A View of My Quilt Life

Thursday, May 29, 2014

WICKED, the Challenge

I was minding my own business, wandering around the web, checking out a link from an author's newsletter, one thing leads to another and BAM - I stumbled across the

Oh, BLAST!!!  Another cool challenge, this one forcing me to use my favorite hand dyed fabric!!  You have got to be kidding me - I am powerless to resist!!

Okay - you have to admit those colors are lusciously wicked.  Maybe not not your normal quilt palette but I know what those fabrics feel like in real life and I know the color saturation is exactly what it looks like, and I am itching to get my hands on it.

Drawbacks to yet another challenge??  Ummm, well, I've never seen the musical, don't know the story, haven't read the book, so coming up with a design might be a bit tricky.  But that's what challenges are all about!  Thankfully, there is a lot of reference material online that I can look at for inspiration.  The timeline is fairly generous, even considering I have another challenge to finish by June 22nd.  

Now if you all will excuse me, I have some Wicked hunting to do.  I am such a Challenge junkie...

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Bits 'n' Pieces

On Tuesday morning, this is what my sewing table looked like this

And the floor looked like this

Wonder what happened?  Sewing Happened!!  Monday afternoon while the spareribs were in the oven, I spent some time stitching on the blocks for Row #4 (April) of the Daring Downton Debacle Challenge Quilt

Normally, with paper foundation piecing the un-sewing is minimal but this time my pieces were shifting around & fighting me, so my seam ripper was busy.

The blocks are not yet blocks but still components, needing some pressing and the paper removed.  

I had stored the parts out of the reach of the Dog-o-Matic Paper Removal Machine.  BUT somehow, Drake managed to get a hold of Row #5 (May) cutting directions. 

ARGH!!!!!  This row is the most complicated - I made it for Row #3 - it uses 17 colors across only 3 blocks (2 blocks are repeats). I'll be working on this row next week...just as soon as I recreate the missing half of the list.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Garden Update

As promised, this post shows the latest additions to our yard over the long holiday weekend.  

The shade garden had all of the old mulch raked out and  a few hostas were moved around to make way for some new perennials.  I chose two new plants to add this year - giving us color and texture, as well as contrast to the variegated hostas.

The first is False Spirea - Astilbe xarendseii 'Fanal'.  The glossy green sawedge leaves are contrasted with a bright violet feather flower.

The second is Coral Bells - Heuchera 'Cajun Fire' PPAF.   I chose this variety for the dark red purple leaves.


This is how they play together in the far corner of the garden. 

 The tall cedar structure is slated to get a fun coat of paint this summer.

Here's a shot of the shade garden sporting the new fence. The area needs a little more tweaking & cleaning, and a little more mulch.

The daylillies have been moved a bit to accommodate the shed's arrival.  The plants on the far right are a new peachy-pink variety that I picked up this year. More mulch to come for these plants. 

Tomatoes in their pots, placed to get maximum sun, though they may move to the upstairs deck for even more hours of sunshine. One is a 'Sun Sugar' cherry and the other is a Rainbow Heirloom.

Lavender in a pot on the backyard table - the color of the flowers match the paint scheme!

And finally the front pots adding a splash of color on the walkway. Can't wait until these grow and fill in a bit more.

Need to straighten these pots a bit!
It's good to have plants planted and mulch in place - time to enjoy the summer weather!

Monday, May 26, 2014

It's Memorial Day!

Freedom isn't free, and many  have paid the ultimate price to insure we have our Freedom!  Today is the day to remember all those brave men and women who have fallen while protecting and defending our country.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Start of Summer

It's here the unofficial start to summer - Memorial Day Weekend!

Planned activities around here include: digging in the dirt, adding more dirt to what we already have, planting flowers in the holes dug in the dirt and covering the dirt with mulch.

We are using cypress mulch again though there was a discussion in the middle of the garden center at Home Depot about natural color 

vs. the dyed red mulch 

(the color would just pop, he said. Who is he and where is my DH? Too many DIY shows!).  

Given that Drake has decided mulch is a necessary fiber component of his diet, the natural mulch won the discussion.  I have no idea what the coloring would do to his insides and sure as heck, don't want to find out!

I managed to do a little more plant shopping last Sunday while in Michigan, in addition to reallocating the variegated hostas.  I focused on shade loving perennials and will share them once I get that part of the garden all planted. 

The shade garden will be sporting a new fence this year.  

The dogs LOVE to jump over the wee one that surrounds the garden to keep them out & away from the plants.  Not only does this make me crazy, it increases the chance that Hobbes will hurt himself indulging in puppy behavior at his age.  So new fencing it is!  Each section like the one picture is 24 inches high and 36 inches long - hinged in two places to follow any outline needed. The checkbook cringed a little at this decision but it will recover.

This is the first year my Sweet Man will be involved in the backyard.  Though it's only the size of a postage stamp, it's been strictly my domain for the past 10 years.  Health issues and lack of knowledge (this is his first house) kept him away. I think getting the shed and those DIY shows have spiked his interest.  

He actually cut the grass last week - for the first time ever! Mind you, that chore takes maybe 10 minutes total - the yard is that small!  Since it is so wee, this is the grass cutter we use - human powered! No frills, no fuss & no gas!

Before any dirt gets dug today - I'm on mission:  Pick up the Featherweight Girls from the service man!  Both girls are ready and I'm anxious to get them home.  One step closer to having the as yet unnamed 1949 FW repainted!  Really going to have to narrow down the color choice.

