Monday, May 31, 2010

Quilt Vomit Ready to Go

Usually quilts grow on my as they get to the finished stage. Not always though. I'm seriously wishing I had used a different sashing strips and taken the time to replace the R that looks more like an A. It is done though, so it's too late for quilters remorse. I'm grabbing fabric now to put a back together and then I will decide whether to quilt it next or figure something out for my border dilemma on starlight. Maybe I'll throw them both on a shelf and grab out something entirely new. No, I'll be good and finish these before I move on again. We have swim team and volleyball camp in the morning. They overlap, so Kurt is going to help out with the morning drop off. He really is a keeper, even if he says my quilt gives him a headache.

How Did that Happen?

I was trying to finish off the border for Starlight Starbright in between steps for Crumb Cake. I remember cutting out foundation strips for the rainbow effect and carefully measuring them to fit between cornerstones of wonky squares. Admittedly, they've been sitting and waiting patiently for a while now, but how did they shrink?!? OK, so maybe they didn't shrink, but why do they not fit? Was I planning on piecing two of them together for each side? Did I plan on filling in the empty space with something else? What exactly was I thinking? Maybe if I search through my blog archives I'll find some clue as to what I had planned for these oddly sized fabric strips which I have methodically covered with rainbow colors. Or maybe I'm going to have to make up something creative.

Birthday Beaches and Borders

The kids made a birthday cake for me. It was custom designed by all three of them together. One half is a quilt, because I love to quilt, and the other is a heart, because I love my children. Very symbolic coming from the mind of a 7 year old.

Today being memorial day, the beach is a popular spot to be. The kids love to splash in the waves and dig in the sand. Living just 7 miles away, we don't feel the need to make a day out of it. They were out early and back in time for lunch.
I'm getting the borders put onto crumb cake now. Busy might be bit of an understatement for this quilt. I thought it need more contrast and so switched the cornerstones in the middle from pink to white. I think I have enough of the parrot fabric left from my last quilt which will go after a skinny orange border to contain the chaos a bit. It's just started raining, so I won't feel guilty about working on my quilt for a bit longer rather than doing something productive like yard work.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Familiar Conversation

Says he, "What is this one for again?". Says me, "Really?" Says he, "OK, but what is it going to be used for?" Says me, "For being a quilt and using up scraps and practicing quilting." Says he, "OK, well, the blocks are so busy that the strips in between need to be very dark and solid so that the whole thing doesn't look like somebody threw up. Maybe burgundy or dark green or even black."
Although I was leaning toward white, I decided against it for the sashing simply because some of the letters hung off of the edge of the blocks and I was afraid they would blend too much. I looked for a subdued dark solid color but I don't really have such a thing in my stash. Well, maybe I do, but not enough of any one to make a whole quilt. Remembering how much I liked the I Spy with green sashing strips, I pulled this green out and looked for a dark purple to go with it. I couldn't find a dark purple I liked, but this hot pink caught my eye. OK, so it isn't dark or subtle, and it does look a little like somebody threw up, but hey, it's my quilt, it can look like quilt vomit if I want it to.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Design Decisions

I think words are driving my design ideas. It started with a simple plan to use up my leftovers and clear out the randomness in order to free up the space to work on something monochromatic. When working with leftovers, I find it easier to separate the crumbs (kinda square) from the strings (long and skinnyish). As I worked on sorting them, the names Crumb Cake and String Cheese started working their way through my mind. The crumbs came first, and as I worked through them, I quickly became bored with pure randomness, and in the way that an idle mind does, I started creating patterns out of chaos. The patterns turned into letters. Using Tonya's tutorial for free pieced letters as it exists in my head, the Crumb Cake quilt asked for a saying. Marie Antionette was haunting my mind from the long ago days of high school French and so I decided upon, "Let them eat crumb cake". There are only 6 letters done so far out of the 19 that are needed, but the general idea is starting to coagulate. The blocks are 7 inches with a 3 inch sashing strip between. I still need to decide on the color for that. DH Kurt thinks something dark to make the blocks blend better and I am liking the white to make the blocks pop out better. Maybe a comprimise with contrasting cornerstones? I'll let it simmer overnight and then think about it some more in the morning. My floor is a tangled mass of trimmings and treads as the basket of rejects, leftovers and afterthoughts turns into something. How happy is that?

