Sunday, April 14, 2019

H2H Check-In

I have three quilts ready to donate for the Hands2Help Comfort Quilt Challenge!

The first two are baby quilts, made from orphan blocks left over from a quilt-along I petered out on a while back. 

I'm glad to have gotten them together and finished up in these past few weeks.  These will go to Jack's Basket.

The third is a scrappy string quilt made using Sarah's On-Line tutorial.  I quilted it a couple days ago with long vertical wavy lines.  

Simple but effective.  In fact, I love the effect!  I think I need to make another one to keep.  :)

(Back of On-Line quilt - using a border print in center.)
This one will go to Happy Chemo.

Linking to:  Confessions of a Fabric Addict - First Check-In

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Out of the Den

Wow, almost six weeks have passed since the last post.  Hold on a sec while I swipe the cobwebs and blow the dust off the old blog.  
(Reflection of backyard trees in the lid of a candle.)
Okay.  So where were we?  Looking back, there was the string baskets project, which has been in limbo, pretty much, since then.  I did receive a super nice squishy of solid scraps from Kevin the Quilter and made three more baskets with some pretty purples.
Other than that, though, the basket quilt has been temporarily sidelined.  I need to give some thought to layout (and I know I've been saying that but...squirrel!).  I'll get back to it soon, promise.

Meanwhile, around St. Patty's Day in March, I made a couple of four-leaf clover mug rugs as thank-you gifts.  And then, because they were just too cute and fun, I made one for myself!

The tutorial I followed can be found HERE.  Love the string pieced green leaves!

As many of you know, the Hands2Help Comfort Quilt Challenge is again in full swing.  I was inspired by Sarah's On-Line quilt and decided it would be the perfect quilt to make while simultaneously knocking down some of the scrap piles accumulating on flat surfaces in the sewing room.  Oh, all right, they're in drawers and bins, too.  Who am I kidding?
(Trimmings from On-Line)
Well, we quilters know how THAT goes!  Somehow, scraps and strings beget more scraps and strings.  I know I've made some headway, though, hard as it is to see visual proof in the scrap piles.  But there is visual proof of the resulting quilt top!  At 60 x 72, I have to have made a good dent, right?

(On-Line quilt top)
It's crazy how all those disparate strings can look just fine together when all is said and done.  I've banged together a backing as well, so this one is ready to baste and finish soon.

While sifting through the scrap piles, I unearthed some orphan blocks from a quilt-along that I petered out on last year.  Several sampler blocks in, the proposed layout was made available, and let's just say my fabric choices didn't seem to play well next to each other so much anymore.  And with that, my desire to finish the quilt-along fizzled.  Wah-wah-wah.
(Baby Quilt 1 from orphan blocks)
But looking at the orphan blocks in a new light this past week, I was able to assemble two decent baby quilts that I'll donate to one or more of the Hands2Help charities.  Woot!
(Baby Quilt 2 from a large orphan block, pin basted)
I'm in the process of quilting and binding them right now.  I'll post pics of the finishes shortly.

Friends, it's been a long, cold, and cruddy winter, and I feel like I'm coming out of hibernation here. This was our deck a few days after the last rain/ice/sleet/wind/snow/thunder/lightning storm (all within 24 hours).  The ice was blowing off the trees into millions of little shards on the snow.

(Buh-bye snow.  It's been real.)
Now the snow has melted and the robins are back.  I've been for more walks outside, versus the basement treadmill, and bike season is just around the corner.  I see the first new growth of green things, my chives, poking up in the flower bed.  

What has you excited for spring?

Linking to:  
Humble Quilts String-Along 
Confessions of a Fabric Addict Can I Get a Whoop-Whoop? 


Sunday, February 17, 2019

Progress and Thrift Finds

Work on the string basket blocks has continued, amounting to a total of 17 so far.  Here they all are on the design wall.

I may make a few more.  I have enough string basket bases cut for at least three more blocks (and there are a lot more shirt strings where those came from), but I'm running low on many of the solid scraps.  For each block, I used three different variations on that color scheme (three oranges, three pinks, etc.).  For the last aqua/blue block, though, I had to sub in a periwinkle solid.  It seems to have worked out.

I'm going to let the project sit for a bit, and we'll see where it goes eventually.  Still not sure if I'll end up setting them like this, or with some kind of sashing between, or turned completely differently.  To be determined...

Meanwhile, I cleaned up the string mess (you know how that can just take over a sewing space, right?), and I got back around to finishing up another quilt top.  Also made with thrifted shirts.

This was tricky to photograph in the house on this dreary winter day.  It's one of those quilts that's cozier feeling in real life and less—what's the word—discombobulated? 

I do like how it's turned out and am working on making the backing for it now.  That will also be from thrifted fabric, as it happens.  Not shirts, though. 

Speaking of that, we got out of the house yesterday (it's been a wild, wild winter lately; cabin fever is real, y'all).  We took a short drive to a neighboring town and hit the St. Vinny's there.

While I perused the fabric and craft section of the store, Norm wandered off and picked up a beautiful cougar!

She was super cheap (three bucks!), so of course we brought her home.  :)

She needs a little bath (the glass and frame), but with a tiny bit of TLC, she'll be good to go.  Or stay, as it were. 

