Sunday, March 29, 2009

A Silver Anniversary

Or maybe more like gray ;- )

However you choose to label it, we had a lovely day at the beach. This beach:

It didn't seem that overcast when we were there; I don't think the pictures do it justice in spite of the tweaking I did to them. It was a sort of lightly overcast sky. The clouds didn't let any blue or actual sunshine through but at least they weren't dark gray and threatening. And it was warm enough to be comfortable in a well-padded jacket.

We pretty much had the beach to ourselves, which was also nice. This is one of the rare places along the coastline of Washington State where there's sand on the beach. Mind you, there are still plenty of rocks , but there's more sand than elsewhere within a short drive of home.

I could have sat there all day just watching and listening as the water hit the sand and then flowed away again...

We did walk the shoreline, and I brought home a couple of feathers, a bivalve shell still pretty much intact, and a couple of rocks. I'm not normally a rock person but these two were so smooth I just couldn't resist. And look at the big rock on the left in this picture:

I swear to you it was lavender! I didn't do anything to alter the color in the photo. There are pretty cool black and white striped rocks on the beaches in this area too. It was a marvel the first time we saw them but as it turns out they're fairly common.

All in all it has been a pretty quiet celebration. But we've enjoyed being together and ignoring the clamor of the world. We rented a couple of movies and one disc of the first season of Pushing Daisies. I was surprised to discover that I enjoyed Igor (with John Cusack) more than WALL-E. Don't get me wrong, both are good movies, I just enjoyed the intelligent humor of Igor a lot.

I have done a bit of sewing over the last few days too. I'm about ready to set the food blocks into a top. And then I will have to figure out what to use for sashing!

Thank you for your felicitations and positive feedback. You guys are good at warming the cockles of my heart :- )

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Sad Dog

Reilly went to the groomer the day before yesterday. He came back too toxic for me to be around. I already had arranged for him to spend a few days with DD this weekend so DH and I could spend our 25th wedding anniversary sans chien. (DH isn't a big fan of dogs. Or cats. He's allergic to animal danders. And pollen and dust and mold... We're like Jack Spratt and his wife: He can't handle naturally occuring allergens, I can. Chemicals don't bother him but nearly kill me. Of course.) All I had to do was find someone who could take him until DD could pick him up. Fortunately that only took a few phone calls.
Unfortunately, poor Reilly didn't have a clue what was going on.

I don't think I've shown you this pillow I made recently, using up some scraps of fishing related prints:

Of course I had to put this on the back!

I also finished up the Broken Dishes doll quilt I'd been working on (after deciding to keep the Spare Change flannel doll quilt for myself!). Made a quickie pillow to go with it too.

There are a couple more food blocks to show you, and I've started work on that Friendship top that's been hanging in my way for years, but right now I need to get off the computer and pack a lunch so DH and I can go out to the coast! :- )

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Still Hungry?

For starters I'm serving up cherries, seafood, grapes, and peas and carrots.

When I started making these blocks for a new Foster Quilt I think I had it in the back of my mind to only use each food print once. I certainly have enough fabric to make a good size quilt that way. But as I've worked with the different prints I've discovered other combinations I've wanted to try. So far I think I've used two prints twice. Whether all of those blocks end up in the final edition remains to be seen. I like to have more blocks than I need when I'm working this way so that I have options when it comes time to set the blocks together.

For example, I used the hot pink carrot print (the lower right block above) with a marbled green in a previous block. Then I found the peapod print and just had to put peas and carrots together! In the upper right of the picture below is a block featuring breakfast foods and a newspaper. I'd used that before, but the print I used for the 'frame' was the same scale as the breakfast print. There was sufficient contrast in color to make the block work so I moved on. Yesterday, however, I found this black with tiny little muffins printed on it. Perfect for breakfast! (Although they could be cupcakes; it's hard to tell.) I made a second version of the block. We also have cherries and raspberries (not sure that would work in a dish!), apples, and eggs (which look a little like rocks to me so I included some chickens as well).

I don't know if I mentioned it or not, but my intention when I started making these blocks was to just make them inbetween work on other projects. They were going to be "fillers" to keep me sewing when there was a lull in the action. Well, they've taken over. I can't even think about the other projects at the moment! And there may be more than one Foodie Quilt before I am done.
;- )

Thursday, March 19, 2009

More Food Blocks

I have a few more blocks to show you. This is another one where all I had left of the food print was a few small squares:

I didn't get the colors quite right when I edited this next picture but you'll get the idea. Hot pink, orange, and green.

I may or may not include this third block in the quilt top but I couldn't resist putting the block together ;- )

I just love that print of the fish on the newspaper! And I'm not even a fisher-person!

