Saturday, August 31, 2013

How Many Sandwiches Would it Take?

I needed some leaders/enders to work on while I made some piano key borders. I dug out the last of the nine patches I had sorted from my 2" cut squares, but hadn't had time to finish in San Diego back in June. All I had left fit in this plastic container, which is about sandwich sized.


I finished sewing these nine patches up tonight, and I counted the total that were in this small container. Are you ready? I had 45 nine patches in there!

Here are a few of the nine patches spread out, and the rest in a pile. Since these are made with 2" squares, they will finish in the quilt at 4.5"square. Forty-five of them could join together to make a 22.5 x 40.5 inch piece, and these fit in a container the size of one sandwich. Just think, in the space of two sandwiches, you have enough fabric to make a baby quilt top! Isn't that crazy?

I have plenty more 2" squares, but the nine patches I've made this summer pretty much used all the ones that I had either four of five of the same fabrics. I can't remember how many nine patches I made in San Diego. I was playing with EQ, and I think if I have 198 or so, I can make a large queen quilt if I use alternating solid squares and put it on point. Maybe navy for my solid squares? If I don't have enough nine patches now, I'm probably pretty close, I know I had over 100 made in San Diego, I just can't remember how many more than that.

I have the piano key borders done for one quilt, and I am working on a huge long chain of piano key borders in florals. Since I have three floral cream quilts needing borders, I decided to just make as long a chain as I can with what I have cut, and then just unsew the one seam where I need the breaks. It's not my normal working method, but I simply have too many projects going right now to count piano keys for three different quilts.

Tomorrow, if all goes well, I am hoping to get a quilt to top stage. I have two seams to sew on the center, I need to piece the inner border strips together and sew it on, then sew on the outer borders which are ready to go. It's doable depending on how many interruptions I get. The backing for that quilt is already pieced.

I may have sewing time on Monday too, and I'm hoping to be working on borders for Easy Street then. I have all the strips cut, and ready to piece together and add them on. I still need to figure out a backing for Easy Street.

Once those two quilts are tops, I need to start a quilting spree. I have three quilts pin-basted now, and I have more ready to go. I only have so many pins, so it is really a matter of quilting what is basted, so I can get to the others that need to be finished. I'm getting closer though!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Stage 1 Almost Complete

Our backyard remodel has been progressing, and Stage one is almost complete.

You can see the seating walls are now capped, and the darker border is in.

I had told the landscapers I really liked the herringbone pattern, so they gave it to me in the ramps to get up to the higher level.

The dogs and the twins are really enjoying the new surface.

Here is the other ramp. Don't they look so nice? I am just thrilled with their work. They still need to put sand in to fill the tiny cracks between pavers, but honestly, their isn't much sand that will fit, they did a great job laying them.

I've had a few people ask me why we chose to do ramps instead of just making a step up. We chose ramps for a couple of reasons. Once we decided on having multiple levels in the yard, we had to choose between steps and a ramp. We have a couple friends in wheelchairs, so we needed at least one ramp for them to use. Not that the step up would be too big for a wheelchair to manage, but we wanted to make it more accessible for them. So why two ramps? Well, DH has this picture in his head of the twins racing around on the new patio on the Big Wheels we plan on getting them for Christmas. One ramp would mean a traffic jam, two ramps means they have a circuit to ride.

There will be gravel along side the pavers, and the last third of the yard will be mostly artificial turf, but with a gravel "river" in the drainage ditch. I am already liking the yard so much better, and I think it will be amazing when it's finished. It will still be a while, because we haven't chosen the artificial turf yet. Still, within a month or two, we'll have a whole new yard!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Sewing Frenzy

I am trying my best to get some quilt tops ready for a huge quilting spree. DD#3 starts back to college Wednesday, so I'll be back to babysitting full time. It's time to do that last final push to see what I can get done before my sewing time gets drastically cut. I will still have time on the weekends to sew, and during naptime as well.


I got the center of this bonus Twice Broken Dishes quilt together. I made one Twice Broken Dishes quilt a while back from these colors. DD#2 fell in love with it, and wanted a queen sized version. I have two more seams to get the center of the queen sized version done, and I am already and working on the borders for it too. I had leftover pieces from the first quilt, and the second, so this is the bonus quilt, using as many pieces as I could of the first two quilts to make another. Some of these blocks are all the same fabrics, and some each block quarter is different. I'll have to choose an inner border for it, and I know I have enough pieces cut for a piano key border for both this and the queen sized version. This quilt will likely end up a donation quilt.

