Sunday, September 24, 2017

Whay I Did This Summer

This is actually what I did since the last time we talked, but this sounds much better, doesn't it?  Genealogy has ruled most of the summer. Saturday, I attended a genealogy workshop at our library with Joshua Taylor, of Genealogy Roadshow.

I am borrowing photographs from other members of the family so I can make copies of them for my files. This is a big collection of photos and I got the smart idea to photograph the photos instead of scanning them. Upon viewing them today, though, I realize that my blurry photographs of blurry photographs yields even blurrier photographs, and I should really be scanning them. I am not sure I have fully recovered from Scanfest to start over again. If you recall, many years ago, I scanned all my old photographs that had people in them. I later lost them all due to a hard drive crash. I still haven't found the backup CDs (Hopefully I have them), so that might be a part of my reluctance to start over again on such a project.

I've made a couple trips to a cemetery to find some burial markers for some of my daughter's ancestors. For some reason, I didn't have photos of them on my genealogy software.  While I was there, I took pictures of the rest of the markers in the section and posted them to FindaGrave. Both times I went, I just took pictures until I ran out of battery power on the camera. They now have a feature that other people will transcribe the markers for you so you don't have to, but I went ahead and transcribed them too. I still have more family markers in other sections to find.

My UFOS aren't limited to quilts!  I finally got around to staining my porch floor. I wanted to make sure that I got it done before the leaves start falling. My neighbors leaves are already falling, so I am cutting it close! The resulting stain color is a big change from the original which you see here, and is much darker, but it is growing on me.  I really like that this project is now done. I still need to figure out how to keep sparrows from nesting on my porch. While I don't mind the idea of sharing my porch with birds, these birds are not respectful neighbors and make a big mess on my porch.

Other housework has also cropped up.  My refrigerator clonked out, so I had to quickly choose a new one, which was really hard because I wanted one with the same features as my current one. I didn't find one, but I found an adequate substitute. And then finding a salesclerk who can sell it to me, empty old fridge, fill new fridge, deal with the old one in the tiny kitchen(!) until the recycling people could pick it up, etc.

There is also news on the quilting front. I really enjoyed making my red and white mystery quilt, so I thought it would be fun to make another red and white quilt. (The backing for the mystery quilt is chosen and pressed so hopefully it will reach finished stage soon).  I am basing this quilt on a picture of a finished quilt instead of a pattern, so I am sure I am making it the wrong way, but it is working out all right.  I liked the idea of tiny blocks so I made these blocks tiny

I know that each of these blocks should be using the same fabric in each one, but I made a long rail fence before subcutting and making the big block and turned that into that first block. Then I subcut, turned the inside pieces, and pieced into the final block.  It is now an experiment to see how that affects the finished project.

I realize that this quilt requires very precise cutting and piecing. That center block is supposed to finish at half an inch. You might as well get your reservation on a galloping horse now. I hear there is a huge demand for them.

Monday, September 11, 2017

The Mystery is Revealed

I had a great time following the seven day mystery from Threadbare Creations!

On day one, we got barely a morsel of a clue. Four patches. And I showed them to you with even less detail, to keep the mystery for those who wanted to follow along. I didn't do any of the homework assignments. It isn't safe for me to have cut pieces around and expect me to be able to find them later.

I chose to make mine in red and white even though she recommended blue and white, so I can build up my red and white collection. With my luck it is something that won't work in blue and white, but what could it be? Even faces can be made with purple and other colors.

On day two, we made four of these cute little blocks, and I decided that I had chosen well in following along with this mystery:

I wondered if the quilt would be put on point. On day three, we made four of these blocks, and even though it made me think we might not, I still thought it might be put on point. I liked that there would be directional movement in the quilt. Hmm, four of each. Seems like there might be a block missing. Maybe the center block.

On day four, we made four of these blocks. How adorable are these?!  They definitely will serve well as corner pieces.

On day 5, we made four of these blocks.  This isn't completely sewn, but it looks like a great cross so I wanted to show you.

One day six, we made the center block.  I also tried out some layouts.

In this layout, I put the day two pieces on the inside. Note that the airplane / sword looking pieces are facing out.

The corner pieces are also facing out.

In this layout, I alternated the day two link blocks with the sword. Day six is also the day I forgot how to follow the directions.  It made sense to have the red pieces in the corner to follow the diagonal. That center block isn't supposed to look like an H.  I decided to wait until the reveal to decide whether it was a design choice or a mistake.

