Saturday, April 10, 2021

ScrapHappy Saturday - Blue Skies

Welcome to the weekend!   Just three more weekends before AP testing starts, and 8 more before school ends.  The seniors had their "prom" last night.   It was a formal dinner with speeches and videos.  No DJ or dancing allowed.  What a long strange year this has been.   
We saw the first sea turtle nest of the season today!   The sea turtle preservation group is out on beach buggies every morning scouting for them, but this is the first marked nest we have seen.   

I plan to sort through some more blue scraps this morning.   If I can get some leaders and enders set up, then I can work on those between sewing the rows together for the red lightning quilt.  

The garden lattice blocks might be first up.   I didn't make any flower blocks in green, but blue will make a nice addition to the collection.   
How are your blocks coming along?    The linky tool is below, so please share your progress and plans.  


Thursday, April 8, 2021



I keep seeing this quilt on Pinterest and Etsy, but I can't figure out how to make it other than in long rows.  I hate sewing long rows.  There must be a way to make it, but with blocks.    

So I grabbed some graph paper during my lunch today and started figuring out how to make it in blocks.  It isn't exactly the same, and the diamonds will be in two sizes, but it would be much easier to put together.   I was thinking of trying it out with some two inch bricks and squares this weekend.  
One more lacrosse game this week to get through.   We lost on Monday and won on Wednesday, tonight is another likely loss, and then it is on the district matches next week.  What a strange season it has been!  We have three injured girls and two out on quarantine, so there aren't many subs, but everyone is hanging in there with a good attitude so far.   

Monday, April 5, 2021

After the Long Weekend

I thought that I might get this top finished up over the long weekend.  It is SO close though!   I will be able to polish it off as soon as there is an evening at home.  I think that Sydney has 3 lacrosse games this week though, so that might not be soon.   

We went on a family hike yesterday, and the weather was glorious!   Lots of flowers and bees and gators splashing in the distance. I keep thinking that it will be too hot soon, but we keep having these lovely cold snaps of 60 degree days.  Perfect hiking weather!  We also had ham for lunch in honor of Easter Sunday, so there will be ham sandwiches to enjoy all week.   

Everyone is eligible for be vaccinated in Florida now and lots of people are getting appointments.  I see a vaccinated return to normalcy happening soon!   I'd love to see a vaccine approved for the kids below 16.  Maybe before school starts next year?  It would be fabulous to ditch the mask and work on labs in groups again.  At this point, I would just be over the moon to see all of my students in person again and give up on the Zoom synchronous sessions.   

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Slow and Steady on a Sunday

My design wall is starting to shift from green to blue.   I am thinking of shortening the yellow row for #Fullstop and beginning the process of sewing the rows together.  I might cheat and make a few rows ahead of time so I can verify the layout.  
I outgrew the tiny bowl from last week and moved my hexie collection to a larger version.  There is something so relaxing about mindlessly prepping these little guys during movies.  They are slowly filling  a wooden bowl that my great grandmother Nora used to mix bread in the 1920s.   
And finally, I am still making progress on the Lightning quilt.  I added one more column, and might do just one more before I finish. I already have the backing fabric picked out.   
 I am linking up with Slow Stitching Sunday and Oh Scrap! today.  Be sure to drop by and check out handwork and scrappy projects.  

Saturday, April 3, 2021

ScrapHappy Saturday - And so Begins BLUE


I got a couple of blocks up on the blue wall.   It is fun to switch over to a new month.   There are so many blue scraps!  I could do three months of blue and still not use them up.  Dark blue will come back again and green-blue will get its own month, so that will help with not having to use up everything right now.   

The sunrise was late this morning due to lots of clouds on the horizon.  A cold front has moved in again and it is quite chilly.  Sounds like a good reason to stay inside and start to fill up the blue wall.  

