Saturday, December 3, 2016

Just another long, wordy post!

Haven't posted for two weeks. 
So many things going on, and there hasn't been time for therapy quilting. Finally I just NEEDED to quilt. I grabbed a couple of wall hangings that I started quilting weeks ago and squeezed in a few minutes here and there over the past few days, in between real life. Today I finished the quilting--binding will have to wait.

This is my abbreviated version of Lisa Bongean's 10th Anniversary SAL.
If you want to see details of the quilting, you can enlarge the photos below.
   
I think I dragged my feet on the quilting because I spent too long looking at the one Linda Hrcka quilted. I wanted mine to look like hers. I finally decided that it just needed to be done. 
This will be small quilt finish #45 for this year! 

The next one up was what I had hoped to have finished for Thanksgiving (which obviously didn't happen). This is the Buttermilk Basin pattern, which I reduced so that there would be room to hang it.

I had tossed this aside in disgust last month because when I finally made time to sit down and work on it, the tension went haywire and I had to unpick everything I had quilted. After the unpicking I just couldn't face it again for a while. Now it will be finish #46.

                 
As before, you can click the photos above to see the quilting better, if you'd like. But I can tell you now that it isn't anything fancy.
Had some sweet surprises for my birthday. An incredible package from Doniene (Now it's just quiltsII blog) with a lovely card, two wonderful little quilts and an olive wood nativity. So fun to have those beautiful little creations from her, along with another nativity to add to my collection of them from around the world. 
You can see it all below, along with the "loot" Kris (Lavender quilts blog) brought me. It was fun to visit with her in my kitchen as I was prepping food for the holiday. Look at the pretty dishtowel, the great Primitive Gatherings patterns, the mulling spices, candy, threads, etc. These bloggers are such good friends and know me well. Thank you so much, my dears!!
 
I will admit that there used to be more candy with the "loot", but it keeps disappearing. Curious.
There is also a sweet card from friend Annie (no blog--but I "met" her through blogging). She always writes her cards with calligraphy, and it makes me feel so special. Thank you, Annie.

When I received my pincushion from Kevin in the swap Randy organized, I loved the hefty size he had made.  I make wimpy ones, by comparison.
So I played with bits of scraps left from the "Light in the Window"  I made recently. It is a true "make do" creation, and this baby is big. It could be a weapon in a pinch. Kind of looks like a brick, doesn't it?


I continued my "80 Minutes a Week" challenge by attempting yet another Gluten Free pie crust recipe--this is my 4th or 5th try.
I confess that I am a pie crust snob. Before my celiac diagnosis I had worked long and hard to master light, flaky, buttery pie crust.
This pie crust is not as perfectly flaky as those I used to make, but it is the best I have made without a gluten flour. This was a pear pie for our Thanksgiving dinner. I also made a pumpkin pie for our family birthday gathering. I feel like I can call this crust a success. Not what I am used to, but pretty good.

I'm not finished yet. (I promised something fun, remember? Of course not--it has been two weeks.) It has kind of been my habit to share something with my faithful followers around my birthday. This is a little late, but here goes!
                                                          
Just what is this heap of stuff, and why would anyone want it? Maybe no one does, but FYI, it is a little pack of 60 2 1/2" squares in purple, chrome and cheddar (not everyone's favorites, I know, but it's my blog and I love them).
Then we have a clamp on, rustic  looking pincushion holder, with a vintage jar lid for making a pincushion.


 
This photo shows you how you clamp the thing to your sewing machine table or the table beside your sewing chair. You can glue any kind of pincushion there that you would like. The shop where I bought them had a pincushion in one of the vintage jar lids. (which is why I included one), and it looked really good. You could even glue on a regular old tomato pincushion, if you wanted to (but you wouldn't, would you?).

 


Included is this little quiltlet, along with the hanger and hooks.
The color is really off on this photo because I took it at night. The flash on my camera went out on Thanksgiving Day, and ever since then I have to try and time my photo taking when there is plenty of natural light. This wasn't one of those times. 
I guess that about wraps it up, except I will add in a couple of bars of my herbal soap, too. 
So let me know in your comment if you are interested in this bundle of fabric and metal. I'll give it around a week.
Until then,
Janet O.
 






Saturday, November 19, 2016

Who am I kidding?

