Sunday, March 27, 2016

happy easter! (and a quilty update)

Where does all my time go?  (No, wait, I know...that stupid smart phone and it's addictive games...)

Last weekend, my quilt guild had a small show - Saturday and Sunday.  It's our weekend sewing "day" at the library, but because Saturday was National Quilting Day, we turn the March "day" into a free quilt show.  This year we had something like 60 quilts on display.  Fewer than last year, but still a good showing.  I took a few overall photos...

These are the row-by-row quilts from the other group.  I keep forgetting to show the rows I made, but my quilt and one other were the only two from my group of five.  Two of these were just the tops, but that counts enough to show them!

The bright blocks on the left were a challenge.  You got a little bag of the yellow, green and floral print fabrics and were to make a block.  These hung in the library (we meet in a community room at the library) to help advertise our quilt show.  Lots of creativity and fun here!

Yep, William Morris.  This lady is incredible!  She's now working on the Dutch Treat quilt.  Loads of reverse applique on tiny blocks.  She has the patience of a saint to do this!

Twisty log cabin - on the bucket list!

The second quilt from the left here was a guild block-of-the-month in 2015.  This is the only one I'm aware of being finished.  I didn't do it - I decided I had too many other irons in the fire.

And I like the one next to it with the rings.  The grandson of the gal who made this chatted with me a minute or two and then came back SO excited to tell me his grandma had a quilt hanging!  (She actually had two.)  He was about 10 and his excitement made all the work we put into the show worth it.  I asked if he quilted and he said he wanted to learn - I told him his grandma would probably teach him and I hope she does!

In all, it was a lot of fun.  We set up a few tables around the room and worked on projects.  I worked on my elephants - first finishing hand-sewing the pom-pom trim, then putting part of the blocks together...

...until I had no iron to press the legs and forgot I had to paper-piece tails!  But progress is progress.

I also worked on putting Michael's graduation quilt together...'s a top!  I think it needs at least a smallish black border to frame things, but again, no iron, no cutting mats, etc., so it's waiting.  I did buy more of the black fabric for the back.  And batting.  So progress again.  (But as I type this, I wonder if I should get black batting...and noticing the yellow washed out and the orange really sticks out - it's not that bad in real life!)

Micheal celebrated a birthday a week or so ago and his mom shared a slide show of photos on Facebook.  The one and only shot of him with a gift was him holding an older Spider-man comic with a HUGE grin on his face.  Guess who is in the quilt?  Yep!  I was going off my niece's huge YES to the fabric, trusting he'd like this, but now I'm more confident.

A few days before the quilt show, the hubby and I were shopping for a birthday gift for our nephew.  While we were out, I adopted Kevin.

He went to my guild meeting on Thursday night.  He says silly things and sometimes inappropriate things.  But anyone who knows anything about Minions knows this is normal.  He makes me giggle.  He went to the quilt show with me because why not?  (Kids coming through had fun playing with him, too.)  My friend's daughter, Leah, told me I had to put his photo on Facebook.  So I did.  And now it's here, too.  Because who doesn't love a Minion?  (Yes, I know you're out there...go rain on someone else's parade...)

(And he's standing in front of my row-by-row quilt, but I promise I'm going to try to share more finishes and such so you can see all of it.  The hubby is starting a new shift tomorrow that will have him in bed early every night.  This means I can't sew (not that I've been doing much of that anyways), but maybe I'll be more inspired to blog after he goes to bed?  Maybe...)

I hope you're all having a nice Easter.  It's super warm here (nearly 70) and I've killed about 10 mosquitoes in my house tonight.  (Leaving the window open for the cats to play in their outside area for a few hours may not have been the best decision in mosquito prevention...)  I think there's rain headed our way, but I'll take that over snow any day!

Happy quilting!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

plugging away...slowly...

It seems I sew like mad for a while and then don't.  I'm sure most of you know how that goes.

I got all my rows together for the Retro quilt...

...and started sewing them together and then stopped...

Last weekend was my guild's sewing weekend, so after working there on Saturday (more on that in a minute), I decided I had to finish this top before I could start anything else AT HOME.  So Sunday I sewed those dreaded long seams again...

And a top was born!

The zig-zag edges are to be trimmed, but I think I'll wait until after I quilt it.  Or not.  I haven't decided yet.  But it's a top!  And it's amusing to me how all those fabrics fade from their brightness when you see the whole top together.  The pattern says it's 50x80".  Okay.

And look!  A flat quilt hanging on my clothesline!  How often do you see that?  Considering we had 50mph winds just two days before, I'd say this is a win!

