Monday, June 28, 2010

Monday Randomness

I did some online fabric shopping at Pink Chalk Fabrics this weekend. I have an idea for a Christmas quilt that will have me making one from my ever-expanding, ever-morphing wish/bucket list. I intend to use this FQ bundle, 12 Joys of Christmas by Sheri Berry.

I've never bought a FQ bundle before and I have no idea if it's going to be enough, but I'm hoping it'll all work out. This fabric is just too cute with the vintage-inspired holiday theme!

Bummer: My Creative Zen mp3 player decided to take a dump this weekend and won't charge. Now I'm faced with the fact that it may become a paperweight if it's not fixable or may cost more to fix than replace. I'll see what customer service tells me when I call.

Something else sewing/quilting related: My sister has commissioned me to come up with a case for a game she has designed for a school project. We went over the specifications yesterday, dimensions, number of pockets required, etc. She would like it quilted because --believe it or not-- that is somewhat like what myelin does around the axon of a neuron, in that it layers, insulates, and protects. It's a health/anatomy-related course she's doing this for, and that is the subject of her learning game. Anyway, it ought to be interesting.

The BP oil spill disaster makes me angry and sad and worried about the future. It is such a helpless feeling to stand by as efforts to slow or stop the flow have failed one after another.

But this YouTube video made me laugh out loud. It's been around for a couple of weeks, but I just saw it last night. There is a bit of strong language (2 words, basically), if that bothers you or if you're in a public setting.

Saturday, June 26, 2010


Thanks for all the great quilt name suggestions yesterday. I appreciated the input and enjoyed pondering each one.

Something interesting happened when I woke up this morning. A different idea just popped into my head. Don't you love it when that happens? When you're not really trying, and *boink* there it is!

Kayla really liked the quilt.

But the best part is that she wants me to teach her how to make one! I can't think of anything I'd like better than nurturing someone else's interest in quilting. I feel like I've been given a gift in return.

How cool is that?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

For the Birds

As I mentioned in the last post, I was determined to finish this little quilt for my niece's graduation party this Saturday. Mission accomplished! Got the binding hand-stitched down and was all ready to package it up when I remembered one little thing.

The label.

And then I got a little bogged down thinking about the label, as I was trying to come up with a clever name for the quilt and ... *crickets* ... nothin'. You know how that goes?

The pattern is called, The Early Bird, but hello? I don't really get it. I think they probably heard the chorus of crickets too, the one who came up with that. Click the link if you're interested in the free PDF pattern download from the Michael Miller site. But buy more backing fabric than it calls for, if you do make this.

I still love that Lantern Bloom fabric.

So, the label. Birds in cages...empty cages...freedom...or the lack thereof...graduation from high school = a sense of freedom...flying the coop...spreading your wings...flying high...just say no...those darn cages...yada, yada, yada.

Well. After burning through the gears on those mental gyrations, I'm thinking of calling it, "Free Birdie!" You know, as in releasing captive creatures to the wild, a la Free Willy. Although I can't help but visualize throngs of Bic lighter-waving fans at a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert circa 1976. 'Cause I'm as free as a bird now, and this bird will never cha-ange...whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa...

Lord help me...

But hey, feel free to leave a suggestion in the comments if you've got a better idea to consider. I probably won't get around to sewing on the label until Saturday morning.

Be sure to see what's happening over at amylouwho on Sew & Tell Friday. Thanks for visiting, and have a great weekend, all!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Coming in for a Landing

Ladies and gentlemen, we are making our final approach. Please fasten your seat belts, turn off all electronic devices, and return your seats to their upright positions.

Nah, just basting a quilt on my kitchen floor. Kind of looks like a runway though, doesn't it?

I'm too sexy for my quilt...too sexy for my quilt...

Oops, wrong kind of runway.

On Sunday, the planets aligned and I had both the time and inclination to land this UFO from earlier in the year. I put the backing together in the morning, basted it after lunch, and started quilting it in the evening. The force was with me, and I finished quilting it at around 11 p.m.

Painter's tape--it's not just for basting. It works pretty slick for marking straight lines to quilt along. You can reuse the pieces several times too.

This seemed on the small side when I first pieced it, but I guess it's normal person throw size. I thought I'd finish it up as a graduation gift for my niece, Kayla.

I had a brain fart when I first bought the fabric for this quilt and bought only half a yard of the backing fabric. So a couple weeks ago, I bought the correct amount online--and would you believe it was still not enough? Come to find out the instructions were wrong. No way was the backing wide enough, so I had to piece a section along one long edge using the other yardage I'd initially bought.

Today I machine stitched on the binding, and I'll hand sew it down over the next couple of days.

Pink astilbe in all its fine plumage on the north side of the house. It's the showgirl of the Hosta Strip!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Table Topper Ta-Da

It's Sew & Tell Friday!

