Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Laughing at Myself

My youngest Grandchild, a boy who will turn 12 in June, lives in MN. I discovered that kids love getting treasure hunts for their birthday about 2 Grandkids ago. So today, I spent time online looking for 'clues' that my Son will help me hide in their condo come June. Why so early? 

I have the clues but now, need to find 11 small gifts and one larger one for the the last of the clues. AND I need to find ways to print the clues. They were not easy to find, even online. I wanted a mix of riddles, puzzles and rhymes that are age-appropriate and worked for places in the condo I wanted to use. 

All this needs to go out by the end of May so it falls in place for my Son to help facilitate the event. I know. Four months away. 

Meanwhile I worked on Medallion round 2. Jeeze. It has been a challenge. It is ok that pinks (& red) are in the center. After seeing this pic, I re-did part of it to align the dark teal.

Then onto the other BOM Mystery. Each month a different quilter submits her suggestion. This is done now after a few twisty-turned wrongs. This measures 12.5".

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

I Love a Good Mystery

I love reading Detective Mysteries and I join quilting Mysteries. And yet, I can never figure out how the crime is done and solved. Furthermore, I struggle with Mystery Quilts.

Yes struggle. Yet, I join one or two every year! February is month #2, & that means round #2 of the Mystery Medallion Quilt. 

I know it is supposed to take a month to complete; some participants have posted photos. What is nice about that is seeing how they work with the colors. 

Last month, I succumbed to using red because the host or author of the project recommended red. She lists the colors on the pattern as a suggestion and I take it as the rule. I thought it was ok to use red in the center block or medallion has those 4 hearts in it. 

So Okay, I used a red heart print to do that part of the block. I don't have many reds. And I was falling out of thinking for myself.

I selected colors and fabrics for this project so I could USE them up. I pulled greens and blues and pinks and yellows. What I also learned from a real-time teacher here in town is that when I use a fabric in one block, the flow is easier on the eye if that fabric is used in the next block. 

My light pink on an off-white is in the center and now in the 2nd round, as is the dark teal print. 

New to round 2 is a print that has pink, red, orange and yellow. 

I still do not know how to use the fabrics to make them work in the quilt and so it is round by round using that one suggestion for flow.

Monday, January 29, 2018


I know. It seems like that is all I write about. Scraps. Today, I did several rounds on a One-Block Log Cabin. It is my intention to keep all  darks on one side & all lights on the other side.

I've made a comfort quilt this way and will keep adding rounds until it is as wide as I like and then will add more rows on the top and bottom to extend it lengthwise. It doesn't need matching because, as the photo shows, it has a good light/dark value. AND what is great is that it uses up the random strips. It may end up being a back where I can either add or subtract according to the measurement on the top. Because most of it will be done, when it is ready to be matched, it will not take long to do the additions. And it is nice enough that if I create more backs than I can use, I will partner it will muslin and make it a quilt unto itself.

The other task I worked on was to simply cut squares out of the fabric leftovers. I have printed off the next round to the Medallion BOM. I have designated colors/fabrics, and because it is a mystery, I just have to trust that they will all work. My next thing is to press everything. 

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Rescue Report

When I first took out the scraps leftover from a tote I made, I had nothing in mind for them. Then I realized that I join a monthly Stocking Stuffer exchange on Swapbot. Technically folks are supposed to save the gifties until December so with that guideline in mind, I decided to use these scraps and make Spring mug rugs. I will keep a list of the people so I don't duplicate but have half a year's worth of gifts ready to go.

I can finish the last two tonight. I spoke with my Grandson and Son earlier today and told them I would be sending Valentine's cookies soon. I asked the boy what his interests were currently and he told me his favorite color was Yellow and favorite animal is the Octopus, and he likes both Spiderman and The Flash. 

Well, perfect! I am going to make a couple of mug rugs to go along with his cookies. Pics to follow after they are made.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Rescuing Orphans

Orphans, in quilting jargon, are the blocks that didn't get used in a quilt. Leftovers. Just as good as the others, but leftover.

I went through that scrappy bag and pulled out pieces that are ok to use in scrappy things. Mug Rugs are supposed to be larger than coasters and smaller than placemats, so any size.

