Thursday, April 30, 2009

Quilting Again

    Today was my first day back in quilting mode. I probably should have started working on quilting the tops I already have done, but piecing is my favorite part of quilting, so to get back in the swing of things, I started sewing these flying geese units I had already cut out. I didn't realize stripes were going to be so hard to use in these. I did figure out how to use stripes correctly from these blocks where they are not right. I'll use them anyway. In a bigger grouping, I don't think it will look too bad. 
     These are from men's shirts. I have amassed quite a few men's shirts now, and I thought they would make great quilts for the veterans hospital. Can't be too girly if it started out as a man's shirt, right? The pattern I was using calls for columns of solid rectangles between the columns of flying geese. I like the scrappy look of the flying geese so much, I think I'll just do them all flying geese instead. The rectangles are 5 1/2 x 10 so I can't sew two together to make squares. I thought of that, and it would look cute in all those plaids, but since these were cut according to a pattern without that in mind, I can't change that. What I could change is the direction.

   With all the points going up (above) it looks a little like mountains, but with the points alternating (below) it has a zig-zag look to me. Which is better? I could cut more rectangles and do it the way the pattern originally called for, but I'm liking the flying geese. I do need some input. I'm leaning towards the bottom picture, and so is DH.

   In addition to sewing about half of the flying geese I had cut out, I finished step one in Stashbusters Big Busted Mystery. I have lots of 2 1/2 inch strips already cut, so when I saw that's what you started with, I decided to fit it in. I'm doing mine scrappy as usual, but I picked all the colors from a particular fabric I plan on backing it with. I'm trying to expand my horizons when it comes to lights, and not just use white or cream. I chose pink, green, purple, and blue lights in addition to white and cream. I also am trying to use a couple of yellows as darks. We'll see how it works out. I figured a mystery quilt is a good place to experiment. I recently saw a picture of a log cabin quilt with some yellows as darks, and lots of colored lights and I loved it. It's giving me inspiration to go outside my comfort zone on choosing colors.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Still not quilting

     Have you ever felt like everything in the universe is aligned to keep you from an interrupted project? I have several quilts I need to get finished, and couple I need to start, and I haven't been able to quilt since I got back from vacation. I haven't been idle, far from it, I just haven't been quilting. First I had the bake sale, then I had scrubs to make, then jury duty, then I had lots of pants to cut down and hem into either capris (for me), or shorts, for both of my boys. I think I have cut and hemmed 15 pairs of pants since I came home. My latest project is finished and pictured below.

   No, they are not fabric snakes ;c) They are Cool Ties, and I just finished 48 of them. I made some for family, and most to go on the mission trip to Ecuador with my husband. I started out just making them for family, then I decided to send one with Howard to keep him cool in the jungle, and after thinking about it, I wanted to make enough for the whole medical team. If you've never heard of them, they are a fabric tube, filled with  polymer crystals that you hydrate when you need them. It takes an hour or so of sitting in some water to hydrate the crystals. You wear it around your neck, and it does an amazing job of keeping you cool. I first used them about 10 years ago at a fair that I was working at. The temperature was about 105, and I think I would have had heat stroke without one of these. If you are interested, the directions on how to make them, and info on buying the polymer crystals are here:
     I've also started another non-quilty project. I am making cherry pit pads. They can be put in the microwave and should stay hot for about an hour. They can also be frozen. I have an herbal pad I use instead of a heating pad, but it only stays hot about 20 minutes. The cherry pits are supposed to work better. I bought a 40 pound bag from 
I am making two different shaped pads, a rectangular pad, and a neck/shoulder pad. I'll put pics up when I finish the next set. I finished one set and gave it to my MIL for an early Mother's Day gift. She is leaving town, and I wanted to get it to her before she left. DD#2 uses my herbal pad all the time, and since she is moving out next month, I wanted to get her some of the cherry pit pads made before she goes. I cut out several sets, and will try to get them all done within the next couple of weeks. That will give me some ready made gifts.
    Now, when I am griping about not quilting, why would I be making up all the cherry pits into pads now? It is my slow plan to clean up my sewing room. A 40 pound bag of cherry pits takes up a lot of room, and if I get them all made, well, no bag to worry about spilling or storing. I have space to store ready made gifts in another room. After I get the cherry pit bags sewed, I'll stuff them as I have time, while watching movies at night probably. I hand sew them shut, so once the initial sewing is done, my machine will be free to start piecing with again. If I get the several quilts I am in the middle of done, then that is cleaned up as well,  voila- my plan of cleaning up the room! Then I can start new projects and mess it up again!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Scrubs, not quilts