On day seven, I decided I liked the plus better than the H, so I made some alterations, one side at a time. When I fixed one side, it looked like a Y.  An H and a Y for Happy!

It looks like a nice plus sign with the second alteration and the whole quilt can be pieced. Those triangle pieces all face inward, not outward. How interesting!

It looks like there are four keys leading to the center.  And four kites or four roads leading to home. Yes, I see that one of my roads is different from the others. But that is perfectly all right, because all snowflakes are different from each other.

It is a snowflake. A red snowflake!  The fabric looks great as a snowflake, because it adds a lacy effect.   I'm not sure it still looks like a snowflake in red, but I really like the design and am really happy with it.

I really liked that Rose had us strip piece so much, and we were preparing for blocks that were coming up. It is irritating when we are made to do things the hard way. When I strip piece, I usually only do one block at a time, and maybe I can think farther ahead in the future. I'm glad I did this mystery because not only did I get a beautiful quilt, I also learned something.

Thank you Rose, for a fun mystery. I will get it sandwiched and quilted before sending a quilt reveal picture.

Linked to:
Moving it Forward
Let's Bee Social

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Mystery Sew Along

Ever since I finished the Adinkra top, I have wanted to start a new quilt.  My mind is racing at all the beautiful quilts I want to start. I could finish one of my many WIPs.  I could start a scrap quilt to tame the scrap box. Oh but which scrap quilt. There are so many wonderful choices.

Then I come across a blog, and Rose at Threadbare Creations has just started a short and small mystery quilt-along. A small quilt is just the perfect.  It will let me work on a brand new quilt, but because it is small, I will be able to quickly get to work on a WIP.  If she can make a quilt in 7 days, surely I can finish it within a year, right?

It is a two fabric quilt, which means it could be  a two color quilt. She used and recommends blue and white. I have blue and white quilts on my bulletin board, and while a blue and white color quilt would look great with the others, I am hoping to use a different color.   I went to the Cave of Wonder and received these two fabrics.  They will give me a chance to increase my red and white quilt collection.

The blue fabric is the backing for the Adinkra top.  I will add a strip to make it wide enough and then it will be ready to be sandwiched.

I really like this red fabric.  It might be a Walmart find, but I am not sure.

So far, I really like how it is coming together. I didn't show you the blocks in case you want to follow along too and don't want the mystery solved early.

Linked to:
Let's Bee Social

Sunday, September 3, 2017

The Cave of Wonder

Since I have finished piecing the Adinkra top. it is now time to quilt it.  Quilting a top requires finding a backing fabric.  I decided it would be too difficult to find a backing fabric for an African quilt in my stash, and should quilt something else.  After all, I have several quilts ready to quilt, all lined up on hangers, with backing pieced and ready.

I couldn't help myself, though, and took a quick peek at the stash to see if I might be able to find anything that might work for Adinkra.  My modern fabrics won't work as they are too light, and the only thing left is my stack of blue fabric.  I might have bought enough fabrics for several quilts when I was making the (still unfinished) Shakespeare in the Park.. There is blue in the Adinkra quilt, but the SITP is a traditional quilt. Wouldn't hurt to look though.

 I looked at that stack and found it.

Imagine going to a wise elder in Africa, and asking for a backing fabric. The wise elder isn't going to give you choices.  He or she will say "this is the fabric you need."  No choices, but it will be the right option. When looking for blue border fabric, she chose a green and orange print, and yet when looking for a orange/brown/yellow print for the backing, she chose a blue one.  Who am I to argue?

It's not an African print, but I am pretty sure I bought it to go with the blue African prints. Everywhere on the internet today, people are showing off their new fabric purchases.  I don't need new fabric purchases. I have renamed my sewing room the Cave of Wonder.

I have a Cave of Wonder that always delivers.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Why My Sewing Room Doesn't Get Clean

 I was in my sewing room straightening it up.  I came across a box that had the Adinkra BOM quilt top and the leftover fabrics I was using and auditioning for it. It was too full to close properly.   Since the quilt was already pieced, I figured I could take the extra fabric and put them away for future quilts.
Then I could just leave the quilt top and any potential border, binding and backing fabrics and put the box back in the WIP /UFO stack.  I opened the box that held the other ethnic fabrics so I could put the extras away and came across another piece that I thought might work for the border.