These are two made for a couple of Swap Bot exchanges. The bottom one joins two small blocks with similar color values. The top one is strips that measured 1.5-2" in width. They are clipped for hand sewing that I like to do in the evenings. Easy work that doesn't need much attention.

The bag that held the leftovers has been getting overfilled. And ignored. With a little piecing, and using a couple of fabrics (not designated) for vertical spacers, I put this back together. It is relatively long so can be cut at either top or bottom and wide enough that it may work that way, and if not, additional borders can be added. I have to say that I was really excited to use these fabrics and get some projects done.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

When it Rains

After too many years of drought here in California, it is a joy to see the gentle rains. Thing is, it means darker skies and lights on in the studio. When I moved in here, I painted the ceiling a dark blue and walls a robin's egg blue...light. At the time of painting choices, I paid attention to where the Sun rose and set. Trees in back are leaf-free so what light is there comes through.
However, like the song says, 'rainy days and Mondays get me down'. I sorted the next quilt tops, backs and batting for basting and have three ready to go. (Just a very cute pic I found, not a quilt I am making)

Then I went into the scrappy scrap bag to pull out floral prints for a mug rug I plan to make for a swap. I need to go through that bag and toss the scraps that are essentially non-unusable for me. I may either toss them in the trash (ugh) or in a baggie to go to the thrift store. I want to be a bit more realistic about what I want to use. 

Meanwhile, the audiobook I am listening to is THE CROSSING by Michael Connelly and takes place in LA. Fun detective genre.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Basting a Mystery

The quilt I basted this morning was a mystery BOM. I knew the theme when I signed up, but did not know how the blocks would look. I chose to do a scrappy quilt (hah) which meant each block was a color theme unto itself. The more colors, the easier it fits into any home.

I really thought I had the back cut to fit too, but when I laid it out, one side needed to be cut off and the top turned on it to fit all four directions. An hour job took an extra half hour. More basting pins were used because I am unsure how I will quilt it yet and wanted everything to stay in place. So glad I can come into the clubhouse rather than try and do this on my floor space.

I found one of the appliques was not done and now will be a bit more difficult to do with the fullness of all 3 sandwich layers. Experience has taught me to wait until it is quilted so it doesn't pucker around it. 

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Releasing a UFO

I've been working on this apron for a couple of years. That's right. I do a little on it and put it back in the drawer, frustrated with the project, wishing I had never started it, realizing that if I only do a little more, maybe, just maybe I can get it done. But not this time. 

This time, I stitched up the neck straps, added them to the bib and stitched the top. If only I could just stick to the project and get it done. However, I cannot seem to stay with it. And so, I decided to put the bib and apron project into a plastic bag and donate it to the thrift store. Someone else can attach the bib to the apron and take pleasure in it. I do not take pleasure in it and need to let it go. Done.

The other project I have going is the Mood Quilt which is more a BOD or block of the day than a BOM. The first row is done and it is too long to be in one photo so I folded it and this is a reference. I have no idea how it will look at year's end, but it will make a nice back no matter what.

Then I turned attention to the leftover scraps from the Outhouses quilt to make its back. The top current measures 58x68. Very approximate size for this lap quilt is 50x65, so what I have is actually a little larger & will do.  My older Son said he preferred cotton, so I cut what matched the top into 2.5" strips & started joining them to a 62" width providing an overlap for cutting. I like the idea of having horizontals in back so the channel stitching on top will work quite well. Its like making a complete quilt, however, it uses what fabrics I have. Pic to follow when I finish it.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Wedding Gift

It was good for me to finish the Wedding Gift, which is wrapped and boxed for shipping.

Pink floral on the top and bottom are also what is used for the binding. It really is cute. I sent a message to my godSon to say it was shipping on Friday and he would need to sign for it. I've learned that it is worth the few extra dollars to make sure it is delivered.

Then I pressed the muslin and cut it to fit the Pink Stripe quilt. On Wednesday, I plan to baste a quilt and start quilting it. This one is a finished BOM that is over-sized for a lap quilt so will take a bit more time to finish it.