Friday, April 2, 2021

Full Stop April Block - Asterisks

An asterisk is from a word root meaning star.  When used in writing, it is often a reference indicating that something has been omitted or requires more information or context.  I often tell my kids not to worry too much about their standardized test scores right now because everything we do this year will have an asterisk by it.   To understand why their AP scores were strangely low for this year, the asterisk would go with a footnote to explain that we are all learning in a hybrid environment during a pandemic, and the results might not be consistent with their usual performance.    I think the movie profits will all need and asterisk this year because most of the theaters were closed for so long.   I hear they are open now, but I'll keep enjoying new releases on HBO max for now.   There is an aster flower, asteroids in the sky, and the word disaster is derived from the same word root.  It refers to an unfavorable aspect of a planet or star.   
I plan to end up with a 6.5 inch block in the end, so I chose to start with 7 inches in order to leave room for squaring up. This is not strictly necessary as the width of the strips will add enough extra size into the block to give you some wiggle room.  So feel free to start with a 6.5 inch block if you prefer.  
For the oversized ready for trimming version, start with:
  • 1 - 7 inch square of background fabric
  • 2 - 1.25 by about 10 inch strips of blue
  • 2 - 1.25 by about 8 inch strips of blue. 
The exact lengths of the blue strips are not important, as long as they are a bit longer than the background strips, the rest is all going to be trimmed away at the end.   
Start by slicing your background square from corner to corner along the diagonal.  Insert a long blue strip and sew to one hypotenuse of the triangle.  Always press toward the blue.   
Now add the second triangle to the other side of the strip.  Try to line up the middle corner with the middle of the block.   Remember to press toward the blue.  I feel that this makes the star "pop" in the finished block.   
Now repeat the same treatment along the other diagonal.   Cut corner to corner, insert the other long strip.  Sew on one side, press.  Sew on the other side, press again.   
Now you have a big "X" going on.   You will need to cut the block in half again, but this time, vertically.   Each side should be about 3.5 inches, but worry more about cutting through the intersection of the existing strips than about the exact size of the background.   
Insert a short strip and sew on one side of the background unit.   
Add the other side of the background square and repeat the process of sew and press.    
Rotate the block 90 degrees and repeat the sewing in of the strip.   
Your block is now just a bit bigger than the starting size of 7 inches.   Use a square up ruler to trim it down to 6.5, taking care to try to center the corner strips along the diagonal.   It doesn't have to be perfect, so just do the best you can.   You can see how much extra fabric I have on all the sides, so feel free to start with a slightly smaller block to produce less waste.   

Tada!  Here is your finished block.  Make 6 of these and sew them into a strip with a 6.5 by 1.5 inch strip of background fabric between each block.  
There are so many ways to work on variations of a theme with this block.  It is easy to make them larger or smaller of course, but you could also just use wider or narrower strips.  I think it would look great with solids in the diagonal and various fun prints in the horizontal and vertical strips.   Wonky blocks would be lots of fun with the same idea as well, just cutting on slightly different angles would give a nice fun feel to the finished quilt.  

Kathy did an entire post with the asterisk quilts she has made over the years.  

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Happy April

April will be about bright and light blue.  If you have to many blues to handle in one month, feel free to save the darker hues for later.   I've been too tired in the evenings this week to do much more than prep a few hexies.  They are living happily in a little salad bowl on my coffee table right now waiting to be sewn together.   
We are spreadsheeting in school right now and my daughter shared this with me.   The kids think that I am doing it just to torture them, but they are all learning so much though their productive struggle.   

One of my younger kids brought me this treat in celebration of the Easter holiday.   We have the day off of school tomorrow and are all looking forward to some relaxing time at home.   I will be finishing up the tutorial for the April Fullstop block which will be an asterisk.  I am looking forward to this one almost as much as the hashtag!  

