added in a new thing (which I have time for - I think -  since I closed my Etsy shop last summer). The Block Lotto. You’ve probably heard of it. Monthly blocks to make, or not, as you feel like it. Keep for yourself or donate. For every block donated, you get entered into the drawing to win the blocks. Whether I win or not, it will be a great way to use up my scraps. And we all know, the more we sew up our fabric, the more we can buy.  (Did I say that out loud?)

One final thing for this rather rambling post. Today Bruce and I had our weekly “Barnes and Noble Date”.  We go get coffee, read magazines, look at new books and music, etc etc.  I was looking at vinyl albums when I did a double-take. There on the cover was.... Bruce? No.... It was Neil Diamond. Long lost brothers? Judge for yourself....

Left: Neil            Right: Bruce
I’m rather fond of both of them...........

Cathy maroon
Saturday, December 31, 2016

Rainbow Scrap Plans for 2017

This will likely be my last post of 2016, and in it I want to look forward to 2017 (sewing-wise).  There are so many things we cannot control or plan, and I`m OK with rolling with the punches life throws. But it’s nice to have an area of creativity that I can control (mostly, if time and funds are not counted, LOL). And so I will outline some basic sewing goals for 2017, realizing that reality may look slightly different.

I love the Rainbow Scrap Challenge! It helps to get rid of fabric scraps (“leftovers”; and I’m a big fan of leftovers. If it’s food, leftovers mean I often don’t have to cook but can do something instead). Doing something with my fabric scraps means that I can conjure up quilts out of pieces that may have had no further life expectancy. The RSC also adds a framework around which I can plan my sewing - by monthly color. I prefer to attack my colored scraps when the color is announced, sewing them as I’ve planned. After they are done (and sometimes in between if I get tired of a color) I turn to other projects. It works well for me.

So here is what I have planned for RSC for 2017.

2.5” Squares and HSTs

1.   Friendship Star Variation

This 6” quilt block
This quilt layout

2.  Arrowhead Puzzle (or Garlic Knot)

This block
This quilt layout
The background will be scrappy for this one. Tentative plan is to use all colors, mixed up, but that may change.

PIECES, smallish

3.  Color Me quilt by Emily Herrick.

I started Color Me last year and have a couple of the crayons done. The pieces within the crayons are 2.5x5”, a good size for my scraps. I will continue to add to this until it “feels” done. There may be more colors....


4.  Diagonal Strips

This is another project I started last year. I have several 8.5” blocks done in pinks, reds, and blues. I’ll just keep adding to them as my scraps dictate.

5.  The Rainbow Bookcase

I’m really excited by this one!  Blocks are just 12” squares (5 per row); a color topped by the background. I can piece them so the books stand vertically or horizontally, using different width scraps and even adding lettering or selvages to mimic book titles. Depending on how many scraps are available, this may be a 1-2 year project. I’m thinking of combining pink and red in one row, and combining the aquas and blues in one row, then purples and grays in another. So, most of the variables are open at this point, except that I do have a gray piece to cut up for the “shelves”. Not sure what background I’ll use yet, but I have lots to choose from and it doesn’t all have to be the same.


I believe I’ve shown this one before, but here we go again....

6.   Rainbow Selvages, pattern by Riel Nason.

What I like about this is that the selvages themselves are all mixed up and with all the white they contain, they form the background/alternate piecing to the rainbow colored blocks. I don’t know if the color blocks will be solid (probably not) or pieced, but I think this will allow a lot of flexibility to use up lots of scraps and selvages. I would like to try 1-2 columns per month, with more of a varied range. For example, the oranges could be dark orange (one column) and light oranges (one column) moving into golds (one column) then yellow (one column), light greens, darker greens, etc.  I tried sewing together some selvages this week  and I think I have enough selvages to keep to the same color family in the same column. If I run short, though, I have so many multi-colored selvages that we’ll just make up any shortage with those.

And finally, I have four RSC2016 quilts to finish in the first quarter. One is ready to quilt and the other 3 are now flimsies. I will show some pictures of those in the next few weeks.

NOT RSC, but Must-Do’s for 2017

1.   Lozenges. My birthday is March 14 (Pi Day) and earlier this year I entered and won a contest from @Laurie3.14 on Instagram. The prize was 314 scrap pieces of fabric, dozens of which were her leftover lozenges from making this quilt (a Bonnie Hunter pattern) for her daughter (picture is of daughter’s friend holding quilt):

photo courtesy of Lauri M
I’m doing this same quilt, with white and black or gray accents (flip corners). I used Laurie’s gifted orange scraps as the start, then cut out a hundred or so more when we had orange month earlier this year. I will take stock and begin work again in earnest come our next orange month.

2.  Disappearing Nine Patch (D9P) for BIL Marv.  This year I took a red quilt for Bruce’s brother Dennis when we visited in February. When we go again next year, I will take a quilt for Marv - a D9P in black, white, gray and teal.

3.  A quilt for me. I’m using Olive’s Flower Market (I have bought up enough of that line to probably make three quilts, LOL. I lerrrrve it!!) Pattern is Rose Cottage.

4.   Finish up Farm Girl Quilt.

5.  Kennel quilts - small size quilts (12x18” up to crib-size). Our Best Friends local group takes any size, so I am going to try to donate 6 per month, or more if I can manage.

6.  I promised hubby Bruce that I’d make him another quilt, and he wants guitars. Also, one son-in-law is deployed currently, but when he gets home I will make him a quilt. His wife (our daughter Emily) says he’d love one of those Big Game quilts I made this year.

Bernadette (my Bernina 550QE) was gone for Three.Whole.Days. for a spa treatment this week. But she’s back now and I’m ready to get sewing. Unfortunately, I don’t have time to finish another quilt before year-end.

Do you have any plans for New Year’s Eve? We don’t either, LOL. Too darn cold to go downtown to celebrate outdoors. We’ll just cozy up in the new living room, have some Kahlua and eggnog (my seasonal favorite drink) and try to stay awake until the New Year rings in. I know, we’re so boring.

Linking up to Rainbow Scrap Challenge.