Thursday, February 28, 2013

Apple Picnic Quilt

It's the last day of February and I am sliding in with the second UFO finish of the year. 
My goal for this quarter for the 2013 Finish-A-Long is to quilt one unfinished top per month.  I got this basted on Monday afternoon, but then work ramped up and all of a sudden it was the evening of the 27th.  Yikes! I needed to carve out some time to quilt and bind this baby.  I finished quilting it at about midnight, and then this morning I bound it (by machine, of course, are you kidding me).

I'm not a last-minute person.  I don't like waiting until the eleventh hour to do something, although sometimes it happens that way and I can deal.  Some people thrive on the adrenaline rush of an imminent deadline (and those people amaze me).  Mostly it just makes me cranky.

But I'm feeling good that I can check this one off the list.  It's throw quilt size, but I imagine it'd make a nice picnic quilt.  Like, three months from now.

I had some hesitation when I opened the sliding door to take pictures on the deck today.  The snow was drifted up against the screen door.  You can probably guess by now that I am so ready to flip the calendar page and say goodbye to yet another month of winter.
So these are "throw-snap-go" pictures.  I donned my snow boots and other paraphernalia, but it was still too cold for dilly-dallying.  It was sure a lot more fun to take pictures of the top last September!

Here's the pieced back.  The quilting won't win any prizes, but after it's washed and crinkly, it won't matter anyway.

The pattern is called Breathe.  I really like snail's trail quilts and know there are more in store for me in the future.  I challenged myself to use a funky vintage apple print I found at the (wait for it...) thrift store.
It reminds me of the place we used to pick apples, on the outskirts of town, called the "Apple Pick-Nic Nut Farm."  Not only were the apples amazing—some varieties the size of softballs—but the name was a lot fun to say.  The farm has been since sold and all the apple trees chopped (I know, sad).

Hey, you know what?  I think I'll name this quilt after that place, in memory of those fun apple-picking times—the Apple Picnic Nut Farm quilt!

Linking to:
February Finishes

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sorta Sunday Sundry

I met a fellow quilt blogger yesterday and had a wonderful time visiting!  Unfortunately, there were some unforeseen circumstances that occurred just before we met, which Sandi detailed over at Piecemeal Quilts.  But all's well that ends well, and it was great to finally meet Sandi, her mom, and her aunt.  We had good conversation, and she delivered a quilt she had quilted for me and did a beautiful job on (more on that soon, but here's a peek). 

Quilters really are some of the nicest people!

I have long maintained that if you (and by that I mean me) really want to get something done, invite people over.  It was just the impetus I needed to make the final push toward organizing my sewing room. 

A week ago, it looked like this:

And now it looks like this:

I made Norm come down and take a good look, because who knows when it will look the same again.  Although I will try to maintain the balance in favor of  order versus chaos.

Even Dolly got dressed for the occasion, and guard pheasant was in fine form.  I gave his feathers a light going over with the lint roller.

On to the business of sewing tomorrow.  I have a binding to put on the new quilt, a quilt to baste and quilt by the end of the month, and I decided to do the Tea Towel Challenge at 15 Minutes of Play

Because I happened to come across this awesome vintage tea towel on eBay last week.  It's sort of like Peter Max meets Prince Matchabelli. 

Like she's looking for her man on a white horse to gallop over the heather and swoop her up! 

There is great potential in this tea towel, and I think it'll be fun to see where this challenge takes me.

Speaking of things that look like they walked out of the 1970s, this is from Rival Sons' 2011 album.  Maybe Tea Towel Tess is looking at these gentlemen?  I think they took a cue from Tess's hairstyle, that's for sure.  I can't speak for the facial hair.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Really Random

There has not been a whole lot of sewing this week, but I have spent quite a bit of time in the sewing room nonetheless, folding fabric and clearing clutter.  I am done now for a while.  Not as in there is nothing left to do, but just that I've had enough of that foolishness.

The good thing about folding all your fabric is that you get to see and handle each and every piece.  Then you start to think things like you should be using more of your stash, and why on earth did I buy all that Denyse Schmidt fabric in the same color? 

The only actual sewing I did was to make a block for Victoria's call for anvil blocks for a quilt to be made for a friend of hers who has cancer.  I whipped this up right away and drove it straight to the post office.

