Monday, June 26, 2017

Mini-Vacation Fun

When DH and I decided we would try to do several mini-vacations this summer, we had no idea they'd be as enjoyable as our first two have been. In May, you may recall, we drove to South Carolina for a 4-day jaunt to Charleston, Georgetown, and Murrell's Inlet with a stop on the way home in Mt. Airy, NC, and a 100-mile drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway. It was a wonderful trip that is briefly summarized here.

We returned late Saturday from a second, shorter get-away much closer to home. We left Thursday morning for Lake Erie to stay at Put-In-Bay. We'd booked a room at a bed and breakfast through Airbnb - our first ever such venture. It worked out so perfectly that we are sure to do it again.

Our room was one of several available in a home called The Dellwood, a lovely Victorian built in 1897. We shared the home with a few other guests, but you'd have thought we had the place to ourselves - that is how quiet and peaceful it was. The wrap-around porch was a perfect place for listening to the evening rain shower that blew in just at dusk. Our daughter and her husband have used Airbnb several times, and recommended that we try it. Now we will be recommending it, too.

Because it had been a misty, cloudy day, we did not get to do as much touring around the island as we normally do. We did, however, make it out to try a new (to us) restaurant - The Keys. I had a delicious Cuban sandwich with fries and a cocktail. DH had a seafood reuben and a cocktail. The open-air dining area provided us with the view of Perry Monument, shown in the photo above. As I said, the day had been overcast, but during dinner, the sun popped through the clouds and illuminated the monument which reflected so beautifully off the water.

After dinner, we hopped our golf cart - the preferred mode of travel on the island - and took in all the sights. Because we'd never stayed overnight on the island, we'd never before had the luxury of enjoying a sunset there; Mother Nature gave us a spectacular show through those pesky clouds.

On Friday morning - or I should say around noon, we left Put-In-Bay for the hour-long drive to Cleveland. We had a room reserved at the downtown Westin Hotel, and tickets for Friday night to see the Indians and Twins. The Indians lost, but we still had a great evening with Erin and Jeff, our daughter and son-in-law, who were also booked at the Westin. After dinner at Great Lakes Brewing Company, we hopped aboard the restaurant's shuttle to the stadium, a very nice bonus. After the game, we power-walked just over a mile back to our hotel.

Great Lakes Brewing Co.

Above is our group selfie taken at the ballpark - Jeff, Kevin, Jayne and Erin. We had great seats just off the third-base line. You notice that Jeff is wearing a Twins cap - he hails from Minnesota, and so we allow such traitorous apparel - plus, we really love him. 

On Saturday, after a leisurely cup of coffee with the kids at the hotel, the two of us headed south toward home with a stop on the way to see Kevin's dad. And that concluded our second of the short, summer getaways.

I mentioned in yesterday's post that we did have some negatives to deal with. On Thursday, we had a flat tire near Bucyrus, which set us back about two and a half hours and chunk of change. Then when we got to our bed and breakfast, we were informed that a "bug bloom" was expected at dusk. Curious? Well, an enormous cloud of mayflies descends on the lake and goes to any well-lit space. Now you know why we sat in the dark on the wrap-around porch listening to the rain. Besides the tire and the bugs, we had rain! Our trip could have been disastrous, but we found ways to be optimistic which worked wonders for us. The people who helped us in Bucyrus were the best mankind has to offer - so giving, helpful, genuine and kind. The bugs - well, we were very little affected as long as we followed advice and stayed out of well-lit areas. As for the rain, had we not had those clouds, our great sunset vista and monument view would have been ordinary. 

On a sewing note, I did get that little hexie flower stitched last night. I have yet to take the picture, however. Come on back tomorrow to see it!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Home Again

We took off on Thursday morning for a 3-day, 2-night getaway to northern Ohio. It was eventful in a number of ways, both positive and not-so-positive. All in all, though, we had a wonderful time and I will share pics tomorrow, providing I get some time to select and edit them tonight.

I can share a couple of quick things today, though. I just checked my blog from Thursday and my one commenter informed me that I'd won a "just because" give-away from Beth at  Love Laugh Quilt. How nice! She had asked readers about their plans for summer vacation; I responded and won a magazine in which she has a pattern featured. Here's the screenshot from my phone.

