Friday, June 30, 2023

I got distracted

 I'm so easily distracted.  While searching for something fun in the Halloween scraps (and stash) to add to the Haunted Halloween wall hanging, I got sidetracked.  

This Halloween border print (gnomes, kitties, pumpkins) was right there in the top of the drawer just begging to become a couple of new 60 degree table runners.  Honestly, these are so quick and easy to do - and fun.  Almost instant gratification.  Half an hour later, I had 2 of these all ready to quilt.  

Thursday, June 29, 2023

Haunted Halloween is a flimsy

Because my brain can only take so much paper-piecing and curved seams (and solid drab colors) at any one time, I've been working on something much more fun this week as well. 

The Fat Quarter Shop offered this fun FREE Halloween mystery project pattern, and I had even ordered the kit this spring because I liked the fabrics so much.  This is Haunted Halloween - and it's about 44" square, so it will be a good wall hanging size.  Before I get this one quilted I'm exploring some possible applique additions - eyes on the bat, a collar on the cat, and maybe something peeking out of some of the castle windows.  

The outer border isn't part of the original pattern, but was in the kit for backing.  I really have an aversion to hiding really cute prints on the backs of wall hangings - so it became a border. 

Today - back to working on the curves, in between some other little projects.  

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Some progress

 Just a little sewing happened yesterday while trying to stay out of the way of the window washing crew working at my house in the morning.  My windows all sparkle, and project progress shows.

This month's Saturday Sampler block has a couple of spools of thread, and some big buttons.  The blanket stitching hasn't been done yet, but the shapes are fused and ready.  There will be a loopy length of embroidered thread running from one spool up to a big needle shape on another block.

The light blue "pie" slice piece has been added to the grey and navy arc.  There are 10 with green, and 8 with the light blue.  Next step is adding that pale pink arc to all 18 of these.  Then another paper-pieced arc will be the step after that, plus the final outside solid arc.  One step at a time!

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Busy weekend ahead

Next weekend will be filled with family, as my husband's first cousins are arriving from all over the country for a 1-generation reunion.  There are a LOT of 1st cousins, as his mom was one of 12 kids.  Her generation have all passed now, so these cousins are the "old folks" in the family.  The last family reunion had over 150 relatives in 5 generations attending.  This one will be much smaller.  


At that previous family reunion I had made quilt blocks and asked everyone to sign them.  The finished quilt is going to this reunion, and will be given away to someone.  I need to get a label on this quilt before Saturday morning. 

Monday, June 26, 2023

Design Wall Monday - The List

Here it is - Monday again.  And it's nearing the end of June already, so that means I'm working on my list of goals for next month while checking off finished goals from this month.   For some reason, my LIST never actually shrinks.

My short list for this week . . .

** Spools block for current Saturday Sampler
** attach binding to Christmas Saturday Sampler quilt
** make progress on Pole Star blocks from cruise

There are a couple of sets of blocks remaining for Pole Star.  The most work required will be to finish the blocks that have 2 paper-pieced arcs in each block.  Once the paper comes off the last of Arc #1 (navy & grey), then I'll attach them to the blue center "pie wedge".  Then all 18 of them will get a pink arc, followed by the second paper-pieced arc, then the outer edges.

There are also 6 simpler blocks to finish. These just involve solid pieces, with no paper-pieced sections to complicate things.  You know I love bright colors, so making blocks with white, cream, pale yellow, and grey just don't get me excited. But they will be fine in the finished quilt.

As for the month of July, I have a lot of things that I want to work on.  I've been saving some new projects to play with but also have some WIPs and UFOs to finish.  So, maybe it's time to just "go with the flow", and not get hung up on my obsession with list making.  For at least one month. LOL

However, there WILL be some red sewing for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  

Check out more of today's Design Walls -

Saturday, June 24, 2023

RSC23 - Week #25

 Well, this hasn't been a week for much productive sewing to report.  

The first couple of block sets from the cruise project are completely done.  And look - there is light blue in the top set.  These blocks, along with some different ones, were all completed while sewing on the cruise.  But I still have others to finish now that I'm home again. 

