Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Spring - 1 nice day in 2 week period!! We'll take it!!

We spent Easter weekend up in Portland.  Raining up there too!  Except ... it did finally get nice Saturday afternoon with no rain on Sunday!!  Monday driving home? - rain all the way!!  2017 - the year of the monsoon that wouldn't stop!!

Saturday morning looked so nice out.  Fluffy clouds in a blue sky ... but only 40 degrees!!   I was in a long sleeve shirt; a zip-neck sweatshirt; a hoodie and a waterproof rain coat.  Good thing we brought along chairs and 2 quilts (which we fought over!!)  The boys played a good game.  And it did warm up as it went along! Victory lunch at Panera Bread.

The afternoon game was much more 'spectator friendly'!  I had a short sleeve shirt and the hoodie on.  No quilts needed - we were very comfortable.

Meg and Mr M watching Miss P at bat!

Sassy little Miss P getting ready to run like the wind!

7th inning braids???  It was a hairdo malfunction and mom had stood it as long as she could!!  It's hard to wear hair up when you are in and out of batting helmets!  Just saying!

Photo opp of First Games of 2017!  Papa and Mr M went home and practiced ground balls.  It's hard to practice those when you can't get any field practice time!

Sitting here with the sliding glass door open, the sun shining in.  My toe is healed and went for a walk this afternoon with DH.  Flowers blooming, blue oceans!  Storing it up - the one day in 8 that no rain is expected!!  Grilling salmon out on the deck tonight for dinner!  YUM!

View from the lower path

Ahhh, now I remember why we live here!!  If we get 2 days in a row of sun, we're cleaning all the storms off our windows and cars!!!  But we'll worry about that when it happens!!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Quilting Questions - what kind of quilter are you?

A very prolific quilter in Stashbusters Online posed some questions this week and it's been very interesting responding and reading other members' answers.

*When choosing a pattern, do you look at the sizes of the different pieces used to make up the components of the block ?*
    No, I usually pay attention to the size of the finished quilt.  I'll adjust unit sizes until I get to that goal.  I've been re-figuring alot of cool Pinterest kid quilts this year ... I have graph paper and am not afraid to use it!!  Makes a good "watching TV" project too!

*What is the smallest unfinished strips you will use?*
    1 1/2 is the smallest but love to work with 2" strips.

*What size unfinished 1/2 square triangles ?*
     Just made some 1" finished for the fabric PostCard - won't make that mistake again!!

*What size unfinished 1/4 square triangles ?*
      Don't use these very often - but 3"-4" finished?

*Do you like using skinny strings ?*
     Yes, but have drifted away from strings for awhile. Usually not under 1 1/4" strip

*What size unfinished squares will you use ?*
      2" regularly used. 4.5" finished 9patches are so-o cute!

*Do you make strip sets if they will make construction easier ?*
     I can and have, but don't usually.  I like a scrappier look.  "Rabid Scrappy" as DH often points out!!!

*Do you like making square in a square blocks ?*
      Sure, but not making them often.

*Do you like using the tri - rex ruler ?*
      Sure, by not often - what the heck DO I do??

*Do you like making flying geese ?*
      Yes - they are great units in 8-pted stars!

I'm adding these questions!

*What is your favorite part of quilting?*
     I'm all about the patchwork.  I love working with and being inspired by the fabrics.  Seeing how they work together.  What secondary blocks they make.

*Do you buy precuts?* 
     I might if I really like the line.  BUT I don't let them be the only fabrics in a project.  I mix all my possibilities together - different manufacturers, different decades!!!  If I only use one line - to me, it just looks like it could have been a panel!!  And whats the use of that!!

*How long have you been quilting?*
     45 years!!  I started in Minneapolis - they have cold winters!  There was a lovely bedspread and I 'couldn't afford it'!!  So, I'll just make a quilt!  Surprisingly, that didn't save me money then or at anytime since!!!

*How did you learn to quilt?*
     My grandmother quilted before I was born, so I was surrounded by quilts.  Her eyesight had given out and she was just hemming diapers for the Red Cross when I came along.  
     I basically taught myself from books, then magazines and then a few classes.  It must have been in my blood because I was hooked from the very first one! I believe the longest I've gone without quilting was 2 weeks during a cross-country move!  AND I missed it!!!