We Got Slimed!!

We just returned from a family vacation to the Nickelodeon Hotel in Orlando. They have two big pools with water slides and lots of games and activities for the kids. We went two years ago to celebrate all of the kids summer birthdays and they had so much fun that we decided to go back again.

One of the things that they enjoyed most was the evening show called Slime Time Live. It is a game show that has two families competing in silly games and answering trivia questions. Anna was convinced that we should be the family on the stage and orchestrated the audition process. On the application she described our family as having odd hobbies such as ice skating in Florida and being the smallest football player ever. She didn't mention making quilts in Florida, but it would have fit right in. I guess it worked because we were lucky enough to be chosen for the show. The team had to consist of two adults and two children, so Sydney sat in the audience as our official photographer.
Ryan was in the first game, getting marshmallows out of a bowl of slime without using his hands. The second game was Anna putting on as many pairs of underwear as she could. Even though we lost all of the games, we answered the final trivia question correctly: "What was the name of the Lifeguard on Sponge Bob Square Pants?" It was Larry the lifeguard of course.

Our grand prize was the team captain getting slimed. Anna enjoyed every minute of it. I'm not quite sure what the slime was made out of, but they promised that it was completely edible and nontoxic.

Giveaway Winner

Using the highly scientific random number generator at, I got number 5 for the winner of my 500th post giveaway. Counting down the list of comments, the prize goes to......drum-roll please........ Amanda at Amanda's Musings. I am a longtime reader of Amanda's blog and was even lucky enough to win her giveaway earlier. She does lovely work and has just gotten a fancy new sewing machine and embroidery module. So go visit her and tell her I said "hi". Amanda, if you could just let me know which of the quilt kits from Connecting Threads you would like to have, the choices are: Magenta Cosmos Strippy, Cosmos in Bloom, or Madder Storm at Sea. Also, if you could send me your snail mail address, I'll zip off to the post office when it opens again on Tuesday and send the parcel off to you. Thanks to everyone who left a comment.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Still Ending the Year

Today I spent some time sorting through the scrap basket. I tend to throw anything into a basket that is leftover or extra. I enjoy cutting strips and squares mindlessly from time to time, and so tend to pull out the pieces that are largish. What is left are the humblest crumbs that I'm sure most people would toss without a backward glance. I've pulled a few out to make crumb and string blocks, but the basket was overflowing and needed some more drastic attention. Working my way down the basket was like an archeological dig of quilts past. A bit of green parrots from the back of the I spy, still more pieces of whirly giggles, extra bits from the nursing home series, wow, how long ago was the Dresden plates quilt? I guess some of those have been fermenting for a while. A more user friendly organization was called for.
Having seen several spectrum quilts recently, I was inspired to sort my crumbs chromatically. How pretty do they look hanging out together like that? I've got some mixed crumbs still in the works, but as soon as those are finished off I'll try a few monochromatic blocks and see how it goes.

This evening was our end of the year meeting for Girl Scouts. We swam, ate some ice cream and played Just Dance on the Wii. I think that was my last end of the year celebration. Tomorrow swim team starts. I guess that means that summer is really and truly here at last.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Design Wall Monday

I was going to use the flying geese as a border for Mariposa. Instead I used a plain border and now I have all these extra blocks hanging out waiting to do something. Maybe some Spring place mats or a table runner?
Right now I'm off to do a little ironing and putting away. I'm going to try to be more diligent about taking care of scraps and leaders and enders after every quilt instead of letting them build up. I spent an entire weekend recently working through a huge basket full.
After that I am going to sew some crumbs and strings for while. I am in the mood for some nice mindless sewing. I have two names floating through my mind, so coming soon; crumb cake and string cheese.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Mariposa Done Done

There is done and there is done done. It took most of the afternoon, but Mariposa is all the way done with the last stitch just taken in the binding. I'm always amazed that the last step can take as much time as all of the previous steps combined. I'll get it packaged up so that I can take it in to school tomorrow. There are three days of post planning scheduled, but I'm just about done with what I need to do. I have one parent who wants to schedule a conference and I need to count my textbooks. That should just about do it. I might take the kids in with me in the morning and let them plant some seeds in the vegetable portion of the solar innovation garden.