I brought it downstairs where I could properly lay out the quilt to audition it.  The faces make me think of ancestors, which seems appropriate since I have been obsessively working on genealogy all week.  [I banned myself from doing any genealogy research yesterday, and I had withdrawal symptoms.  I got a fix by indexing some records. Today I am devoting to quilting. There's nothing like substituting one obsession with another.]

It's a little plain, which would work on keeping the attention on the center.  I liked it, but realized that the faces weren't going to be in a nice straight line, unless I cut the fabric on the bias, which I don't like to do for borders. I guess it  would be okay if they aren't level.

I went back upstairs to find my original potential border fabric so I could properly compare which one I like better. While I was in the box, I found another piece of fabric I thought might work.  I auditioned the original potential border again.  Busy, but looks okay. It is a smaller piece and I will have to be careful to cut a border size that will border the whole quilt. I've shown this one to you before.

Hard to pick which one is better.

Then I auditioned the other piece. Pick me!, it said.

 It is probably a piece I had rejected in the past; my ethnic fabric collection is small; but today, it makes me happy. It still has the ancestors feel, but has plenty of plain background to keep it from looking too busy.  The orange and green colors aren't in the center, and I'm probably mixing and matching cultures, but I think they still look good together.

Linked to:
Let's Bee Social
Oh Scrap!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Quilt Reveal: Family Flower

Silly you! You thought that when I showed you a quilt reveal last time that you were seeing a finished quilt!

I couldn't leave well enough alone, and added some hand quilting and added a trim around the edge. I like it much better this way.  As I told you last time, the leaves have the names of family members embroidered on them so I need to cover them up for privacy reasons. The trim makes sure people see that this is a special quilt that was worth my effort to add the hand quilting and pretty trim.

I need to wash the guidelines for the hand quilting (yes believe it or not I planned this odd angle), and I think that will shrink up the remaining excess fabric.

Linked to:
Let's Bee Social 189

Friday, August 4, 2017

Family Flower

It is quilt reveal day, so of course it is dark and dreary outside that do not provide for photogenic pictures. But I am finished with this quilt, and am excited to show it to you so here it is.

I like to combine my passions for quilting and genealogy from time to time, and often thought about making a family tree quilt with names of the family members.  One day, maybe when I was working on Life of Plenty, I realized that our family was small enough to make good leaves on a flower.  I've covered up the names in order to protect everyone's privacy, which is a shame because I really like the font I used.  Besides the backstitches, a lot of the letters are accented with french knots.

I used fusible applique and stitched around the shapes twice. The needle kept gumming up with the fusible so the stitches aren't as smooth as they could be. The names are hand-stitched and chain stitches help show the family relationships.

Here it is on the bulletin board to show its relative size.  It is 12" x 12".    I wanted to keep the quilting stitches minimal, as I had seen that look on other quilts. Even my other two flower quilts shown here have minimal quilting.  But since there is so much space between the quilted motifs and the binding, the fabric did not stay as smooth as it should have been.  It looks worse in these pictures than it does in real life, but I may add more quilting stitches (and maybe some ribbon if there is a lot of excess) to smooth it out.

The fabric choice for this quilt comes from the one and only Glitter block I have made (so far). The original plan was to use the dark fabric for the binding, but at the end, I decided I liked the lighter fabric better.

Linked to:
Oh Scrap!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

July's Favorite Pictures

Hello! It is that time of the month where we close one photo folder and open the next month's folder.  Before we close July,  I choose my favorite pictures from the month to share with you.

I've only seen passionfruit growing in my own yard.  It grows like a weed all over the yard, since the fruit doesn't always ripen in time for picking before the frost sets in in this climate, and the fruit is fun to throw at others so the seeds manage to get everywhere.  It is like a spoiled child though, and gets to grow almost anywhere it wants to in the yard.

This year, we had a special treat.  We had albino passionflower!  I didn't know that was possible.  It did not last long, so I am glad I got a picture of it.

I did not plant zinnias this year, or much of anything else, and am grateful for the ones that did come back.

 This flower is not in my yard.  I like how the orange flower in the front looks like a singer on a stage with the lillies as backup singers.

I found this purple bear in the quilt cabinet when I was cleaning it out.  I like how he matches with my current project. Wait, is that a new project?

Even though my garden this year is weedy and neglected, the butterfly still enjoys spending time in it.

A better shot of the markings on the butterfly.