There are 2 more Comfort Quilts ready to baste, the Pink Stripe and the Log Cabin. I think the most difficult part of quilt-making for me is the quilting. When the quilt is smaller, it works better with my small machine. And this is my goal.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

To Go On

Some days it feels like it is hard to go on. One of my friends asked if I was in the burnout stage. Burnout feels like apathy and immobilization. And both those feelings are valid. I think what pushes me forward is the desire to go thrive.

I am still hand sewing the binding on the Wedding quilt. One more session might do it and that project can be gift wrapped, boxed and shipped by week's end. It is close. 

My plan is to finish quilt projects that have been started and move more of these scraps. The odd BOM quilt is actually a BOD or Block of the Day quilt. One strip will be finished on Monday. I have darkened the pattern parts to see how each month looks.

This pink stripe quilt is meant for a 2nd Cousin. Seams are checked & re-inforced where needed, threads clipped and the top is pressed. I tossed the muslin into the washer and will cut it to fit. The top measures 59x71 which is nice for a personal lap quilt. It might go into the bag with the other quilt ready for basting. I would like to get it done this week so I can start machine quilting. In both cases, I plan to do a horizontal channel stitch.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Ready for Binding

I finished machine quilting this wedding gift for the end of February.
I plan to ship it off next week and will need to find a box next. It turned out so very cute. I did an echo stitch around the houses and a simple horizontal channel stitch for the remainder of the quilt. I might add a label for the back and then it will be done. It is most pleasing. 

Doing applique can be addicting & I understand why my MotherInLaw worked with it in her later years. She sent all her quilts out to be long-armed and I understand that part as well. Most of the scraps or fabrics I have came from her closet. I got 4 huge moving boxes of her quilting stash. At the time, I gave myself a year to use it or give it away, and am still working with a good portion of it. I did give away a lot of it at first thinking I would never use certain items. What is left is still part of my project plans.

It is hard for a lot of us to release 'good' things we think we will use in time. And I am no exception. For as much as I do give away, there is an equal if not greater amount of things I keep. And yes, today is another trip to the thrift store. This time, I am taking my porcelain dishes. Decades ago, I had to have them and spent a small fortune on them. Its been hard to let go of them, and now I am ready. 

As for the fabrics, my plans are to use a good portion of them this year making comfort quilts.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Photos At Last

The computer guy was here yesterday, and fixed the power supply that burned out on the tower. I moved it from the floor to a table so it will get less of the dust and cat hair buildup. It means a bit of change in how I do things with it, but the office part of the studio is better for it.

This morning I downloaded photos. I want them here for my own memory and as a way to track my progress on projects.

The first finish is the Weekender Tote. My 12" square ruler is behind it for perspective. This was such a challenge because of the hard batting material and its flat here in the photo which doesn't show sides and inside. It is gift wrapped and in the shipping package ready for my younger Son's birthday.

The next project that is done beyond this photo is the quilt top for my older Son. This is how the four Outhouses look with the inner borders before sashing and before the final borders for the top. I wasn't sure about the fabrics but love the earthy, more guy look to it. I've asked if he wants a flannel or cotton backing and will probably need to buy whichever one it is.

Then I started on a low contrast quilt for one of my Cousins who lost her Mother / my Aunt last year. This pattern rightfully calls for higher contrast so there is less trouble matching pieces. I've got it now and will make however many blocks come from what fabric there is and just add borders to make it the size I want.

I basted one quilt yesterday and didn't take photos of it, and did a seam check and pressing on yet another one. 

Now that the office and studio room is reorganized, I can get back to the work. The Fly Lady zone for this week was the Bathroom and one other room. How I love this system for cleaning a house. While waiting for the computer guy, I cleaned the bathroom floor, drawers, scale and throw rugs. I sharpened pencils and threw out non-working pens. I think the greatest tool for me in this system is having a list of things to do in these rooms. And if I don't get to everything in one month, there is always next month. 

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

No Photo Basting

Got into the clubhouse to baste and although I brought 2 quilt projects in, one of them was really wrinkled from sitting so long in the bag that I brought it back home to press it again. The nature of homemade quilts is that they do wrinkle as you wash them and use them, however, it has been my habit to send them as unwrinkled as possible for the first look.

Then I started on the low contrast Snail's Trail quilt. I have been told that it is a very hard choice because it is the contrast that helps with the layout. And I used the lower contrast of the 2 off-white/beigy colors with the print. 