    I know I haven't been good about posting as of late. I haven't done anything quilt related, and that has really made it hard to come up with posts. I have been sewing scrubs. I need to make nine, and I've got four done, and two in the process. I always sew scrubs according to thread color, so sometimes I make them one at a time, and sometimes I make two or three assembly line style when I can get away with using the same thread. I am not even making leaders and enders right now since I'm using poly thread instead of cotton.
    I did buy a new quilt pattern for DD#3 wedding quilt. It is a bargello pattern, which I've never made. I started to panic when I saw the pattern calls for 1 inch strips! I think I am going to cut the strips larger. I originally thought of 1 1/2 inch strips, but that will double each dimension of the quilt and make it a large king. I think I'll go with 1 1/4 inch strips instead. I was thinking I was going to have add several borders to get the quilt the right size, but I think enlarging the strips will work better. I was not expecting to have to use such small strips. The pattern is called 'Springtime', but DD#3 has changed all the colors to jewel tones. Seems to me 'Springtime' has turned to 'Winter'. I have several projects I need to finish before I start on the wedding quilt. The wedding is in July, but the reception will be in October. If I get it done for October, I'll be happy.

Friday, April 10, 2009

I've been busy!

   I still haven't gotten any quilting done since I got back from my trips. I did get all the men's shirts I bought cut apart. I also mended a hat and cut two pairs of pants into shorts and hemmed them for DS the Younger, and cut long sleeves into short ones and hemmed that for DS the Elder.
    For the past three days I have been busy baking! In May, DH is going on a medical mission to Ecuador, and this sale is to raise some of his support. Here are pics of all the goodies.

     In these pictures there are:
 3 batches of white chocolate macadamia nut cookies
 4 batches of peanut butter cookies
 3 batches of chocolate chip cookies
   2 loaves of apple bread
   4 loaves of banana bread
 4 loaves of honey wheat bread
 6 loaves of honey oat bread
 8 batches of cinnamon rolls
 12 batches of brownies

    All of that is homemade, no mixes used. DH did help. I made all the cookie dough, but had him bake the cookies while I packaged them. I baked all the rest from start to finish, but DH glazed the cinnamon rolls and helped with the packaging on the rest. The last two batches of brownies are cooling, and the sale is this afternoon. We are not doing a sale at church this go around, which saves me a lot of work. The last time I did a bake sale at church I sold 26 dozen cinnamon rolls in 10 minutes! My kids have gone on so many missions trips (and that is the only time I do bake sales) that people have learned what they liked and zero in on it. I hope this one raises some money for DH's first mission trip.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Hawaii pics

    Bonnie left a comment and asked for some Hawaii pics. Of course my husband took over 600 pictures, and I wouldn't dare try to show them all. I picked a couple of  pretty scenic ones, and a few that are inspiring me for future quilts. I have really been on the lookout for striking color combinations, and nature is full of them. Of course God does good work, so His color combos would be best!
     This first picture is of Akaka Falls, the tallest waterfalls in Hawaii at 420 ft.

    This is the entrance to the Thurston Lava Tube. It's surrounded by rainforest and looks like you are entering another world. It reminds me of making blanket caves as a young child, something I hope my grandchildren do with the quilts I'll make them.

    This is one of the many floral pictures taken by DH. I love the colors!

    Another picture I chose for the color contrast. The dark background really makes the purple pop!

    My DH didn't want to take this picture, but I made him. I love the one orange/yellow palm leaf among the green ones. I didn't even notice the flower blooming until now, I just like the unexpected pop of orange. There is a quilt in this!

    I like this picture for the contrast and shadowing. It makes me want to try an art quilt.

   One of my favorite things about the Big Island was seeing all the plants growing out of volcanic rock. The beautiful growing out of the barren.