We are having the most gorgeous weather today, and this morning we enjoyed quite a refreshing walk on the Frankfort bike path. Absolutely delightful!

I am trying to stay busy today as I have the Frienzie girls coming here for dinner on Tuesday evening. I want to tidy up today, cook tomorrow and take it easy on Tuesday. We will see how that plan works out. Even with the housework, I do want to take some time before the day is over to stitch this little hexie that has been calling to me. Isn't it a pretty thing?

Since I have things to do, I will sign off on a short post today, but promise to bring pics of both Put-In-Bay and Cleveland in some upcoming posts. This is the last week of the month and I have some list items to finish off for June. Too much playing and not enough working for me this month, I fear. Hopefully I can get lots done this week!

Linking up with Kathy at Slow Sunday Stitching!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Jan Sure Stays Busy

Since I am not producing any finishes lately, I will quickly share a quilt that our busiest of busy girls, Jan, shared with us on Tuesday. She is an absolute wonder with regard to her productivity.

This is a lap-quilt-size chevron quilt made with half-square triangles. She said it was the easiest thing ever to make. A friend said her son would like a quilt, and VOILA! Jan has one read to give to him! Since he is apparently a sports lover, Jan selected this print which features various sports themes. Here's a closer view and then a view of the back; I think if you click on the pictures, you can get an enlarged look at the print.

DH and I are off for a two-day vacation. First we travel to Put-In-Bay on Lake Erie, stay there tonight, and then tomorrow we head over to Cleveland where we will meet out daughter and son-in-law to take in an Indians game. We play Minnesota, which is the team the s-i-l rooted for growing up in Winona, MN. We should be back sometime Saturday. Ta-ta, for now!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Block Swap Update

The sewing day at Terry's yesterday amounted to a whole lot of cutting for most of us. We had been told by our ultra-organizer Jan to bring our block swap fabrics, and she would have kits prepared for us that would keep the process as uncomplicated as possible. You first read about our block swap just last Thursday, but here's a repeat of the fabrics I will be using for my version.

I got everyone's fabrics cut except for my own. I can whip them out here anytime. Below is my little cutting station at Terry's with what looks like the fabrics for Sheryll's version. And do you see the size of those pieces!?! Gracious! I did a lot of cutting at 1" - tiny! But for blocks that will finish at 4" x 5", this is to be expected. 

I remember making the conscious decision to select stars for the two blocks I would make. I also tried to select two patterns that looked relatively simple to construct. I think I will be happy with these, even though they are rather similar. 

Today it's back to the quilting of the t-shirt quilt. I sure hope I will be bringing you a finish on it soon.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Freshening Up

Never in the nearly 38 years of house-keeping have I been accused of being a fussy decorator. My style is more in line with getting something together that works and then leaving it for a time - like maybe 20 years?

Well, with big stuff, yes, maybe. But as for smaller decorating touches, I do like to occasionally freshen up the decor and change out some of my little quilts to reflect the current season. Since we are quickly coming up on the Fourth, it seemed a good time to retire some quilts to storage while bringing out those reflective of summer and patriotism.

The door exiting our main living area into the garage is metal, so I have two magnetic clips there for hanging little quilts to fill the space. This red, white and blue star is one I made at quilt camp in 2012 and perfectly suits this space on the door. It also perfectly suits me in that it is not fussy, is quite understated and subdued. I enjoy putting it out each year. The pattern is by Thimbleberries, although I think I modified it somewhat.

For our kitchen table, (which is in the same room as the door, above) I have placed Pink Lemonade, a little quilt also made in 2012, with one of Lori's little quilt alongs. (I have searched my archives for this quilt, but have found few informative posts; perhaps you can search Lori's.)

This is such a happy little quilt. I like it so much that I have even considered making another one in some different colors. This pink and cheddar one is aptly named Pink Lemonade, and it perfectly exemplifies summertime.

I need to get busy! Many things remain on my to-do list!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Commission #1 - Shirley's Quilt

As I began the 2017 year, I sorta' made a deal with myself that I would not do any more commissions for people because it creates such a stress. I am a notorious procrastinator, and I know the folks want their quilts done promptly, yet I have such difficulty with actually diving in and getting these projects going. Such a conundrum.