On Thursday and Friday, I kick-started one new project - the Haunted Halloween mystery wall hanging from Fat Quarter Shop.  And a couple of the blocks are light green, so they fit right in for RSC for the month of June.  That's my rationale for starting this project. LOL

Week #1 block parts were all cut out before we left for Alaska, but I made myself NOT sew them until our return.  It was a small incentive to get unpacked and put things away so I could sew.  And see - there are the 2 light green stars!  These went together quickly as the stars are only 4.5" and the bat/moon block is 10.5".  On to Week #2 . . .

This funny cat block is done now too.  The tail kind of bothers me because I feel like it needs some triangles to connect the squares to the long tail section.  But we'll see how the rest of this project goes before I pick out any seams here.   I saw a really cute version of this on Facebook where the cat got huge eyes and a bow tie appliqued, and the bat got huge applique eyes as well.  That would be make this wall hanging extra cute, so I may have to steal the idea.

Week #3 block is the "haunted castle" block, which is really cute.  I've seen several versions online that had Halloween characters appliqued in the windows.  Again - a great idea. 

Next week I know I'll play with the light blues and greens again, but until then - make sure you check out the RSC world today!

Thursday, June 22, 2023

Quilting At Sea

First - my dental surgery went fine yesterday. My husband brought me home about 11:30 am - and I slept until 6:45 pm.  That is crazy!!  And I went to bed and slept all night.  I'm hoping to get some sewing done today, but I'll have to stay awake to do that.

Back to the quilting cruise to Alaska - Our first port of call on the cruise was Juneau.  We've been here before so we tried to choose different things to do in each port.

In Juneau we did a culinary walking tour - stopping for tastes of local products at 7 places.  We tasted smoked salmon, crab cakes & crab bisque, fudge, fish tacos, salmon ceviche, blue tea, a locally brewed adult beverage, and finished with a blueberry mojito.  The walking tour guide also pointed out the Changing Tides quilt shop, and it was on our way back to the ship. How convenient.  I must admit that my husband was "humoring me" on this excursion because he is a picky eater and really didn't taste everything.  But the art and history portion was so interesting. He enjoyed that.

The other part of the walking tour was learning about the amazing art all over the city of Juneau.  We might have found the different shops and restaurants on our own, but would most likely NOT have learned about the art installations.

Hubbard Glacier was spectacular of course.  We sat our balcony, wrapped in blankets, sipping Mudslides, and enjoyed the view.  I'm glad we had binoculars with us. 

In Sitka we had a little time to wander around the town a bit before our excursions left for a bear sanctuary, and then onto a boat for aquatic animal sighting.  It rained and was cold the whole time we spent there, but we were dressed appropriately so it was OK.

The bear sanctuary (Fortress of the Bear) was interesting, and because they were feeding them with parts of a deer that had been hit by a car, the bears were very active.  The bald eagles were active too, swooping in to steal whatever they could. 

On the boat we cruised around the tiny wooded islands, and spotted sea lions hanging out on this harbor buoy.  We also saw lots of sea otters with pups, more bald eagles, and whales.  

Ketchikan is another place we had been before, and we decided to explore the town this time rather than do a shore excursion.  It rained off and on, but didn't stop our exploration.

We took the opportunity for some shopping - because there is a law that says grandparents MUST bring home souvenirs for the grandkids, right?  I also made a stop in a local quilt shop called Whale's Tail.  It was small but very friendly. 

The final evening of the cruise was a very brief stop in Victoria BC, but I don't have any pictures.  And that is because we decided to stay on the ship rather than ride a bus around for 2 hours.  That was pretty much the option for excursions there. 

My friends and I had such a good time. We began talking about doing this again of course. Where to next time?  

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Home again, home again - jiggety jig!

It's good to be home again after a wonderful trip with friends - new and old - and my husband. The "quilting at sea" cruise is in the books.  This was the second quilting cruise I've done through Travel Adventures By Michelle, and I highly recommend it. Well organized and so much fun!  Some friends and I did a Caribbean one in 2019, and some of the same group was together for this Alaska adventure.

This was the instructor's sample of the exclusive cruise project.  It's called Pole Star by Heather Black, who was our instructor.  All of the blocks are a mix of paper piecing and curved seams.  I have about 3/4 of my blocks finished so it will be something to keep working on now that I'm home. The teachers hired for Michelle's quilting cruises are asked to design (and kit up) something new for the cruise group each time.   