The skies around here have turned gray and leaky. I'm already tired of it. I was thrilled to find some cut daffodils in the Food Co-op on my last trip out. I was also very tempted by the primroses and hellebores for the garden but figured (correctly) that I wouldn't have the energy to get them in the ground while the weather was still pleasant. I seriously poisoned myself on that outing; I haven't been well since. When I'm finally feeling back up to par I'm going to have a lot of blog reading to do to catch up on what everyone else has been doing.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Ready for Lunch?

Thanks for all of your positive comments on this strippy preemie quilt. It really is one of my favorites too. You may not be able to tell from the photograph, but it is now backed and quilted. (Hopefully you can get bigger images by clicking on the pictures.)

And here are the blocks I've been making for a new Foster Quilt.

I have a lot of novelty prints in my stash. One of the shorter stacks is comprised of food prints. I finally decided to see what I could do with them. I thought about some more wonky stars; they're so much fun to make. In the end I went with this variation of the Hole in the Barn Door pattern. Or maybe it's a variation of Churn Dash. Whatever. I chose it because it allowed me to feature one print in a really big square. The blocks will finish at 12". The center patch is 6".

Right off the bat I found I didn't always have a 6 1/2" square available for the center so I had to come up with some other block to use. That's when I reverted back to what I know as the original Hole in the Barn Door block. (Or Churn Dash. Or Monkey Wrench.)

It will be fun, I think, to have a mixture of block patterns throughout the quilt top. It will also be good to use up (or at least make a dent in) these old prints.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Preemie Quilts

Well, shoot. I've loaded the pictures in reverse order again. I wonder whether a sticky note on my monitor would help me remember...

I know I said I was going to show you the blocks for the new Foster Quilt I'm making.

I lied.

Instead I'm going to show you the preemie quilts I've been finishing up. Except that I'm going to start with one I haven't finished yet.

I don't think I showed this top when I originally created it several weeks ago. It started with a set of small crazy patch blocks I found in my orphan block box. I pulled out some leftover hearts too. There still weren't enough blocks for what I wanted to do so I made a few more crazy blocks, using some of the same prints that were in the original blocks. Most of the crazy blocks were made using the stack and shuffle method while others might be considered crumb blocks. I haven't backed or quilted this one yet. It's next in line.

This second quilt began as a pre-printed panel. I added a strip of green around the panel to bring it up to size but after that all I did was back it and quilt it. The artwork may look familiar. There were cameos of dinosaurs along the selvage edges of the panel. They were what inspired this pillow top I created a little while ago (which has actually become another orphan block in my collection).

I used a flannel monkey print on the back and then also used it on these Precious Moments quilts:

These quilts are not identical, but awfully close. Maybe they will be presented to a pair of twin boys :- )

And maybe I'll show you the new blocks in the next post!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Aww, Come On!

I don't normally post this frequently (so don't get used to it!) but I just had to share.

This is what we woke up to this morning:

For the record, it's March 9 and we live in the temperate Pacific Northwest, not the Snow Zone. Since I took this picture, about an hour ago, it has started snowing again. Big fat flakes that are piling up as if in preparation for a picture perfect Northern Hemisphere Christmas Eve or something. Sheesh. I left Michigan for a reason! Well, the snow wasn't the main reason, but still. Enough already!

Over the weekend I did get the borders on the sampler/orphan block quilt top for a local Foster Child:

You should be able to click on the picture to see it in a bigger format.

I also started making some more 12" blocks for what I intend to be another Foster Child quilt. You'll probably see those in my next post. Now I have to get the bills paid and figure out how I'm going to get out to get the thread I need...

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Awarding Credit

I wanted to give credit where credit is due with the birds I recieved in the Birds of Change Exchange. Because of one thing and another I'm only just getting to it now.

First up is this darling little wooden number from Cathie Sweetwolf. It's actually reversible, with stripes of color on the other side and a green wing. (That photo didn't turn out well at all. Too much glare off the finish on the bird.)

Next we have a little brown bird from Whosies. I think of Thanksgiving when I look at it. Whosie has some really adorable handcrafted items in her shop over at Etsy.

This pink creation is, not surprisingly, from Sweetina. She is actually reversible too, with a little darker flower on her tail on the other side. I love the sequins and handstitching on this one.

Sistermama made this red bird out of a recycled sweater. She did not felt the sweater first; you can see the cable knitting in the body of the bird if you look very closely. The little wire feet grabbed my heart first but I love everything about this bird!