For whatever reason, I need to spend mental time on these projects, thinking through some of the necessary steps or individual oddities each one presents. Most of the commissions I've done have been t-shirt quilts, but even those require some 'figuring out' - brain time, if you will.

Even with my resolve to say no, I have said yes to two commissions. Commission #1 is for long-time family friend Shirley, and I shared a little bit about it in this post from last Wednesday. My mental problem-solving mostly concerned the many 3-D items that were to be incorporated into this quilt. I have worked on it very diligently since Wednesday, and finally have a quilt top ready.

Before I layer this top with a backing and batting, I still have a couple of small details to tend to. First, the petticoat under the baby dress (first block, top row) needs to be tacked down in a few places. I don't want it to fall so far down into the block under it. I also need to add a snap or a velcro dot to the center of the pocket (last block, bottom row). That plain gray fabric forms a pocket in front of the white block under it, and when I put the remaining items in the pocket, it gaps open quite a bit. It will look a lot nicer with the contents of the pocket contained by a fastener.

For finishing, I have some white backing fabric set aside for this quilt, and I will use the same red calico that are my sashing strips for binding. It will finish in the neighborhood of 59" x 76".

The current round of mental work has been deciding about how to quilt it. With so many objects to work around, I knew it would be too much to ask of a long-arm quilter to fuss with it. My solution is to straight-line quilt it. I have looked around different places for some inspiration, and I have seen some that were quilted with straight lines set roughly 3 inches apart. I like this, as I think less quilting density will be best for this quilt; I will just stop the lines when I run into a 3-D object.

The plan going forward it to make the quilt 'sandwich" this evening, and then quilt on it tomorrow and Wednesday.

Speaking of tomorrow, Terry is having us in to sew at her house. I don't know that I will take this project. It might just be easier to do here at home, so for sewing at her house, perhaps I will get back to working on my June UFO. It's been awhile since I've done any significant work on it.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Frankfort Girls Block Swap

Three weeks ago when the Frankfort girls met here at my house, one of the group brought a new book she thought we'd all be interested in seeing. I think it was Terry. And she was right; we all drooled over the pretty quilts and individual blocks. The book is one many of you have probably seen: The 4" x 5" Quilt-Block Anthology: 182 Blocks for Reproduction Fabrics by Carol Hopkins and Linda M. Koenig, published by That Patchwork Place.

(Grabbed from Amazon.)

The authors include tips in the book for a block exchange, and we tossed around the idea of doing one in our group. The idea took hold, and next week when we meet we are to bring our fabric selections.

With that explanation, you will now know why I am pulling fabrics today from the dresser where I store all the fat quarters. Earlier I had something of an epiphany, and I was prompted to action.

For all the years I have been pinning pictures of quilts on Pinterest, one quilt that I would just love to make is one that is reminiscent of a faded, muted brown or gray quilt, with very little contrast or color. Here are some pictures taken from my pin-board, all similar to the one I have in mind.

With all that information, here are the 6 fabrics I have pulled from the depths of the stash. If any of you are seasoned veterans in fabric purchasing over the last 25 years or so, then you may recognize this hodge-podge of ancient beauties.

It will be interesting to see what results. I doubt we have a very tight deadline on this project, so you may not hear much more about this until the end of December. Oh, I may bring some intermittent updates, but I suspect it's likely going to be a long-term project. And a fun one, too.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Sewing with Sharon

We'd not had a chance to sew together for several weeks, so we were very eager to get together this week. Sharon came on Tuesday, and she had her 9-patch quilt ready to finish to the flimsy stage.

She has used a wide variety of dark blues - some darker than others - and creams for this wonderfully simple quilt. The fabric for the setting blocks is also very soft and creamy, so it all works together really well.

This straight-on shot gives you the view of the diagonal rows created by the blocks. We both noted that when you see this in your lap or at your machine, the diagonal lines are not as evident as they are when seen in a photograph.

The quilt turned out to be quite a bit bigger than Sharon had originally intended. To see all of it, we had to move the ironing board and a table off to the side. The quilt currently is 12 blocks wide by 15 blocks long. Sharon has decided that she will make one more vertical row so that the quilt will end up being 13x15 blocks. Then she will have to decide whether or not she is adding borders.

