Friday, June 23, 2017

Slow Summer Sewing Week

Where did this past week go? Seriously, it’s like the days just vanished before I knew it. I can remember a few highlights, so to prove I was not totally comatose for the last 7 days, I feel some things need to be related here.

First, I finished the four baby quilts for the local church quilt charity. They will go to the Salt Lake Refugee Center. This is a picture before they were washed. They’re all flannel, both sides, although the bindings are not.
I told the ladies that I have four more quilts to do over the next few months for their next drive. I knew I couldn't get them done in time for the collection deadline on Friday!

On Tuesday, I finally re-joined Weight Watchers. For the better part of a year, I`ve been trying to psyche myself up to get healthy - to actually take the steps, that is. My decision to join the family females who are going to Africa next year was what finally (pardon the pun) tipped the scales in favor of getting moving on a serious lifestyle change. Not a diet, but a full-fledged plan to be more active, eat healthier (and less perhaps) and take better care of myself. I’m 63 and I want to be around another couple decades.

So, Weight Watchers was Tuesday, and the rest of the day and most of Wednesday was, after moving around doing yard work and housework, spent learning the program. And then shopping for more healthy groceries. It seems we NEVER have enough fruit around here because we eat a lot of it. So, now I will plan to go to the store 2-3 times per week. Our local store has just rearranged the interior shelving (not the outer areas of the store like produce, dairy, meats, deli, etc) and it’s a nightmare. So, armed with my shopping list, it`s like going on a scavenger hunt. Luckily, I enjoy grocery shopping.

I did finish up working on my yellow scraps, making my yellow crumbs into a slab. This will be the top to one of the 12 kennel quilts I’ve matched up with batting and backings.

So now I have a pile of kennel quilts with fronts, backs and battings (Franken-pieced) waiting to be sewn together then quilted. I also made and stuffed two doggie bed pillows with sewing and batting scraps. They just need to be stitched closed. I will have pictures of all that next week.

One day this week was spent tending 4 of my sweet grandkids. We had a blast playing games indoors. I brought along our Candyland and Chutes & Ladders games because no one plays them here anymore, LOL. And it was a good thing I brought them, because grandson Hunter was happy I brought Candyland because their game was “broken”.

Finally, I stitched my crayons together and the quilt top is finished. It looks wonky pinned up on the design board, but I assure you it is even!

I even got it basted on Friday, and it is ready to begin quilting this weekend. I think I`d like to use it as a practice piece to learn some border treatments (a la Lori Kennedy and her current challenge at The Inbox Jaunt).

Finally, the month and quarter are drawing to a close, so I will probably do a mid-week post to recap all my June Rainbow Scrap progress. As well, I will do a recap of my 2nd Quarter Finish-Along goals and progress, BUT..... it seems that when I posted my goals for this quarter, I did not link up correctly to the Finish Along. So, I am not “official” this quarter. But that’s OK - it helps keep me on track. I still want to see how I did. It’s also a good time for me to update my quilt gallery and begin thinking of quilting goals for next quarter.

Weight goals, quilting goals...... Yep, I’m “goal-den” this month.

Linking up to Angela’s So Scrappy blog for Rainbow Scrap Saturday.

Cathy maroon
Saturday, June 17, 2017

Mellow Yellow

Summer has arrived here in the beautiful Salt Lake Valley, and other than one slightly smoggy day, it has been gorgeous. We even had rain one night, which is the best time for it in my book!  Bruce has run all the drip irrigation to my front flower pots and every one of them seems to be very happy.  :-)

I finished all my yellow block sewing this week. I still have a few odd sized small scraps which will get made into slabs next week and then into kennel quilts. But here are my yummy yellow blocks. For more yellow goodness, join us over at Angela’s for Scrappy Saturday!

First, sixteen 4.5” bowtie blocks:

 Next, two Geese Migration blocks:

Then, four 8.5” strip blocks:

When added to the four I did last year, I now have enough for two large (16”) strippy color blocks:

And finally, I made thirteen Friendship Star blocks. (Why do I always make an odd number?)

After making the first two, I wanted to play with the FS blocks so far and see how they looked together. This is only some of them, because I now have a total of 80 made. I don’t plan to mix the colors up like this unless it looks better once we add regular blue, orange and pink. I’m thinking more along the lines of waves of color..... but we will see.

The only progress on my crayon quilt this week was to get the top sewn together, the backing made and the binding cut. I haven’t basted it yet because I got sidetracked. On Tuesday night I attended the local church charity meeting. They were tying quilts (haven’t done that in years!), tying fleece blankets, and making sanitary pads for girls in Africa.