*What are your favorite quilts to work on?*
     Favorite quilts are patchwork with smallish blocks - I love seeing the repeats across the quilt.  Sashing and borders show up now and then.  But block against block - from one edge to the other!!  That's how I roll!
     One long-term favorite UFO is 4" log cabins!  1 1/2" logs - aiming for a kingsize quilt!!! 

*Do you construct to size or do you trim?*
     I usually trim back to size.  It's a pain in the neck, but I hate, hate, hate being just a smidge too small.

*What size quilt do you usually make?*
     Well, earlier in my career it was large bed quilts.  I live in a very small condo and I have filled it with quilts.  So today I like to make baby quilts. (our community has a baby shower every year) or throws.
      I'm continually surprised how much mess I can make when in "sweat shoppe" mode!!  Even with smaller quilts.

*Do you usually quilt by check?*
     I usually machine quilt my own quilts with my DSM.  Once a year or so, I pay someone else to quilt a quilt for me.  BUT I usually have very simple and supportive quilting.  It's all about the patchwork for me.
     My DH is a golfer, he says he doesn't pay someone else to putt for him!!  He finishes himself!  But I'm convinced he would pay if that was a choice!!!

*How do you machine quilt?*
      I love to quilt with a walking foot.  I have free-motion quilted, but I love angular lines for quilting and that's easy and fast with the walking foot.

*Do you hand quilt?*
     Yes, I quilted on a frame earlier.  Due to size limitations here, I pin baste on the frame and hand quilt in a hoop.  My hands are beginning to give me problems ... so I can't hand quilt a bed quilt anymore.  But I enjoy hand quilting and started a throw quilt this year. 
     I'm sorry to say that I didn't get it finished in time for the show this year - but I have high hopes to finish it for next year's show. (I blame Pinterest!!!)

So what's YOUR quilting story!!

We've had wicked, wicked wind lately.  One night it made it's way into my dreams!  And we're an 'inside' condo with other condos protecting us from all sides!

Tuesday night it was at it again - it sounded like it was coming from every direction - and as you can see - it was!!

This is our dog-walking area.  The 'tee-pee' is the roll of plastic bags to clean up after your dog with!!!  Pretty big mess!

The posted box on the left is where the roll started. There's a small birdhouse type opening where you access the bags.  How the wind pulled it out and kept it going, who knows!!!

 It was about 20 feet to the decorated bushes!  There were more bags strewn about, couldn't get it all into one picture!!  Must have been a 'teenager' wind!! Tee-hee!

The last batch of QOVs have come back from the long-arm quilters.  I just had to take this picture! Seven of our 18 QOV quilts that will be presented to Veterans during our Azalea Fest Quilt show over Memorial Day weekend.  Our guild has really stepped up this year.  It will be our first presentation - hoping it will become an annual tradition.  Quilter-Power!!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Rain rain go away

Mean old Mother Nature (!) gave us 5 days of sun in a row last week, and then she took it away!  Ok, it wasn't "full" sun but it wasn't rain all day every day. Can you guess what we're getting this week! Yep, back to too much rain -in my opinion! Darn!!

I'm in full sweat-shoppe mode.  April 24 is the last day you can register a finished quilt for the May show.  It's the "finished" part of it that creates all this work!  So I have 3 more little quilts to finish.  And it always takes longer than planned to do so.

I entered a fabric post card in the "Wish Upon a Card" exhibit for the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show in July.  It looked so innocent ... but I ended up making 1" finished Half Square Triangles.  They were not easy!  I was inspired by a block on Pinterest (of course) and reduced it way down to be 4x6.

Here is the original link of the heart block.  It's cute and very 'modern'!

And here is my post card.  I ended up taking scant seams (quarter inch looks enormous on 1 1/2" squares!) so had to cut off parts of the outside rows.  Luckily the required fabric (black square) was close enough to the heart to make the cut, the other black square got cut away.  What do you think?

Another task that took up more time that planned:  Miss P's Target Brand 18" doll (American Girl Doll Wanna-be) was having trouble with her hair do!  It was a mess, and P had been trying to comb it, and make it better.  A friend gave her a new doll and now the first doll really looked bad!  So I asked her if she would let me take "Evie" and have her hair done.  She immediately agreed and then spent the next 10 minutes deciding what Evie would wear to go to Nana's!