This is Lizzie who shamelessly stole my spot the minute I got up from my binding stitching session. Then she looked at me with that innocent "who me?" look on her face.
I've gotten a ton of comments from the Online Quilt Festival, but I haven't had a chance to look through much or respond. I think I'll do that now that my must do list is taken care of. Then I can pick the project I want to work on next and even stay up until the wee hours to work on it if the muse strikes. Aahhhhh, summer!!!!!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Mariposa is Quilted

I would have been done ages ago, but we went out to dinner and so a big chunk of my evening was booked. I tried out a ribbon pattern for the quilting, but it was looking a little striped, so I just did a basic meander in the middle and some quick feathers in the border. I used pink for those so they didn't show up too much, I'm still in the practicing stages on the whole feather concept. I got lazy when it came time to turn the quilt sideways to finish the side borders and went ahead and whipped those out on my regular sewing machine. I'll do the binding tomorrow and trim the loose ends so I can call it done. I don't like to seem too happy about being on summer vacation when other people aren't done yet -- but I am doing a little happy dance in my head right now. Summer is a very good thing.

Today is the First Day of the Rest of my Summer Vacation

Mariposa is frame ready. I got the blocks put together first thing this morning and then spent the rest of the day getting one step at a time done between all of the regular Saturday things. Iron some fabric, sweep the floor, cut a border, clean the kitchen....., You get the general idea. Kurt has taken the girls and the dog to the park so I think I'll load my quilt onto the HQ16 and get some quilting done. I'm thinking of doing a ribbon meander with maybe some feathers in the border. I think I'll do a little practice on the edges first to make sure it will work. If not, I'll just do a regular meander so I can get this done today and have tomorrow to sew down the binding.
Kurt has gotten into taking pictures of the kids while watching practices. Anna was trying out the theater on ice class this morning after her regular lesson. It's like a ballet recital, but on ice. She really enjoyed it, so I'm seeing more time at the iceplex in our future.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Summer Fun

I just finished the blocks for Mariposa. They are all laid out on the floor at that point in time when I want to let them season a bit and go to bed. Unfortunately, Lizzie mistakes quilts on the ground for the paper she potty trained on, and that is not a good thing at all. So I will gather these up and get them nicely pinned a la Elanor Burns ready to be sewn together. Maybe if I look suitably pitiful in the morning Kurt will take the girls to ice skating lessons and I can get the top finished up. I am considering finishing it with a thin yellow border and then a wider pink one. I've made bunches of extra geese, but I'm thinking of saving them for a separate quilt. I would love to have this all finished up by Monday and ready to take into school. There is nothing like a looming deadline to inspire simplicity of design.

Happy Day

Happy last day with students. Start of summer vacation. Happy Quilt Festival. I had so much fun going through all the blogs with the online quilt festival last year that I had to participate again. I think I posted my Elm Creek Sampler last year. One of the things that is fun about sampler quilts is that in trying out lots of new patterns, every once in a while you like one so much that you decide to make a whole quilt out of it. Pineapple Welcome is just such a quilt. I had dabbled in paper piecing, but never tried it on an entire quilt. It is just the right size to hang in my entryway and so I decided to make it a true welcome quilt by adding the word in a variety of languages around the border. It is finished with a scalloped border which wasn't nearly as difficult as I had feared. So be sure to visit Amy's blog and check out some of the other quilts and their stories. You can also visit my 500th post and enter the giveaway drawing. Just a few more days 'till my birthday when I will pick a winner. For now it is the first day of the rest of my summer. Happy quilting everyone!!