I agreed to take home three baby/youth quilts to quilt and bind. The colors that had been mixed together for tops and bottoms (dictated by what had been donated or what was left in her stash) were odd, so I added some of mine and was able to match up six quilts and batting. Three are quilted, and two of those are bound and finished. One more is basted and  I’ll finish it along with basting and finishing the other two early this week. They are whole-cloth cotton and flannel quilts, simple and sweet.  I’ll get pictures of the whole kit and kaboodle next week.

Last night was the family graduation party for my grandson Easton over at my son’s beautiful home. The evening was gorgeous and we ate the BBQ’ed hamburgers and hot dogs outdoors and had a great time. And some exciting news: some of us ladies in the family are going to Africa again next year. I missed this year because of Bruce’s arm surgeries, but we are planning a trip to Kenya in July of 2018. Besides working with the charities to help the young girls of Kenya, we will get to see the great animal migration from the Serengeti in Tanzania to the plains of the Masai Mara in Kenya (including a 3-day safari). Visiting Africa has been a life goal since I was a teenager. Now, I need to get serious  about losing some weight.

Cathy maroon
Friday, June 9, 2017

Yellow (Fabric) Journalism

Around here, we love to read. Every evening we each curl up with our reading material of choice (mostly ebooks because we can make the print larger), but sometimes regular print books, magazines, or our e-subscription to The Washington Post. And sometimes, during the day, I even SEW on books. That was the case this week when I made the yellow bookshelf (5, 12” blocks) for my Rainbow Bookcase.

Here are 4 shots, going from left to right (the way we read) of the yellow bookshelf. I think you can click on them to make them bigger.

In this first, left-most shot, you can see some old favorites, “Walk in the Park” and “Flowers are Happy Things”. But look! There’s a Cosmopolitan magazine. And how about that large “Juggling Summer” book? The birdie is hiding on the left side of the book, out of sight. You will soon see why.

Moving along to the right, we can see “Animal Quackers” and a globe, my own wacky pattern. I regret not tilting the globe, but obviously my left brain took over there. The globe is sitting on “My Universe”.

Aha!! Now we see why the bird was hiding. There’s a cat hiding behind the stack of cat (and other) books. After he is done knocking the books off the shelf (a trick he probably learned from Molly), he will probably nap. I think the bird is safe.

And finally, the last of the books on the shelf; poetry, “Li’l Rascals”, and “Madrona Road”, among other best sellers. LOL.

I have always planned to use plain gray to make the shelves and bookcase border, and to find a book-themed print fabric for the back of the quilt. Those plans changed on Friday, and  later in the post you will see why. Anyway, below is a shot of the yellow shelf with last month’s green shelf. Those are 60” wide (plus seam allowance) rows.

In other RSC sewing, here are my 16 Plus blocks. These do not excite me at all, and I am thinking of either setting them on point or mixing with another block (like some rails) to jazz them up. But I think I’ll get through all the colors first before deciding....

I’m linking up to Angela’s Rainbow Scrap Saturday. We would love for you to join us or just stop by for a great fix of eye candy!

This week I finished quilting my Stars and Stripes Quilt. It finished at 62x70”.  This is my 13th quilt finish so far this year.

Here is the pieced back.

I also sewed the remaining four crayons for my crayon quilt; 2 blues, orange and pink. My goal is to finish this one off during the coming week.

I’ve always been a fan of local fabric designer (and son of tole painter Donna Dewberry), JOEL DEWBERRY. Two years ago I was able to accompany the Salt Lake Modern Quilt Guild (I’m no longer a member) and visit his home to purchase his fabrics at steeply discounted prices.  Last year, I believe he was in the middle of building his new home and they did not have a sale. This year, he made the announcement of his annual sale on Instagram, so cousin Kim and I went today. I’m not kidding you when I say that these are bargain basement prices. The fabric ranged from $1 to $6 per yard; and the more expensive were the home dec weights.

Here is what I got.  First picture; these are my 5-yard cuts (except the pink, which was 4 yards).  That gray wood grain on the left is the new “shelving” and backing for my bookshelf quilt! The print on the left (along with 3 from the next picture) will become an Arizona-themed quilt for my DSIL and DBIL, another of Bruce’s siblings. The two pinks are a planned quilt for a friend, along with the green in the next picture.

These fabrics are all 2-yard cuts, except the 1 yard of gold.  Total: 28 yards of fabric.