I tried to find someone who would redo a doll's hair - and couldn't.  The local doll gal retired, so to speak, (She passed away.) last year.  So I got on the web and googled doll's hair.  I didn't take a 'before' picture of the doll, it didn't even occur to me. I may be on instagram, but I'm not of the instagram generation!!

Here's what worked.  BUT don't go volunteering to redo anyone's doll hair - it was a pain in the neck!!

Apply Fabric softener or Human conditioner to doll's hair.  I used Suave $Tree conditioner - a 1/2 bottle of it!  Rub it in, making sure all of the hair is covered.  (You do know the secret for shaving legs - shave with a cheap conditioner!!)   I left the doll hanging off the edge of the sink because it gets messy.

Leave conditioner on for 2 hours or more.  Do not rinse yet.  Separate the hair into small bunches. Taking a very wide tooth comb, and starting at the ends, comb the snarls out.  It's surprising how little hair comes out! This is tedious and took me two hours!  I recommend watching tv while combing away!  You comb and comb and finally you're on the last bunch of hair!  Celebrate!

Using warm running water, rinse the conditioner out.  Lay the doll out on a towel, fanning the hair out and let it air dry overnight.  You shouldn't use heat on doll hair - nylon hair would, of course, melt.  The other type of hair ... well, who can tell which is which?? Better to play it safe!

The next morning, the hair was still slightly damp and I cut chenille sticks (pipe cleaners) in half to make curlers.  Taking small sections, I rolled the hair around the pipe cleaner, twisting the ends to keep it in place when done.  Then let it sit for a couple of days. (We do have high humidity on the coast.)  Then carefully unroll the 'curlers' and arrange the curls a little.  I haven't brushed it, but so far so good!  It's a good bet that the hair is going to be easier to play with - you can get a wide-toothed comb thru it!

Evie reading a book while waiting for her hair to dry!

Finished curls!

I'll let P fashion it around her face - Evie doesn't have bangs.

And that is the start and the end of my career  "Hairdresser to the Dolls!"

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Almost April!

And it's true!  Spring has to be here - we've had 3 days in a row without (much) rain!!!  That's right - three days of mostly sun!  Be still my heart!

There comes that moment that you have to admit that you've been a little depressed.  You didn't even know it, until there is a few days of sun and you can get outside: to walk! to eat lunch on the deck!! and to recycle without rain coat on with the hood up!!! And that finally happened this week. Hallelujah!

Last week we made the swing across the state to see all the grandkiddos!  It was a lot of fun. We had a major research project to work on in Portland - but as you can see above, our best people were on it!!!

 In Portland -it was raining :(  But we got to go to a concert where Miss P (age 10) was playing drums in a rock band!!  They were called 21 Pilots JR.  And she was awesome!  A real rock star.

This was all part of  Youth Music Project.  It was one of the top 10 youth concerts we'd ever been at.  I have to say I'd never envisioned a Pink Floyd song played on Ukuleles - but it was darn good!

Then there was the victory dinner at Olive Garden; always a popular choice.  After some baseball in the cul de sac; a late bedtime and early whining the next morning, we skedaddled out of town and went to Southern Oregon where our 3 yr old Mr K had developed a nasty cold just hours before we arrived!  Gotta love the little germ bombs while mainlining "Airborne".

We delivered some toys and things from Portland, handed down by Miss P and Mr M:  so floor puzzles were conquered!!

Blankets were made and delivered for the newest baby due in June.  And they were tested out by the quality control team.

As you can see by the big smile, it passed with flying colors!!

We read books and surprise - Mr D the kindergartner read me a "Dora" book.  And those can be pretty tricky!  He breezed right thru it!  YAY!  This kid has loved books always.  He's so excited to read them himself!!

And to think we were considered successful in kindergarten if we could go to the bathroom by ourselves and find our way back to the classroom!   This is better!

My broken toe has finally 'broken thru the barrier' of being a pain in the, well, toe!  I no longer have to think about every step.  I don't have to be aware of where my foot is at every moment.  And I'm loving it.  I've started walking again - baby steps - walking a mile around and around the parking lot.  It's level and I'm building up to going down the 'goat trail' to the beach again - SOON, please.  It's been about 6 weeks - so everything is on schedule.  I'm keeping it taped until 8 weeks - but I have to say, it looks better and straighter than my other pinkie toe! Yay!  I have heard horror stories about never being able to wear an adult shoe again!!  And rebreaking toes to fix a bad heal --- but so far so good, finally!