I also pieced the backing for the queen sized version of this quilt. I used 10" squares, so it was quite a bit of piecing but it really cleaned out a bunch of smaller yardage cuts, and it looks pretty good! Pressing that backing after assembling it was a chore. Even with my new ironing station, pressing something 110" square is a big job!

I am piecing piano key borders for the Twice Broken Dishes quilts, and more piano key borders for the remaining floral cream quilts. I liked the way the piano key border looked on my SIL's quilt, and it is a great way to keep using up floral scraps. I have three floral/cream quilt tops left, and I'm not sure if I have enough cut to do piano key borders for all three, but maybe. I really think piano key borders are my favorite. I use them and variations of them a lot. I think it's because I am such a scrappy quilt fan, and a piano key border just extends the scrappiness into the border.

I dug out some of my projects I had brought to San Diego on vacation (that seems like way more than 2 months ago!) and I'm using those as leader/enders right now.

Lots going in in the sewing room right now, and a big pile of quilts needing borders, but I am working on those!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Already Looking Better

I am so pleased with how the backyard is coming along! It won't be done for a while, but it is already looking so much better. The bulk of the pavers are laid, but all the edge ones that need cuts still need to go down. There won't be a jagged edge at the side when done. The ramp isn't done yet either, but the landscapers put in LONG hours in very high heat this weekend to get this much done.

This is a different view of the pavers. You can see the second seating wall in this pic, right next to the shed. The walls still need the capstones.

The pile of pavers is down considerably! In fact, I'm wondering if they have enough to finish.

I only got a little bit of sewing done this weekend. I pretty much have the baby quilt backing pieced, and I starting assembling Twice Broken Dishes. Lots of stuff going on here, and my mind is whirling so much its hard to concentrate.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Backyard Progress

The landscapers have actually done a ton of work in the backyard, but it's still not looking like much. This weekend there will be a big change as the pavers get laid. The walls that are going up are mostly done, though now that we will be doing the whole yard instead of just a section, there will be another wall later to hide the air conditioner. I took some photos this evening so I could show the progress, but remember, I live in a desert. Grass is not the natural ground covering.

This was the delivery we got yesterday. Yes, all that brick is for our house, and the pallets are two deep on the truck. This photo is taken from our front door. We have a lovely view of the mountains. The twins had a blast watching the forklift bring the pallets around and into the backyard.

For this photo I was standing on our patio. You can see our new low seating wall, which just needs to be capped now. The area behind the wall will be a few inches higher than the rest of the yard. (One of our dogs, Bianca, was successfully getting in almost all the pics I took. We have two dogs, the other is Kate and she looks just like this one, they were litter mates) You can see a different set of mountains in our backyard, Tucson is surrounded by mountains.

This photo is standing in the back corner of the yard on the other side of the curved wall. You can see the landscapers built another seating wall next to the shed. Everything from our backyard is shoved up onto the patio, and it's crowded up there!

Here is Bianca looking over the backyard from that same back corner as the last photo. This backyard is huge by Tucson standards. Can you see the pallet just to the left of Bianca? They had four blocks left after building the walls. Great estimating!

Here are the pavers that will hopefully be laid this weekend, plus the caps to the walls. Once all of that is done, we will start Step 2 of the yard redo, and order artificial turf, and gravel for the drainage areas.

That's what's been going on outside, but how about inside? On the quilty front, I haven't sewn all week. I have gotten some things done, just not sewn.

I got the Twice Broken Dishes quilt laid out and ready to assemble. I laid out the extra blocks too, and so now the "bonus" quilt is ready to assemble. I also laid out the backing to that quilt so I can finish assembling it.

I cut the borders for Easy Street, the background for Fading Charms, the 10" squares for the backing of the bonus garden quilt. I pulled strips for a piano key border for the Twice Broken Dished quilt, and pulled more strips of a different size for piano key borders for the floral/cream quilts. I had pretty much decimated my 2" strip drawers, so I cut more of those. I pulled fat quarters for DS the Younger's wedding quilt, and I pulled background blacks for another wedding quilt. I trimmed up the pieces I need for the backing of the Film at Five baby quilt, so now it needs to be assembled too. (it's all one fabric, but I didn't have enough in a big piece, so I'm piecing scraps of it together to make the backing large enough) I've emptied enough small mini-bolts to empty over one shelf of them, so the neutrals I had pulled off when I added DH's grandmother's stash to mine are mostly back on the shelves. I likely could shelve all the larger mini-bolt fabrics that wouldn't fit on the big shelves before too. I haven't taken the time to shift fabrics around to make the room where I need it for these other fabrics.

