Friday, August 31, 2018

August Favorite Photos

Each month, I take a look at my photos folder and pick out my favorites to show to you. It gives me a reason to take photographs (almost) every day.  This month, there were multitudes of photos to sort through to choose my favorites.

We went to the India Festival.  There is non-stop entertainment at the center stage, and at each side of the stage, there are many booths of food vendors, as well as many stalls that sell clothing, jewelry, artwork, and service vendors offering legal, real estate, and religious services. At one point at the end of our visit, we sat in the back near where the performers were resting. I liked the shot of the performer watching other performers.

At another time, I went to the side of the stage to take photos.  These women were spinning very quickly to show off their balancing skills, and even though the photo is blurry, I just loved the smile this performer had throughout the dance.

The obligatory passion fruit flower picture from my garden. This one is too close to the tomatoes, but I don't have the heart to take out either the tomatoes or the passion fruit, as they are both volunteers.   This year, we had a lot more plants with white flowers.  These bees look different to me from previous years, thicker and more rectangular.

We took a trip to Iowa. The rest of the pictures are from Iowa. That is a really big wine barrel in Amana. Note the barrels in the background too.

This is Lily Lake in Iowa. The photo does not do it justice, but the entire lake is filled with lilies!

This is also Lily Lake. The Mama Goose was watching her teenagers and did not budge from her spot even though her companions told her to watch out for us.  These are her kids she was watching.

We saw lots of people fishing.

Beautiful sunset before the Balloon Glow festival.

I enjoyed the sculptures and beautiful artwork throughout our trip.

I am still taking pictures of flowers and butterflies no matter where I go. This is the fossil gorge, which was quite interesting.

A hot air balloon festival, Balloon Glow.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Thrift Store Finds

I rarely find wonderful deals at thrift stores, but one day, I was able to get these cross stitch pieces for under $5 each.  When you think about the price of the pattern/floss/cloth/kits and the amount of time to make these with impeccable workmanship, and the cost of the mat and frames, I feel like I stole these!

One of these has initials (J.G.) and a date (1991), and the other one does not, but I am pretty sure they were made by the same person.

Back when I made cross stitch pieces, I wondered whether people would value the time and energy it took to make them. I suppose that if they are made from a kit, or if someone followed a pattern exactly, there would be other similar work, and would not be considered "artistic." I tried making my own patterns, but that is really hard to do when you can't draw, and gave up completely. I do have some older kits and patterns that need good homes.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Favorite Photographs from July

I haven't been as good about taking daily photographs this year as I have in years past, mostly because my go-to camera is about to break. The cover of the battery is threatening to break in two. But that doesn't mean there weren't plenty of photographs to choose from in deciding my favorites for the month of July. Most of these were taken in Washington D.C. during a sightseeing visit of the National Mall.

Linked to:
Wandering Camera

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Death Star

In my last post, I discussed the Droid quilt without explanation.  It is made from a pattern called This Droid is Not for Sale by Hunters Design Studio. It was a free pattern then, but now there is a fee which is donated to charity.

This is a project I made last year - the top is made and I am now working on finishing it up.  See all that open space in the upper right hand corner?  It would be wonderful for a great quilting pattern if I could think of one.

The same week as I discovered the Droid quilt, or maybe it was the same month or quarter, I don't know since I made myself hold off on starting this project as long as I could, I discovered a pattern for a Death Star by Quirky Granola Girl. I thought it would fit perfectly in that vast open space.   It is supposed to be English paper pieced but I just fused the pieces down onto a background fabric. I didn't do as good a job with the shading as I could have, since all of the fabrics had light and dark sections and I didn't want to poke holes throughout all these fabrics. I think it will be okay.

Is it too small? I can make another, bigger one. I was originally picturing it bigger but maybe smaller one looks farther away? The current plan is to turn under the edges so you don't see the background piece.

Here are some layout options. Which one looks more like it is way up in the sky? Which one looks better balanced in the quilt?

Close to head level.

Close to head level closeup.

Torso level.

Above head level.

Above head level closeup.

Here is a current picture of the stitchery I am working on.

Linked to:
Let's Bee Social 
Silly Mama Quilts - Works In Progress 
Nina Marie Sayre - Off the Wall Friday
Needle and Thread Thursday

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Stitchery Progress

I've picked up the Droid quilt to finish up before I can start a new project. This involved me my choosing some new fabrics to finish it up.

I thought I should clean up a little bit while I was in there in the Cave of Wonders, and immediately noticed that I had TWO boxes of plaids. Why do I have two boxes? I made a plaid flannel quilt and flannel takes up more room than normal fabric, but still, I hardly ever use plaid in my sewing.  One of those boxes have to go!  So in an effort to clean up one of the boxes, I just have to start the Sweet Land of Liberty quilt, you know, just to clean up the sewing room. I know it is technically not a scrap box, and the boxes were properly sitting on the shelf, but I am sure I will be able to find fabrics in the scrap box to use in this quilt.

Those two projects are now bubbling up to be worked on first, but even before that, the stitchery is still sitting here, while I am lazily watching internet videos resting and regrouping.  As a result, I managed to get at least 15 minutes of sewing done every day. The picture was taken earlier this week. I decided to read the directions for this stitchery.The directions are copyrighted MCMLXXIII, which translates to 1973.  It's practically an antique!

