Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Yielding to Process

So yesterday I found a box for shipping "Live, Laugh, Dream" to New York. But there was a significant amount of room in the top of the box. I could cut the box down or fill it up with packing peanuts or something. But couldn't I just as easily squeeze another quilt into the box? Surely it won't cost more to ship two quilts in one box than to ship them in two separate boxes?

What's left in my stash of orphan blocks? Among other things, a couple of crazy patch and house blocks that didn't quite make it to 12.5"... How can I set them so their oddly small size won't matter?

If I squish them up against each other they should finish at 23 inches. That only lacks an inch of being 24", a size I can easily match up with six inch or eight inch blocks.

I have those two rows of Bow Ties I took off "Live, Laugh, Dream" too... Maybe this will become a horizontal row-by-row quilt!

With a few compensating strips these Broken Dishes, Basket, and the crazy patch and house blocks became a row 24" high by 60" wide. My two Bow Tie rows are already 60" wide. I'm well on my way to a second quilt for the BASICS Quilt Gather!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Live, Laugh, Dream

My quilt for the BASICS Quilt Gather is done:

All I need to do now is find a box the right size to ship it in. I'm pretty happy with it. I have to say it looks a lot better to me now, in its' finished state, than it did back when it had the Bow Tie borders. It looks cleaner to me somehow. Maybe that's just because this time it was photographed outside, against a lighter background! You should be able to click on the picture to get a larger image.

A couple of my readers suggested names for this quilt, and they were good suggestions. In the end, however, I decided to call it "Live, Laugh, Dream" after these three blocks:

My scap quilt is coming right along too. Yesterday I not only basted it, I got it quilted as well. I can hardly move today but it sure feels good to have done so much in one day. More about that in another post.

The question I'm playing with now is, what do I want to tackle next? I don't feel ready to go back to my ornaments for the Bead Journal Project. I kind of want to make more blocks and assemble another quilt top. The Churn Dash blocks are still out but I think I need something with more color and whimsy. Being a Gemini I like a lot of options. You never know how I'm going to be feeling on any given day!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Full Speed Ahead!

It didn't take long to get the Bow Tie blocks off the BASICS quilt (see previous post). By the end of the day I had not only pin basted the layers together but had it half quilted as well. At the time I thought I was done with the quilting and rejoiced when I saw how much thread was left on the spool:

But upon closer inspection I decided it needed more quilting so I went out yesterday morning and bought another spool of the same color to finish the job.

Not only did I finish the quilting but I also trimmed away the excess batting and backing.

The deck chair was recently rediscovered in the garage. I brought it in to use as an alternate place to sit while I read. I have short legs and it sits low enough to the ground to be very comfortable for me. Turns out is also works well to support the extra bulk of a quilt while it's being trimmed!

I was thrilled to be able to cut binding strips from the leftover backing fabric. I've got the binding sewn onto the quilt and am about half way around the back, sewing it down by hand. This puppy should be done later today - hurray! I'd still like to give it an official name before it leaves the nest though.

My white peonies are done for the season. Meanwhile, the pink ones are in full bloom:
Those petals just take my breath away!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Apparently I Can't Count

I got out the backing, batting, and the quilt top I'd made for the BASICS Quilt Gather to pin baste the layers together. I had to move furniture out of the living room to make room for this process. The back is made of these two prints:

The darker "stained glass" print runs up either side of the daisy stripe. When I trim everything down to size it will be a daisy stipe back with a border of the stained glass print.

Next I smoothed the batting on top. Whew, it's getting warm in here!

Unfolded the quilt top and lined up the top edge with the upper edges of the backing and batting. Pulled the sides into place, then pulled out the bottom edge of the quilt.

Wait a minute.

The bottom of the quilt is hanging over the lower edge of the backing/batting by a good three inches! What???

I sat down on the couch to consider the problem. I was sure I'd measured everything correctly.

Let's see, how many 12" blocks are there?

Seven. Hmm. Seven? I thought there were only six.

7 x 12 = 84. But I thought I needed the 6" Bow Tie blocks in order to get to 84" in length! That's why I put them on there! sheesh

The Bow Tie blocks are coming off. Then we'll try this pin basting process again.


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Another Year Older

Yes, since my last post my birthday has come and gone. It wasn't partying that kept me from checking in sooner, at least not in the traditional sense of the word. I lost a couple of days this week to physical issues. But on my birthday this area was blessed with the first day that truly felt like summer. (And now we're back to gray and chilly with the threat of wet. {sigh}) I decided to take that gift and go to the coast. I laid in the grass, listened to the waves coming ashore, and finished up Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews. It was almost like being at the lake when I was a teenager. I don't think I could have asked for a better way to spend my birthday. :- )

One of the things my sister gave me this year was this lovely glass rooster.

