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Friday, April 27, 2012


... and oh my goodness!  When I went into my dashboard to do today's post, I was greeted with this message at the top:
The old Blogger interface will be removed in the coming month

Well darn; so now we know.

I had a great time at the Faithful Circle quilt show yesterday with Felicia, the Slow Quilter.  You want to know one group of quilts that really intrigued me?  It was the Rainbow Connection Mystery Quilt that several Faithful Circle members did!

These four quilts are from same pattern, but isn't it great how each person's interpretation of the same pattern can give such different results, when the color choices are not a hard and fast rule - and they're all gorgeous!

And look, someone finished her Orca Bay mystery!  If you were interested in doing this mystery before it gets retired on May 1, better grab it now -- or wait for the book!
I've seen a lot of pictures of Orca Bay when quilters posted their finished quilt, but this is the first one I've seen in person.  Believe me, the pictures I've seen do not do this quilt justice, it is really pretty up close and personal!  She used leftover blue string blocks on the back, great back art!

Now, this still life just spoke to me for some reason...

was it the muted color pallet? the subtle focus on that one piece of fruit? the play of light coming through the window?  I dunno, maybe all those things were calling out to me!  It's one of those kind of quilts you can look at for awhile, especially when the quilting adds extra interest.

Beautiful selvages... two fairy tales...

I was loving it!

After we finished ogling the quilts and not buying fabric (Felicia just had to have a cute drunkard's path-type ruler), we headed over to Houlihan's Restaurant and Bar in Columbia/Elkridge for a quick bite.  It was my first time going to this Houlihan's, I was more familiar with the one in Friendship Heights that closed a long time ago.  I had a very tasty jumbo lump crab melt sandwich, with peanut ginger slaw on the side, yummy!

We had fun and I have more pictures of the quilts to share later, it was a wonderful show as usual.  Have a great Friday! 

Sew forth and sew on

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Little bits and big bites

Three things to be happy about:
(1) caring friends
(2) the squish of soaked grass
(3) mascarpone cheesecake

What in the world is mascarpone cheesecake?  Oh well, if it makes ya happy, go for it!

While I was MIA I got a very nice email from one of my readers that really touched my heart:
Hi, I am a daily reader of your very nice blog and I miss seeing you post – I hope that you are not ill and that all is well at your house.  Hope you are just taking a rest from it and hurry back soon.
That was so sweet of her; it feels so good to know someone out there cares for me - thanks again, Marie!  :o)

Yesterday I pieced some scrap yardage to make my applique border for the crumb stars quilt; I already had some blue in my stash, so I made the red. 

I decided to make some over-large flowers with a slinky stems... or maybe just a winding stem with flowers scattered along the border?  In any case, I'd like to make a yellow piece, then I'll be ready to fuse and cut! 

The culprit
 You ever have a good idea and regret it later?  When I took a friend to Wegman's on her first trip, I got a carton of their butternut squash soup - good idea because I love butternut squash soup!   I wasn't too-too hungry for dinner so I thought I'd have a cup of that soup.

Well, it was so good without too many carbs, so I had another bowl... bad idea!

Just shortly after I finished eating it I became very very aware of a "secret" ingredient - garlic puree!  Ouch!  Talk about heartburn city, I was there!

Lucky for me I reached the border after a few hours, but I tossed out the rest of the soup.  Too bad, because it was good!

Well, that's my tale and I'm sticking with it.  Today I'm grabbing Feesha and we're heading out to the Faithful Circle quilt show - bye everybody, have a great day!

Sew forth and sew on til later

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A layout change

Three things to be happy about:
(1) fresh peaches and raspberries
(2) homemade presents
(3) a child sharing a mother's passion

Well, it's almost strawberry picking season at Butler's Orchard in Maryland... I wonder if the strawberries will be good this year, with the weather being so funny?  My mother used to always make berry jam every year, including preserves from the purple grape hulls, that she'd mostly keep until the winter months.  She'd make jelly from the pulp and preserves from the hulls - nothing went to waste! 

I remember she'd get so annoyed with us when we'd say "Mama, can I have some more grape hulls?"  "It's preSERVES, not grape hulls!"  Years ago I used to pick lots and lots of strawberries and make lots and lots AND LOTS of strawberry jam - it was so good!  Everybody loved my jam, if I say so.

Thanks everybody for your needle comments, it seems there are a lot of methods that work equally well, depending on your needs at the time.  Now a word about rotary blades... no wait, I better not go there!

When I blogged about the stars I made with my strings in the center, in this post, I was pondering what kind of sashing to use with them. 