I've got quite a collection of vintage paint-by-numbers, but it's still a thrill to find one, especially if it's well done, when we're out thrifting.  We've noticed we don't see them nearly as often as we used to.  I just checked eBay to see what the online market is like for these lately, and it looks like they have an identical cougar paint-by-number currently for $79.99.  Note to anyone who may have to clean out someone's attic, basement or garage:  Don't throw these in the dumpster thinking they're junk.  At least drive them to the thrift store where they can be joyfully found by the next PBN collector or nostalgic lover of kitsch!

Meanwhile, back in the fabric and crafts section, I had found a half yard of fabric and a nice hardcover quilt book from the mid-1990s.

Just look at these sweet quilts!

This Birds in the Air pattern really has a vintage vibe to it, doesn't it?  Love it.

And Sunflowers, yellow and blue is such a classic combination.

It's always a great day when you can go shopping with a ten dollar bill and come home with such fun finds and $4 in change!


Saturday, February 2, 2019

Grateful

It's been an extremely cold week here in the Upper Midwest.  But the mercury has risen a full 60 degrees higher than where it was just a few days ago.  It's a balmy 35 degrees Fahrenheit right now, and foggy and drizzly.  

A perfect day for baking. 
I just tried a new recipe for carrot banana muffins and it was AMAZING.  You can find the recipe (and much better pictures) HERE.  I've eaten two fresh from the oven, and think I'm going to need to have my husband hide the rest from me.  They're that good.

And the house smells wonderful, wafted with the scent of warm cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger baked goodness.

As I was grating the carrots for this recipe, I remembered a crafty project I had done back in the fall (when I was on a break from blogging).  It was a creative idea for repurposing a kitchen grater from Carlene at Organized Clutter (link to the how-to).

How many vintage graters have I walked past at the thrift stores over the years?  And now that I'd found a sweet little crafty use for them, do you think I could find one?  Of course not.  Thankfully, there was eBay, where the best deal happened to be on a two-fer.  If one is good, two is "grater", right?


Instead of chalk paint, as the tutorial mentions, I enlisted the help of my hubby who is pretty good with a can of spray paint.  He hung them from the clothesline on a nice day and gave them a good going over with some cream colored Rustoleum we had sitting on a basement shelf.


Then I gave them a little shabbying up with a bit of sandpaper and used some brown wax, otherwise known as shoe polish, to further distress them.  Then went over the whole thing with clear wax and buffed with a soft cloth.

I thought I'd probably find the label holders in the scrapbook section at JoAnn, but that was a bust.  I found them instead on Amazon.  


I had fun creating the magnets from old buttons, a metal bobbin, and a dab of hot glue.

That's me and my grandma, the one I had mentioned in the last post.  She had come from Louisiana to visit us back in the 1960s.  While she was here, we drove to Door County, Wisconsin to pick cherries.  From the look on my face, they must have been a little sour.


And that's my dad when he was a young teenager, having picked a bag of garden lettuce on the family truck farm.

I initially thought of these as Thanksgiving decor, but I still have them out on display.  Being grateful is always in season!

Monday, January 28, 2019

More String Baskets

I've been plugging along on the string basket blocks.  As of this past weekend, I had eight finished.  Here they are on the design wall (which is reverse flannel side of a vinyl gingham print tablecloth; if you notice the hint of a checked pattern behind the blocks, that's why).

I've got another four in the works right now, in various stages of being put together.  I'm running low on some of the solid colors.  I thought about maybe introducing purple and/or a different blue or green, but since I don't have enough (or any) of those in the solid scraps box, it's not really an option.  While I could make a trip to the fabric store, the whole idea was to utilize my scraps, so that's that.  When what I have is gone, I'm done with the blocks. 

They are quite large, about 13 inches square, unfinished.  So I'm sure, depending on how I decide to set them, there will be enough for a decent sized quilt.

While I was in the sewing room this week—which also happens to be a storage area for a lot of other stuff, including papers and keepsakes from my late mom and dad—I happened upon an old cassette tape.  I popped it in an old boombox and heard my grandmother's voice.  On the other side of the tape was my aunt's voice.  Both were recorded in March 1982.

My grandmother was losing her eyesight due to macular degeneration, and reading and writing letters had become difficult for her.  Instead, she exchanged cassette tapes with her daughters who lived out of state (we lived in Wisconsin), wherein they shared family news and other happenings.  These were the days before email and cell phones, of course.  When long distance telephone rates were high (a one-hour phone call could cost as much as a tank of gas), but postage to mail a cassette tape was cheap.

So there was Grandma, maybe sitting out on her porch (from the sound of traffic passing) on a spring day in the deep south, talking about a cousin's wedding she'd recently attended, her azaleas in bloom, and other things.  On Side B was my aunt in Texas, talking about similar things in her "letter" to Grandma, about her roses and what else she was planning to do in her flower beds, etc.

I wanted to transfer this tape digitally, both to preserve it before the tape broke or degraded further, as well as share it with my siblings and cousins.  So that was my other project this past week.

Thankfully, I'd pinned a tutorial on this subject that I'd run across a few months ago.  I followed the instructions, bought a patch cord for $7.99, and using free Audacity software, was able to transfer the tape to my computer and save it digitally.  
Source:  Bespoke Genealogy
Instead of burn the new audio file to a CD, I uploaded the MP3 file to my (free) account on SoundCloud and shared the link with my cousins, etc.  Got some nice feedback.  One cousin said it brought tears to her eyes to hear Grandma's voice again.  Both Grandma and my aunt passed away in the 1990s. 

As much as they communicated this way over several years, I don't think many of these tapes survived.  Wouldn't it be neat, though, if some day, someone finds one of my mother talking to Grandma with our family news at the time?

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