Saturday, April 29, 2017

Life Suddenly Sped UP!!

I've got some catching up to do!!  I have been working on deadlines - all quilts were to be photographed last Monday if we were entering them in the May show.  Let's just say social media was quiet all weekend!!  We were all nose to the grindstone.

Miss P was making "Logos" last week.  Our 10 year old entrepreneur!

  

I think we have a Graphic Artist on our hands.  Pretty darn cute at any rate!

April is our guild's Challenge Reveal.  I love challenges but we need to spell out just what a challenge is!  The winner was a commercial pattern done in the quilter's favorite method. But most challenge leaders are scared to add more rules - afraid no one will enter.

Although most of my challenges are based on something I've seen - dare I say it?  Pinterest Rules!!  I usually change it enough that I make it mine.  Hmm, I tend to do that with ALL my projects.  Nebraska's Gretna quilt store - The Quilted Moose - has a rallying cry for that:  "Moose it Up!"

I tend to do 'kindergarten' work rather than elegant.  But I truly love to figure it out, work my way out of a corner, practice new or 'not my favorite' techniques! It's even a good excuse to burrow into all my fabrics finding the perfect one(s)! When I was clearing out quilts and wall quilts last year, half of the ones I couldn't part with were challenges!!

The theme was "Spring at the Coast."  Most of the 13 entries were floral.  There was one Sunbonnet Sue in the rain that was pretty cute.  And here is mine.  

It's called View from the Deck.  In the spring we have rabbits and flowers, whales and pelicans, crabs and the sky clears enough that we can see St George lighthouse on the horizon.  I 'faced' it instead of using a binding.  I practiced free motion quilting and experimented drawing and quilting a sky filled with cloud shapes. It certainly doesn't stand up to a kit or even a pattern!!  But I'm happy with it - and that's what matters!  Right??? Never mind the gift certificate prize!!


Another big (mini) UFO finish for the show!  Anne Shaw taught her pieced flower class here last fall.  Ta-Da!  "Just a Little Pop!" is the name of it.  



One of my favorite parts of this pattern is the very pieced back!  My 'Beige-ings' scrap box was exploding!  And I was very excited to use some of the water color paint-box print for the border.  I loved to work this out - most of the time!!  DH told me all my quilts looked alike (?) So I thought this was a major 'fork in the road'.  He was under-whelmed!!  Oh well! Must keep quilting!! Maybe next time!

My condo is small with very little wall space and even less angles you can stand far away enough to view a large quilt.  So I reduced the pattern ti fit between the sliding glass door and the window in the living space.  You can see it from the door as you walk in.

If you find yourself reducing a very large pattern, listen and learn!!  After getting permission from the teacher, I took the very large pieces and reduced them on a copier at the local Print Shop. It was a pain!  The pieces were too large to fit on the printer, so I printed each page multiple times, taped it all together and copied it onto another sheet big enough to hold it.  Tedious!  At class, Ms Shaw asked me if I just enlarged the placement guide? It didn't even occur to me - but that would have been the way to go. So- act accordingly!

Here is the finished UFO 'Girlie' Magic Numbers.  I came across this technique online.  I had some leftover parts of "Yellow Brick Road" from Mr M's baby quilt. (He's 8!!!) But not enough to do something with.  So I messed about with 2.5", 4.5" and 6.5" units. It was so much fun.  There's a close up pic too - I had lots of fun with the walking-foot quilting. Stars, flying geese shapes, square in a square and variations on a theme!

 

Tuesday morning I got into the water aerobics car pool and said, "I'm having the worst week."  My dear friend C mentioned that it was only Tuesday!  After we laughed, I realized she was right! "Buck up Buttercup" and "Sucks to be you" rang out in my head!

So I started dragging myself out of the blues (and rain) and started revamping my attitude! It helped that Wednesday I headed to Bandon to meet the Bayshore Babes on their retreat.  I usually get to go to the retreat, but this year they filled it up with 'real' members that actually come to the weekly meetings.  Good news - the group is alive and strong; bad news - you know who can't go for the week!

There are friends and there are friends, I know you know what I mean.  I drove the two hours (with a Brookings friend that was meeting her own friends in Bandon) through the RAIN. And the minute I parked my car next to where we retreat ... it was like changing into my oldest favorite sweater and settling in for nice long visit.  Some friends (I hadn't seen these gals since August last summer!) you walk in and you just step in where you left off.  Nothing awkward, no silences to fill.  Just comfortable times with friends!

It was so-o very much fun. Just what I needed. And these gals had awesome quilt projects they were working on!  Inspiration in every corner! It was fun getting hugs from all, catching up and looking at all the eye candy!  I'm not even going to mention the food - quilters make the very best comfort food!  Chicken salad pitas; chips, brownies, carrot cake and L's famous chocolate chip cookies!!!  Heaven on earth!

The group takes over both sides of a duplex right on the ocean.  There are two design boards; two fully stocked kitchens; two tvs.  I remember there were two distinct factions on Monday night.  Those who love "Dancing With the Stars" and those who shut the door, stay on the other side and wonder what we see in that!!  Here's an UFO auditioning on a design board.


There is hand stitching by the window


And there is machine stitching.  Some even bring their own machine tables to set up.  The dining tables are only so big, even with all the extra leaves in!


One inch squares finished into 25patch!!!


And when I got home, I was ready to face the world again!!  YAY!
Note to self:  must visit more often!!!

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!