I used a very pretty black with small white dots and it looked sort of okay, but I let them sit on my design wall a few days just to make sure.  Just doing the vertical sashing was enough to see I didn't want to go that route for this quilt; it was starting to look a little ordinary, don't you think?  My stars need to shine!

So then I removed the sashing and sewed them together side by side...

looking good!  This is actually the layout I started out with, after I pieced the blocks but before I sewed them together.

Next I added a red border,

looking better!  Today my goal will be to add another white border, and place some scrappy applique along the edges.  Sound like a winner?  I think so too!

Enjoy your Wednesday, sew forth and sew on...

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Those (annoying) little pop-ups

Hi everybody, I'm glad for you to see me, I gar-an-tee!  As you may have noticed, I've been blog-absent for over a week, how'd that happen???   I must've been on a blog diet, haven't even been reading the blogs in all that time!  I wonder what's been happening in blogland? 

One annoying little pop-up I noticed is that when I had to sign in again, my view reverted back to the "new and impoved" enhanced version, which I don't like.  I'm trying to figure how to change it back.

How often do you change your needle??  I know, I know -- "new project, new needle" ... but what if you're working on 5-6 projects at once?  Does that mean 5-6 new needles? 

Unfortunately, I forget to change mine until it either starts pulling the fabric or bends; I was finishing the quilting on this little wall hanging when mine bent because it had worked loose in the needle holder. 

As you can see from the back view, there's only a little left to do so it shouldn't take long to finish...

And it's not as if I don't have needles!

Every time JoAnn's has a half price sale on needles, I grab a few packs and squirrel them away in my pretty little container "just in case" I need a new one some day.  So, today I'll also change the needle in my Janome, whether it needs it or not! 

How often do you change your needle?  Is it based on hours of use?  projects?  Do you remove the needle and put it with the WIP?  I'd really like to know   :O)

Now I'm going to spend a little time surfing the blogs to see what I've been missing.  Have a great Tuesday; sew forth and sew on til later...

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Golden oldies

Three things to be happy about:
(1) all of the socks emerging from the dryer
(2) motion-sensitive lights
(3) smiling at nothing in particular

I found a picture yesterday that made me smile... and remember those long, long ago days when I was at less than the midpoint(?) of my Federal career.

Please don't ask me the year this picture of me was taken!  Evidently I had completed a major project that they wanted to commemorate with a photo.  My boss, John Philips, is holding a Regulatory Guide that I must have completed;  Reg Guides were one of the guideline documents the NRC engineers used in overseeing construction and operation of nuclear plants. 

The equipment in the background isn't a PC, it has KODAK on the label.  We used to have equipment with monitors that connected to a large mainframe that sat on one side of the room; documents were saved on hard disks that sort of looked like those old 8-track disks.  Who knows...

Moving right along...

When I was trimming the string blocks for my stars, I started tossing out the trimmings until I took another look at them my mind started churning. 

Now, the average person would have just tossed them in the trash and kept going - thank goodness I'm above average!

You have to admit, those are pretty decent sized pieces if you're a crumb champion!

I got the bright idea to sew them onto strips and see what I came up with; I think they have potential.

trimmings attached to strings

two "leftover trimmings" made into crumb
Crumbs unite!

Have a great Thursday; sew forth and sew on...

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Almost strung out

Not me, not me - the string blocks!!!

I set out to do nine large blocks for my wall hanging, and this is an idea I'll definitely use again!  When you think how simple they are to do, you just want to do more. 
After piecing my central stringed part, I added borders for a diamond-in-a-square block and trimmed it down to 5-1/2 inches.  

This is what I worked with for all the central squares of my star block:
I decided to keep the border all the same for each block, to give the eye a quiet place to rest!  Also, you can still see that the center is made from strings, which was the whole point in making the quilt.  I used larger than necessary squares for this one because I wanted to twist the blocks and I knew I'd lose some of the border.

Now here they all are on my design wall!

See how some twist to the right, and some to the left?  I made a (roughly) 15-1/2 inch block, then used a 12-1/2 ruler to twist-trim it down.  Why 12-1/2?  Because that happened to be the size ruler I had... the next smaller size ruler I have is 9-1/2", and I'd have lost too much with that one.  Also, I wanted the center block to be large enough to give a decent nod to the strings!

Now my next task is to put sashings between them.  I want to keep it simple so the stars will shine... Bonnie made her Story Time Stars quilt with black and white sashing, which really set off the stars.  But I want to take an easier way out just to get this one done... thinking of just using a reads-as-solid fabric for the sashing?