Our quilting took place in a ship conference room, with brand new Janome machines.  We had the option to purchase the machines at a steep discount if we wanted.  I didn't but was tempted. LOL  We had activities each day to help us all get acquainted.  There were mother-daughter pairs, sister pairs, groups of friends like us, and even a couple of gals traveling alone.  While in port the classroom is closed so that we all could just enjoy the shore excursions.  

Michelle gave us each navy blue long sleeve t-shirts with this cute design on the back.  My first set of paper pieced arcs are laying on my shirt in this photo.  

Today is all about unpacking and doing some laundry, catching up with the mail, and grocery shopping.  Tomorrow I am having some dental surgery, so maybe on Thursday I'll post some fun photos from Alaska.  On a side note - getting off the plane yesterday in South Dakota with 97 degree temps was a bit of a shock to the system after the cool and rainy days we just had. 

Sunday, June 18, 2023

Quilting Cruise

 My group of quilting friends together again for this cruise and already talking about the next one. 

Monday, June 12, 2023

Design Wall Monday - travel projects

I like to always have some small handwork project with me when I travel, to keep my hands busy.  Riding in the car or flying in an airplane, a bit of hand work is usually with me.

This little project was an "adopted" UFO that has been sandwiched and waiting for hand quilting.  In mid-2021 our guild held an "adopt a UFO" exchange. Anyone wishing to participate could bring a UFO project (wrapped so it was a mystery), and we drew random numbers to exchange them.  I got a kit for a miniature quilt using 30s reproductions.  How appropriate, right? 

In 2022, I hand stitched all of those little English Paper Pieced stars, and hand appliqued them to the background squares.  Then I added the purple and yellow borders from the kit.  That wider outer border actually came from my own stash of 30s prints.  This traveled with me to Arizona last February, but didn't emerge from the bag.  But hopefully this time I'll get some hand quilting done on it.

Check out more Design Walls . . .

Sunday, June 11, 2023

Doggy love

 Today is the day - we are leaving on an Alaskan cruise this afternoon, and I'm making no promises on whether or not I'll be able to post any updates this coming week.  Hopefully I can, but in the meantime I'll leave you with this new/old project.  And NO, this isn't one of the new projects I've been anxious to start playing with. This is more "leftovers" that lend themselves to a quick finish. 

While cleaning my sewing room last week, I came across this one orphan block and the remains of the panel that the block center came from.  The rest of this panel was used some years ago, but I had folded the leftovers and tucked it into a drawer with other kid types of fabric.

The 12.5" orphan block immediately made me think doll quilt.  I used some 4.5" strips left from a quilt backing to add simple borders in about 5 minutes.  That brought it up to 20" square which will be just fine for a doll quilt, and it has more of a "boy" feel to it than most of the others.  It's now sandwiched with batting and a bright yellow backing scrap, ready to quilt once we return from our trip.

The remaining panel has adorable 9 dog sections, and is about 23" square.  I pulled some bright yellow and a bright/black print for borders.  This will be a good little donation quilt, and it shouldn't take much time to just add some borders, quilt, and bind.  It will be good to have something else out of the drawer, and used up rather than just taking up space.  

I even added it to my UFO Challenge sheet as a 2nd PIG for the month of June, since the 1st PIG project is already in the hands of a quilter.  The Row By Row car/license plates project box is out, sitting on top of my sewing table.  But I haven't pulled out that purple 4-patch project yet.  We'll have to see what I have the time (and ambition) for during the last half of the month. 

Saturday, June 10, 2023

RSC Week #23 - Country Bunnies & more

One of last year's RSC projects is completely done. Yay!! 

This is Country Bunnies.  It was a pattern I purchased online from The Pattern Basket, and each month of RSC22 I made one bunny block. I just love the shape of the bunnies, plus the little tail just makes them extra cute. 

Because I used the aqua for the inner border and the binding I wanted to find a backing that worked well, and this one is just what I had in mind.  This is a child's quilt, and it's a bit over crib sized.