Monday, March 29, 2021

Design Wall Monday - Lightning

The moon was full and beautiful last night.  I tried to catch a photo of its reflection on the water, but photos never do the night sky justice.   
I got the first three rows of the lightning quilt sewn together.   It is a slow and steady process to get the angles right on either side, but I am very much enjoying watching this one come together.   Those nine patches have been hanging out fermenting in a baggie for SO long.   So glad to find a use for them.  I have several more baggies to deal with, but all in good time.  
I did actually empty one more baggie yesterday, converting ginormous hexies, to tiny ones for the diamond quilt.  Kurt and I watched Batman Begins together after pizza night and I trimmed so many blocks that I wore a blister on my scissor finger.  Ouch!  It was amazing how many different fabrics I had stashed in there.  Some were of questionable quality and got tossed, but the rest will make great additions to my little diamond collection.   
I think this will be a calm week.  Sydney is allowed to return to sports again after her mono episode.   We went to watch the game as a family last Friday, but by Wednesday she will be back on the field again.   Midterm exams were last week at school which means that we start a new marking period today.   That means just nine more weeks of this wild and weird school year.   We are down six teachers so far who just won't be back.   I can't say that I blame them after the year we have all had, but it is going to be sad to see them all go.   Two of them had previously planned to retire, the rest have made other plans based on the trials of pandemic education.   

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Sunday - Time to Pause?

I am looking forward to a little quiet time today.   We had a beach walk this morning, then took the girls out to breakfast.  We have a restaurant within walking distance that does patio seating with a beach view.   Anna is only coming home every other weekend, which is a sign of progress.   It does mean that I spent yesterday fighting for laundry time though.  Somehow after moving her loads forward for her all day, she still managed to leave with the last load sitting in the dryer.  And Sydney, bless her heart, put a load into the washer but never started it.    I am still hopeful that I will manage to produce a set of clean sheets before the end of the day.   
I am also making slow and steady progress on sewing the rows together for the red quilt.   The nine patches are made from 2 inch squares which makes each block 5 inches unfinished.   I cut 5 inch strips of red and then used the easy angle ruler to cut triangles without the bias being on the outside edge of the strips.   I suppose to cut them from squares you would need to cut each square into quarters.   I did the math on it and figured out that I would need to start with 7.5 inch squares to do it that way.   

I've been digging though old projects, orphan blocks and random stacks.   These hexies are giant and random and are older than my youngest daughter!   I am not feeling that I want a to finish this quilt and so I will repurpose these into tiny hexies to add to my rainbow diamond blocks.   I think that I will find a nice movie and some scissors and settle in for some hand work prep time.   I had wanted to sort through all of the randomness before we moved two years ago, but somehow it all just got dumped into boxes and carried over to the new house.   It feels good to sort through it all.   

I will link up with Kathy's Quilts and Oh Scrap! today.   Looking at what others are accomplishing will be a nice inspiration for continuing to make progress on my own projects.   

Saturday, March 27, 2021

ScrapHappy Saturday -- Last Green Weekend


Wrapping up Green!  I think I have some more crumb blocks in the works, but other than that, I am ready to clean up the green and move on.   I am looking forward to working with bright and light blues in April.     Don't worry if you aren't done with green though, there are still 5 more days in March.  Also, green will come out to play again later, so you will have a chance to finish off the odds and ends or play with more shades.   Green seems to be plentiful for most quilters.     
With few clouds on the horizon, it was a peaceful sunrise this morning.  I think that snook are schooling and there were lots of fishers out looking for morning catch.   
I've been playing with some random scrappy nine patches this week.  Back from the days when I had discovered leaders and enders, but not yet begun to focus on monochromatic blocks.   I think they need a consistent background color to calm down the scrappy, but I haven't found enough of one color that I like quite yet.  I'll keep digging.  I'm sure something will work out in the end.  

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Tiny Tuesday

The Tiny Tuesday Rainbow Scrap Challenge Sampler from 2019 is officially done!  This was such a fun quilt to make.   Each Tuesday a new block was offered, either by me or by one of the Rainbow Scrap Challenge participants.   Had I known when I started that 2019 was going to be the year of the big move, I might have planned differently.   It is such a fun collection though, and I love remembering where all the blocks came from.    

I love the owl block.  His eyes just crack me up! Sally designed this one, and the pig block as well.  Both are so sweet.  You should check out her tutorial page if you enjoy animal blocks.   
There were several flower blocks, but I feel like I could make an entire quilt out of this one.  Mari designed it.  Why are other people's blocks so much more fun than my own? 
I had saved a strip of framed nine patches for the back of that quilt, but forgot to use them.  They found a nice home here though.  I do enjoy pieced backings so much.   