Or heck, maybe I'll go ahead and make a pieced sashing!

Well, today is downright cold, temps in the 50's!  I wish I didn't have to go out but I have to see the eye doctor for my annual exam, which includes that pressure test where they squirt air into the eye.  I hate that almost as much as when they put the dilating stuff in there... makes your eyes feel big as saucers!

Have a great day everyone, thanks for your comments!   Sew forth and sew on til later...

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The grass is always greener

... and the azaleas always bloom first, on the sunny side of the street!

This is a shot of some azaleas across the street and down a bit from my house

isn't that white one pretty?

And here's a picture of my pitiful bush...

but my glad is glad!

Sure signs of spring! 

And here's a picture Charlene emailed me; it was so funny I had to share it...
on my, how Easter bonnets have changed!!

Have a great day everybody... sew forth and sew on til later!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Saturday, April 7, 2012

A good Good Friday

Hi everybody!  If Easter is here, can Spring be far behind?  I mean the "real" Spring, not the up and down weather we've been having!

Yesterday I went to a very inspiring Seven Last Words program at my former church, Gethsemane Baptist Church. 

There were seven ministers from seven different churches who gave a sermonette on the last seven Words spoken by Jesus on the Cross. The first one, from Luke 23:34, was "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." The second, from Luke 23:43, "Verily I say unto thee, today shalt thou be with me in paradise."  The third, from John 19:26-27: "Woman, behold thy Son!  Behold thy mother!" 

The fourth word, from Matthew 27:46, was "My God, My God, why has thou forsaken me?"  Fifth, from John 19:28: "I thirst." Sixth, from John 19:30, "It is finished."  And seventh, from Luke 23:46: "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit."

The choir did a beautiful job on the seven selections: Just For Me, He Will Remember Me, Near The Cross, Never Alone, Were You There, Jesus Paid it All, and Wounded for Me.

Each speaker spoke for 10 minutes (more or less!); it was a very inspiring afternoon and I got a chance to chit-chat with people I hadn't seen for awhile.

I was glad to get input on the stringy star blocks I'm working on, the consensus was to go with the scrappy format and that's what I did!

The one on the bottom right is the one I did a couple days ago; since it was pieced I thought I'd keep it!  But aren't they pretty!!

I made these oversized with the squares cut at 5-1/2", then I trimmed them down with a 12-1/2" square ruler.  I thought trimming them at an angle would add a lot of interest to the design, I have to be sure and twist the ruler in the other direction on some of em.  So that's three down, 6 more to go!

Also yesterday I finally got around to checking the mega million lottery ticket I bought last week to see if I won a piece of the pie...


Sew forth and sew on...

Friday, April 6, 2012

Four-inch Friday

Well, today is Good Friday!  When I was growing up my mom used to always say "Plant on Good Friday."  Of course she was referring to her vegetable garden, but her saying stuck with me... I always like to get new house plants on Good Friday, especially if some of mine are having a hard time!

I have three more four-inch blocks to add to my collection! 

I had this little unfinished penguin and snowman postcard pinned to my design wall ...

Somehow the red, black and white combination reached out to me, and I made this block - #33:
sorta looks like a lopsided pair of pants!


not too crazy about the color combination, but it'll fly!

I was using up the last of the blue scrap!

You can see these and all my other four-inch blocks by clicking on my flickr link at the right!

Enjoy your day, sew forth and sew on...

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Three string samples

I know you can't go wrong with strings, but I've had a little challenge getting this one off the ground!

Yesterday I rough-pieced several string blocks to use for the center of  my String Thing Along star.  I decided to do a diamond-in-the-square setting, just to be different and scrappy.

Here's the first setting I tried:
for some reason when I laid it out I thought it looked a bit busy, and I rejected it as an option.  But now that I look at it again, it looks okay.  Nice and bright, the way I intended!

But after rejecting the one above, I decided to go with just one color for the points, to match the borders of the diamond string section:

That's really dull and boring, isn't it?  All you can see is that center, it looks like a big blue splat! 

After laying it out with those colors, I decided my problem was that the fabric was all solid... so I tried a third layout and color combination:

This one uses the same fabric for all the star points...  Hmm... 

I went ahead and pieced this one and trimmed it, but "now that I look at it"...  I believe it's that blue center part that's throwing everything off!  I don't like the third setting as much as I thought I would, so I'll probably go back to the first layout I did.  That center surrounding the diamond might need a fix, though; also, I'm thinking of making the points a bit smaller.  Back to the drawing board!

Sew forth and sew on