It's funny, I feel like I've mostly been working with pre-cut pieces lately, and my strip drawers are certainly reflecting that. The thing is, I'm emptying a lot of my mini-bolts too, more than I thought I would. Trying to get my backings from stash is a huge part of that, and backgrounds too. For the pineapple quilt I am making using a black background, I need 8 yards of black fabric. I could have gone and bought one 8 yard piece, but I decided instead to clear out black fat quarters left over from making DS the Elder's wedding quilt. Thirty-two fat quarters gone! No wonder I've been emptying so many small mini-bolts.

For the bonus garden quilt I made (from leftovers of my BIL's quilt) I pulled several just over a half yard pieces I had that were garden themed. With 21 inches of fabric, I can get 8- 10.5" cut squares from that. I needed 63 squares to make the backing for the bonus quilt. Several cuts of fabric will be completely busted in that backing.

While I was cutting I started trimming up leftover batting pieces. The leftover batting scraps are overflowing the hamper I put them in, so it's time to piece them together, and get them used! Once I have them all trimmed to the largest pieces I can get with straight edges, I will puzzle piece them together, and see about getting some "free" battings from stuff I could have tossed.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Two Weeks?

It's been two weeks since I've written a post? Wow! Time goes quickly. Let's see, what has been going on it the last two weeks? We went to Roswell, NM for a family reunion on DH's side. We took DD#3 and the twins with us.

Here are the twins playing in a tree in Roswell. They got their first experience playing in a water sprinkler too. They thought that was very fun!

We had a good time at the family reunion, and while we were gone, work was being done on the house. We are having our backyard completely landscaped, which considering it was a huge dirt yard before, is a big undertaking! I wish I had taken some good before pics, but I didn't. I tried to avoid taking pics in the backyard at all, because it was really ugly. I will definitely be taking after pictures though! It will be a few more weeks before it's finished, because the work is only getting done on the weekends.

As it turns out, it is a really good thing we opted to have the backyard done instead of remodeling a bathroom. DS the Younger and his fiance decided they want to get married in the backyard! We had already decided on the backyard instead of the bathroom when they told us, so I am glad it worked out that way. They are thinking of getting married in March or April, and either should be nice here. My mind has been whirling with lists of things that will need to be done for that.

It's pretty fun having a third grandchild in town now! Miss E (in the gray shirt) is almost a year younger than the twins, but look how close in height she is. She is going to be a tall one like her Mama. Miss E belongs to DS the Elder and DDIL.

On the sewing front I haven't gotten a whole lot done in the last couple of weeks.

I did finish all the pieces for the large version of Film at Five. Unfortunately, I am going to put it aside for now, and work on things a bit more pressing. Just in case I somehow miscalculated how many sashing pieces or cornerstones, I am packing the last bit of that gray fabric in with these pieces, so I could make any extra pieces required, I likely have enough gray for the binding too should I decide I want a matching binding. I think there is about one yard of gray left. I think I've figured everything right, but I'd hate to have to hunt down the correct gray if I didn't.

This is one of the projects I am switching back to, turning a 7" high stack of Twice Broken Dishes quilt blocks into a BIG quilt, and any extra blocks into a smaller quilt. Actually, the extra blocks may end up waiting too. I have two quilts that definitely need to be finished by November, one is the baby Film at Five, which is a completed top. The other is Easy Street which I've decided to give as a wedding present. It still needs borders. The Twice Broken Dishes quilt needs to be finished soon, but how soon I'm not really sure. Some plans are up in the air, so the sooner the better. A finished quilt is always ready.

I need a cutting day this week. I need to trim up some pieces so I can piece a backing for the baby quilt that needs to be finished. I was hoping to cut the background fabric for the Fading Charms quilt I am making, though that one won't be assembled for a while either. Two of the last borders I need to piece would be a great leader/ender project though, which is one of the reasons I want to get the background cut now, even I'm not assembling it now.

I was scheduled for jury duty, but the courts rescheduled that, inconveniently to the same day DD#3 has jury duty. They had us scrambling to find childcare for the twins. Maybe one of us will be rescheduled again, but we can't count on that. My new date for jury duty is next week.

So in a nutshell, the last two weeks have been:
Trip to New Mexico for a family reunion
Backyard being torn up to be landscaped (twins loved watching the big tractors)
Wedding plans being made
A little sewing being done.
All the normal laundry, child care, cooking (even a birthday dinner in there for future DDIL)

Now why didn't I find time to blog? ;-P