I'm not sure where she found it but he's spectacular.

Here's his other side. The card that came with him says the rooster "is an auspicious symbol of honesty, luck and protection, as well as physical and moral strength." I'll take it!

I have a little collection of chickens and roosters in my dining room. He'll fit right in. Or maybe I should keep this one closer to my bed?

My friend C~ also gifted me with birds this year. She found this patch in a bundle of blocks she bought on eBay and thought I should have it.

I think she's absolutely right!

Actually, now that I think about it, my SIL gave me a couple of bluebird beads a few weeks ago too. In honor of my birthday she took apart two more of my quilt books and put the pages in sleeves for me. When I got the binders back the beads were tucked in with them. I nearly forgot! I may have to get them out and play with them soon. It's time to do an ornament for June for the BJP afterall. Which reminds me... I've done April but I don't think I've posted it yet. I have a foundation set up for May but haven't stitched it yet. Like I said, I lost a couple of days this past week. Maybe I can get my engines revved up and get back to work tomorrow. We still have Father's Day to celebrate around here today...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A Few More Dashes

I'm not exactly "churning" out these blocks but we're making progress. ;- )

The color isn't quite right on this red one...

But is pretty true in this one:

I have sketched out a tentative plan for laying out the blocks. It doesn't involve the little 5" blocks. We'll see how closely I stick to the plan when the time finally arrives to assemble the top. Right now I'm thinking I'll just set 49 blocks 7 x 7 with two inch sashing and no outer borders. I looked at a lot of antique/vintage Churn Dash quilts on the Alliance for American Quilts Quilt Index site. Very few of them had borders of any kind. There's no telling whether I'll remain true to the historical look or whether I'll give in to my more liberated side when we get to that point!

The new puppy next door has been a much better neighbor lately. He (or she) is still unhappy with being left outdoors but complains a lot less now. I think he gets to spend more time with the family members now too. {whew}

Sunday, June 13, 2010


My life has felt very chaotic of late. Compared to the lives the rest of you live the idea is laughable. Nevertheless, I've felt the need for a calming influence. So instead of working on any of the half dozen projects I currently have on my To Do list I went searching for something that would be soothing to work on. What I came up with was a UFO from over 10 years ago that I probably put away out of boredom.

I've always wanted to make what I think of as a "pioneer quilt." This would be made of indigo blues, deep or turkey reds, and shirting prints. Reproductions of course. I couldn't really decide on what block pattern or even exactly what type of quilt to make however. Applique was out, and I knew I wanted something that would look like it was pieced as much for practicality as anything else. No heirloom masterpieces for me! At some point I started making 10" Churn Dash blocks. Then, as I said before, I probably got bored or distracted or something and moved on to another project. (I had school-age children then and was active in my quilt guild.)

So when it felt too overwhelming to try to layer and pin baste either of the quilt tops and their backs that I have recently finished and I didn't have the mental capacity to create a new BJP ornament for May or June I pulled out these abandoned blocks. This I could handle. I only have to cut two shapes, the palette is already established, and my piecing skills are sufficient to do a good job without having to pay a whole lot of attention. Perfect. I can mindlessly make blocks until my brain comes back or I run out of fabric (unlikely).

There were about 14 ten inch blocks in the bag along with the 25 or so five inch blocks. (The little blocks were a doll quilt top at one point but it was so busy I couldn't live with it and took it apart. I may end up using those little blocks with the bigger ones somehow...)

First I made these...

And then made four more.

There are two more partially assembled blocks at the sewing machine. I haven't pulled all the fabric I could use in this quilt from my shelves but I suspect there's enough there for at least two quilt tops of some size. I am not going to put pressure on myself to make a complete top at this time though. My goal right now is just to piece blocks until I feel ready and able to move on to something more demanding. Then I can come back to this the next time I need something calm and mindless to work on.

Who knew there would come a day when I would welcome a project I would otherwise consider tedious!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

And You Thought Things Only Grew Big in Texas

Between my house and most everywhere else I go there is a lovely old home on a corner lot. The house gives me pleasure because of its' simplicity and because it has been kept up well (more than can be said for our property currently I'm sorry to say). But in the spring and early summer I am in awe of a rhododendron that grows next to the house. In fact, one could be concerned that the bush will eventually overtake the house:

Did you notice that the rhodie is taller than the roof of the porch? Both of those pinkish-purplish humps behind the utility pole and in front of the conifer are rhododendron. Here's another view:

Is that amazing or what?! It makes me wonder how long it has been growing in that spot. Here's a cropped shot from the corner again:

And another from straight on:

If I were six years old how I would love to try to get under that bush and make a secret playhouse for myself. I would love to walk around it now, if that's even possible, just to get a better look and to marvel at it. I'm not generally a big fan of rhodie's, state flower of WA or not, but this one commands respect!

