Saturday, March 31, 2012

Ego Boost

Nothing is going the way I plan it lately, and it's really frustrating. I had hoped to have the black blocks done today, then when I knew I wouldn't get that far, I had hoped to get the sub-blocks done. Just to boost my ego a little, and let it be known I did get something done, here are my sub-block B's, all 128 of them.

I still have 3 logs to sew on to my sub-block A blocks. I guess they can be my leaders/enders while I work on the rally quilt.

The twins are miserable, poor babies. They both caught their Mama's cold now, so on top of teething they can't breathe. Mr L is wheezing already. Miss S is still struggling with diarrhea, and she is just completely wiped out. We are pushing fluids, anything we can get them to drink. Today we even tried soda and Popsicles. They wouldn't drink the soda, but they had part of the Popcicles. The twins just want to be held all the time, so the only sewing time I'm getting is while they are sleeping. It's taking two adults to care for them without them completely melting down. If we can get everyone healthy around here things will go smoother. It seems like almost every family I know has someone sick right now, lots of nasties going around.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

So Much Going On!

There have been so many things happening in the last couple of weeks, I can barely keep up, never mind blog about it all. I said I'd put up a couple more wedding pics, so here you go.

This was taken in Vegas, not at the wedding, but I like it that three of my kids are babywearing three of my grandchildren. In the white shirt is DD#2 with Mr. L, red shirt is DD#3 (mother of the twins) with Miss S, My new DIL is wearing pink, and DS the Elder is in the back with Miss E in a sling carrier.

This was the wedding, isn't that gazebo pretty?

Here are the newlyweds with their daughter, Miss E.

And here is their wedding quilt in pieces!

This bit is on my sewing cabinet ready to go for tomorrow. I've been putting in long hours sewing. I decided to piece all the logs before I added them to the blocks. That meant long hours of sewing and not feeling like I was getting anywhere. Now that all the logs are pieced, the sub-blocks should go together quickly. I am running out of time to work on this. I have tomorrow and Saturday (I babysit Friday) then I promised DH that I would work on the rally quilt starting April 1st until it was done. I'd really like to get the wedding quilt into blocks before Sunday, but we'll see, that will be pushing it.

DH actually got some prep work for the rally quilt done for me today. It took him much longer than he thought it would, and I just smiled at that. Anything to do with quilting always takes longer than you think. I am making an applique panel with scooters pulling a covered wagon, and I needed the graphics chosen and scaled to the size I needed. He found everything I needed and after I approved it, he printed it out for me. Next week I will work on choosing fabrics, and start the prep work for machine applique. I have four more pieced blocks to cut out for that quilt too. but thankfully, I made several of the blocks for the rally quilt while I was working on the wedding quilt.

Everyone here has been sick, but oddly enough, not with the same thing. I have been having some pretty bad allergy issues, DD#3 has a nasty cold, the twins have been vomiting and having diarrhea issues. DH and DD#2 have been under the weather too. I'll be glad when all of this straightens out. A houseful of sick people is no fun at all.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

See My New Daughter

Remember I said something exciting was going on? I'm in Las Vegas for DS the Elder's wedding!

Here is DS the Elder and the brand new Mrs. Rains. She brings a new grandbaby to the family too, I've shown a photo of Miss E before. Such a blessing to have our family expand! Plenty of love to go around! I'll try to post a couple more photos later, but couldn't wait to share our great news!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Weekend Sewing

I did manage to get some sewing done this weekend. I got some stars made for the scooter rally quilt.

Starting April 1st the scooter rally quilt becomes my main project. It will be cutting it close, because the rally is the first weekend in May. At least I have bits and pieces of it ready to go.

I also started the black blocks for the pink/black beast. This may not look like much, but it is the start of 128 blocks, and I already have five pieces sewn together for each block, so this little pile includes 640 pieces! Not bad for a weekend where I had lots of other things going on.

No more sewing for a few days. Tomorrow I am going on a trip. I'm not saying where, and I'm not telling whose going, but I'm taking my laptop, and I might post from there. I won't be gone that long, but it's exciting stuff!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Look What I Picked up!

I am always on the lookout for the newest copy (at least newest available here, we're way behind) of Australian Patchwork and Quilting. I have a friend who is an awesome quilter, and happens to have regular articles in AP&Q. This Australian magazine can be hard to find in the USA. JoAnn's gets them, but they sell out fast. Barnes and Noble has them sometimes. I picked this copy up at JoAnn's in Phoenix, when DH and I had our day out.

I had already picked up the copy because I didn't have this one, and while I was flipping through it in the checkout line, I came across a familiar quilt.

This is the quilt I made for my grandson in South Africa. I always give permission to use any photos she needs, but I never really know whether they will use the photos or not. It's kind of fun to see which ones get used and which ones don't. I had never thought about how hard it would be would to come up with enough photos for a magazine. It's one thing if they are doing a particular project, or a single technique or tutorial, but as in this article when they needed several different projects using specialty fabrics, it would really be difficult to come up with enough variety.