I always have such big plans for holiday projects (like the three Christmas flimsies I was going to have quilted and bound for use during the holidays this year). But of the remaining three Fall projects I had hoped to have on display before Thanksgiving, this is the only one that got finished--and it is the smallest of the three, of course.

The other two are layered and basted, but that may be where they stay for now. Just not much time to quilt.

This is one reason.

It was time to get all of my soaps made for holiday gift giving. There are a few more trays of soaps still in their molds in my soap curing cupboard, but I am finished making soap for the year. Over the course of the past 4 days I squeezed in making 15 batches!

Since this year my b'day is the day before Thanksgiving, that means I will be cooking instead of celebrating. So DH took Friday off work and we did a little early celebrating. Among other things, we took a quick trip over the mountains to Village Dry Goods and I bought something totally frivolous, but I love it.



Are you scratching your head and asking, "What is it?"






Does this help? Each one is hand crafted from scrap metal. I love functional things that are aesthetically pleasing. If it hadn't been for the 25% discount from the quilt shop's "Birthday Club", I don't know that I would have splurged, because it wasn't cheap. But I reminded myself that I had saved up some money for a birthday quilt shop splurge, so this was it--along with some yardage, and another little cool thing I will share in my next post.

Karen sent along a few more "scraps" (my scraps never look this good). Thank you, Karen! I am blessed by your orphan projects.
 
In truth, they are projects for which she has lost her enthusiasm, and they were accompanied by some lovely pieces of fabric.
 
I have formulated in my mind how I will be finishing these projects. Wish there was time to get right on them, but this is not a time of year for me to be taking on new projects--not even Bonnie's mystery! Don't know how so many of you manage that!

I saw on Sarah's blog  a little while ago that she was tatting some snowflakes. Love those delicate, lacy-looking things! I said if she ever decided to sell any I would be her first customer. Needless to say, we worked out a deal (she would make me 2 snowflakes a month for three months) and I now have 4 of the 6 flakes I ordered. 
 

Here they are on my tiny year-round sewing room tree.

I'll give you some individual shots so you can enlarge them and see the details. So pretty! Thanks, Sarah!

















Speaking of snowflakes, we had a real taste of winter this week. Woke to this view one morning.
 
It is mostly melted now--except on the mountains, but this was such a pretty sight. 

Hopefully I will have something fun for my regular followers next post. Stay tuned.
Until then, 
Janet O.



Saturday, November 12, 2016

More Madder

Sounds like really poor grammar, I know. But after completing the top for Lori's recent Quilter's Madder SAL, I realized that a few months ago I had begun hand quilting another little madder quilt that was a Lori SAL, and I hadn't touched it for quite some time. Now the quilting is completed, but the binding is only pinned down on the back.
Small Quilt finish #44 for the year!

Lori named her little quilt Harmony, and since I played fast and loose with the design, I call mine "Close Harmony". It finished at about 14 1/2 " square.

Here it is with the more recent (and as yet, not quilted) Quilters Madder.









I hand quilted this one. I don't do that very often anymore. Gidget gets jealous.








That is all the quilting I have to show for the past week, but I will share the last couple of "80 minutes a week" challenge projects I have completed recently. 
I made gluten free, vegan chocolate chip pumpkin cookies. Pretty good, if you haven't tasted a "real" chocolate chip pumpkin cookie for quite some time.




Next I baked up some gluten free crusty seed rolls. They aren't pretty, but they taste good. : )




Hopefully next time I will have some machine quilting finished that I can share. 
Until then,
Janet O.



Saturday, November 5, 2016

Lots of Fall Projects--and a little fun

This Buttermilk Basin Pattern, "Give Thanks", is finally ready to be basted and quilted. I shrunk the pattern, so what would have been 42" x 50" is now almost 25", by just over 26". I made mine a little more of a square.

I had SO much trouble trying to choose borders for this. The wovens and plaids I had just didn't work. Still not sure I made the right choice, but after auditioning every combination of Fall colors under the sun, in a variety of fabrics, this is what stuck. I only had a small piece of the outer border and ended up having to piece the top and bottom. It is most obvious on the bottom.

I still do pumpkins in November. I have these two smaller projects basted and ready to quilt. The stems on the two little pumpkins in the basket were too pale, if you recall, but they were also too well fused to be removed. So I took a brown Pigma pen and lightly shaded them to give a little more contrast with the background. We do what we have to do!