One of the newer RSC blocks I've been making so far this month is the Floating Star, and using just batiks for the background because I have so many to choose from.  Plus I love the saturated colors.  I didn't make any blue or green or pink ones, so . . . it seemed time to get at least one of each made.  And I used light blue and light green. I think these turned out so pretty.

Last week Sophia helped pick out some fun baby prints for more of these 12.5" churn dash blocks to be used in donation quilts.  The light blue worked well with the kitties and elephants.

I pulled out yellow and a bronze to use with the chickens and the bees.  There is plenty left from each of the fat quarters, so I'll probably make more of them and maybe even the half sized blocks.  Some I'll give to our guild baby quilt project, and some I'll use myself. 

We're halfway through the year for RSC, so check it out . . .

Friday, June 9, 2023

Replacement blocks, bees, & birthdays

Happy birthday to the oldest grandchild today.  Mason is now 12, and will go to middle school next year.  He likes golf, basketball, football, and gaming.  And he is spitting image of his mother at this same age, right down to the freckles.   

There were 2 blocks out of the Scrappiness Is Happiness book that I just didn't like mixed in with the others - the sewing machine block and the Santa hat block.  

I replaced the sewing machine block by repeating one of the others, but in different colors.  And now I'm replacing that Santa hat block with a repeat too.  This is the Quick Dash, but I added the 2 side strips because the Santa hat was oblong - finishing at 10 x 14.  Assembling the rows won't begin until July most likely, but I know I'll be happier with the substitutions that I made.  This will be a cute quilt in the cheerful 30s reproductions.

One more small finish for this week, is the Bees table runner.  I kept the quilting fairly simple with some stitch in the ditch plus some curved lines inside the block centers.  This was originally a kit - pulled out of a drawer full of PIGS, and instead of a couple of large mug rugs it yielded this runner. And the third block became a hot pad just a couple of weeks ago.  To get 3 blocks from the kit required star points made from my own scraps.  So, one more small kit is out of the drawer. 

Thursday, June 8, 2023

Odds & Ends

I had a list of goals about a week ago that involved finishing some things that had been started, but were now just laying around. Most of those projects can be checked off now. 

One of those WIPs was the Dresden Plate block I did as a demo for our Sew Vintage group.  It just needed blanket stitching, and that was finished on Wednesday morning.  I'm not exactly sure what I want to do with this block, so I'm open to ideas.  It's currently about 13" square, but hasn't been trimmed so probably will finish at 12". 

I also whipped up a quick padded case for my glasses to take on our trip.  A black glasses case just tends to get lost in the bottom of a black bag, or on a black car seat.  This one used up a red scrap, and shouldn't get lost in my purse.  

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Cleaning & sewing

 Most of Tuesday was productively spent in my sewing room.  It needed cleaning, and I feel like I managed to get quite a bit of that done.

I would focus on cleaning/organizing an area for 20 minutes and then I would sew for 20-30 minutes. 

Then I would go back to cleaning - repeating that over and over again for most of the day.  Surprisingly I managed to make progress in both areas - cleaning and sewing.  Ten new Boxed Squares have been added to the box for that project.  Most had light blue or light green centers, although I did use pink in a couple of them. There are more of these cut out in the project box. And all of the black and white yardage has been organized and refolded. 

While organizing some of the Quilt of Valor scraps, I was able to cut parts for 8 more of the Rail Fence blocks.  And by the end of the afternoon they were sewn.  The stack contains 45 now.

There were several other block sets that saw progress in between the cleaning, but I'll save some of that to share another day:

** batik Floating Stars (RSC)
** baby print Churn Dash (12")
** string blocks

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

To Do Tuesday

I played cards yesterday afternoon with some friends, so the projects I planned to work on at home didn't happen.  We hadn't gotten together for almost 2 weeks due to graduations and some travels. So it was so good to catch up with them, while playing Hand & Foot. 

Three more stuffed "critters" have been paired with doll quilts for a donation project I'm working on. Last Friday my granddaughter helped me find some very cute little animals - at the right price.  They had to stay in that $5 range. However, Sophia talked me into that cow - which is a little bigger and was $7.  She reminded me that one of the doll quilts was bigger than the others so the cow was perfect. And it was too cute to pass up. She was right of course!  The bee is so funny!  There are 3 more stuffed animals as well, just waiting for 3 more doll quilts to be finished.  