Another passionflower.  They bloom all summer.

Thus ends the July picture show.  I talked about cleaning the quilt cabinet earlier, so I figured I should show you. I finally got smart and folded the quilts so they would cover the whole length and width of the cabinet. Because they are spread out so thin, you can't really see and become intrigued by the piecing. You can just see color. 

It is an antique as evidenced by the cord that holds the glass in the upper section down. It is impossible to take a picture of the cabinet without a reflection. I made those curtains for the room a long time ago and I am still very happy with them. The top shelf holds CDs, the middle shelf is my pencil sharpener collection, the bottom shelf has the wall quilts.

The secret drawer holds the small quilts.

Linked to:
WIPs with Friends 
Kaleidoscope of Butterflies

I Won a Prize!

I entered a drawing on Badass Quilter's Society and won a Wingman Mini Laser-Cut Kit. It is a kit to make this container to put sewing supplies with a built in pincushion and pockets.

The kit includes everything you need to make this, including the pattern, fabric, metal rings, buttons, and the pellets to make the pincushion that provides the weight to keep it upright. As a bonus there is even a sticker from BadAss Quilters Society. Things like this are worth buying as a kit, because I think it would be hard to find the parts and pieces you need in the quantities that you need.

Thank you so much Maddie! Thanks also to Paula for giving me a heads up about the win.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Button Season

Ta-da! I have bound this wholecloth quilt, and added a hanging sleeve.  I have also placed buttons randomly in some of the spaces. So far, no duplicates.   I plan on adding more, so it is not quite a finished quilt yet, but am waiting to get more from Mom first.

This is hanging on the railing of my front porch. Note that the railing is now white.   I have finally painted the railings. I got help with the roof. I will work cleaning up paint spills and then staining the floor next.

Linked to:
Moving It Forward 
Monday Making

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Promised Block Pics

About a month ago, I promised I would show you some pictures of some blocks. Better late than never, here are the blocks I was promising to show you.

1857 Album Quilt

These three are from the 1857 quilt. The last of the blocks have been released, but I am way behind in getting them ready. These blocks have been prepped but have not been sewn down yet. You see a shadow under all of them because they are all stacked up and you can see a different block underneath each of these. When there is batting underneath, I don't think that will be a problem.



 Circle Block 191 

The reason I delayed showing these to you was because I thought I would be able to add to this. None of these blocks wow me. But I don't have anything new to show you.

 I have been cleaning and finishing up remodeling projects around my house. With my surgery, I did not get any chance to do any spring cleaning. I am also working on transforming my house and my life to be more low-maintenance.

 One day last week, I was drawn to reading an old post of mine. It was the first post from 2016, and in it I mentioned that I was working on following the book by Marie Kondo and touching every belonging in my house and deciding whether I should keep it. This has turned out to be a long-term project.

I have been living here for a very long time. I am not planning on moving, but the basic premise is that I am moving out of the house and moving back in without hiring a moving truck. What would I put in here if I was starting all over again.

One of the problems is I bought a couch as part of this process. And every time I pass it, it beckons me to take a nap.

Friday, June 30, 2017

June Favorite Pictures

It is that time of the month when I look into the June folder and share my favorite pictures I took this month.  I try to take pictures every day, although that doesn't always happen, and usually when I take one picture, I wind up taking several pictures that day. This month I found eight I want to share with you.

Requisite sky picture.   The striated clouds are interesting. In March, they identified new cloud formations for the first time in 30 years. Who knew there is a Cloud Appreciation Society?

Most people would probably discard this picture, but I really like the brightness of the yellow flower - just pure translucent color - and how the leaves and buds show all the little hairs. Sometimes the interesting things happen in the background.

Everytime I look at this picture, it looks like something is wrong - like two photos were overlapped or something. But this is a digital camera. The leaves just happen to form such a straight line that it looks like two different pictures.

This one makes me think of a secret garden.  The white flowers and leaves invite one to look further inside to see the pink flowers and whatever else is hidden back there.

This is a traditional picture. I like the combination of the white and pink flowers and all those little buds. They plant summer flowers at the school and they tend to look this fabulous after the school lets the kids out for the summer.

The weather has been pretty nice lately,so I've kept the air conditioner off.   Zeus still likes to stake his spot in front of the fan.

I like the shadow this bench makes.

There's a baby raccoon in the neighbor's roof! It took over the space after the squirrels were vacated.