My cost? You’d think it would easily be over $200, or at least over $100. It wasn’t. It averaged $3.50 per yard, so you do the math.....  (PS - Kim bought 8 yards for $16).

What a fun week!  My flower pots are all planted and Bruce has run the drip irrigation to them. They are absolutely loving the warm hot weather.  Today I`m going out before it gets too hot to work in the yard. I’ve got roses to deadhead and our front rock parkway to rid of weeds. Then I’ll make a strawberry-rhubarb pie with our garden rhubarb. And the rest of the weekend is sew, sew, sew. Life is good!

Cathy maroon
Saturday, June 3, 2017

Sewing a Yellow Brick Road

This past week has been so crazy busy, but delightfully so. It started off with Memorial Day on Monday. Bruce worked at the museum and I worked out in the yard. On Tuesday I basted my flag quilt (picture later in the post), but I had to clean the floors first, of course. I also stopped in at at 2 local quilt shops and spent the $20 (plus $5 of my own money) that was given to me last week by Jannis for the kennel quilts. They are pictured here, and the plaid (2 yards) is a flannel. The rest will mix and match nicely with my existing gold-starred backgrounds and other assorted cat-themed fabrics in my stash.

Wednesday was daughter Emily’s visit with her kids, as they are moving to Colorado this weekend. It’s hard to see them leave, but at least we will be visiting them in September.

Then on Thursday was my grandson Easton’s high school graduation. They held the ceremonies about 40 minutes south of us down in Utah County (in Orem, next to Provo). Let me tell you that someone screwed up badly when they set up the bleachers in the auditorium. I am all of 5’5”, and my knees were jammed into the seat in front of me. Plus the seats were all inclined forward. It was torture, literally. I lasted an hour before I had to get up, creaking and numb, to stand in the aisle instead. As soon as Easton was handed his diploma, I was OUT OF THERE. But the freeway onramp was shut down due to an accident, so I had to kill some time. Can you say SHOP HOP???  American Quilting was right a few blocks away, and so naturally I had to visit. They had a great sale room where fabrics were $4.99 per yard. And they were part of our annual Utah Shop Hop, which ran from Wednesday the 31st to today, June 3.

Finally, on Friday my sweet friend Terri and I officially went shop hopping. We visited five stores and had lunch at Gardner Village.  I’ll show you my treasures momentarily, but first, let’s talk Rainbow Scrap Challenge. I am linking to Angela’s Scrappy Saturday, so hop on over to see all the rainbow goodness. Our color for June is Yellow!


So, here on the right are my two “yellow brick roads”. Actually they are the gold and the yellow columns for my selvage rainbow quilt.  On the left, they are stitched in color order with last month’s two green columns and the teal column. That should give you an idea of what the quilt is going to look like. There will eventually be 2 orange columns, a red and 2 pinks on the left of the gold, and then a blue, 2 purples and one other dark neutral - either brown or gray - on the right. A total of 14 columns.

OK, so here are my Shop Hop treasures. I still get occasional commissions as a lace broker, and this week my biggest client placed an order, so part of it funded my fabric purchases (shopping spree!) and the rest went in the savings. Yay!

Above: Free patterns from each shop, plus collectible pins. I bought 4 yards of the crayon fabric to use as a background for the crayon quilt I’m making. Then the blue cat fabric was in the sale room at American Quilting.

In the picture above, the green is much brighter/richer than the picture shows. It’s 4 yards of flannel for an autumn quilt I’m planning.  The stripe is a large piece for the back of Bruce’s guitar quilt, which I am busy planning out. It will begin this summer. The floral will just go in the stash and the Christmas fabric (I’m such a sucker for holly fabrics) will be pillowcases or a quilt back or something. Oh, and the wild blue one is another Tula Pink "Tabby Lane" fabric, the last one I wanted for my next personal cat quilt, whenever that happens.

Kaffe Fasset fabrics, above: Only the FQs along the top were purchased during the Shop Hop. The Layer Cake (also in the top row) was an order from Missouri Star Quilt Co, and the yardage was from early in May when I took advantage of a sale at one of the LQS’s.

The above pieces and FQs are random purchases, but some are intended for future projects. And I couldn’t resist the Florence Flamingo pattern. My DGD Lauren loves flamingoes (who doesn’t?) and may get a quilt for Christmas.

Finally, here is my in-progress Flag Quilt. I am just doing “organic” wavy lines. “Organic” here means not measured; random. Once it’s washed, who will notice or care?  I’m about three quarters done, so it will finish up this weekend and I’ll have a full reveal next week.

