Thursday, September 27, 2012


Linking to Live a Colorful Life's Really Random Thursday seems like the perfect thing today.
Live A Colorful Life
Alas, I am surrounded by randomness.  So many things to be done or in the works.

There is a backing for the Breathe quilt in progress.

Some of the last tomatoes (and a petite pepper) picked from Dad's garden yesterday.  We've had a frost or two.  The vines are turning brown.

My three vintage typewriters were posted on craigslist yesterday, in an effort to try to sell them locally so I don't have to worry about packing and shipping.  I kinda hate to part with them, but it's time for someone else to enjoy them. 

A few things waiting to be photographed and listed on eBay.  Not pictured is the pile on the chair and chaise behind me.  Someone shoot me if I buy another leather jacket or Harley-Davidson shirt at Goodwill.

Orphan blocks languishing on my couch.  I should just give these away.  Any takers?  Gone ~ thanks!

The reading stack next to my bed. 

Mostly quilt p0rn.  Optical illusion quilts and one- or two-color traditional quilts are my current obsessions.  I hope I actually make something before the whim passes.  Does that ever happen to you—you think it to death?

Plans and patterns from some clever folks that I'd like to try.  This is just what I've printed out or obtained in the last week or so.

Finally, this new fabric, which makes me giggle with glee!  Alexander Henry's Hurry Down the Chimney.  Such pretty packages...

I bought every last yard on the bolt at the shop.  Christmas presents for girlfriends, most likely.  I not-so-secretly want to hoard it, but 'tis better to give and share the fun! 

That is a look behind the scenes here.  What kind of randomness have you been up to?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Breathe Quilt Top Finished

The snail's trail top is officially a flimsy.  I've been referring to it also as the "Breathe" quilt, as that is the pattern name.

This went together very well.  The snail's trail blocks were fun to piece.  The alternating blocks were sewn onto foundation paper—I used phone book pages cut into squares.  It tears off easily and is nice and lightweight.  And I think the odd apple print worked out okay after all!

Now to find a suitable backing or make one.  I had a bolt of a cute print fabric in my arms at Joann earlier today, but I put it back.  Need to shop the stash first.

I enjoyed a  great audiobook while I sewed this week, Dearie:  The Remarkable Life of Julia Child, by Bob Spitz.  It is very well written, and the audio version is superbly read by Kimberly Farr.  I highly recommend it, especially if you like biographies, food, things French, cooking, mid-century life, or hearing about the hijinks of clever tall gals!

Thanks for the input on the cornerstone conundrum, those who chimed in.  It was very helpful.  Hubs was initially in favor of the yellow-gold option, but once he saw the finished top, he was happy with the turnout.

I'm linking with Sarah's Friday linky, Can I Get a Whoop Whoop!  Better late than never!  This is also a NewFO for September, so I'll be linking to Cat Patches in a few days as well.  Can you believe it's already the last week of the month?  I can't!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Cornerstone Conundrum

Here is the Breathe quilt laid out on the floor.  The pattern calls for cornerstones between the sashing strips.  I am holding auditions. 

You'll note the outer border will most likely be the black/gray print, probably not quite so wide as it is folded here.

First up is the yellow-gold.  The camera flash gives this combo a ketchup-and-mustard quality, though I do like it in natural light as it seems to pick up some of the yellow-golds in the apple and black floral prints. 

Second (below) is my old standby, black with white dots.  I have used this many times before.  I hate to be redundant but it seems to add a little spark without making me want a hotdog.

Third (below) is a gray on black print which doesn't seem to compete for much attention at all against the blocks.  There is a subtle difference between noncompetitive and dull, however, and I can't quite decide which category this falls into.  Alternatively, I could use the same print as the outer border, a similar gray on black whose effect, I imagine, would be much the same.

Any thoughts?  Preferences?  Other suggestions?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Late Night Laughs

I love it when late night TV gives me something surprising to smile about just before going to bed. Caught this on Conan last night. I recognized Megan Mullally right away and had no idea she could sing, but this was fun, especially when they break into the second song at 1:43.

