Thursday, July 28, 2016

Please Stand By

Work is being done in our neighborhood to upgrade the various services carried via cable. Our internet connection has been spotty of late, and will apparently continue to be so while this work is being done. It's just as well since I haven't been my most productive this week. I strongly suspect these fellows have been up to their tricks when I was sewing.

Because look what happened as I assembled one of my postage stamp stars!

That pleat is not part of the pattern. Eventually I got that sucker put together correctly though.

I'm planning to use this type of star down the sides of my next Foot Square Freestyle quilt. In this round there are only nine participants so we'll have the option of smaller quilts or making more blocks for ourselves. My plan is to feature the blocks made by others in the body of the quilt and then use these smaller stars down the sides for a personal-size quilt.

And now I'd better see if I can actually publish this post...

Sunday, July 24, 2016

SAL Update

Time to share the progress I've made on my stitchery projects. I think I've only worked on one (of the two or three I have going!) since the last SAL post...

This is where it was three weeks ago:

This is what it looks like now:

I'll have to be sure to finish filling in that bit of green sprig at the bottom!

I still have to choose a color for her arms and face. I'm planning to do French knots in the center of the flowers but I guess I could satin stitch them. Personally, I think French knots are more fun to do than satin stitching. ;- )

There are participants of this stitch along right around the world. You can see what the others have been working on just by clicking on their names! If you'd like the motivation that comes with a public commitment like this visit Avis and leave her a note that you'd like to play along.


Thursday, July 21, 2016


Things have been sort of quiet here in the Magpie's Nest. I've put the binding on the green batik scrappy trip wedding quilt and have it about 85% sewn down. I made a block for my local guild's block of the month drawing in August. That was so simple and fun I made two more!

The instructions were to use summer yellows, orange, and reds. I couldn't resist putting in the ice cream cones. ;- ) You can see that I also managed to assemble two 6" Hole in the Barn Door blocks as I worked on other blocks this week.

The next day I sewed up some 1.5" squares into postage stamp blocks. Today I turned them into stars, and just for kicks put them up on the wall between the double four patch blocks.

Well now! It hadn't dawned on me until that moment that the blocks would be the same size. I quite like the way they play together. This is giving me ideas for using the postage stamp stars I've been making for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge this year. I will have no trouble coming up with scrap patches to make the double four patch blocks either. A new way to play with my scrap patches might be just what I need to get things rolling again!

I'll be linking up with the RSC on Saturday even though I'm not showing anything in hot pink and lime green this time. ;- )

Edited Friday morning: I forgot to show you the final two borders on the latest Parts Dept. flimsy!
Taa daa!

This should finish at 48" x 54." I bought yardage - on sale - and have already made a back for it too!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Scrap Happy in July

Thank goodness there's something to be happy about! Never has that old saying about the world going to hell in a hand basket felt more true. (Or is that how the saying goes? Sounds a little strange when I write it out like that.)

Anyway. Remember my medallion start out of orphan crazy blocks?

Did I show you the little flying geese I made to go down the sides to add width?

The next logical step - or so it seemed to me at the time - was to surround it with some of the 8" postage stamp stars I've been making in conjunction with the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.

This was only one of the iterations I tried. I didn't like any of them. The flimsy stayed on the wall for days without any new ideas coming forward. Finally I took it down so I could clear my head. Instead I focused on making some stars in the RSC color palette for July, hot pink and lime green.

This one's more coral and a toned-down green but it works.

There were a few more, and a couple of 6" Hole in the Barn Door blocks to boot. The best part is that I was inspired to put the medallion back on the wall and try this:

Which I quite like. I've added a one inch strip (finished) to the top and bottom so I can have seven of the 6" shoo-fly blocks running down the sides without any compensating strips or sashing. I have to find something to run between the geese and the shoo-fly blocks, and then I'll add shoo-fly blocks along the top and bottom as well. That should give me a flimsy measuring about 48" x 58." That will be a good place to stop for a quilt for a child. Or maybe even a lap quilt for an adult receiving chemotherapy. The thing I like best about scrap quilts is that there's so much to look at in them. I'm sure those sitting in cold clinic rooms having drugs pumped into their bodies would appreciate every happy distraction available.