And, last but not least, "Beauregard." Technically this would be Beauregard the II or III or something because the original Beauregard had a pair of spectacles and went to the winner of his maker's give away. I was thrilled to find one of his brothers in my box. :- )

Back at the end of January Finn nominated me for this award:

I was very flattered as I have seen this on the blogs of some pretty creative people. I would now like to take this opportunity to pass the award on to each of the women who made the birds I received in this swap. I think Regina at Creative Kismet has received this award once already too, but since she's the one who came up with this exchange idea and did all the work involved in the actual swapping of birds I think she should get it again. According to the rules of the game I have to nominate 7 other bloggers as part of my acceptance of the award so I'm also going to nominate Calamity Kim. I'm pretty sure she has received this award in the past too, but if she hasn't then it's long overdue.

For those I've nominated, here are the "rules" if you want to play along:

1. The receiver is to copy the award button to his/her blog.

2. Link to who gave you this award.

3. Nominate at least 7 other bloggers.

4. Link to each nominee.

5. Leave message at the nominees blog.

This Exchange was a complete success in my book (I know they don't always turn out that way). The only downside is that I now have even more blogs to try to keep up with!

Friday, March 6, 2009

MIB... But for a Good Reason!

I'm happy to report that I've been Missing In Blogland because I've been sewing. The veggie doll quilt (previous post) is not done but the blocks are at least sewn together. Most of my time and energy this week has been put into a quilt top that I will be donating to a local group making quilts for foster children in our area.

I didn't get the photos loaded in the right order. In the interest of keeping them clickable for enlarging let me explain them in order of appearance.

When I found out about this project I went through what remains of my collection of orphan blocks. I only found four that came close enough to measuring 12 1/2" to use in this particular quilt. That meant I had to come up with eight more blocks to meet my goal of a total of 12. I created these three blocks mostly from scraps that were at hand:

These four blocks were made from smaller orphan blocks of my own. The pink star, for example, is only 5" square. The Shoo-fly blocks next to it were 6". The Bow Tie blocks sewn together into a circle were also 6" blocks. The 'bowl of flowers' is a block I created for a challenge but wasn't happy with at the time.

These four blocks were given to me from someone else's stash some time ago. They're the ones I started this project with and sort of set the tone for this quilt.

When I took the pictures you've just seen I still needed one more block. I turned to a favorite pattern, also using mostly scraps:

Twelve blocks make a top that measures 36" x 48". I wanted to make something big enough for an older child so sashing was an obvious solution. It took some time, but I finally found a light blue toile print that I bought for some other project but that didn't work out. There was enough to sash these blocks though!

Yesterday I had to dig around some more to find anything big enough to use for a border. It's only recently that I've begun buying yards of fabric, and then only because I have to in order to get the sale price, so there just isn't a lot to choose from around here. I'm on a short deadline too so I really didn't want to have to go shopping. (Did I really say that?!) Eventually I found two potential contenders. Neither was "the one" however. One more time through the stacks revealed a piece of fabric I thought was only a small piece. Turns out it's almost a full yard. Perfect! It still won't be a large quilt, but at least it will be more than baby sized. I should be able to get that border on this weekend and then I can turn the top in and go back to finish the doll quilt. :- )

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Birds & Dolls

Remember those birds I made a few weeks back for the Birds of Change Exchange? My new birds arrived a few days ago:

They are all so much fun! And so different! I need to take individual pictures of them for you to see all the details. One is wooden, another is knitted and has the cutest wire feet. The wings on the big cardinal move. I'm so happy with them all! Haven't decided yet where they're going to live. I'd like to keep them together for the time being (in one room, in their own vignette). It would be fun to hang them somehow, from the ceiling or as a sort of mobile. For now they're still resting from their long flight north. They seem to get along together very nicely.

Meanwhile, my flannel doll quilt has been appropriated by Raggedy Ann and Andy. I still haven't decided whether to tie or quilt it (or neither), although I'm leaning towards tying it with cotton floss. Red, most likely.

Poor Ann. I wanted her so badly for my 9th birthday. I felt like I was getting too old for dolls but I'd never had a Raggedy Ann and loved the books so she was on my wish list that year in spite of my ambivalence. My birthday is in June and we had a picnic party outside. Shortly after I opened the box she came in someone accidently spilled something on her face - I don't know what. I was heartbroken and she's been scarred ever since. But she still loves me anyway. It says so right on her heart. And I obviously love her because I still have her (and Andy, who came later). I have learned that there are some dolls you are never too old for.

When I saw how much Ann and Andy liked the flannel quilt I thought maybe I could make another one for my friend. Didn't feel like playing with the flannel anymore though. I went through my orphan box, then my bin of abandoned UFO's. I found some Broken Dishes blocks that were an odd size - which could explain why the project had been abandoned. They are from the mid 1990's. It was a struggle to find fabric in my stash to make more blocks; I had apparently used everything up when I put the project away the last time. But I found some newer prints that worked and I really like what I have going on now:

This will be bright and fresh, and in spite of the vegetables in the blocks I think some little girl will enjoy covering her dolly with this quilt when it's done :- )