I found another on YouTube - lovely harmonies and a beautiful song.

PS - Still piecing the "Breathe" quilt, just no pics to show at the moment.

Friday, September 14, 2012

No Bad Apples, Just Misunderstood

For having started the week feeling overwhelmed, I am happy to say that I gradually found focus.  I wanted to start something new but felt discombobulated in a major way, as if my brain had kicked over the whole bucket list, scattered it like a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle and said, "Here, you figure it out."

Surveying my disaster sewing area, I saw old stuff stacked upon new.  I poked my nose into a big thrift store bag and revisited some strange 1970s looking pieces.  I looked at my stash, piled on no less than 6 surfaces, then at another bag from a recent red tag sale at Joann containing mostly Denise Schmidt yardage.

When all else fails, it helps me to pre-wash and press fabric.  Sort of a mindless thing, but that's what I needed—to quit thinking.  And sure enough, as I handled the big snarly pile of disparate items from the dryer, snipping the threads that had hog-tied the mess hostage, I started to feel better.

As it happened, while waiting for the iron to heat up, I started riffling through a box of miscellaneous stuff on a shelf and found a pattern squished down in there that I had forgotten all about.  Out of sight, out of mind.

A snail's trail quilt was on the bucket list and had been for a long time.  I liked this pattern when I saw it over at em's scrapbag over a year ago and bought it.  It was scrappy, involved a block I've wanted to try, and had alternating string-type blocks to boot.  Winner!

There is something about the challenge of an odd fabric that appeals to me.

Maybe it's that soft spot for the underdog.  Maybe it's the inherent conflict of such a piece that I want to resolve.  Ever the peacemaker.  Maybe I've seen too many movies where the nerdy wallflower mixes in with the popular kids and they both benefit.  She still retains her individuality and both factions come away with broader view—and in the process someone usually gets their comeuppance.  Justice.

Meh, who knows.

So this vintage-y apple fabric is a little bit out there.  The colors are bordering on neon red, yellow and green while something about it still says country.

I began to see other stuff that might play along.  "Might" being the operative word. This DS Quilts print, in particular, seemed amenable.

And after making these two blocks today I have a pretty good feeling it's going to work out.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


I figured it was time to do a photo dump of some stuff I've found at the thrift stores lately.  There's not enough time and attention span to cover everything that has come home with me, but here are a few highlights.

How about this vintage apron I found last weekend?  Dolly is wearing it with one of my favorite raspberry colored t-shirts, but because she's so puny, I had to do some major clothes-pinning in the back.  She didn't want to look "sloppy" in it.  Well, the nerve.  So what if she's a size 4, at least I have appendages!

Seriously though, isn't it cute?  Rickrack pocket trim, scalloped hem, bias trim, and those colors.  Swoon.

I don't know what this next thing is, or if it has any purpose other than sitting there looking all interesting and stuff.  But hey, I'll buy 99 cents of WTF any day.

It is a glazed ceramic ball—call it a gazing ball or perhaps, more appropriately, a glazing ball, because that's kind what you do (glaze over) when you start looking at this thing.  You are getting sleepy...

This side reminds me of Van Gogh's Starry Night.

I found this platter one day at Goodwill, and the next day found the gravy boat in a different spot.  No, I do not go to Goodwill every day.  The first day happened to be a Saturday, but I needed to go back to see what color tag was on 50% sale on Sunday.  Scientific research, you know.

There are no markings on either piece.  Does anyone have a clue?

And this leaf-themed bowl was the same, no markings.  Looks like it's just waiting for some Halloween candy or those last cherry tomatoes from the garden.

I had to have the small golden enamel over stainless steel bowl too.  Right now it's holding all the Goodwill price tags I've cut off the shirts I'm selling on eBay.  What can I say?  I've been on kind of a jag.