Never cut fabric past midnight.

I finished the star blocks for Mariposa, but I think I'll wait until tomorrow to get the chain blocks put together. Can you guess why?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Counting Down

Post number 501, and just two days of school left in the school year. I started digging for something fun to add to the giveaway and came up with some kits that I ordered from Connecting Threads. Something about a nicely packaged quilt with pretty coordinating fabric makes me terrified to dig in and I've never started any of these. So the lucky winner can choose one of these kits. They are: Cosmos in Bloom, Cosmos Strippy, and Root of the Madder Storm at Sea. The finished quilts are about 36 inches square, if you win and want more details before making a choice, I can elaborate. If you haven't entered the drawing yet, just leave me a nice comment on blog number 500.

It's Wednesday, and I keep waiting for an evening this week to spend at home. Monday I did a night out with a girlfriend who needed to get out of the house, and that was a nice change of pace. Tuesday was the last Girl Scout service meeting of the year. I was so hopeful that tonight would be my chance to devote some time to quilting, but it was home for a quick dip in the pool before heading out to football practice. I've been trying to leave it all up to Kurt, but it seems that most of the players have both parents there to lend support and so he wanted me there as well. It's not that I don't want to be supportive, I just that all of my knowledge of football comes from the movie The Blindside. I try to follow along, but I get lost and my mind wanders.

We got home in time to put the kids to bed, and I decided to work up a couple of trial blocks for the comfort quilt I was planning to make for my coworker's wife who is getting ready for chemotherapy after a double mastectomy. It is going to be called Mariposa and is a simpler version of the Twilight quilt that I made just before school started. I'll use these simple flying geese stars instead of the sampler blocks and maybe add the extra dark geese into the border. That's the plan so far anyway. I'd better get it whipped up in a hurry. I won't be seeing much of the people at work after post planning ends next week.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

500th Post -- Must be a Giveaway!!

I've been procrastinating on my 500th post trying to figure out what I wanted to give away. I've got a few things so far, but I'll keep adding until I reach my birthday which is in a week and a half away. Just leave me a comment and make sure I can get in touch with you in case you win. I'm hoping for a chance to make something, with school ending in just a few more days I should have some time to putter soon.
Last Friday was a shuttle launch at 2:20. There are just two more to go, so I took my last period class out to watch.

Not much is going on with sewing these days. I worked Sunday on a border and bought the fabric for the mystery quilt at Patchwork Times. Judy just cracks me up with her posts about chickens and all the cooking she does.

Even though school is winding down quickly, the evenings have been full of this and that end of the year activities. There is a quick vacation after that and I will finally be into summer proper, long lazy days with plenty of time for everything. Well, comparatively lots of time at least.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Blog 499 and Turning the Corner

At the end of the first marathon I ever ran, there was a very long street which ended in a sharp right turn. It was a double loop marathon, so I'd already seen the path and knew that I just needed to go around the bend and into the park, past the fountain and through the finish gate. Although I was exhausted, in pain, and ready to be done; somehow seeing past the turn and almost to the end made it all possible.
I think I finally turned that last corner of my school year today. It's been late nights followed by early mornings and long days of slogging through a list that just kept growing. Last night I finished writing the last of my three finals and today I managed to plow through three towering stacks of lab journals and almost entirely empty my "in" folders. There are still odds and ends to be done of course, make-up work, proof reading, photocopies...... but the balance has finally tipped so that the undone is less than the done.

Big sigh of relief as that final burst of energy kicks in to get me to the end.

I dug the small pocket camera out of my purse today and found a veritable treasure trove of random photos. The top photo is Sydney at the Mother's Day tea in her class at school. No sign of the top teeth yet, but she is starting to get the two bottoms in. I especially love the big yellow forehead from a healing bruise that she kind of remembers getting from bumping into someone at school .
This one in Anna in "jail" during her class field trip to St. Augustine. Kurt took her on that one and she still talks about the dead bugs that they use to make red dye number 40.