It was a great day of sewing. We both got so much done - I did the t-shirt quilt that I shared in the previous post, and Sharon did this. We also made some loose plans for things we'd like to do as the rest of the summer unfolds. You'll be sure to hear all about them if we actually follow through.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The 3-D T-Shirt Quilt

A few months ago I agreed to make a t-shirt quilt for long-time family friend, Shirley. I babysat all 4 of her kids when I was a teenager, and the youngest- Elizabeth - is turning 40 this year. (Groan! It can't be!)

To commemorate the occasion, Shirley, having saved some of Elizabeth's most treasured childhood mementos, asked me to make a quilt. My surgery of May interfered with my plan to have this done by June first, so I am chomping at the bit to get it whipped out this month.

This is a poor picture, and I will take a better one later, but for illustration purposes, this will serve. The first block of the top row is the dress Elizabeth wore home from the hospital as a newborn. That will be applied to the block in 3-D fashion, and will spill over into the sashing strips below and beside the block. The block at the other end of the top row is a doll that Elizabeth loved, so I took all the stuffing out of it and appliqued it to a block. Close-ups of the dress and the doll are below.

The first block of the second row and the first block of the bottom row are both cut out from the back of cheerleading jackets. I was nervous about the fraying that might occur, but I stay-stitched before cutting and they held up just fine. the third block of the third row is a cheerleader uniform top. I cut it out with the 15" ruler, but had to applique it to a block since it was sleeveless. All in all, these have worked out better than I had anticipated.

The last block of the bottom row has a pocket. The shirt didn't have much design, and so I used the empty space to create a place to put the remaining items that Shirley gave me.

On of those items is this little back-pack. Shirley asked if I could save the head of the doll. Here's how I have done that. I cut it out with enough of the pack fabric surrounding it, and then zigzagged some t-shirt remnant to the back. It isn't pretty, but it works.

Shirley also had saved that one ballet slipper which will also go into the pocket. I think it will be necessary to add a snap to the center of the pocket; it seems to gap a bit, and a snap would solve that issue.

Still to do - add a 5" border. I have 4-5" blocks of other significance to use in the corners of the border, and then I will be ready to make the quilt sandwich. How I will tackle the quilting of this 3-D quilt, I am quite uncertain. All throughout the creation of this quilt, my philosophy has been "I will figure it out as I go."

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Swoon Blocks Complete!

Swoon parts were all over the place, and even though I had another project that really needed to be my focus, I couldn't really get anything else done until I sewed the Swoons together. So I did.

I only had two blocks to make, but I was delayed because I found myself short of one fabric. Grrr, I hate when that happens. I was unprepared for making a decision about substituting, but I eventually got my wits about me and took care of business.

This is the 8th block, and it is the one with the fabric shortage. The pointy bursts that pop out of the center are all supposed to be that blue bead fabric, but 4 of the points are dahlia petals. I figure it's no big deal. In the whole scheme of things, I don't think it is all that noticeable.

This is block 9 and it is all uniform - nice to finish with relative ease. I have taken the 9 individual block pictures and made a collage of them; this creates somewhat of a simulation of the quilt. I don't know if this is the way I will eventually place the blocks, but for a general idea, I figured this would suffice.

The blocks are now stacked on the back shelf for awhile. I will eventually get them sewn into a quilt top. For now, I have a commission t-shirt quilt that I need to get cracking on, and suddenly I am motivated to do it! More on that tomorrow!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Workin' On Swoon

I worked rather diligently this week to try to finish the last of the 3 Swoon blocks, but I met an obstacle that really slowed me down. I ran out of one fabric I needed for the pointy "bursts" coming off the center star. I searched this sewing room high and low for 8x4" of this blue with no luck whatsoever. Then I sent the pic to 2 friends who also collect KF fabrics, and they didn't have it, either.

Can you see that I was scrimping with this? I have pieced the blue to get these two HSTs.

So what to do...well, I decided that I would end up with a "humble block," one that is intentionally made with a mistake, so that the quilter remains humble in her imperfections.

Here's the substitute I have decided to  use.

If one knows to look for it, it will be easy to locate, but in the larger scheme, it will be just another purply-blue in a vast collection of blues. I think it will be fun having it in there, and I am eager to get on with finishing this block and the 9th block.

And speaking of the 9th block, here are the parts for it:

I sure hope I can get this quilt top together before the end of June. That's the goal.

Happy Quilting, Friends!