So that, my friends, was my week. Last year for the RSC, yellow month was later in the year and I started and made my yellow crayon and yellow strip blocks. So, after I do the yellow bookshelf and assorted other smallish blocks for this year, I may start on an all-yellow quilt. I have been planning a pineapple quilt for awhile, so we’ll have to see how that goes. I may finish up my crayon quilt instead, or my Farmgirl quilt. So many choices!

Have a great week!

Cathy maroon
Saturday, May 27, 2017

My Studio is No Longer the Emerald City

Once upon a time, about four weeks ago or so, my studio looked like the Emerald City. Like Kermit the Frog had exploded, like a giant Chia Pet had blossomed, like...... oh, you get the idea. That was when I first took out my green fabric and green scraps and green selvages and green sheets and began to work them into sewing projects. Now things are back to normal, the scraps are GONE and the greens blocks have found their places among my works in progress. Here is a collage of this month’s green goodness:

From the top, across:
30 Bow tie blocks (4”)
25 Friendship Star Variation blocks (6”)
16 Plus blocks (6”)

Middle Row:
2 Crayon blocks
2 Selvage columns (although they are turned on their sides and look like rows)
8 Strip blocks, which will be sewn into 2 16” blocks

Bottom Row: 5 Bookshelf blocks (12”).
Not Shown: 2 Geese Migration blocks

In addition to those, I used up all my itty bitty scraps and sewed them into 4 slabs, which then became part of the 9 kennel quilts and one dog bed that I made for Best Friends Animal Shelter this month. Total green blocks for May: 94

Here are six of the kennel quilts using up the various green scraps. They mostly have some donated gold starred fabric on back. Again, these are various sizes, ranging from 12x18” up to about 18x24”. Luckily the animal shelter uses all sizes.

And then here are more three quilts  below; one is turned over so you can see the green starred flannel backing. Those are some old vintage sheet blocks and some kitty fabric (always on the lookout for kitty fabric at good prices) for the other two. I also made another doggie bed from scraps, but didn’t get a picture. However it looks just like the floral one from last month, which you can see in the collage in the post here. So, all told, I took 19 quilts and 3 dog beds to Best Friends this week. That is as much as I took the whole first quarter, so I am getting faster.

And speaking of quilts for animals, one of our local quilt shops had a great sale with 50-75% of tons of bolts of fabric. Even though I arrived within an hour of opening, the lines were already long. But that was OK; everyone was friendly and we chattered a lot in line. I happened to be behind a lovely woman named Jannis. Naturally, everyone talked about what we planned to do with the fabrics, and I mentioned that, among other things, I sew kennel quilts for Best Friends. Turns out, Jannis is another true animal lover. Long story short, as she and her friend finished checking out ahead of me, Jannis generously handed me a cash donation to use toward the kennel quilts (very generous, I might add). I was blown away, and insisted we exchange information so I could send her pictures of what I buy and make with the donation. Or shall I just pass it on directly to Best Friends? Or a little of both? Anyway, here’s a shout-out to Jannis! Thank you once again!!  We are having the Utah Shop Hop next week, and I think I will be looking for bargain kitty and/or doggie themed fabrics to add to my scraps for kennel quilts. I will plan another donation trip to Best Friends at the end of June with whatever I make from those purchases.

In other news this week:

*** I read on Pinterest that vinegar makes a good weed killer, and I can tell you that it’s true! Cheap and non-toxic. I bought a couple gallons and used a sprinkling can to kill off all the weeds growing in our fallow garden beds this year. Easy Peasy.

*** My 92-year-old Uncle Bela (the last surviving member of his generation in my family) died this week. I am so glad I got to spend some quality time with him in 2015 (blogged about HERE).

*** Those darling Mothers Day flowers that I got last week (that looked like a cat) dried out and began looking troll-ish. So, I replaced the “cat” with roses from my garden.....

Finally, my little munchkins Alfie and Darla celebrated their 4th birthday this weekend. They pretended to be mad that I didn’t bake them a cake, but I know it’s not true. Neither one of them will EVER eat any kind of table scraps - not tuna, not chicken, nothing. So here is how they spent their day:

L: Alfie can’t keep his leg still when he gets excited   R: Darla sleeps

Linking up to Scrappy Saturday,

Cathy maroon
Saturday, May 20, 2017

Scraps: Green Light!