My version of Lori's Quilters Madder is also ready for basting and quilting. I did put the HSTs all around. Down the sides the measurements worked out well with the border, but across the top and bottom, not so much. After wrestling and wrangling to make them fit, I did the truly "humble quilt" thing and chopped off the borders.
I really like this little quilt. Madders warm my heart! When I was choosing fabrics for the border I found a gorgeous madder paisley that a friend had given me. It isn't as obvious all chopped up, but it is so pretty (the quilt Lori used as inspiration had a chopped up madder paisley in the border HSTs). There was no selvage, so I didn't know what it was. I sent off a photo to Cyndi and I was able to get a couple more yards from her shop. Thank you, Cyndi!


Again, I made the blocks half the size of the original. After quilting this will probably end up being about 14" x 17".
I read on Marian's blog that this is the 7th SAL she has done with Lori. That made me think of how many I have made. Since I started following Lori in 2011 I have only skipped one of them, and a couple of times I made two. Thinking this might be my eighth SAL with her.  I have created some of my favorite quilts from these opportunities.





The only real "finish" I have here is my little turkey pillow from my fusible test. This was also from a Buttermilk Basin pattern--a pincushion, I believe.







Finally, I am doing another "really out of character for me" project (like the Floating Foxes from last year), but I LOVE it.  Joanne, over at Canuckquilter, has designed such a fun baby quilt pattern called Tic Tac Who? There are three versions--Tic Tac Quack, with a duck; Tic Tac Woof, with a dog; and Tic Tac Hoot, with an owl. They are all so sweet, but I was especially drawn to the owl. When she asked for pattern testers, I couldn't help myself, even though I usually don't do such things. And look at the size of those blocks--8"! I've made quilts smaller than that! *LOL* It was really fun to make progress in bigger leaps and bounds for a change!

I started the cutting on Monday night, began the sewing Tuesday night, and have squeezed in a few hours each day. Last night I got it down to just needing the borders attached. The lighting on the photo isn't the best, but the background is a tan with cream dots. I may add a green outer border to make it a tad bigger. Joanne hopes to have the pattern ready for sales soon--possibly next month. I have to say that her directions are very clear and concise. Everything went together very smoothly!
Thanks, Joanne, for letting me play with your pattern. I may have to make the Woof version down the road.

I have held drawings for the books offered in my last post. Winners are as follows:
Rachel's Reel--Summer
For All Seasons--Raewyn
Prairie Flowers Encore--Doniene
Emma's Courtyard--Gale
If you are named above, please contact me with your address so I can get them sent your way. If I don't hear from you by Tuesday, Nov. 8th (U.S. Election Day) I will draw another name.
Until next time, Janet O.
 

Thursday, October 27, 2016

A Light In The Window, etc., etc., etc.

This is a pattern from Journey Three of Pam Buda's Prairie Women's Sewing Circle. I have been wanting to make it for a long time, and when I saw her new Old Plum Calico line I knew that was what I had been waiting for. Several of you guessed correctly that I was referring to Pam's new line in my last post--and one of you even guessed the churn dash block!

Pam had sent me some small cuttings of the fabric before it was released to the public, and I started making the churn dash blocks right away. 
She had asked that I not share it until the fabric was available, so I held off posting.
Pam is a proponent of the "make do" philosophy of our prairie fore-mothers, and wrote into the instructions to make 3 "make do" blocks in the 20 that the pattern calls for.











I had decided that I would make as many blocks as the cuttings she had sent would make, no matter how much "making do" I had to do. As it turned out, I was able to squeeze out 13 blocks--five being "make do", and one of those five being extremely "make do". Thirteen is a hard number to put into a quilt, so I settled on 12 blocks, leaving the extreme "make do" block for something else.

When Pam offered a pre-order special on fat eighths and fat quarter bundles of her Old Plum Calico line I didn't hesitate to order a fat eighth bundle (that is a splurge for me). As I was making the blocks I decided to wait until the bundle arrived to make the setting triangles and borders.

The original is in blues and greens. I had decided to replace the blues with purples, and though I love purple and green together, I wanted to use a blue where her green had been. I was hoping for a lighter blue repro, but couldn't find one that clicked for me. I finally settled on this medium blue that is from another one of Pam's lines.