It's really amazing how much work goes into the magazines we love to read and look at all the eye candy in. I've gotten to work with Quiltmaker magazine twice as a block tester, and I hear about what it is like to work with other magazines. Lots of hard work goes into them, by the editors, writers, and lots of behind the scenes people. Long live quilting magazines!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Border Blocks

I've finished the 36 border blocks for the pink/black beast! Huzzah!

I've just barely started the blocks in the opposite colorway. All the rest of the blocks for this quilt will be exactly opposite of these, mostly black with a pink design. I need 64 of the mostly black blocks, so 138 of each of the two different sub-blocks. Yes, still lots of sewing to do! I'm trying to get as much as I can done on this quilt, because on April 1st the rally quilt becomes my main project.

DH and I are taking a day trip tomorrow. I have a couple storage issues in the house, and a trip to Ikea may solve them ;-) Friday is a babysitting day, but the weekend should have some time for sewing, and laundry, and lots of other household chores.

I've been playing with my bread machine lately. Every once in a while I really get in the mood to try new recipes. At least with my bread machine, I can be do other things while it mixes and bakes the bread. I made some potato bread, even though I had sour cream and chive mashed potatoes. It was yummy. I made some PBJ bread. It really did have peanut butter in it, but the "jelly" was just dried fruit. DH and I toasted it and used it for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and it was yummy too. Yesterday I made pepperoni cheese bread to go with the cheese ravioli I was making for dinner. Only the PBJ recipe was truly a new one for me, I've made potato bread lots of times, as well as the pepperoni bread. I'm scouting for another new recipe to try. I saw an apple walnut bread that sounded good, but it calls for dried apples and I don't have any right now. If you know of any good bread machine recipes, let me know :-)

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Finally Some Visible Progress!

I sewed all day today, even though I seem to have something nasty, and just felt like going to bed and curling up in ball. It was a "spent entirely too much time in the bathroom" kind of day. Yuck! I'm glad I stuck it out because I actually have something that looks cool to show you :-)

This block is Blazing Star by Eleanor Burns. I bought the Accuquilt die for my Go cutter, and I'm so glad I did! I would have never attempted rotary cutting this block, and paper piecing is not my favorite, so I probably wouldn't have made it if I hadn't bought the die. I think it's a really nice block, and looks much harder to make than it is. I'll have to go with a completely different color scheme next time, and see how different I can make this block look. I think using half blocks as a border would be pretty fun too.

The cutting directions on the package were somewhat confusing when it came to the project they suggest. (The cutting directions on how to use the die were great, they were very clear on whether the fabrics should be rights sides up, right sides down, or right sides together. ) Anyway, on the wall hanging they suggest, they have you make four blocks, and I wanted to use four blocks as the center of a medallion quilt, so I thought I'd just use their directions.

I don't know what my problem was the day I cut that out, but instead of enough pieces to make four blocks, I have enough pieces to make 16 blocks! Talk about far off! I realized half way through the cutting what I had done, so eight of the blocks will have a black background instead of that sea foam green. The sea foam green works with the quilt I am currently making, but it's not my preference as a background color normally ;-) I'll have twelve extra blocks, four with the sea foam green background and eight with black. I'll figure something out. I plan on sewing the extra blocks up now, and then I'll stick them in my orphan block container until I have time to do something with them.

I got all the block A blocks done for the border of the wedding quilt. Now that the last round is on, it is easier to see these blocks will be predominately pink. Tomorrow I will be starting the block B blocks, and my goal is to get those done in a week.

I laid two blocks out on my ironing board so you could see how these blocks will be placed in the larger block. I need 36 border blocks, so 72 block A and 72 block B. For the center blocks. the black will be the main color, with pink accents. I need 64 of those blocks, so 128 each of block A and block B in the other color scheme. Lots and lots of work left to do on this quilt!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Antique Shopping

DH and I went looking around some antique stores earlier this week. I took a couple pics with my phone, of a couple quilts I thought were interesting.

This quilt is really in tatters, horrible condition. What I found so interesting is that the person who made it not only didn't take out the paper from making it, but they used such a varied source for paper. I doubt you can tell from this low resolution phone photo, but some of these papers are from newspapers, some from magazines, personal correspondence (handwritten letters), and even what look like pages from a book.

I don't know why this quilt was in an antique store, it can't be that old. I have several of these fabrics in my stash. I found the embroidered cartwheeling people just adorable in what I believe is a windmill block?

Isn't it fun to find surprises in antique malls? We didn't buy anything, we were just window shopping. I am thinking about getting a featherweight someday, and if I ever come across a handcrank for a great deal, I may get it too. One of the antique shops we went to must have had at least 2o toy handcranks. They were so cute, and I'm sure most really sewed. I have no place to put any toy machines, and no reason to have one if I can't display it, so they all stayed there. I did see in the front case, a jar full of bobbins for vintage sewing machines. There were all different types of bobbins, and if I had a vintage machine with hard to find bobbins I certainly would have looked through it. For any of you who have vintage machines, make sure to ask at antique stores if they have any misc. parts they could sell in another area of the store. These were in the jewelry case of all places!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Keeping a Promise

I am keeping a promise to myself. I told myself I would blog on Thursday no matter how much I had done. Things have been so crazy around here, blogging doesn't come up very high on the to-do list. I've promised myself that if I haven't blogged by each Thursday, I will blog that day. So here I am, it's Thursday!