Dolly even got in on the eBay act.  Here she is modeling a Harley Davidson shirt.  She went on strike after this one, though.  Not in the mood to have multiple shirts yanked on and off, and honestly neither was I.  We resorted to photos on hangers after that.  Boring but more efficient and less temperamental.

We do what we have to to keep the talent appeased.

Now these dishes, I knew were Homer Laughlin.  How did I know?  I turned them over, silly.

They now reside happily ever after at Mom Wald's Place!

And last but not least, I have started to think about Halloween decorating, starting with framing some thrifted gargoyle postcards in a likewise thrifted frame.

I would really have liked a goth looking frame to up the creepiness factor, but I'm not going to worry about it now.  Okay, I admit that I tried to make this frame less shiny bright and more creepy with some dollar store "spooky fabric" and about three kinds of tape, but that was a monumental craft fail and there went an hour of my life.  Anyway, I think the gargoyles are doing a fair job of being creepy all on their own. 

That, my friends, is a Merman.  For reals.  He hangs out in Italy somewhere, in a perpetual state of expressing the international sign for choking.  How big was that piece of seaweed?  I think I'll call him Heimlich. 

I'll save the thrift store fabric finds for another day.  Happy treasure hunting to you!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

Dad picked up his book from the printer yesterday.  More specifically, 500 plus copies of his book, which, if you ever wondered, looks like this.

It was a big day.  He got busy right away autographing the first few copies for his kids and grandkids. 

Helping edit the book over the past several months was for me a joy, challenge, frustrating enterprise, major distraction, learning experience, and labor of love.  It was all of those things, and more.  Anything worth doing is.

I am happy to see it in its final form, proud of my dad for "just doing it," and excited that he will be sharing it with the area community in the coming weeks and months.  It will be available for sale at several local retailers and nonprofit groups.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Tutorial for Mini Zig

Hi!  Piggy and I are going to show you how to make a Mini Zig today!

Piggy knows what a zig is—just look at her foot!  She would also like you to know that the inspiration for this particular funky-colored mini came from none other than she herself, or as Piggy puts it, "Moi."  That Piggy...such a trendsetter!

So let's get started.  Here is the layout. This will make a mini measuring about 11 inches square.

Choose four different fabrics.  You don't need much fabric at all, so this is perfect for scraps.  Referring to the layout, decide how you want them to appear, i.e., which fabric will be your A fabric, B, etc.

From each fabric, cut 3.5 inches squares as follows:

A - Cut 2 squares
B - Cut 6 squares
C - Cut 4 squares
D - Cut 4 squares

Then sew the squares together in pairs, right sides together, to make half-square triangles (HST).  Sew your squares together:

2 - A/B      (in the example above, this is purple to burgundy)
2 - B/C      (burgundy to green)
2 - C/D      (green to yellow floral)
2 - B/D      (burgundy to yellow floral)

You all know how to make these the easy way, right?  Put the two fabric squares right sides together, draw a diagonal pencil line down the center, then draw lines 1/4-inch from either side of the center line.  Sew along both of these outer lines and then cut the squares in half along the center diagonal line to make 2 HST squares.

After you've sewn all the squares into HSTs, press the seams open and trim the little dog ears from the corners.  If you want to trim your squares, you can.  Mine measured 3-1/8 inches at this point.  If your center seam is a little bigger, you may want to trim them to 3 inches square.

Then lay the blocks out according to the diagram above.

And sew them together!  

You will want to quilt and bind your mini.  I haven't gotten that far with this one, but here is the one I finished the other day.

This mini (directly above) now belongs to Mom Wald, who gave me Piggy!  What a sweetie!  She has an eye for the coolest vintage stuff, and is about the nicest person you could ever meet.  We had tea the other day in Madison along with her dear daughter and swapped stories (and some irises from our gardens).  What fun!  Piggy and I both left with big smiles.

If you make a Mini Zig, I'd love to see it.  And if you have any questions about the instructions, please let me know.