Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Finish No. 2

I made my second finish in the 2016 2ndQ Finish-A-Long for a silent auction donation to Cat Tales Rescue's annual Spaghetti Feed...a charity that is near and dear to my heart!

I used the free pattern from Cloud 9 Fabrics called Ribbon Box.  In fact, this is the second Ribbon Box quilt I have made (the first one is also on my UFO list...#28 on that list, in fact).  The pattern is great for showing off large prints. The layout diagram looks a bit intimidating at first...but careful labeling when cutting...and following the diagram make this a snap to sew together.  I mean...I have already bought fabric for my third's a great pattern!

There is a lot of the Mon Ami line by Basic Grey in the top, with a great mustard-yellow mini dot print from American Jane for a pop of color (that matches the tiny little french bread in the bicycle basket on one of the Mon Ami prints).  The background is a Moda Grunge...I believe in Vanilla.  And the backing is a print I purchased at Walmart (Ack!) but it is soooo perfect!

I quilted this quilt, which measures at a nice lap size of 55" X 63", on my new Pfaff Performance 5.0...and even though this machine loves to FMQ, I used a technique I picked up in the Jacquie Gering Craftsy class...simple serpentine lines.  I love the look!

I did a piped binding technique I learned from my LQS, A Quilted Heart.  And I just want to pat myself on the back!  The tiny yellow piping in the white binding just makes me giddy!  I love how it looks!  FYI...I cut the piped part of the binding at 1 3/4" and the binding part at 1 1/2"...googling "piped quilt binding" turns up a ton of tutorials.

So happy!  And it earned a nice price at the auction for the kitties!

Second item checked off my UFO list...yay me!

This makes finish #12 for 2016...with 56 total (and 40 from my 2ndQ list) remaining WIPs!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Finish No. 1

First finish for the 2016 2nd Quarter Finish-A-Long...

My Strip-Pieced Mini...also know as Rooster's Cat Mat...

I started this mini in Amy Smart's Quiltcon class, Strip Piecing Crash Course.  The class was a lot of fun...definitely a crash-course, so much information in just a few hours! I wish I had been able to fit the full-day version into my over-packed Quiltcon schedule.  Amy is a great teacher, she is so enthusiastic about her material it makes learning the techniques a lot of fun.  I am anxious for her Craftsy class to open...I will certainly be signing up!

The main fabrics for this were donated by Moda to Amy's Quiltcon I'm not sure what line this is.  The gray border is something I had in my stash perfect for finishing it off.  The mini is 28" square...sized just right to fit under my cat Rooster (and help keep the couch some-what hair-free...sigh)

Eeeew...but it's working!

I did all the quilting on my Pfaff Tiptronic 6230...heavily influenced by a Craftsy class I am watching taught by Jacquie Gering...and a bit by the Quiltcon class I took with Angela Walters (More Dot to Dot Quilting)  Angela's class was for free-motion quilting, but the quilting on this mini was done with my IDF (walking foot), the Tiptronic does not like to free-motion quilt!

Perfect backing...yay!  It's from my stash!

Overall this was a great small piece to practice quilting on...and I love how it turned out!

Rooster (and Lainey) agrees!

And that is one item checked off my UFO list...and amazingly, I haven't started anything new in the last month!

This also makes finish #11 for 2016...with 57 total (and 41 from my 2ndQ list) remaining WIPs!

Friday, April 15, 2016

2016 2nd Quarter Finish-A-Long

I am throwing my hat in the ring and joining the 2016 Finish-A-Long.

My list of UFOs is long...oh, so long...but I have made a commitment this year to make a serious dent in the pile.  Of course I want to have them all finished, but I realize a lot of the projects have fallen out of favor with me.  Some projects are a decade old...some just a few years, but tastes change, skills evolve and some are just plain boring to work on.

I'm hoping by the end of the year to have put a little more work into each project so I can decide if I want to plug through to the end...or scrap the project and chalk it up to a good experience.

