Monday, July 29, 2013


I sewed all day today, in between interruptions that is! I've been so busy playing with squares since I got home from California, that I felt like I hadn't gotten anything "real" done in the sewing room. This past weekend I decided to correct that, and assembled a quilt center and a baby quilt top. Today I decided to tackle assembling Easy Street. The blocks have been done for months, but I had been putting it off. Today was the day I bit the bullet and went for it, and  I did manage to get the center together.

Once it was coming together I decided it was looking very Mexican, and I kept thinking Fiesta! That wasn't in my head when I chose the colors, but pretty frequently quilts don't come out just how you picture them. Now I have five quilts waiting for borders. I thought I had borders chosen for Easy Street, but now I am rethinking that. I may go back to the wild print I had originally chosen, and ditch the multiple borders I was considering.

I won't have near as much sewing time tomorrow as I had originally thought I would. I've got two kids needing haircuts, so I'll have to exchange my sewing shears for barber shears. I started laundry today, but got so busy with Easy Street I didn't finish. I'll need to be busy with those things tomorrow, and if I sew at all, I'm not sure what I'll work on. Maybe a border, maybe I'll sew some more squares ;-)

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Earlier Finish and a Quilt Top

Remember a while back I showed a backing with gnome fabrics, but said I couldn't show the front until the quilt was gifted? Well, my BIL has his garden quilt now, so here is a photo of the front of it!

 I just loved all of those fruit and veggie prints and every time I saw them in a store or catalog I thought of my BIL who grows an amazing vegetable garden every year. I bought an assortment of fat quarters (deciding which prints to get was hard, there are so many to choose from) and tried to come up with a design that had large enough pieces to showcase the fabrics. Most of my quilts tend to have lots of smaller pieces, so this was different for me. I opted for 4.5x6.5 cut pieces for the prints, with a brown 1.5x6.5 piece sewn to two sides to make a square. The squares finish at 6" in the quilt, and you alternate horizontally and vertically oriented squares . I think I am going to cut some of the 6.5" I Spy squares I have cut and make a few I Spy quilts with this design. It goes fast and would be quite fun for Project Linus quilts. The border fabric shows seed catalog pages, and I quilted it with names of fruits and vegetables.

I had extra fabric left from this quilt, and I liked the pattern so well I cut as many more pieces as I could from the leftovers. Today I assembled the center to an identical quilt to this one, albeit a bit smaller. I don't have enough border fabric to put on the second one, so I'll be using different border fabric as well. Besides some small squares of excess fabric, this fabric is gone without ever being integrated into the stash.

Besides piecing the center to the extra Fruit and Vegetable quilt, I assembled this baby quilt today. I put some of those squares I have been working with to a purpose in this quilt! This quilt is from the Film at Five pattern, and I used a slate blue background instead of the white the pattern suggested, and only set it 3x3 instead of 5x5. I have enough 25 patches made to make a queen/king set 6x6. I think I am going to use a gray background on that one. I am going to piece the batting for this quilt, and I plan on quilting some fairly dense spirals on it, so there will be no shifting of batting once it's done. I love the super scrappy quilts like this, and the background in the sashing gives it cohesion for those who don't like scrappy as much.

Tomorrow will hopefully be a good sewing day. I am not sure what I will work on. I have four quilts needing borders, but maybe I will start assembling Easy Street and see if I can make it five quilts needing borders. I still need more 36 patches for a future project, and I could work more on the super scrappy quilts I am getting close to having all the pieces for. We'll see. We don't leave town until Thursday, and I'm hoping to sew at least Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday will likely be laundry/packing day.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Souvenirs and Other Stuff

 Someone asked me if I brought home any souvenirs from my trip. Well, actually, I did, five sewing machines! We started out finding the turquoise Singer 347 in a little junk shop. DH asked how much it was, and when he heard $10, he was paying and loading it in the car. Next was a Japanese machine for which the antique store owner wanted $40. I told DH I didn't want to pay that, but I found a set of low shank Singer feet in pristine condition for $3 that I did want. Now you have to realize, DH really likes the looks of the Japanese machines, so when he pulled out his wallet to pay for the presser feet he came out with, "How about if I give you $30 for the feet and the machine?" Thus, machine number two was purchased. The third machine was another Japanese machine at a thrift store for $5. The fourth, a Kenmore for $10. The last purchase was mine alone, no help from DH required. I have really been wanting a hand crank, and although I was hoping to find a Singer 15, I came across a Singer 12 for $125 which is much cheaper than most hand-cranks I've seen. It looks to be in decent shape, has the bobbin shuttle and a long bobbin in it. I found a source for needles and more bobbins, so as soon as I get some needles, I will see if I can get it sewing again. The Serial number puts the hand crank as being made in 1890.


 DH took the photo as he was unloading the machines from the van, and he didn't realize he had the hand crank backwards. Could be he didn't realize it because he's left handed so this made sense to him. I haven't tried to get the machines up and running yet, life has been really busy.

I've been having a hard time getting back into a routine since I've been home from vacation, so blogging has been low on my priority list. I've not been doing the things I had planned to do, so what have I been doing? Well.......I had this plastic shoebox completely stuffed with 2.5" cut know where this is going don't you? After all, in San Diego I was busting my 2" cut squares.

The thing is, after I found this page of tutorials, these scrappy quilts were all I could think about. Film at Five and Fading Charms use 2.5" squares, and my shoebox was packed tight so it was time to use them. I decided I wanted the quilts larger than hers, so I tweaked the patterns in EQ, and I've been happily sewing up my squares ever since.