    It's not as good in pictures as it was in real life, but this was one of the brightest rainbows we had ever seen. It looks like it hits the ground just off the road. Perhaps we should have gone to find the pot of gold and wrestled the Hawaiian leprechauns for it!

   We saw this plant at a farmer's market. I have no idea what it is. I really liked the colors though.

   This little guy is just too cute! He will definitely be the basis for a quilt! Check out those colors, just amazing! I am used to seeing lizards all over, since I live in southern AZ, but not that are this brightly colored.

   I was really on a color combination hunt, can you tell? Yes, we have the typical tourist photos too, DH drinking Kona coffee, me looking out at the steam coming out of the volcano, you know the type of pics, but since this is a quilting blog, I wanted to put up some pictures that inspire me as a quilter.
    I am a little stuck as to what to work on right now. The first few days I was home I had such a nasty case of jet lag that I only caught up on housework. Now I'm doing better with that, but I have to get ready for a bake sale on Friday, DD#3 has a speech contest on Saturday, in Japanese no less, and of course Sunday is Easter. Next week I have jury duty, so whatever I start working on WILL be interrupted. I spent yesterday cutting up shirts, and today removing buttons from some more shirts. To get some sewing in, I may end up, (OH NO) ...mending!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Vacationing as a quilter

    I am finally back from all my travels. I am still not sure what time of day it is, too many time changes in too short a time! My first trip was to Georgia to visit my best friend. She is not a quilter, but likes looking at quilts and using them, so she was perfectly happy to take me to the quilt show they were having in her town while I was there. We talked about different types of quilts, voted for our favorites, and just had a fun day. We also went thrift storing while I was there, and I found these 16 men's shirts. I was so happy to find a few orange ones, as I've been having a hard time finding any here. I really felt like I hit the jackpot when I found the purple shirt! Now I can finish cutting the extra blocks for the guest room quilt. YEAH!

    After the trip to Georgia, I was home for about 8 hours, when my husband and I left for an anniversary trip. It was our 25th anniversary, and we started talking about doing something right before I left for Georgia. I wasn't sure it would work out, so I hadn't told many people about the possibility. I left all the arrangements up to my husband and oldest son, and I left for Georgia not knowing what would happen with that.
    It helps to have a little background information. I have been to 47 states, and my goal is to go to all 50. The last three I need are Hawaii, Alaska, and South Dakota. I had looked up trips to South Dakota and Hawaii before I left. We plan on someday going on an Alaskan cruise, so I wasn't really thinking about going there now. 
     My husband and son really came through so DH and I went to Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii! How's that for an anniversary present, my 48th state! We had a wonderful time exploring the island and relaxing. We went to the volcano, saw waterfalls, watched manta rays, toured a couple of coffee farms, and went to a luau.
      But wait, I am a quilter....I am on vacation, and I must bring home....fabric! I was willing to go to just one fabric store, but DH was VERY good about spoiling me on this trip, and took me to three fabric stores. Hawaii has such a nice selection of oriental fabrics as well as the traditional Hawaiian prints. I found their prices surprisingly reasonable. I mostly bought fat quarters in an effort to be good, and the fat quarters ranged in price from $1.40 to $2.50, with most being under $2.00. The one piece of yardage I bought is the purple Asian print on the far left of the picture below. I just loved it and bought 2 yards. I think it was $5.99 a yard. All together I bought 13.5 yards of fabric. For me, that is good.
      These are the Asian prints I bought.

     Here are some of the Hawaiian prints I bought.

    Here are 3 different volcano prints. The store I purchased these at had a fat quarter of the black framed and hanging on the wall. It looked good just like that!

    These last four I got with I Spy quilts in mind. How fun to look for hula cows or cats playing the ukulele!

    I guess it's a sure sign that quilting has taken over my life when on a dream vacation I'm still thinking about quilts, searching for fabric, evaluating people's clothes for quilting possibilities, and looking for possible quilting patterns everywhere.
     Of course to be fair, my DH is a scooter enthusiast, and we have at least 20 different pictures he took of scooters, plus a souvenir wooden scooter with a little surfboard on the side! I guess no matter the hobby, it comes out in everything.
      Two of the stores I went to have a website. One is   I need to search for the other site, and I'll post it if I find it.