So that wind led to a power outage.  We had a Generac generator put in about a year ago.  Because of the ice storm that knocked our power out for 4+ days the winter before.  Our wiring in the house is wackadoodle (yay old farm houses!) and while the installers were able to wire our furnace (yay heat!) and our pump (yay water!) and our fridge (strangely on it's own breaker - yay cold food!), the lights and outlets were spotty.  With this storm, we found the three outlets (and no lights) that worked and were able to run an extension cord so the hubby could watch TV while I went to the library (downtown rarely loses power) and sewed.  And a hot shower in a dark bathroom beats no water every single time.

The power was out for about 16 hours - and most people I know never lost it - so we were VERY thankful for our generator that runs automatically and uses the natural gas line already coming to our house for our furnace.  It was pricey, but worth it.  But, a word to the wise.  If you get one of these lovely, unmovable pieces of equipment NOT put it right below your bedroom window.  They're kinda noisy.  And hard to sleep through.  Yep.  That's where mine is.  But at least it drowned out the noise of the crazy windstorm!  (Silver linings, folks.)

So while the hubby played video games via generator, I sewed at the (quiet) library.  (Well, quiet aside from me and my crazy friends...)  I worked on Micheal's quilt.  I took a pile of wrinkly, but washed, fabric and ironed and cut and sewed.

The superhero fabric and black I'm using are these (which I think you've seen before):

I love the scribbles in the black.  I think they fit the comic book theme perfectly.

And I forgot to take photos of the colored fabrics (of course), but you can at least see the yellow here in my all-the-pieces-cut photo I snapped before sewing.

Cutting seemed to take forever, but I think part of the problem is there was no music.  At home, I've got tunes plugged into my ears and I don't think about the time.  I was also hungry and waiting for lunch...mmm...local deli with 4"-tall sandwiches on homemade bread...drool...

By the time I headed home, I had the blocks partially sewn.  I would have stayed longer and sewed, but I was at a good stopping point and everyone else was packing up to go.

This is how they'll be sewn together.  Pardon the edge of my sewing machine in there - I took the photo at home and had set them there as I pressed.

I might have gotten more done at the sew-in, but I had a slight sewing emergency.  The bulb in my machine burned out.  I have never had this happen before!  So I took apart the machine enough to get the bulb out and off the the local quilt shop I went.  My bulb has a skinny screw-in part.  She had fat screw-in bulbs.  So I had to drive somewhere.  Sigh.  Maybe Wal-Mart has one?  It's where I got my machine and they have started carrying fabric and such again.  Nope.  Not a bulb in the craft area to be seen.  One that might fit was found in the light bulb section, so I bought it.  (And resisted temptation of all the chocolate I walked past.)  Then I stopped at the local hardware store on the way back to the library.  They have an AMAZING selection of light bulbs.  More than Wal-Mart (but not nearly the volume of everyday-type bulbs) even.  They had a bulb that is skinnier, but otherwise the same.  And it fits and works.  Yay for sewing with light!  (I might have tried without the light on, but I was sewing black and I sorta dropped the bulb and broke it a little so I couldn't put it back in...)

(I also purchased a cheap paintbrush and cleaned out all the lint that had accumulated in the lightbulb area.  Based on what I cleaned out, I should probably do that more often...)

The craziest part of the whole adventure is that I am a young woman (okay, okay, maybe not that young any more, but I'm not OLD either) and I walked into a hardware store.  Alone.  A place known to be frequented by older men and generally staffed by older, helpful men.  And not one person offered me help.  (The Emo kid at the checkout was a treat, though...*eyeroll*)  Maybe I'm losing my touch?  No worries.  My dad taught me my way around a hardware store and I've even taught the hubby a thing or two!

In my last post I teased with the (hopefully) final fabric choices for the Bonnie Hunter (not so much a) Mystery Quilt.  I did take a photo this time.

This is next up!  I still have hand-sewing to do...those elephants need their fringe and the next of the Merry Merry Snowmen is waiting for applique, but we'll see what wins...