Today was "Woolies" meeting and a member now living in Utah came and visited.  Thanks M for taking the time and bringing goodies too!! Here we are on the deck after lunch.  The sun was shining so much on the ocean, we couldn't take the picture in that direction!!  Haven't had that to complain about for a very long time!!

Walking after our meeting today I saw these signs of 'late' spring:

Some wind blown Narcissus 

Rhododendron going crazy!

And a lovely Camilla dropped off the tree onto the rocks - still perfect!

Ok spring - keep coming!!!

DH is playing golf and watching The Final Four this weekend so - I'll be turning the condo into a quilt sweat shop!  I have a list ... it's long and needs to be done soonest!!  I'll let you know how far I get!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

March Madness Reigns!!

Whether you love basketball (DH) or are indifferent (me) March madness is everywhere!  Say what you will - it creates alot of time for quilting and other sewing!!  Which is always welcome.

We had our second "Mod Squad" meeting Friday and it was so much fun!  We had 9 members present and 9 15" challenge assignments for "Line" anonymously turned in.  One member couldn't attend and one who did, didn't have the assignment done.  It's all good!

We very carefully and politely critiqued each other.  Starting with what attracted us to that piece.  Then we tried to guess who made what - many surprises there! It was great fun - then we went out for lunch!!

Ignore the Christmas stocking pattern at the top left of the picture!  Now - pick out which one I did!!  (You can see the answer at the bottom of the blog!)  We have one nationally known Hand Quilter in our group.  Everyone one knew who did number eight!!!  It was gorgeous and modern looking; compiled with lines - met all criteria!  Eight of the nine offered to take it home and the ninth one insisted it was hers and she took it home!!  Tee-hee!

Happy National Quilting Day Weekend everyone!  Friday night we had "March Madness" - a 'quilt until you wilt' gathering.  There was loads of pizza and snacks.  But let's just admit, we wilt fast here!!  I was home at 10:30 and I was toward the end of departees! Later reports said two of the 20some quilters lasted until 1:30 am!!

Yesterday I spend much more time than planned on measuring and photographing QOV tops ready to send to the Long-Armers.  I'd gotten 7 tops with backing this last week.  We have made 18 so far and 3 are being finished by the 'toppers'.  Over double what we made last year!  Yay for us!

We are planning a presentation ceremony during the Memorial Day Weekend.  So we have enough to 'cover' the nominations we have been given.  That's a relief!!

Today I was totally hooked on the The Quilt Show episodes offered free this weekend. J, my friend in Nebraska TOLD me it was great - sorry J, you were right, I should have known better than to doubt!   Luckily, I rigged up a system where I could see the laptop playing the episode; hook on ear-phones so I could hear it above my machine sewing and sew the rest of the pillow cases I'm making for the Million Pillowcase Challenge and some for our grandkids :)  ...

 Thirteen inch pile of 27 finished pillowcases!! And that's about half of what I've made and turned in!!!

 On to the next (over-due) projects!

So did you guess which "Line" challenge is mine??  Here I am!

I found this 'modern' block on pinterest and quilted it with my walking foot following Catherine Redford's DVD of machine quilting. I love her technique of straight stitching interspersed with zig zag stitches! (Along the bottom of the block) It's Scary the first time you change it!!  Just remember to punch the button enough times to get back to the straight stitch ... not end up in the alphabet and have to rip that mess out!!!  Listen to the voice of experience!!  I'll only do that once, God willing!!!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Life after a retreat?? ... mostly naps!

We're home from 5 days of retreating above Forget Me Knots Quilt shop in Bandon, Oregon.  And boy, did we have fun!

We're at our first stop the Port Orford Quilt Shop!

Last week I was busy as a bee making kits for the projects I wanted to work on at  retreat.  I fit everything I was taking (Except the sewing machine which always sits in the foot well behind the driver) into my trunk!  And I was taking food, a blowup mattress with all the bedding too!!  Yep, it was a miracle!!

There were a few bad kits :(  For one, I brought 1/2 the cut pieces, I forgot that I like to make 2 at once for no matches of HSTs.