After finishing off so many quilts lately, I had the urge to start something new.  I resisted the urge though, and instead decided to put some already made blocks to use.   What is a girl to do with a bag labelled "Random Scrappy 9-patches"?  
I think I will put them together with a streak of lightning setting in alternating rows of red and blue.  I showed it to my husband, and his response was, "Wow, there is a lot going on in that quilt".  I don't think he meant it as a complement.  Maybe I'll play with the colors a bit.   

Monday, March 22, 2021

Busy Weekend


It was so nice to be able to finally spend a day just sitting and sewing!   I did take a break for a beach walk in the afternoon, and did the normal weekend things like laundry and cleaning the bathroom.  Other than that though, I just played with fabric!  So good for the soul.   I made quite a dent in the green bin.  There were lots of little bits of crumbs hanging out with the strings.   I also generated so many waste triangles with the Sister's Choice blocks, and those are adorably tiny.   There is still one more green Saturday, so I should be able to polish off the rest before the month is done.   

Today it is back to school!   We have exams on Wednesday and Thursday, which is quite harsh right on the cusp of spring break.  This year evolved greatly due to COVID related changes in ways that nobody foresaw.   Next year will make more sense I am sure.   I am looking forward to doing normal things again.   Vaccines are proceeding quickly around here.  They have just opened it up to people 50 and above which has my husband off this morning to get his.  

Saturday, March 20, 2021

ScrapHappy Saturday - Blooming in Green


I've been so busy quilting that I haven't gotten much sewing done this month.  I finished quilting the Tiny Tuesday Sampler quilt from RSC19.   I got about half of the binding done last night before dozing off in the middle of Justice League.  Maybe I can finish the movie and the binding at the same time today.   There are lots of green blocks in progress, but nothing finished to put up on the wall.  Hopefully I can fix that today.   It looks like a nice calm day today, I'll try not to think about heading back to school on Monday.   Plenty of time to prepare for that tomorrow.
Today is the spring equinox and also International Quilting day.  Those are two great reasons to celebrate.    

Friday, March 19, 2021

Spring Break Productivity

Yesterday I painted the stairs!  My back is angry about all the bending, but they look so fresh and clean.  I almost hate to put back the plants that usually live there.   
Out bathroom glass finally got installed.  I'm just two days away from being able to shower in my own bathroom again.   The guys showed up the first time and turned right around and left after looking at the stairs.   They came back on Wednesday with two extra guys to help carry it up to the third story where the main bath is located.  
A fresh lifeguard stand is a sure sign that summer is right around the corner.  The spring break crowds have been impressive.  They aren't up at sunrise though, so no photos of crowded beaches to share.  

I have been savoring our daily  sunrise beach walk during the break.  I am going to miss that when school starts again on Monday.  Just nine more weeks though.  I think I will make it!

 The Tiny Tuesday Sampler is on the frame.  I am doing a tiny wave in the background and then minimal quilting in the colored areas of the blocks to knock down the puffiness.  I think I'm about halfway done.   I used a pieced section in the center of the backing and that has just shown up.   I was just too tired yesterday to stand at the frame and settled for some hand quilting instead.   Just two more days of break though, I am determined to make the most of it.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Spring Break Quilting Fest

Spring break has begun!  Saturday we started off the week with a Wedding.  My friend Linda from work was the happy bride.   There were lots of Covid safety features, but it was still a little scary to be in a group of people again.  
The flowers were just beautiful!  I was lucky enough to bring home an extra to enjoy after the brunch on Sunday.  
I spent yesterday getting the borders on this sampler quilt.   I pieced a back and it is ready to go next on the frame.   I am picturing allover flowers for the quilting on this one.   My feathers will definitely enjoy some practice.   

I spent the afternoon today sitting on the balcony finishing up the binding on Nine Carat Diamonds.   Then I got the Tiny Tuesday Sampler quilt loaded up on the frame, so that will be next on the list.  Spring break is always a little bit of a taste of summer vacation being just around the corner.  Just nine more weeks of this terribly odd school year!  Still hoping that things start to get back to normal in time for the next one.