Yes, why yes it will be difficult. I watched Jenny's tutorial and she laughed as she said that she is a chain-stitcher so if she makes a mistake, it happens on all of them. Did I listen?

It seems true that this is a harder pattern to follow with low contrast fabrics, but I think it will end up quite lovely. Pictures to follow after the computer guy comes.

There is enough quilting work to do now that the wedding present is basted. As I looked at it, it seems that doing the horizontal channel stitching will work for the majority of the quilt but perhaps not for the center appliqued blocks.

Monday, January 15, 2018

No Photo Mug Rug

I made a mug rug for a swap, forgot to take a pic, wrapped it, put it in a box that also got wrapped, and put it in a box for shipping, which also got wrapped. Funny when I do that because even small mini quilts are projects worthy of being called quilts. Its funny and yet.

Sometimes the smaller things are like 'small' people; people who go about their daily lives and do not make large contributions or think they change the world. Most of us are smaller people in the greater scheme of things. Heck, even greater people are small in the even largest of schemes.

This little mug rug goes to a young woman in NJ who is working hard to make a difference in her world. Three things were promised in this swap: Chocolate, a beverage and a profile gift. Profile gifts are what we buy or make or send that somehow shows that we read what our partner wrote and made an attempt to honor her likes and dislikes. 

My partner likes tea. I pulled 3 bags from what I have and tucked them into a mug rug. The swap is fulfilled. Of course, there were other things I added to make it a sweet package. I know how important it is for me to open mail and get things that tickle my soul. Even though I didn't take a photo of the mug rug, it is hers now and hers alone.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Still Without

Still without the desktop computer.

Took a trip to the big city to buy a replacement printer. They are so inexpensive and the biggest complaint I have is the cost of ink. Well, HP has an ink program and the printer was on sale. It took all morning to get it set up to the router and every other electronic thingy...IPhone, laptop, desktop. Thing has more bells and whistles and even its own email. 

I worked on the borders for the Outhouses quilt the rest of the day and still have more of them to go. I asked my older Son if he wants flannel or cotton as the backing...asked in a letter that I can now print off and send. My handwriting is not at all good. He & I chatted today but I wanted to send the question so he could think about it.

Pictures will follow once the computer guy stops by to fix it.

This is Zone 3 for the Fly Lady system...3=Bathroom & extras in other rooms. Fifteen minutes goes by fast and I can usually get the chore done in less than that so having a detailed list to do more like in the entry way, or studio. This process helps my cleaning style. 

Last week was the Kitchen Zone 2, and I finally pulled off the two sets of dishes, one already given to the thrift store and the other going out later this week. When I was in the big city, I bought a couple of yellow bowls and 2 Batman plates (yellow and black). I eat soups, pastas, and sometime flat meals like eggs and toast. I don't need much kitchen stuff so will start changing up some storage places.

Although I am without a computer to download photos, I am still quilting, and very much aware of how my spirituality is effected by what I do. Sometimes I take in frustration because I cannot do what I want. Its like having developed a perfect system and when it falls apart, I can either be the victim, try to blame this or that, or find another way to stay busy. I am not accountable to anyone for what I do. No one has a right to tell me that I need to perform or produce. If someone is disappointed that I don't have photos or don't write each day, well, I am sorry too. However, it is what it is.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Project Backup

Many things have put my projects into a state of backup. There is an underpinning of frustration for me because I am a person who likes new beginnings, not waiting. Yet, here I am.

The Velcro and large button are on the Weekender Tote, and all threads clipped. Ready to ship out for my birthday Son. I even spent time loading all but one of the bobbins in prep for more. The one left is dedicated to machine quilting.

Two projects are in my carry bag ready to get into the clubhouse for basting. More projects are in bins, also waiting for basting. Thing is, machine quilting takes time and fills me with dread more than another other part of quilt-making. Also, I have enough safety pins for basting 2 at a time.

With the holidays over, some time has been taken up with packing things away, ensuring that nothing gets broken that I want to keep and nothing is kept that no longer serves my decorating desires.

Weather halts my desire to walk the block and a half in the rain and wind carrying a heavy bag that cannot be set down in the wet street.

One of the quilts in the bag is dedicated to a wedding in February. I want it done first. Maybe next week. 