 I see that I did not follow the directions for the dress.  It is supposed to be weaving and couching stitches instead of cross stitches. I wonder if that is why this project was abandoned. The weaving stitches were easier, and the second half of the cross stitches, therefore became the harder way to make this.

Also the directions said to use one strand of yarn, which as you can see, does not work very well. I worried about running out of yarn, but figured that I could make do with something else.  That changed my perspective on this project, and instead of trying to make it perfect, I decided to just enjoy the process and trust that all will work out in the end. This is my rule for the year, but it is amazing how many times I have to relearn it.

With the new and improved attitude, I am more than 80% done on this.

15 Minute sessions of stitching this week:  7 out of 7
15 Minute sessions of stitching this year:  191 out of 231 sessions
Success rate: 83%

Linked to:
15 Minutes to Stitch

“Sometimes I think that maybe we are just stories. Like we may as well just be words on a page, because we're only what we've done and what we are going to do.” Jodi Lynn Anderson, Tiger Lily

Friday, August 17, 2018

Breathing Space

It's time to make a plan for the next few months - mostly having to do with home improvement, cleaning and quilting.  The big list of things to do has reared up, and I am diligently trying to prioritize it, although I have found that in the end, just grabbing something at random and getting it done works better for me than going down a priority list.

There are so many quilting projects I want to start, but hopefully I will be able to hold off long enough to get one or two projects down the finish line before I start anything new. I have been wanting to make a quilt using scraps for a while, so that is what is at the forefront, and hopefully I will be able to decide while I finish something else.

 I am making this list in case I ever want to look down memory lane and see what actually got done:

Scrappy trips around the world
Demented Quilt
Cheri Payne Sweet Land of Liberty
Lego Quilt or the other similar one which uses different size scraps (Scrap Vortex)
Equilateral triangles
Half Rectangle Triangles

Monday, August 13, 2018


I don't normally blog about my blogiversary because I don't really tend to remember it, but Exuberant Quilter had her Blogiversary in July, so I decided to look up the date, and write up and schedule a post so it will show up on the right day!

Please click on the links to go to the actual post if you are interested.

My first post on this blog was on August 13, 2008, so it has been ten years since I shut down my previous blog and started this one. I basically started this blog showing a recent quilt I had received in a swap as if I knew everyone and everyone knew me and there was no need for introductions.

I've written a lot of posts over the last ten years, and Blogger is slow in moving from page to page.  I thought I would look over some of my older posts and give you some of the highlights. I've started almost 100 quilts in my lifetime and have finished about 80.  You can see some of the quilt reveals here.

Some of my favorite posts are the end of the year recaps. Even though I hardly ever think I have done enough, they give me a quick snapshot of the things I finished that year and (sometimes) make me feel better about my productivity. My biggest takeaway in looking at these is that I like to make small projects! I can see a marked improvement in my volume and quality of projects in 2015 and on-wards.


Besides making quilts, I have also enjoyed showing them to you.  I really enjoy the conversations I have had with my readers, and try to keep things interesting by presenting my quilts in a variety of ways. Finding good settings involves my taking my quilts for a walk. On this day in 2014, I took my rail fence quilt for a walk.

I took Simply Squares for a walk and made a slideshow out of it.

I've made a collage for a still unfinished quilt, Lansing Leaves.

In 2017, I had my favorite presentation yet, of a gifted quilt, The Earth Laughs in Flowers, where we took pictures at a park, and made a smilebox presentation.

Besides quilts and other crafty projects, I started taking daily photographs and enjoyed showing those to you as well.

Thank you for taking a walk through memory lane with me.  To celebrate this big anniversary, I will be making a small gift and sending it to one of you, my precious readers!  It could be a postcard, an ATC, a coaster, who knows? I don't.

To enter to win the drawing, just leave a comment by August 30. I want to give my followers time to find this little post on this little blog. What's your favorite post? What do you like best about my blog? Lavish me with praise!

Thank you for your visits and comments over the years. I look forward to many more!

P.S. Cluck Cluck Sew has also recently had an anniversary and wrote a list of things she has learned over the years.  It is such a good idea, and I thought about editing this post to make my own list, but you ight as well just read hers, because my list would be similar.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Lack of Stitching Recap

It is time to document my progress on stitching 15 minutes a day. As the title shows, very little stitching has been happening.

I bought this stitchery kit from the thrift store several years ago and have been working on it about once a year or so, so it was about time to add a few more stitches. I don't think the pattern cover was in the kit, but it does have the direction sheet, so how the colors look together will be somewhat of a  surprise.

The green was done last year. The crosses on the green cross stitches have not been finished, but I was in the mood to add the red this year.  Is this 15 minutes worth of stitchery? I'm not sure, but I will round up and count it anyway!  Stitching with yarn is not as easy or fun as stitching with embroidery floss, and as much as I am tempted to use floss, I would like to keep true to the period and use the kit as it was intended.

15 Minute sessions of stitching this week:  1 out of 7
15 Minute sessions of stitching this year:  184 out of 224 sessions
Success rate: 82%

That's all the stitching I've done since my last recap, which causes my success rate to plummet from 90% to 82%.   I am hoping to end the year above 80% so I'm not disappointed. In fact, I am happy, because I don't expect the rest of the year to be as busy and I will likely be able to increase my numbers by the end of the year.

Linked to:
15 Minutes to Stitch, Week 32