More cool cold spring weather this week. It even snowed! Luckily, it didn’t last long and I had protected the flowers I had already planted. The long range forecast shows a slow but gradual warming trend. Maybe we will have summer this year. At least I’ve been able to play with my green scraps to satisfy the green itch!

First up, my green Friendship Star variation blocks. I absolutely adore these! I made 25 green blocks this month, which puts my total number of these blocks at 67 so far. I will need a total of 172. This project is likely to carry over into next year.

And then here are the happy little 4.5” bow tie blocks. I made 30 of those. Only half a bazillion to go on these. This is definitely a multi-year project.

Right now I’m working on my scraps and my kitty quilts (small kennel quilts) for the Best Friends animal shelter; I’ll have those to show next week. And speaking of kitties, aren’t these flowers the cutest thing you’ve ever seen? My daughter Megan sent them to me for Mother’s Day. She is a cat lover like me and is owned by two female cats, Lola and Iggy. 

I also finished a crocheted rug that I started on Christmas Day. I totally had forgotten about it  until Bruce and I switched our favorite chairs back to their usual positions. We had traded places because his right arm was out of commission during all those surgeries, so we wanted him to be able to access a side table with his left arm. If that makes sense. Anyway, once we moved everything back, I found this nearly-done rug and finished up the last 3 rows. It’s made from wonky strips of leftover cotton single crocheted with a huge hook.

If it looks wonky, that’s only because.... it is. I haven’t yet blocked it, washed it or tucked in any of the ends. What you see as the length of it was actually going to be the width, but enough is enough. It eats up fabric at the rate of about a half yard - maybe slightly less -  per row. And that was it for my cheap and/or scrap strips. But it was fun and it’s done.

Linking up to Scrappy Saturday.

Cathy maroon
Saturday, May 13, 2017

The Scraps are Always Greener in May

I’ve been cutting green scraps like a madwoman, and I have the dead/numb right arm to prove it. Thank goodness for ibuprofen! I have a lot to show this week, and am linking up to Scrappy Saturday over at Angela’s blog. If you are craving green, that is the place to go!

So let’s get started. This week, I made the green shelf of books for my bookcase quilt. Normally, a row consists of 5 twelve-inch finished size blocks. This time, since the row was going to be all green instead of a combination of two colors (like the blue/teal row), my goal was just to sew a continuous line of books that was all green, 60.5” across, with seam allowance. The number of blocks, per se, didn’t matter.

This is what it all looks like as a finished unit. Sorry for the bad picture and the odd coloring/shadows of my design board. That orange coffee mug is a big question mark; more about that in a moment.

Here are some closer shots, from left to right....

First, my favorite area, with a fishbowl.  Kim and I were sewing together when I came up with this. And since we had just been talking about Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn getting their stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, I had to name them Kurt and Goldie.

In the next section the books definitely seem to be listing to port. I was going to say the section is straight-up books, but they’re definitely looking tipsy. In double checking the actual section, it’s just the way they are pinned to the design board in the picture. Yikes!

OK, here is where I need an opinion. The orange coffee mug is temporarily positioned there. Should the mug stay, or should we vote it off the island?? Or keep it in a different color perhaps? If it stays, I will naturally trim out the handle area before fusing it on.

Moving along, here is the rightmost section.

Once again, I have filled the bookcase with such well known and best-selling titles as  A Walk in the Park, Downton Abbey and (my favorite), Turtle Parade!!  Selecting titles is my favorite part of this process. Yep, I still have some growing up to do!

But wait, there’s more.  Oh my, that sounds like an infomercial. But I digress. I also knocked out my 6” Plus blocks, 16 of them. I have no idea yet if these will become a quilt on their own, or if they will be filler blocks for something else.

This next week will see me sewing on green bowtie blocks, green friendship stars, and finishing the Stars and Stripes quilt top sashing. The blue fabric for the sashing arrived and it looks good, so time to get that moving along.

I spent a good deal of time in the yard this week. First I cleaned up my potting bench and surrounding area to allow our garden service people easier access to the back yard with their huge mower. Our back grass is postage stamp sized (we have more garden, patio and flower beds), but they want to use the big mower. One circle around it will get all the grass. Seriously. Up to now they’ve just been using a weed whacker. But whatever..... Anyway, I also got most of my flowers purchased so that I can begin planting and setting out all my lovely Talavera pots on the front porch area. The irises are just opening up and I plan to make a point of getting some pictures this week. Any green thumbing should fit right in with our color scheme this month!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Cathy maroon