First, though, thank you for the anniversary wishes! Celebrating is on hold until the weekend, though. Norm worked a 12-hour shift Thursday and came home to a lawn in desperate need of mowing, and because it's supposed to rain for the next couple days, that was a priority. Nevertheless, we are both looking forward to going out to dinner on Saturday night.

As far as sewing, I finished this table topper for my dad for Father's Day. As I mentioned a couple days ago, he is using a Christmas table topper and that is just a little ridiculous, although he doesn't seem to mind. Anyway, I hope he likes the new one!

This was again an opportunity to practice stippling, and I am happy to report that, surprisingly, I did not freak the heck out this time. And yes, there was a beverage involved, but it was just iced tea. It was pretty early in the day for a brew, so I held off on that until later. I honestly just had the usual random, run-of-the-mill thoughts going through my head as I quilted this time. Such as:
  • I can't wait for the Rush documentary to come out on DVD at the end of the month!

  • Why don't I use batiks more often? They really are beautiful.

  • What on earth is that noise behind me? Oh, it's the window guy measuring outside for the basement replacements. I wonder what he thinks of me sitting here at the sewing machine wearing funny white gloves, with the blues music blasting? Hey, at least I'm fully dressed and not standing in my underwear ironing my shirt. That's a visual he doesn't need seared into his brain.

  • Things I need from Walmart: Gum...dishwasher gelpacs...Father's Day card...
Yeah, pretty boring inner dialog, but it was nice to feel more relaxed during the process.

Next up is a small throw-size quilt top that needs quilting before my niece's graduation party next Saturday so I can gift it to her then. I think I'll do straight-line quilting on that one.

Thanks for visiting, and have fun peeking in and seeing what other creative peeps have been working on, linked over at amylouwho.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Vintage Wedding Photos

I love looking at old wedding photos -- the style of dress, the hairstyles, flowers, and accessories. Too bad about the somber facial expressions on what was undoubtedly a happy occasion. As I understand it, the reason for that was due to the long exposure time required, so folks were not encouraged to say "cheese." Think of them as smiling on the inside.

Not all wedding dresses were white, but when you're looking at old black and white photos, like this one of my husband's great-great-grandparents, married in 1879, you have to use your imagination.

What color do you think her dress was? Black? Brown? Navy?

By the time the next generation of the family got married, the bride did wear white. This is Norm's great-grandparents, married in 1909. Just look at her tiny waist! If she's wearing a corset, it's a wonder she could breathe.

I have somehow amassed a large collection of old photos passed down from relatives through the years. Unfortunately, I can't identify them all. You have to bear in mind, when you inherit a collection of photos, that not all of them are of relatives. Sometimes there may be wedding photos of friends, etc.

I'm not sure who this happy couple is, but I'm guessing it dates to about the late 1890s or early 1900s. Do you think her dress was white or something else? Dove gray? A soft pastel? I love the groom's Cosmo Kramer thing going on with his hair.

There are a couple of relatives in this bridal party from 1912. The groom is my great-grandfather's half brother, and standing behind him is a great-aunt.

These next couple photos are from between about 1917 and 1931, beginning with my husband's grandparents. They weren't married yet here, just attendants for a mutual friend's wedding.

Love the elaborate veils and headwear.

Norm's mom and dad in 1948:

My parents in 1956:

Mom made her wedding dress. It was a beautiful light blue.

Finally, this is Norm and I on June 17, 1983, twenty-seven years ago. Happy anniversary, hon!

The wedding dress I made was an ivory jacquard print, tea-length, with a ribbon belt. I wore my hair in an updo; Norm wore his au naturel. My brother Russ was rocking the Barry Gibb look at the time.

Hope you've enjoyed the wedding photos! Thanks for visiting, and be sure to visit all the sites linked at coloradolady for Vintage Thingie Thursday!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Pie and Stuff

There was creativity on a small scale at my house this weekend. First, I made a rhubarb-blueberry streusel pie--which looked a lot better fresh out of the oven than does this last lonely, crumbling, but still just as tasty piece. See, cutting into it and eating a wedge warm from the oven on Saturday night was paramount to taking a picture of it for posterity. And it was soooo good. But I made sure to schlep it over to my brother's and Dad's houses yesterday to share, lest my booty be busting out my capris.

I'll post the recipe below, mainly because the next time I make this, I don't want to have to haul out two three-ring recipe binders, Betty Crocker and the Gluten-Free Gourmet cookbooks, then decide to be all contrary and blaze my own trail. That's a lot of work for a pie.

The other thing I made was -- oh, wait a minute -- Dad? If you're reading this, please hit that little red X in the upper right-hand corner right now, or you'll spoil your Father's Day surprise. Okay, love you, bye-bye.

[He doesn't have a computer at home at the moment, but you never know; he might be visiting and looking in with someone else.]

Anyway, I made a table mat (is that what you call a runner that doesn't run?) for the table next to his easy chair. Said table is round, but he's got a square one on there right now and it seems to work okay. However, the one he's currently using is a Christmas table mat I made for him and Mom a couple years ago. This one:

And, well, it's JUNE, for Pete's sake.