So to that end, last night I went through and visited with forty-two of my unfinished projects...

Hand-Dyed Stars, Big Hexies, Ribbon Box, Zig Zag Diamonds, Apple Stars, Snapshots, HST Pinwheels, 2014 Mystery BOM, Strip-Pieced Mini, Penny Candy, Angie's TV Dinner, Baby Star, Brown & Blue UFO, Line Dancing, Oh, My Stars, Oh, Americana, Chevron Cats, New Year's Stripes and Squares, OHO, Shiny Happy Dog & Cat (softies), Cherry Tweet, Hand Quilted Postage Stamp, Flowering Snowball, Log Cabin, Cricket's TV Dinner, Batik 1600 Quilt, Mystery Quilt (I need to find the name of the pattern), Ribbon Box, December 26th, Abundance, Bee in My Bonnet Row Along, Celtic Solstice, Aunt Ruth's BOM, Perennial Stars, My TV Dinner, (in the boxes, partial tops) Bonnie's Blooms, Yoyoville, Clover, Ferndale Flora, Starry Log Cabin, The Big easy (or big ugly) and last but not least...Hand-pieced Henry

One of my biggest problems is my attention span, some nights after work it's about 15 minutes I really have no idea what project is going to spark my energy.  My solution...I added almost everything to my 2nd Quarter list!

Check out the other 2ndQ FALers...

Here's hoping by June 30th, all our lists are shorter!  

Thursday, May 15, 2014

DIY Decorating: Kitchenette Centerpiece

In the ongoing effort to spruce up and refresh the house, I decided that we needed a new centerpiece for the kitchenette table

Super simple...

I bought this not vintage Fiesta Disc Pitcher, in Scarlet, from JC Penny's last December, when they were getting rid of all of their Fiestaware for 50% off (so sad they don't carry Fiestaware anymore).  Since then, it has been sitting on my counter tucked behind some junk important paperwork... languishing, un-noticed... but not unloved.

So... I moved it to the kitchenette table and filled it with some faux hydrangeas from Michaels'... incidentally, also 50% off.  (cheap-cheap!)

But the best part of this super simple micro-mini make-over is the cool salt and pepper shakers I found at My Friends and I antique shop in Fremont for $5.00.

I love the shape and color.  There is no mark on the bottom, so I don't know who the maker is (I think the number on the bottom was the antique's shop booth/vendor number) or how old they are, but I would say they look like they are from the 50's...that is just a completely uneducated guess.

I'm afraid to do any looking online...which would surely lead to buying online...which would lead to collecting and displaying...and, sigh...I don't need another thing to collect...

Okay, maybe just a quick look...

And one parting picture...Bonnie is a bit perturbed that I was taking pictures of the silly shakers and absolutely not petting her!  Shame on me!

Pet me, pet me now!

I'm linking this up with The Colorado Lady's Vintage Thingie sure to pop over and check out the rest of the link-ups!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

A Walk in the Garden

When we bought our house in 2009, we inherited several fruit trees planted by the previous owner:  two cherry trees, three lemon trees, a banana tree (long since removed...poor ugly tree), one pear tree, one pomagrante tree (or shrub?  not sure which) and a loquat tree.  I didn't even know what a loquat was in 2009!

Wikipedia says:
Loquat fruits, growing in clusters, are oval, rounded or pear-shaped, 3–5 centimetres (1–2 in) long, with a smooth or downy, yellow or orange, sometimes red-blushed skin. The succulent, tangy flesh is white, yellow or orange and sweet to subacid or acid, depending on the cultivar...The skin, though thin, can be peeled off manually if the fruit is ripe....The fruits are the sweetest when soft and orange. The flavour is a mix of peach, citrus and mild mango.

I have since learned to love them, although the peeling and eating of them is much messier than the Wikipedia description leads one to believe!

Anyway...I spent a few minutes the other evening checking out how the fruit trees are coming was a lovely warm evening and it was real nice to stroll around, camera in hand, to see what's growing...