And one project was just too complicated to do in a distracting environment!! Rainbow colors wafting across a quilt.  I couldn't put it up on the design wall correctly.  BUT after most everyone was in bed, I was able to put it up (that's it to the right) and get it just right.  Then I sewed it in a hurry - to get the design wall free for the next person ... 7 boo-boos!! I'll try that one again here at home!

I also worked on a proposed pattern by a friend.  It had been in timeout on my portable design wall (flannel backed 'Popsicle' picnic table cloth) for a year and a half!  Now I know why!!

But I progressed it enough that I was able to take it off the flannel and have that available for the March Madness this week!! Pictures of first and last day!!

I touched everything I brought.  I didn't do any hand quilting but used that quilt on my bed!!  Hey - it counts!!  Tee-hee!

I did miss my usual bag of scraps.  Not just to play with but to share when someone needed extra brown!

Here is my favorite 'new' project:  A Plus Quilt.  I found this lovely little quilt on Pinterest here.  I've been collecting 'word' fabrics for a few years. (collecting sounds a little tame - lets say "obsessing over" word fabrics!)  But hadn't found a project that would use them to my liking!!  Well, I have now!

The blocks are only 3.5 x 5.5!!  And the bright little plus signs are a great partner with the busy, busy word fabrics!  It's going to be hard to 'finish' my other projects with this one occupying my mind!

We ate like queens and had both enough food and projects left over to stay another week!!  Tempting, we do have a washing machine up there - so we could rinse out our unmentionables when needed!!

Presenting our "Finishing School" Honor Students!!  We'll be back next year!

When I got home, I had a 'greeter' by our staircase.  ICK!  This little dude was over 8 inches long!  (I was carrying a ruler, you know!)  I told him to stay where he was and not try to get a ride with me upstairs!! 

It must be the start of slug season!!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Rainy Days get you down ... you'd better not live @ the Oregon Coast!

Boy oh boy - we're out of the drought now.  Some of us are dreaming of the days of the drought!!  I leave for finishing school tomorrow and am NOT looking forward to loading the cars in a deluge!  And that's what we're having today.

BUT rainy weather does make us stay inside and quilt - per chance??  And I've been busy.  I have two finishes - one is an UFO!!  Ticker tape parade!!

The prototype Christmas Log Cabin Table Runner!  20 x 44 which is a great size for our 66 x 38 table!  When I asked DH why that size, he mumbled something about having a place to sit and eat even when I was in the midst of a project!  Wise man!

Lovely little log cabin quilt ... or is it??

Take a closer look and notice it's a ruse!  Make all green log cabin with a red center, cut a neutral block the same size; make RSTs!!  I quilted it "around" the logs and I think that makes it even more like a real log cabin.

My second project is a quilt I found on the web "Kelsey's Quilt".  Very easy and you could use all kinds of fabrics.  A two color quilt?  A boy's superhero quilt? All pastels?  The list is endless.  What happens when you use dark sashing??  Lots of variations to explore. 40 x 44 and all from stash!!  

An artistic shot like my DD is so good with!!  But as a quilter I want to see it full out and straight please!!  But, since it's bigger than my table and since it's pouring outside - you'll have to settle for almost full out!! Variegated thread for the machine quilting.

I have a dozen pairs of fabrics (like the fish on green background) mixed in so you can play I spy with it too!

Doesn't finishing projects feel good!  It's amazing that we have UFOs at all!!! (And boy, do I!)

I made lasagna yesterday and it smelled so good.  It tasted good too - but today I had to make brownies to take along to retreat.  Nothing smells better than brownies baking!  I don't bake cookies very often, you can see why!

Isn't that saddest batch of cookies you've ever seen?  Luckily it tasted good - 5 different kinds of chips!!  Had to take it to guild Fun Day.  I kept eating the "worst" ones and could see that would lead to madness!

How can you make a "typo" when you're writing by hand???  Can you find it?

This is the top of the pin cushions for Finishing School.  Still have to finish those little gems.  Even though I promise myself I am NOT going to be sewing at the last minute again!!!

Woke up to a surprise Sunday morning!  Snow on the coast!  What??  We left NE to get out of this weather - NE is 77 degrees this week!!!  But it soon melted away and started raining again. :(