On another note, I am thrilled to report that I have heard not one peep from the lab next door this morning. I don't know if someone is home with him/her today or what, I'm just inexpressibly grateful for the silence.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Moving Right Along...

The lonely puppy hasn't been as vocal this morning as he/she was yesterday but he/she is still lonely and bored. And vocal. Poor thing. I discovered that it is a Black Lab and verified that it's quite young. Maybe when the girls are out of school at the end of the week they'll be home more to give the dog the attention it needs.

While I was out in the yard I cut this first peony of the season.

I just love how exuberant, how big and abundant, these blooms are! I also managed to get the back sewn up for my scrappy quilt top.

Maybe today I'll sew up the back for the quilt I've put together for the BASICS Quilt Gather. The sewing machine does seem to drown out the howling next door somewhat.

With my birthday coming up I had to go to the local Department of Licensing to renew my driver's license. The last time this came up I was able to do it online and avoid toxic exposures. They'll only let you do that so many times before they want you to come in and test your vision though. I felt really blessed that there were so few other customers in the building when we got there, and that my husband was able to go with me to drive me home in case I became too incapacitated. It wasn't awful, but I am experiencing the after effects of exposure today (mostly depression). Unfortunately my own dog has to go to the vet today for his physical and booster shots. That means I will be exposed to toxins again and not be in any better shape tomorrow... {sigh}

I really do try to keep this blog from becoming a downer. Sometimes it just can't be helped. It is my blog afterall, and I should be able to moan if I want to!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


My neighbors just on the other side of my studio wall have brought home a young dog. I'm not sure how young but still a puppy. I haven't seen this animal but I have heard it. I'm a mess because all I can hear is that poor dog howling in loneliness. They are never home; I don't know what possessed them to try this again. They had a dog a couple of years ago. Same story: left her in the backyard to fend for herself and then couldn't understand why she wouldn't "behave" when they deigned to show her some attention. Finally they got rid of her. I don't think I want to know how. I was just relieved that she might have found more responsible pet owners.

These people profess to be Christian. Abandoning a dog in the back yard, especially a young one, is not something Jesus (or anybody else with any amount of compassion) would do. I'm not sure this puppy even has the run of the yard. It's entirely possible it is confined to a small space on the back deck. It could be they just have never been educated in the responsibilities of dog ownership. I want to give them the benefit of the doubt but honestly! If you're going to bring a dog into your family at least educate yourself about what's involved. Dogs are social, pack animals. They NEED to be with their pack. In this case that would be the neighbor's family - who are never home.

This morning I put on a CD I have, Music for the Canine Household, and turned up the volume to a level I figured would reach the ears of the puppy. After a while it seemed to have a little calming influence. But then they came out, fed the dog I assume, and are now gone. The dog has been howling ever since. I've resorted to calling Animal Control, more out of concern for the puppy than my own comfort, but if this keeps up much longer I will literally lose my mind. It's all I can do to keep from howling out of frustration and empathy for the dog right now.


Saturday, June 5, 2010


I pulled some of my older prints to audition for the back of my Scrappy Trip quilt. I actually cut them to the width I need before having a clue as to how many pieces would be required to get the necessary length. That might not have been the smartest move to make. I confess to being an impatient soul.

So, with the idea of my quilt top being a trip through time via fabric and prints I cut these Millennial prints. You should be able to get a good look at them by clicking on the picture.

But I also really like this Michael Miller household appliances print (on the left below). And then there are the sewing-related prints from long, long ago...

After I grouped them by category like this I took some measurements, did some math, and realized that I would be able to get the length using only the sewing prints! Guess that means I'll have to figure out something else to do with the Millennial prints and the appliances. ;- )

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Side Trip

There's a retail shop and garden on the way to my daughter's house that I've always wanted to explore. A perfect opportunity finally presented itself yesterday.

I expected to see rows of lavender plants and was looking forward to the more formal gardens featuring herbs. They even have a vertical wall that's been planted with vegetables! What I didn't expect to see were the mature holly trees in several varieties. Nor did I have a clue that there was a fairy village on the property. But it makes sense; it's a magical place.

I assume the village meets in the big tree for councils and social events.

Everyone seems to have plenty of land for their personal gardening activities.

These fairies must have little ones - they have their own treehouse!

The lavender wasn't in bloom yet, except for the starts in a few pots, but the shop was filled with the scent of lavender drying in bunches hung from the ceiling. I was a little concerned that it might be too much for my system but I think it actually had a beneficial effect in the long run. True to its' reputation I found myself in a calm, almost mellow, mood the rest of the day. Not many of my readers will be able to visit the shop or garden in person but they do have an eStore. I encourage you to take a few minutes to look around their site. :- )