Meanwhile, there are projects to piece.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

I Am So Excited

Machine Applique is a hard process, so I feel quite accomplished to have done these Outhouses without much direction and of course, using the border patterns from a previous project. The last block presented numerous challenges, but it done now. Even the colors go together nicely. 

I did load a bobbin with dark green thread so will be able to sew on the Velcro and finish off the Weekender Tote.

Winds were furious and blew out the furnace pilot light. Evidently they drive down the stack, and I am not sure if it can be corrected. Of course, no handy man is going to want to get up there when it is this cold and wet. So I am just trying to prepare myself in case it happens often this Winter.

My computer guy hasn't come yet, so pictures are on my camera waiting until they can get uploaded.

The lesson of this time seems to be patience. I have never had much of it when I was younger, and wonder why it seems to come more easily now. I muse on this and come up with several ideas. For one thing I know is that everything has a cycle, a season, a time. Rarely does it help to try and push things along.


Monday, January 8, 2018

Still Waiting for Computer Repair

I've been working on a number of things and will post photos when I get my computer system up again. I had a flair day yesterday and spent the time resting and feel better today.

I bought Velcro and a large button to finish the Weekender Tote. It shouldn't take much more time.

The first block for the Guest Designer Sampler posted a pattern called Brasstown Star, and so I found scraps that would work and made the block. The plan is to do each block as its own color combo and put them all together as a sampler quilt. I decided to partner it with the Mood BOM also in progress. I am using 5" charms for that one and will just add borders to whichever side needs one when they are both completed at the end of the year.

The Outhouses are appliqued, with the first inner borders on for January. And so next is to get into the clubhouse to baste. There are 2 quilts in the bag and more ready to baste in a closet bin. Obviously, the machine quilting on all of them will take time.

Friday, January 5, 2018


It took me awhile to select fabrics for this quilt as my choice is to make it relatively masculine for the outhouse look. Meanwhile, I sorted bins, sectioning backs, quilts ready to baste, and those kits still being working upon.

I am working on the fourth outhouse, and it is simply not turning out, so I may give in and start over on it. This last one is even more piecey so will take a bit more time. I might even redesign it. I think the grassy part needs to be lighter as a start.

I decided to piece more as I go with the 'emotional' BOM quilt. What I have done is to keep the box of scrap blocks that will go into it. They are actually 5" charms, and because there are more than half HST made, I will keep the halves not used in one block and select them as I go to make use of them.

One of the worst things about organizing is that I forget to label. I am getting better at it but when I forget, that is the exact project I want and then spend so much time searching. I always think that something is obvious and it is at the time, but then...time gets in the way and I need to search.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

An Emotional BOM Quilt

One of the online groups I am in is hosting a very personal BOM quilt this year. It is to be scrappy, and it is meant to log in our daily emotions.

Because we are left on our own to do the project without any more direction than this page, I realized soon enough that the list of emotions given were greater than I feel. 

The scraps I selected to use are 5" charms and have a shoebox filled with them. Odd bits and leftovers from many years. 

I found a monthly mood tracker chart online, but even with 10 moods, it was too much for me. What I did was to divide moods into 3 categories; the darker side, the lighter side and those high energy peaks I get often. Then I sorted fabrics into those three categories and will make all the half square triangles (HST) from them as well as choosing squares for some days. Thing is, in making a HST, I end up with 2 blocks...and am not sure if I will use both of them in the quilt or consign them to the orphan bin.

My trip to the big city to get the car computer checked out was exhausting yesterday. I did get some of the binding sewn on the Weekender Tote so that was good. By the time I got home, all I could do was 'crash & burn' on the loveseat. Gone are the days of getting everything done and still having energy to keep going. Now I need to do more self-care.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Medalian Mystery Quilt

December gave us the fabric requirements. I am scrap quilting this, of course, so used the color names to get my choices. I didn't see red, but the first month, had red, so I pulled out a red with hearts on it.

I coasted along until step 3, and was just about to email the designer when I saw a picture of it that helped me see what was supposed to be done. And then, unfortunately, I ended up with extra cuts. I am not sure what I did, but the block is done and it is fine the way it looks. I don't 'interview' layouts so much and trust that random is fine.