* * * * *
Okay, in my last thrifting post, I was talking smart about not buying anything if it's just going to live in the basement, 'member that?  Well, I got to thinking about a vintage metal tray I'd seen at St. Vinnie's but did not buy.  Did.Not.Buy.  And then I called my friend and fellow thrifter, Terry, to see if he could pick it up for me the next time he stopped there on his way home from work (because he swings by frequently).  Buddy that he is, he said sure.

Here she is taking a bubble bath in my sink right before...

...she went to live in the basement!  Specifically, it's hanging out on the wall, where I can look at it while I fold or cut fabric, and smile at my own weakness.

Doesn't it look kind of like a Liberty of London fabric?  The tray is chippy and scratched and tarnished, but I don't care.  It was under two dollars!
* * * * *
Norm called me from the grocery store on Saturday.

N:  Hey, whatever happened to that cantaloupe I bought last week?
P:  News to me.  I haven't seen a cantaloupe.

N:  I swear I bought one last week, but I don't remember seeing it after that.
P:  I have not seen any cantaloupe around here for months.

N:  Uh-oh.
P:  (Silence.)

N:  It must still be in the trunk of the car.

And so it was.  One good thing about winter in Wisconsin—your trunk doubles as a rolling refrigerator.

Remind me to tell you the fish story sometime.  Hint: A package of frozen fish forgotten on the floor of the back of the car in July will smell like a Sasquatch crawled in and died.  Also, your car interior will require professional cleaning with special chemicals after that.

Lastly, I've been listening to a lot of music this week.  I even caved in and bought an import of Rival Sons new album, which hasn't been released in the U.S. yet.

But this is cutie pie, Bruno Mars.  If this doesn't make you want to dance along, I don't know what will!   

I'm linking today with Live a Colorful Life for Really Random Thursday!

Live a Colorful Life

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Hitting the Thrifts

Thrift shopping wasn't on the radar when I woke up today*, but when a good friend emailed that St. Vinnie's was having a 50% off everything sale, plans were revised.

The place was packed, as you might imagine, but I was surprised that there were still many deals to be had when we got there at noon.  

Like these framed and matted prints, which will go in the kitchen.

I am trying to be judicious about the stuff I bring home.  Really, I am.  After all, organization of the basement sewing space is still a priority (and possibly a never ending task).  So I ask myself, will it end up in the basement?  If the answer is "probably," then I need to walk away.

Fabric excepted, of course.  Which is why I picked up a few more colorful shirts.  They were 75% off at thrift store number two, or about a buck apiece.

Cute, buttery leather purse was six dollars.  I've been wanting something with a wider opening that I can get my wallet/checkbook in and out of easier.  This will do, in a springy, robin egg blue!

About that ongoing organization project I mentioned, I started sorting scraps into bins by color this week.  I designated one bin "multi" because there are some scraps that just can't be pigeonholed, you know?

I still have mounds of yardage to fold and shelve, but it feels like I made some headway sorting the smaller pieces, and also putting a few other things away that I've allowed to pile up.

While sorting, I came across a kit for a wall hanging that I thrifted last year sometime. I might not make the wall hanging, but I will use the fabric.

One of the upcoming to-dos is to quilt the second UFO from the projects to be finished list.  This involves mopping the kitchen floor first, so I can baste it.  I can hardly wait.  ;)

*Thanks to my next-door neighbor who decided to fire up an air compressor right outside my bedroom window at still-dark-thirty, followed shortly thereafter by the neighbor across the street starting and idling his car, which lacks a muffler and pretty much the entire exhaust since it fell off in the middle of the road three weeks ago. 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Ship Shape

Ta-dah!  The shirt quilt top is D-U-N, done.

(Anyone remember the scene from O Brother when the kid is going to R-U-N-N-O-F-T, like his mama, Mrs. Hogwallup, up and did?  F-U-N-N-Y.)

Anyway.  I finished this one and have decided not to border it, remembering that the thing that attracted me to the inspiration quilt pictured in Country Living magazine was its simplicity.  It will, however, get a red binding of some sort.  Eventually.

This is called a sailboat block, but I must be a blockhead because I don't really see sailboats.  What I see more resembles battleships or aircraft carriers, or maybe funny hats.  Mileage may vary, and all that, I suppose.

It's made from recycled men's shirts and measures about 72 x 64, which is a good throw quilt size for our lanky household.

Linking to:
Link A Finish Friday at Richard and Tanya Quilts
Can I Get a Whoop Whoop? at Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Love Is All

Happy Valentine's Day!