So I have surreptitiously looked around his living room and taken note of a little wallpaper border's design, and came up with something similar that I think will work.

Except, did you know that when you cut a square into four pieces and then sew those pieces back together, you no longer have a square? Huh. So I had to improvise top and bottom borders to make it truly square.

I was going to do a piano key border, but trying out various fabrics for that took up most of an entire episode of Dateline on MSNBC. And why do I make my brain work so hard so late at night? If only the pervs interviewed by Chris Hansen on Dateline employed their mental capacities a fraction as much, they might not find themselves hearing, "Get on the ground! Get on the ground!" whilst being tackled by a half dozen armed law enforcement officers. Yeah, if Hansen's in the kitchen, you're only going to be partying with the Po-Po.

But I digress.

So I found a batik scrap that I had juuuust enough of, and went with that.

This means that sometime between now and Sunday, I'll be once again practicing my free-motion quilting as I stipple this little giftie. This time I feel more prepared though; I have a cold brew in the fridge.

Rhu-Blu Streusel Pie
1 prepared pie crust*
4-5 cups fresh rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 cups blueberries (if using frozen, thaw and drain)
1 baking apple, peeled and sliced
3/4 cup sugar (may use up to 1-1/4 cups; I prefer mine on the tart side)
3-4 Tablespoons cornstarch

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine fruit, sugar, and cornstarch in a bowl. Mix well and transfer to prepared crust. Cover with streusel topping:

1/2 c. flour (I used 1/4 c. each rice flour and sorghum flour for gluten-free)
1/2 c. brown sugar
3/4 c. finely chopped pecans
6 T. butter or margarine (I used organic shortening for dairy-free)
1 t. cinnamon

Work streusel ingredients together until crumbly. Distribute on top of pie filling.

Bake pie for 60 minutes. If crust edge starts to get too brown, cover the edge only with foil about halfway through baking time.

*I used a great gluten-free pie crust recipe found here, and subbed organic shortening to make it dairy-free.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

New Wave Quilt Top

It's not quite Sew & Tell Friday yet, but close enough, and by gum, I've finally got a quilt top done that's burning a hole in my pocket, metaphorically speaking.

Made using the
New Wave quilt pattern by Elizabeth Hartman of Oh, Fransson! I used both contemporary and vintage fabric, unsure how it would turn out, but I have to say that I am pleasantly surprised. Honestly, I think this pattern would be amenable to all kinds of fabric choices. Check out the Oh, Fransson! Flickr pool if you're looking for inspiration for this or any of her other fabulous creations.

I made the template out of a heavier gauge clear plastic report cover, and it worked great.

I would definitely make this one again, but bigger. This household is Land of the Giants territory, and this quilt just about covers my legs as a throw.

But it sure is pretty.

I'm sure there are lots of pretty things to check out at amylouwho on Sew & Tell Friday. Be sure to click on over there for all the links, and thanks for visiting!

Oh, and this is what "New Wave" meant to me in 1980. Gotta love the zebra stripe shirt, tight pants, the red Dean Flying V guitar, and the fabulous New Wave hair before it morphed into the godawful mullet. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Flea Market Finds

Most of this week's Vintage Thingies came from spur of the moment flea market and thrift store shopping last weekend.

Saw this shelf at Goodwill for $6.99 and thought it would be the perfect spot for the Pyrex I've been trying not to collect.

Looks like it was made in the '60s, maybe. It's oak. Love those mid-mod feet.

If I get tired of the Pyrex on display, I can always switch to something else. Goodness knows I've got enough other collections to rotate.

I added a couple pieces to the vintage flower pot collection (the ones on the bottom left and right). Actually, the idea was to pick up a couple of what looked to be no-name pots that I could use to repot a couple of sad-looking African violets. But when I got this one home, I discovered it did have a name after all--Weller. So there went that idea. I just can't bring myself to put dirt in it now.

Meanwhile, this violet is making a break for it.

And it may already be too late for this poor thing...

On a happier note, isn't this turtle sprinkler cute?

Speaking of making a break for it, looks like he's bound for the Grand Canyon!

How rude of me to turn him over just as he's formulated his escape plan. Sorry, buddy. You're staying with me for a while.

There was a dollar table at the flea market where I picked up a few things. One was this stainless steel carafe made by Alloy Products of Waukesha, Wisconsin. I've seen a lot of Pyrex and other glass carafes in this style, but this is the first all-metal one I'd seen.

But my favorite is this gem of a glass tray that was on the same dollar table. I didn't know anything about the signature on it, Georges Briard, but it definitely had that funky, mid-century modern vibe that appeals to me.

When I got home, I found out some interesting information about Georges Briard glass here and here. A great piece, I think, for a buck!

Thanks for visiting today, and be sure to check out the other Vintage Thingie Thursday treasures at Colorado Lady!