The Loquat:

The tree is really ugly far more tropical looking than I like...but the flowers are so fragrant and the fruit so yummy, I can't bear to remove it...

The tree is just loaded with fruit...

Some not ripe...

And some almost ready to become jam!

The Pear:






The Pomagranate:

The Pomegranate is loaded with flowers!  Last year I had a pretty good crop and made some awesome pomagranate jelly.  I just finished off my last jar...such a sad, but delicious moment...

I can hardly wait until the fall to make some more!  Come on!  Grow...grow!

The Cherry:

Oh my...where do I begin...this is a sad tale, be sure to grab a hankie to wipe your eyes...

For the last two years we have had a pretty dismal showing on the cherries.  What we have an ugly case of black cherry aphids.  Ack!

So this year I made sure to spray the trees in early spring...right after they flowered...

Which is exactly the wrong time to spray the trees...according to UC Davis.

Which is why I have shriveled dead cherries...

And a tree full of black cherry aphids! home-grown cherries, or cherry pies, or cherry jelly.  Good thing I live in a little valley full of farms and orchards...including a cherry stand!

Check back...I'm doing some online Google-ing to prepare for the next battle in Word War A!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Paper Pieced Present

I have a love-hate relationship with foundation paper piecing.

Foundation Paper Piecing by Cafemama/CC BY

I love the look of the perfect points....

 Paper Pieced Star for Sandy by Sakuraboy/CC BY

 I love collecting the patterns...I even love starting the pattens...

But they aren't "get-rich-quick" patterns...and often tedium sets in and the unfinished pieces languish in the UFO pile.

I started a wonderful Snow White pattern for my neice...back in January.  I didn't get it finished in time for her birthday in late February....had a sewing machine break-down in March...not to mention a number of excuses as to why I couldn't possible finish it on my trusty back-up featherweight sewing machine...

but this weekend...

I finally gathered up all the parts and tiny pieces and forced myself to finish.

It only took about three hours to finish the paper piecing part...

Tear off the foundation paper, add some embroidery, borders and turn it into a pillow.

 With a cute little "Sweet Dreams" label

And I love it!

A note about the pattern...AWESOME!  I came across the site, Fandom in Stitches several months ago and love their fun-fan patterns; I totally need me a Minion!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Breakfast (in bed) at Tiffany's

There are oodles and oodles of blog posts written about color.

There are books, magazine articles, classes and lectures about color.

The only thing I have to add to the discussion is...

Ack!  Why is it so hard to pick a paint color!

I mean, I know what I like...bright and cheery and saturated.  But that all goes out the window when confronted (and I mean that in the most threatening sense of the word) by the hundreds of colors in deceptively neat little swatches in the paint department.

I walked into Home Depot with my paint color decision made...a dusty-turquoise with a french grey accent.  I boldly went to the paint sample section and confidently bought my samples...all six of them in ever so slight variations.  (I was like a kid in the candy store!)

I was so confident in my choices that I waited three weeks before trying the samples on the wall...I mean, I know what I want, this is a no will be gorgeous.

Until, it wasn't.  The samples turned out to be dark, dingy and depressing.

So back to HD...I will just pick lighter brainer, it will be gorgeous...

Well  dark, dingy and depressing quickly went to cloying, cutesy and pastel!  Ugh!

Alright, I squeezed one more quick trip to the paint department in...and got Three. More. Samples.

At this rate, and with 12 samples hanging out on the dinning room table, I may open up a sample paint store!

So the latest three may be the final three...maybe...I am leaning towards the one in the center column, third row down.

It is called Sweet Rhapsody, by Behr paints and is VERY close to matching the color on my Tiffany & Co. box.

I may try one or two more colors close to this one, just to make sure...I mean, I love me a good Tiffany blue, especially when it has a nice Tiffany necklace inside...but I never thought of myself as a girl who would paint her bedroom Tiffany Blue...although it is definitely bright cherry and saturated. any opinions?  Aqua Bay or Sweet Rhapsody?