I also have another recipe to share.  My company has a lab out in Wisconsin.  They do the same stuff (mostly) that we do (we do a bit more, but we've been doing it longer).  Last week, the gal who started out as a tech doing what I do, but is transitioning into a lead tech/management role with their increase in volume, was out to observe the stuff they don't yet do.  (Everybody following this?)  She likes peanut butter.  She mentioned this in a phone-meeting after hearing about the Buckeye brownies I shared a few posts ago.  (Yes, we have squirrels at our meetings.  One time an actual photo of a squirrel got a seat at the table.)  So I made a peanut butter cheesecake.  Because why not?  I mean, peanut butter cookies are the obvious choice, but most of you reading this know me better than that.  No photos, but it was AMAZING.  And one note - the recipe says not to use chocolate chips for the ganache.  I did.  Store-brand chips, even.  Turned out just fine.  And cost WAY less than fancier baking bars.  (Not that I mind paying for good ingredients when I need to - real vanilla is a must at my house - I just don't care to pay for stuff if I don't have to.)  I wish I had another piece right now.

So I think that's all I have to share.  I should try to blog more often so my posts don't get so long, but, well, life.  You know?  (And sometimes I just don't do that much...)

Happy quilting!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

progress, but not much

I had good intentions of sewing every day this week.  I also had good intentions of cooking meals at home every night this week.  I think I sewed more than I cooked...

I only made it into the sewing room three days...

Day 1 progress on the Retro quilt:

Four rows done.  There are 16 rows of 15 triangles each.  So progress!

Day 2:

Two more rows done.

Day 3:

Eight rows done of 16.  Not too bad, I guess.  

I'm hoping this weekend will be more productive.  The superbowl will give me a few hours of time when the hubby wants me to leave him alone at least.

Last night we went to dinner with family and I got my niece's approval for the more colorful option of the quilt for her boyfriend:

I'm working on finding out how big his bed is (she wants a bed quilt) and then I'll have to see what my stash holds for the colors - or go shopping!

But first I am going to try to at least get the Retro quilt into a top.  His graduation isn't until May, so I've got time.  (I say that knowing very well that I'll be sewing a label on as we drive down to drop the gift off...)

I also bought yet another piece of fabric for the Bonnie Hunter quilt.  This time it's pink.  I'll try to remember to get a photo of my final fabric choices, but this quilt is on the waiting list, too.  For now.

This week I also tried out another recipe from Pinterest.  This time it was pumpkin nutella cookie bars.  The hubby wouldn't touch them.  I thought they were delicious (and a great way to use up that extra can of pumpkin in my cupboard from Thanksgiving).  I took them to work and they were a hit.  So just in case you, too, have an extra can of pumpkin in your cupboard, the link to the recipe is above.  (Sorry no photos...but the recipe link has about 300, so my amateur efforts probably aren't needed anyways.)

Happy quilting!

Saturday, January 30, 2016

too many projects?

I think maybe my problem is that I have too many projects and can't decide which to work on, so I don't work on any of them?  (That's not a good excuse...)

Last weekend I sewed with some friends and worked on getting the pom-poms on the elephants.  I don't have any progress photos, but I did get quite a few done between trips to the kitchen for snacks and admiring what others were working on.

But that's about all I got accomplished, quilt-wise.  It probably doesn't help that my sewing room's horizontal surfaces look like a quilt factory exploded half-finished projects in there...

I did make a pan of amazing brownies last weekend...Buckeye Brownies, to be exact.  No, not the Ohio State kind, the peanut butter balls covered in chocolate that you usually only get at Christmas kind.

This is the last one - I should have taken a photo sooner, but, well, you know...  After eating about 4 of them in one day, I had to take the rest of the pan to work because I can't eat a whole pan of brownies myself!  They were a hit!  (Thank you Pinterest!)

One warning if you make these: Put milk on the shopping list, as these scream for a glass of milk!  (way more than any other brownie I've ever eaten)

But today I'm up early (thanks Emma-No) and drafted a few color options for the quilt I'm making for my niece's boyfriend.  I'm going to present the ideas to her soon, but I'm going to share with you, my quilting friends, and get opinions from you too, since you understand the process better than she does.  Keep in mind this quilt is going to an 18-year-old autistic boy.

Option 1.
This is my preference, but we'll see what my niece says.  The cross-hatched sections will be the superhero fabric.

And then there's Option 2:

Very simple, this #2, but my niece says his favorite color is black.  (So is my hubby's.  What is wrong with these boys?  There are literally hundreds of OTHER colors!  Black is great and all, but really...a favorite?)

And Love suggested that I use the grays purchased and discarded for the Bonnie Hunter mystery project in this quilt.  What a great idea!  I think at least the black will be used for the black in the layout.  Perfect!

By the way, the quilt pattern is called "BQ2" and is by Maple Island Quilts.

Now maybe with this sitting in front of me, drawn out and ready to be started, I'll be motivated to do something?  (Of course, having to clean up the sewing room first is not helping my motivation...)

Happy quilting,