Between the cuttings from Pam and the fat eighth piece I was able to make all of the setting triangles out of the same fabric. When it came to the border I had to make two of them from one fabric and two from another. That is okay with me. I like that look.

I am really happy with my "Light In The Window". Now it goes into my greatly diminished, but still growing "to-be-quilted minis" pile.

I fell behind immediately on my Quilters Madder (SAL at humblequilts blog) project. Spent the past couple of days trying to catch up. As usual, I complicated things.

I made the blocks half the size in the pattern (surprised, right?). It will finish at about 15" x 18".  I also added a row, and I included the HSTs on the two sides as in the inspiration photo Lori shared. 
My seam ripper has kept me company on this project. I have miscalculated many things in adjusting the block sizes, and had to make one whole step over again. There were also a few blocks that I had turned the wrong way and it just looked too busy and crazy to me to leave it that way. 
What I love most about this project is that it contains bits and pieces of fabrics from three special friends I have "met" through blogging.
I have decided that I will put the HSTs on the top and bottom, too. They are in the works.


 



Speaking of things from friends, Karen (logcabinquilter blog) sent me some "scraps" (I use the term loosely), and included these sweet little applique blocks from a project for which she had lost her steam. I don't do needle-turned applique, but am in awe of those that do. Each of these sweet blocks will receive a border and be made into a little seasonal wall hanging. They are each about 8" square, and I will try to keep them to about 12" finished. Thank you, Karen! What a treasure.


Also, last year I received a box full of Jo Morton patterns from a friend that was dying of cancer. I finally went through them carefully and realized that I should pass the applique patterns to someone that will make good use of them.

If there is a lot of interest I will draw names for the individual books, so if you would like to be included, please indicate in your comment which titles interest you.

Until next time,
Janet O.

Drawing Closed!

Friday, October 14, 2016

What do you think?

Is it possible to label quilts without labeling them? I think so. See these quilts?
View from the loft of 34 of the 43 little quilts finished this year. The other 9 have been gifted.
These are all of the little quilts that I have finished so far this year, that haven't been given away.  I have sewn a label on every single one! I am so good that way.  Where I am not so good is actually writing on the label. This is how the backs of these quilts appear--this is just a sampling.
 
Lovely and pristine, aren't they? Kind of hate to spoil it by actually writing on them. : )

As I began to gather the quilts from their various resting places around the house, to my horror I discovered that some little quilts I finished LAST year also sported naked labels. Shocking!
How did this happen under my watchful eye? Oh, I remember now. When the last stitch has been taken on the binding, I always tell myself I will fill in the label in a little while--and then I never seem to get to it, unless I am giving it away.

So ALL of these embarrassingly bare quilts (45 of them) were gathered and stacked on the dining room table.
 

Let the labeling begin!! I have had to spend much time scrolling through my blog to make sure the info I am putting on the labels is correct. Good thing it was all documented somewhere!

I don't worry about having a beautiful label, but I do believe in labeling quilts--eventually. Whew--1/3 of them are done now. I needed a break.

So I turned my attention to some wool work. Poor photo, but it shows that progress has been made.
 

This is all sewn together and is about 15" x 19" inches right now. Needs borders.


Will put a second border on this. Almost added a cheddar border, but now I'm not sure. I need to audition a few more Fall colors before deciding. This photo shows me I should have used a darker green on the pumpkin stems.






My swap partner in Randy's pincushion swap has finally received the package I sent her, so I can share it with you. I made a boxy-style mini log cabin pincushion for Joy at The Joyful Quilter blog.
I added a package of my handcrafted soap. You can't tell through the packaging, but one soap is a spider (cute, not spooky), and the other one is a web.  Just the things you would want to use for washing up, right?


Randy and I kind of ended up swapping pincushions as well, unofficially. I sent her one with the little quilt swap we just did, and she returned the favor with this little red/white beauty, wrapped lovingly in some strips of fabric that you know will find their way into little quilts. : )



 





I remembered to get a photo of my "80 minutes a week" challenge project before it was all gone. Another success! Gluten Free Orange Pecan bread. Yum!! (Actually, the recipe is for Orange Walnut Bread, but I am allergic to walnuts.)

Something is in the works that I hope to share soon. It involves a newly released fabric line in my favorite color, and one of my most favorite quilt blocks.

Until next time,
Janet O.

 


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