None of these are pressed yet, so the nine patches don't look like nine patches and the four patches don't look like four patches, but they are, trust me. So far I have made 45 twenty-five patches, 100 nine patches, 24 sixteen patches, and 40 four patches. That's 2,569 squares used, and so you think I'd be almost out of squares now, right?

Wrong! This is how many squares I had left tonight when I stopped sewing and came upstairs to blog. (I use silverware dividers to sort my quilt pieces by color for anyone wondering) I'm almost out of brown and black, but I didn't have a lot of those colors to start with. I am really wondering how many 2.5" squares fit in a plastic shoe box! Once I have all the units made, I need to decide if I want to start cutting the background fabrics and start assembling these quilts, or if I am just going to set them aside for now. Well, actually, I made nine extra 25 patches, so I could make a mini Film At Five quilt for a baby boy on the way. I had a lot of novelty fabrics in these squares, so it will end up a kind of I Spy quilt. I will use blue for the background instead of the white the tutorial calls for. White is not a good color for a baby quilt in my mind. That one I will definitely keep working on, since the baby is due in November.

I have two wedding quilts to make that don't need to be specific colors or patterns, so I could go ahead and finish these for those gifts, or I could finish the Pineapple Blossom quilts I started to be the wedding quilts, or one of them could get Easy Street if I finish it. I'm actually not sure what I'm going to do, and the first wedding is in November.

I am planning two other wedding quilts too, and now that DS the Younger had proposed, and my future DDIL accepted, I should likely move their wedding quilt up in the queue. I pulled some strips from my strip drawers in the colors and sizes I need, but other than that, I haven't done much for their quilt. I did figure it out in EQ, as I was changing the size of the quilt from the pattern, and doing it in different colors. Their quilt will be Bonnie K Hunter's design Smith Mountain Morning done in greens and browns. I had wanted to do that quilt in those colors anyway, so when they chose their colors, I asked them if they liked that pattern and they did! Love it when I get to make a quilt I've been wanting to make anyway as a gift.

I'm not sure when I'll blog next. Tomorrow is errand day, and I babysit the rest of the week. Next week we leave for New Mexico, and I have jury duty as soon as I get back. I may be able to get in a blog post next weekend, but I doubt before that.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

California- Heading Inland

I think I can get a decent sampling of our trip inland in one post, so here we go.

The Redwood forest is really impressive. If you ever get a chance to go, I suggest you do. Not that you can tell scale in photos, but DH is standing in front of a tree, and he is over 6 ft tall. No way to get a photo of how tall the tree is. There are several trees that have had tunnels cut through them, and you can drive your car through them. Does that give you an idea how massive these trees are?

This pic was taken in the infamous Donner Pass. The area is beautiful, but even in this day and age the roads are closed in winter.

We went by Lake Tahoe. I had been there with my dad 30 years ago, and I wanted to see if it was still as pretty as I remembered. It was.

The views were just gorgeous, even just driving down the road.

We skirted the eastern side of Yosemite National Park, but never entered it. The view here is looking into it.

We stopped at Manzanar internment camp. It is one of America's shames that we made an entire ethnicity go to internment camps during World War 2 out of fear. Most of the Japanese people here were under 18, born in the United States, so they were US citizens. It was very sobering to come here, but I am glad there are parts of it still here, so we can remember and not repeat our mistakes.

This is the cemetery at Manzanar. Over 100 people died while being detained here. Most were moved to private burial places after the war, but a few remain.

This is the last of the California pics, but here are some in Arizona, on our way home.

London Bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down... Well, actually it is doing just fine, in Lake Havasu, Arizona. The town purchased the bridge and had it disassembled and moved to Arizona. It cost almost twice as much to move the bridge as it did to buy it.

In Oatman, Arizona there are wild burros wandering the town. The mines in the area had once used burros for working the mines. When the burros were replaced by machinery, they just let the burros go free. There are now 600 or so burros wandering the county. Some come into town, but others avoid it. We saw burros on the sidewalks, in the streets, even poking their heads into stores. We even saw baby burros just a couple days old.

I thought it was cute when this burro was checking out a store owners cat.

We really had a lovely vacation, and I'm so glad we went!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

California Dreaming

DH and I are back from vacation, and we had a wonderful time! I'll try not to bore you with too many details, and I'll break it up into a couple different posts, but I know a couple people are watching my blog for pics, so here you go!

This was the first hotel after San Diego. It is in Ventura, California, and the location was amazing! DH took this pic from our hotel room door. This was on my birthday, so we stayed at a nicer hotel, and I got to walk the beach, which I loved! I am the beach person, DH is not.

While I was walking the beach, a couple of friends came up to say hello. I'm thinking porpoises, but DH
disagrees. Anyone know enough marine biology to tell from this pic?

One of the lighthouses we stopped at on our trip up Highway 1.


This was also at the lighthouse. I hadn't seen a phone booth in ages. No cell phone service out there, so this one is functional and everything.

In out first apartment there was a wall mural of the Golden Gate Bridge. We were living in El Paso, Texas at the time, so it was an odd subject for whoever had chosen it. I finally got a chance to go over the bridge I looked at every day for the first six months we were married. 

As we were driving along Highway 1, we were surprised to look over and see a herd of zebras! Not your normal sight in the USA at all, and there were no signs indicating why they were there.

We had the opportunity to see a bunch of elephant seals basking in the sun. Some were swimming, and a few juveniles were practicing their moves for future battles. It was fun to watch them.

On our way up Highway 1, we also got to see harbor seals and sea otters. At the Monterey Aquarium, we got to see lots of sea animals, but getting to see some animals in their natural habitat was especially nice.

So many amazing views, and DH took literally hundreds of photos, but here is just a taste of the shoreline portion of our trip.