I'm linking up with Kate and Gun for Scrap Happy Day and with the other RSC bloggers on Saturday. There will be lots of happy distractions in all those posts. :- )

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Birds and Flowers

I'm not sure I have anything to show, just thought I'd better check in. We've had some unusual activity around the house in the last week. Not all of it has caused me difficulties but there's been enough to keep me away from the computer. I do appreciate all the positive feedback I've received on recent posts. Thank you everyone. :- )

Saturday we had the cypress hedges that surround our back yard trimmed. I only wanted them shortened but most of them were made narrower as well. I hadn't realized they'd encroached on the walkway on the side of the house so much. Unfortunately, that meant the destruction of at least one nesting site that I'm aware of. Just sparrows, but I enjoy their company during the course of the day. They don't seem to have forsaken the bird bath I try to keep clean and filled for them so maybe they will find new nesting sites in the foliage that remains around the house.

There was a scraggly, weird conifer (I think) in the back corner of the lot too. The birds used that as a perch after bathing. Hubby had it removed because he knew I thought it was ugly. What he didn't realize was how the birds utilized that tree. Again, they will find somewhere else to preen after bathing but hubby felt bad enough to apologize with flowers.

And these:

And these!

Granted, the nursery was having a sale in honor of the Fourth of July holiday but he was willing to buy even more had I wanted them. Sweet guy. :- )

I have been trying to move the scrappy crumb block medallion along. Progress has been slow however. I think I'm going to use that one for my Scrap Happy Day post on the 15th of this month. In the meantime, I spent some time sorting my 1.5" scrap strips - the shortest ones - by color in an effort to facilitate the creation of more postage stamp centers for sawtooth stars.

The Rainbow Scrap Challenge palette for July is hot pink with hits of lime green. We'll see how many stars I can create in those colors!

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Stitch Along Report

It's been three weeks since we checked in with our stitching projects (already!). I only made a little progress on the stamped panel. This is what it looked like when you last saw it:

This is where it is now:

Another leaf and the big cross stitches (which I tacked down with another short horizontal stitch to make them more secure). She also has eyelashes and eyebrows now. I just wasn't in the mood for this one so much. In it's place I picked up the second in a pair of stamped pillowcase I'd been working on occasionally, before I started participating in this stitch along. The first one has already been finished.

I'd only stitched the yellow flowers and french knots before I picked this one up again. Since the photo was taken I've completed all of the green stems and leaves.

To see what the others in this group have been working on click on their names below. We're welcoming Christina to the party this month. And if you'd like to have accountability for your stitching contact Avis and she'll get you on the list!

Friday, July 1, 2016

Macabre Medallion

The big day is here! I can now share what I've done inspired by childhood for the second round of play in the Gwennie Inspired Liberated Medallion quilt along. I admit, at first the prints I'd chosen for this project didn't seem to fit in well with the theme. But then I thought about the fact that we'd had rustic cabins to vacation in throughout my childhood. That was just the light bulb I needed. :- )

Just to refresh your memory, these are the baskets I made to begin my medallion:

My first step was to choose what to put in my log cabin blocks and what to use for the logs. My sister and I were both given piano lessons during our early years. She enjoyed it much more than I did. She's a natural musician.

The hands and the strip of music print above felt very appropriate. I've turned out to be more of a visual artist. ;- )

I also found this "portrait" to use to represent my sister and I. To create a gallery wall I framed the portrait with a postage stamp print. The calico above and below the portraits is something my mother bought for me a long time ago when I was still a fairly new quilt maker. It's been waiting all this time to be put to good use. This isn't quite what I had in mind when I originally chose the print but it turned out to be perfect for this project!

I had to have birds in my quilt. It's become sort of a thing for me. There were some great ravens/crows in the same print I took the sisters out of.

These dancing skeletons are another of my cherished prints. There wasn't much left so I decided to use it up in this quilt. Some of them appear to be playing leap frog. I've also used text prints that feature phrases from classic children's stories.

There's some French text as well since I studied French all throughout my high school years.

Here's the progression of the medallion on my design wall:

And this is where I stopped:

At this point it measures about 33" high and 53" wide. I could have added framing strips to bring it up to nice even numbers but decided to wait to see what the next step will be. And that day has finally arrived! Cathy at Big Lake Quilter will be giving us the next prompt. You can see all the other basket medallion projects via the link-up over on Cynthia's blog.