I am working on multiple quilts at once, as usual. I will show you where I am on the three I am currently working on.

These blocks are for the scooter/stagecoach quilt. There are a lot of both of both of these blocks because they are for borders. This quilt will be a medallion type quilt, with several borders.

These blocks are for the scooter/covered wagon quilt. The HST's are for a border, and the hourglass blocks and flying geese are for rows in this row quilt. I love cutting all these units with my Go cutter and having no dog ears to trim! It's definitely a time saver.

I had been thinking I would be finishing the stagecoach quilt for this year's rally, and saving the covered wagon quilt for next year. The t-shirt design is in now, and I'll have to switch that :-( I have less to do on the stagecoach quilt, but I guess it will just make it easier for next year, right? In the meantime, this year will be a challenge. Come April 1st the rally quilt becomes my main priority until it is finished. The scooter rally is the first weekend in May, so I will really be cutting it close.

Here is where I am on the wedding quilt. There are 72 of these, and I need to add on the last two logs on each of these. I have the last two logs pieced, just not pressed yet. Doesn't look like much does it? This quilt is really not going to look like much for a while. It is deceptive though, one day this week all I sewed was 400 pink 1.5" squares to 400 black 1.5" squares. It took a long time to choose all the pairs to make it look random enough, so even though I didn't sew that many inches that day, it still took a long time. That one day of work got me started on three different steps on this quilt, and that is a good thing. There are so many different sized pieces to keep track of on this quilt, I am sometimes jumping around on which areas I sew just to keep working with the same sized piece.

So what else is going on? I got all my hair chopped off. I have been trying to teach DD#2 how to cut hair, and I really tested her this time. I went from hair being several inches past my shoulders to barely shoulder length hair. Besides my bangs being too short, she did pretty well. I never like my hair being short, but with four little ones in the house so much of the time, I was tired of having my hair pulled. It will grow back, but I may keep it short for a little while.

DD#3 is finally on her career path. She has decided to be a welder! Not a traditional path for a woman, but it suits her. With all of her interest in steampunk things, welding will be handy in her hobby as as well. She is working on getting the financing figured out, but got some good news on that front today. We looked at her required classes, and several of the college classes she has already taken will work for the associates degree she is going for in welding. If she can get everything done in time, she may start school in the summer semester, which starts the end of May.

Once DD#3 starts school, I'll be watching the twins full time, so my quilting time will really be scarce. At least the twins nap and the same time. The other two kids I watch don't nap at the same time as each other and not the same as the twins either. I am babysitting them tomorrow.

The twins have just been so funny lately! They are almost 14 months now, and Mr. L is just starting to walk, but Miss S is a little scared to do that. They were premies, so it's not that unusual that they are late on walking. Mr L has been getting into everything lately. There are child locks on stuff all over the place, but he still manages to get into trouble. His play is definitely becoming more complex, his two favorite toys are the Little People Farm and a garage where cars go down a ramp. He is such a sweet snuggler, and lately he's been a Nana's boy, which is fun for me.

Miss S is really doing great on her communication skills. We speak English, do American Sign Language with the kids, and they hear mostly Spanish at their other grandmother's house. They are basically learning three languages at once. Miss S uses over 20 signs, and recognizes more that that. She is starting to use English words as well as Spanish. We've been doing parts of the face with her, and the other day she said ojo for eye. She even has a favorite sentence, "Read it!". She is always grabbing a book, crawling with it over to one of us, she stands up, and plops the book on our lap. She signs "please" and says, "Read it!" We usually read it to her, and as soon as we say, "The end" and sign, "finished", she promptly signs "again" :-)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Before and After

Mr L was looking pretty shaggy, and people kept thinking he was a girl because of the curls. His Mama decided it was time for his first haircut.

Here he is with his new high and tight. Isn't it amazing how much older little boys look after a haircut? Now maybe when people see the twins, they will realize it's a boy and a girl.

I did get some sewing done Tuesday. More than my minimum I set for myself, but not as much as I would have liked. The engagement has been officially announced now, so now I can say the wedding quilt is for DS the Elder, and his fiance! Now I get a new daughter and granddaughter! How sweet is that, a two for one deal!

Today I had four kids two and under by myself, and at one point they all made dirty diapers at once! It was assembly line changing and feeding today! Crazy day, but we all made it through with no real mishaps.

DH is going out of town this weekend, and I am hoping to get a lot of sewing done. Tomorrow is another babysitting day, so no sewing tomorrow. I am exhausted and caught a cold to boot, so I am hoping it doesn't make me so out of it I can't sew all weekend