Have a Happy Saturday and Welcome to Summer!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Pink Pineapple

Ever See a Pink Pineapple?

How about a Pink Pineapple Quilt?

It started with some paper foundation piecing. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the use of the Dog-o-Matic Magic Paper Removal System for this, so I had to do it myself.  Each pineapple block measures 4 ½ inches unfinished. Each ‘leg’ measuring 3/8 inch wide finished, with 40 legs per block.

You: Umm, these pineapple blocks aren’t pink - not even close!

Me: Yes, I know that.

You: Then why did you ask if we’ve ever seen a Pink Pineapple Quilt?

Me: Because there’s more to this quilt than these 4 blocks…

Introducing my latest project – Pink Pineapple - which is also my newest FINISH! 
Pink Pineapple - 16" x 16"
All hand dyed fabric, raw edge fused applique and paper foundation pieced, and machine quilted.

This is my entry for the Quilt Alliance Inspired By Contest .
Deadline for entries is June 1st - I'm ahead of schedule for once!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Cutting a Hay Field and Wading Through Puddles

Okay, so it wasn't really a hay field but the grass at the Michigan house hadn't seen a lawn mower yet this spring until this past Sunday.  I was bound and determined to cut as much as possible so the task wouldn't be impossible Memorial Day weekend.  

Unfortunately, the recent rains have part of the yard back under water and most of the north lot is a giant moss covered sponge!   Yes, I did squish about on it to see just wet it was - let's just say I was glad to be wearing the knee high fireman boots! And no, there aren't any pictures of that fashion statement
Standing water behind the house, though not as much as by the shed!

There were also quite a few branches down, not surprising given the strong winds that accompanied the rain storms.  This one hit the back of the house with enough force to knock things off the  wall & fireplace mantle. 

Most everything is in good shape but behind schedule.  The dogwood is looking a bit peaked this year, so we'll have to see what it looks like in a few weeks when it has more leaves - if it does.  Hopefully the winter cold didn't weaken & damage it.
Dogwood not making a splashy showing this year.
You: But what about sewing? Didn't you do any sewing on this road trip?

Me: Yes, yes I did and I have a finish to show for it...tomorrow.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Some of My Flowers

Here are some of my new annual flowers for this year.
I love the classic look of geraniums in pots for the front of the house.

Pairing them with petunias, make for easy care and bright colors

The dark petunias are called 'Cha-Ching Cherry' - I HAD to buy them!  The darker purple round flowers  are Gomphrena - not sure of the varietal name. They are slightly brighter in real life, but I had to enhance the picture a bit for indoor lighting.

Since this was the view from my truck yesterday morning, 

YES - that is SNOW on May 16, 2014!!!

all the tender plants are still in the garage until later this weekend when the temps rise a bit & the sun finally comes out! A few more plants have to be purchased for the side garden & back yard...oh, darn!

Friday, May 16, 2014

A New & Unique Way to Remove Foundation Paper

First, make sure you have your stitch length set short - 1.5 range is about right on my machine.  That size micro-perforates the foundation enough to make the paper easy to remove but not too small that the paper falls off before you want it to.

See the tiny stitch holes

After stitching all the fabric pieces to the foundation paper, press with a hot iron to set the seams. 

Nice & crisp!
Then, leave a pile of the finished pieces with the paper still attached, on a table. For example - say, on a sewing table.  In my house, the height of the table will allow a certain dog access to whatever is left out on it. 

To activate the Dog-o-Matic Foundation Paper Removal Process, you must leave the room.  I jumped in the shower, getting ready for work. And like magic, when I returned, I found the paper completely removed from this block edge section.

Dog spit and wrinkled fabric come at no extra charge!


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Daring Downton Abbey Challenge - May!

The final month of the Daring Downton Debacle Quilt Challenge is upon us!  

Since I didn't accomplish much of anything on April’s row until the other night, I couldn't pick up May’s guidelines until Tuesday night.  Thankfully, you only need to do something, anything – no one’s grading me on progress - except myself that is and I get a D for April!  Here’s the grand total of what I done on the April row of Mary’s blocks.

I do have the pieces all cut for the outside sections and 40 HSTs are done for the corners.  Now I need to just sit & stitch.

May’s row requires me to use quarter square triangles.  

What to make?  What to make?   

My very late night on Monday (emergency dog sitting in a nasty thunderstorm) was catching up to me. After I snagged the guidelines from the shop, I was way too wiped out to do much thinking, let alone pull out the quilt block book & browse.  Turns out I don’t have too!!

The row I made for March, Castle in the Air block, uses quarter square triangles.

Since the outer two rows (1 and 5) are the same, Gentleman’s Fancy & Mary’s Block, if I repeat the Castle in the Air row (2 and 4) it will totally balance the quilt! 

Oh, Happy Quilting Accident!!

Here is a computer generated picture of all the completed rows.

We were also provided finishing directions for sashing & borders – that’s going to take a little more brain power…and another blog post.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Mother's Day Gift Box

It wasn't the size of the Gift Box

or what was in the Gift Box

But rather, the Box was the Gift.

It's still too cold to be digging in the dirt here but the DH is thinking ahead about what a pain it is for me to have to carry all the tools & lawn mower through the family room, aka - my studio, to work on anything in the postage stamp back yard.   So, part of this past Sunday was spent lurking around garden centers and home improvement stores, discussing, debating and deciding.  He's going back later this week to pick this one up.

We like to think of it as my Mother's Day Gift, Part Two.