Found this while cleaning the sewing room today...
I think I'll finish it as a mini.
Roses from Norm.  He thought these yellow ones were the prettiest.  They sure are!
He brought this little primrose home from the grocery store a couple weeks ago too.  With all the white stuff still piled up outside, it reminds me that spring is around the corner.

Valentine's Day here is pretty simple—a card, flowers, and something yummy for dinner.  We had homemade lasagna and a nice salad.

Another fabric scrap find.
I'll also make chocolate-dipped strawberries before I head to work this evening in a little while.  Gotta have chocolate (at least I do)!

I hope you're all feeling loved today, and every day!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Favorite Things Friday - Free Time!

One of my employers was on vacation this past week, so I had some extra free time, and that is my Favorite Thing!

I kept plugging along on the sailboat blocks for the shirt quilt.  While catching up on episodes of Say Yes to the Dress, What Not to Wear, and Love It or List It, I (simultaneously) got all these done.

Originally, the plan was to set this 9 x 9, so it'd be about 81 inches square.  However, I am approaching the bored out of my mind stage with these, which just so happens to coincide with the running low on some of the shirt fabrics stage.  So I have decided to set it 7 x 8 and maybe/maybe not add a border.  That way I can squeak out a finish with the materials I have and move on.

I do like it quite a lot, though!

I also did some reading and dreaming about quilts.  

(If you really want to get your quilt geek on, you may enjoy the academic discussion in the nearly inch thick, The Natural History of the Traditional Quilt.  Google it and you should be able to read several pages online to get an idea of the analytical nature of this book—or enlarge the photo below.  I think it's extremely interesting, but I have to take small bites of it at a time when I have an adequate attention span.)
Trying to decide on what kind of drunkard's path quilt to make.  Will it be a sampler like this one, perhaps?

From 65 Drunkard's Path Quilt Designs by Pepper Cory
Or this snake's trail?  Both would satisfy my desire for variety.  The snake's trail has scrappy/string quilt appeal as well.

From 65 Drunkard's Path Quilt Designs by Pepper Cory
Then there is this "Diamonds Are Forever" string quilt.  So many quilts, so little time!

From String Quilt Revival by Virginia Baker, et al.
But it was great to indulge in dream time, which is important for creativity.  Julia Cameron, author of The Artist's Way, calls it "filling the well."

I also attended to the long-procrastinated task of putting my estate planning documents together in a binder.  It's been two years since we had our wills and powers of attorney done, and the thought of anyone being able to find these and other important papers in the upside-down space that is both my sewing room and "filing" area had me concerned (apparently not concerned enough to take care of it for two whole years, however).  So there's that.

And I made an impulse buy with what I thought were soon-to-expire eBay bucks.  They were, in fact, expired (by a day) when I went through eBay checkout, but I still bought half yard of Type!

 I'm also linking with Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?  What have you been up to this week?

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Red Fish, Blue Fish

I took advantage of the bright sunshine yesterday morning to take some pictures, as the thermometer was struggling to climb to 0 degrees Fahrenheit.  I ventured just a few steps from the front door and spent about as long out there as it took to toss the quilt down  and press the camera button a couple times.  Brrr!
I've already posted about this heart wall hanging, but I think it looks better in full daylight against fresh snow than in a dark hallway on a dreary day.

I also quilted a little mini last week from some HST scraps left over from something else.  I'm calling it "Red Fish, Blue Fish."

It's mini-runner size, maybe about 7 x 21, or about the size of my computer keyboard that I'm looking at here, trying to guesstimate.

I also started cutting up men's plaid shirts for the quilt idea I had mentioned here

Also got a few of the sailboat blocks done.  They go together fast with chain piecing.

The time consuming part is cutting up each shirt, but it's a relaxing thing, even if it is sort of boring.

Something about working with thrifted shirts feels very grounding.  Maybe it's the humble medium or the soothing patterns.  And since it's not the latest designer fabric, there's no anxiety about messing up.  Maybe the simple act of pressing the shirts, or parts thereof, has me recalling another time, when the social network consisted of whoever was chatting with you in the vicinity of the ironing board (grandma, mom, sister, brothers, etc.). 

I'll probably putter away at these blocks a bit here and there, with other things happening between.  I'm considering possibly a red border of some kind when I get that far, but who knows, I may change my mind a few times by then.

I'm also thinking about other projects on the bucket list that I might like to start.  In particular, an Irish chain (single, double, or triple) and/or a drunkard's path are appealing at the moment.  Preferably from stash, although I don't know if I have enough of what I have in mind to use.  We'll see!