Yesterday when I came home from playing cards there was a delightful little squishy package sitting on the kitchen table, and addressed to ME. Don't you just love when there are surprises in the mail?  One of the bloggers I follow regularly Sew Preeti Quilts had drawn my name to win a little collection of batik charm squares from the new Wild Blooms line.  She also tucked in some strips with the charms, and a few other fabric goodies.  Wow!!!   Thank you thank you Preeti - I love everything!!  She is an Island Batik Ambassador, and shares such fun and beautiful projects with the Island Batik fabrics on her blog, and much more.  And I love batiks - I love the depth of color, and love to sew on them because they don't fray or stretch like some fabrics.   

Well - my To Do list is LOOOONG today, and goes way beyond sewing.  But cleaning up my sewing room before leaving on our trip is high on that list.  Best get one more cup of coffee and get to work. 

Monday, June 5, 2023

Design Wall Monday - June 5

 Hmmm - it's June already, and I just want time to slow down. So, what's on the design wall today? 

The Bees runner is sandwiched, and will be my main project today. I've changed my mind so many times about how I wanted to quilt this, but it's time to just make a decision and go with it.  As I write this that decision hasn't been solidified yet. LOL  

Country Bunnies came back from the quilter on Friday, and the binding was attached on Sunday afternoon.  I'm halfway around with the hand stitching.  This UFO will be another good one to check off my lists and have finished.  It was a Rainbow Scrap Challenge project, and I think it will be a donation quilt as it's a good size for a child - and it's covered with bunnies.

Check out lots more happening around Blogland this week.

So . . . back to that first thought about time flying by too quickly . . .

On Saturday we attended a lovely wedding for a great-nephew.  It's such fun to spend time with family for happy occasions. And especially fun when you get to see the family members that we don't get to see very often - coming from Texas and Georgia, and other closer places.  At the reception he gave a terrific speech about how he had chosen a wife who was a lot like the other women who have influenced his life - his sister, his mom, and his grandmother's. It was funny and very touching!

The youngest grandson turned 8 on Saturday.  His dad has a birthday today.  And our oldest grandson turns 12 this coming Friday.  Because we were at the wedding we didn't join the birthday celebration, but he had a fun day with friends and cousins.  He spent a night with us earlier in the week, and I delivered his birthday present on Friday.

Early on Sunday morning Dave noticed our front porch visitor.  He sent the picture to our kids with the comment "watch dogs are over rated" when you have a big Tom turkey on the porch. 

Well, back to some sewing and some laundry and packing for our trip. 

Sunday, June 4, 2023

For a good cause

As most of my regular readers know I make a lot of pillowcases every year.  They are quick to make, and each one uses approximately 1 yard of fabric from an overflowing stash.  And better yet, having these on hand means I have a quick gift or donation when needed.  Pillowcases are just a satisfying thing to make - fast, easy, and can involve FUN fabrics.  

This little stack of 13 pillowcases will go to a foster child program in my younger daughter's community.  Monkeys, dogs, frogs, race cars, and Pooh Bear - fun kid themed and bright.   I'm really happy I can help out just a little.  Apparently they have local volunteers who add drawstrings and turn the pillowcases into bags that kids in the foster system can use to collect and carry some of their belongings, and also use with a pillow no matter where they go. 

This scrappy Irish Chain quilt was donated as well as the pillowcases. It's a good cuddle size.

The pink petunias that granddaughter Sophia helped plant are thriving on the back deck, as is the little "trailer" plant we tucked in with it.  I have no idea what that little plant was.  There are solar twinkle lights wrapped up the post for the rain gauge, and a solar hummingbird stake in that pot.  The hummingbird changes color every few seconds. The solar gnome (blue) no longer works, but he's kind of cute so he stays.  The plant in the pot behind it however - really needs to be repotted to a much bigger pot, but since Dave has still been working 16 hour days I've not dared ask for his help - which I definitely need as it's heavy.  

There are pink geraniums on the front porch.  And a bowl of succulents on the little table between my chairs out there.  The only gardening I'm doing is in a few flower pots.