These next two are the most recent additions to my goody pile for my 500th post giveaway. The top is a little home made honey bun with a group of rainbow hued 1.5 inch strips. Next is a group of 25 2.5 inch squares in the colors of the rainbow. If 5 inch squares are nickels, does that make these quarters? I'm going to call it that whether it is real or not. So here is my rainbow quarter stack. Like a charm pack, but smaller. Just one more post to go. I'll try not to wait another week this time between posts.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Blog Entry Number 498 and Counting

I'm starting to collect together some things for my 500th post giveaway. So far I have a book called Mindful Meandering, which has lots of great ideas for free motion quilting. I accidentally ordered two from Amazon when I forgot I already had one saved in my cart. I also found this very cute template which I used to make Paige's Whirlygiggle quilt. I thought it was lost and bought an extra so I could finish it up. I'll dig around some more in the next couple of days to see what else I can add, so stay tuned for more info. I'll probably even include some things that aren't random things I bought by accident!
I was motivated by Judy's design wall Monday to do some sewing this evening instead of collapsing in a ball of exhausted stress after a long day at school, which was my first instinct. I had already cut out the next three in Amy's BOM, although I'm still in March. I am sure I will catch up soon enough. I'm having fun trying all the new patterns and loving the way that they are all coming together. I have worked in new fabrics in as I ran out of the old. A shopping trip may be needed in the near future to replenish the stores.

Here is a close-up of this month's blocks. I think friendship star is first, followed by cactus something and then my favorite block for it's name, scraphappy.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

More Practice and Counting Down

I just realized that I'm almost at post number 500! I've already been starting a collection of things to give away, so stay tuned for more details. This morning I finished up the practice "quilt" using a spiral squares pantograph and some random feathers. The kids are upstairs cleaning and I'm getting ready to start on some school work. Happy Sunday everyone.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Practice Makes Perfect

OK, so maybe I need more practice. Well, maybe lots more practice would be the thing.
I put together a couple of pieces of flannel with a back made from some leftover fabric from the cushions in the kids toy room. This is a pantograph that I ordered from Golden Threads. I also got a pattern package, but those don't come on a roll, so I'll need to make copies and tape them together apparently.
I'm playing with the little laser pointer guy on my HQ16. I should have left extra space at the edges where I could get the next row all lined up the right way. I think I'm doing it correctly, but it seems a little fiddly so far.

I took a break from the laundry (8 loads and counting!) after lunch to take the kids to see a movie. I think it was called Furry Vengeance and it had Brendan Fraiser and Brooke Shields in it. The kids enjoyed it, and I treated myself to some junior mints so it wasn't a complete loss. Sydney did some sewing of her own this afternoon. Lizzie keeps attacking her dog bed and pulling out the stuffing, so Sydney decided to sew it back together. She allowed me to tie a knot in the end, but after that was insistent on doing it all herself. She is getting very grown up and independent all of the sudden. I'm not sure if I'll do a little more piecing tonight or practice my pantography a bit more. First I think I'll take a shower. We tried to turn on the air conditioner for the first time today when the inside temps hit 85, but it didn't seem to work. So I've been a little sweaty and grumpy all afternoon.

Not Quite a Quilt Marathon

Amy is having a quilt marathon today. I'm not sure what I'm getting accomplished quite deserves the title of marathon, but I'm trying to get in a little bit of machine time between the normal Saturday chores. I've folded five loads of laundry so far, swept the floor, ironed 10 yards of fabric, unloaded the dishwasher, trimmed and folded the fabric to be put away, taken the kids to a movie, sewn together two more quadrant of spinning stars, supervised swimming, set up play dates, sewn a bit of flannel together to practice sewing pantographs and mended a torn pair of shorts. Not quite a quilting marathon, but it is a typical Saturday around here. I'm going now to load the flannel "quilt" onto the frame and try my first ever pantograph.

Sunday is going to be devoted to school, so whatever sewing I'm going to get done this weekend needs to be done now. Tomorrow I need to work on writing final exams. Makes you wish you were me, doesn't it?