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Monday, June 30, 2014

x + x + x, = ??

Three things to be happy about:
(1) a smart phone
(2) vintage clothing
(3) a red stapler

Speaking of red staplers, I've seen "Office Space" several times and it always cracks me up!

I don't have a smart phone or a red stapler or vintage clothing, so I'll be happy about the progress I'm making on my x and plus quilt... even though it's a bit slow.

These are all the blocks I've finished so far, in no particular order...

I know I'm going to be satisfied with this quilt and I still believe it'll be a fuss-free quilt because of the scrappiness which, as you know, I love!

To save time I've been adding corners to a bunch of the 3-1/2" squares (the "x" part), whatever looked good, then matching them up with pre-sewn "plus" parts, but it's not working out the way I imagined.

Some of the fabric combinations don't look so great; time to make a decision...

I think my challenge comes when I use different color values for the "x" pieces... maybe I should stick with all light or all medium or all dark for a single block.

The main thing is, I think I might need to work on just one block at a time but hey, I'm not in a hurry!

We'll see, but I figure I'll need about 90 blocks for a 9 x 10 layout, so the ones I've already done will  fit in with the new ones - whether they want to or not!

Photographs really give you a good idea of how blocks look together...

Gotta watch those ugly fabrics though - they're still ugly!  Sew forth and sew on til later, got more x-ing to do...

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Fresh and new!

Fresh is good and new is good, but when you have fresh and  new  at the same time, it can't help but be a winner!

Our long-awaited new Safeway had its grand opening yesterday and it was well worth the wait!  As the second largest Safeway in the city, it's about 55,000 square feet, includes underground parking and will have approximately 200 apartments above it - all within 3 blocks of my home!

You can't get much better than that.

I went to the opening ceremony with a neighbor and was happy with everything I saw!

Everybody was friendly and helpful - these two ladies from the corporate office were nice enough to pose in front of the great looking vegetable display!

There were lots of munchies -
sun-dried tomato soup from the hot bar!

fresh pineapple from the fruit aisle!

crab dip from the deli section!

There was sushi, sorbet, potato salad, yogurt, antipasto, cookies, club sandwiches... and look at these great meats!

I love the lighting and the wide aisles in this store, as well as the smaller "2-story" shopping carts.  This new store has things not found in the old one at this location, such as a Starbuck's counter, a sushi bar, bulk foods, a salad bar, upscaled deli selections, more organic veggies, a beer and wine aisle.  The deli and bakery sections are larger too.

This store also has self check-out, something the old store in this location didn't offer.  

And last but not least, I got to pose with democratic mayoral candidate Muriel Bowser as I was checking out!

We're all glad the new Safeway is finally open, it's always nice to check out new things.  I spent over an hour in the store listening to the speeches, tasting, looking, asking questions - and taking pictures!  

So, now you know what I did yesterday instead of sewing - sew forth and sew on til later!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Freeform quilt progress

Three things to be happy about:
(1) a refund check in the mail
(2) a glass of iced tea
(3) shower-damp skin

I'm still poking at the free form quilt I wanted to make with gifted scraps, and when I looked at the little block I did earlier I realized I was working with too-small pieces.  I don't want to nickel-and-dime this wall hanging.

The sunflower is perfect as is, I think that panel looks great!

I'm not too wild about the little block at the left, though; it bothers me sitting over there...

I moved it to the top of the piece, I like it in that position but I'm not too crazy about the blue...

Do I need to add another strip of that white and black piece at this point?  I introduced it in that block, so I need to address it again at some point...

I also cut the other 16-patch block in half, sewed the short ends together and cut a long strip from it, I like it!  I'm deciding now if I want to put a thin strip of "something" between it and the larger panel, or let it be as is.

Some shade of red looks better in that top right position I think.

Not sure yet if I'll leave the purple in that position or how large it will be.

Still playing, I have time!

Sew forth and sew on til later!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Home again!

Three things to be happy about:
(1) Joshua trees in the desert
(2) an enormous lunch
(3) getting over jet lag

Well, I'm back from my trip to Las Vegas, and I have to say the most impressive part of my vacation was our trip to the West Rim (as opposed to the South Rim) of the Grand Canyon!

I was waaaaay back from the edge when I took this shot, but you can still see how majestic the Canyon is - words just can't describe it!  What looks like trees in the distance?  It's all rock!

We visited the Hualapai Ranch where they offered horse rides, covered wagon rides, etc., but our best view of the Canyon was from Eagle Point, which is 4000 feet above the Colorado River.

We saw Native performers at the Eagle Point Amphitheater who performed a prayer dance.  I found it interesting that the men danced in the middle, while the ladies walked sedately in a counter-clockwise circle around them.

As we posed for a picture I asked one of the ladies what was the significance of their position but I don't think she understood what I was trying to ask.  Either that, or she was tired of tourists asking the same stupid questions every day, every single time they did the same dance in those hot costumes in all that heat.


On the way to the Canyon we stopped at the Hoover Dam for a few minutes since we were passing close to it.  I took this shot from the Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge that was built in 2010, spanning the Colorado River and connecting Arizona and Nevada - now I can add Arizona as a state visited!

During our bus ride there was a really good taped presentation about Las Vegas, the Canyon and the Dam, the history surrounding its construction.  You are allowed free access to the bridge, but tours inside the Dam go through a security check (thanks LizA!).

On Monday we went to Television City at the MGM Grand, where we got a chance to preview and rate a new tv sitcom that will premier this fall, "The McCafferty's" (I hope I spelled it right).

A group of us were taken to a small studio where we saw very brief trailers of 5 different shows; I hadn't heard of any of them, but The McCafferty's is the pilot they showed us.  It's about a manipulative mother, basketball coach father; three sons (one gay) and a daughter all adult but living close to each other in the same Boston neighborhood.

In my opinion, it's just another sitcom that the world could probably do without, but hey - stay tuned for it this fall!  You might like it - a lady in the row behind me was cracking up the whole time.

Another thing I absolutely loved was the nightly volcano show at The Mirage!

They had shows every half hour between 8 pm and midnight - the picture on the right was taken at 8 pm.  Our room on the 27th floor at Harrah's had the perfect view, I think it was probably better than at street level.

There would be a groaning whump-whump-whump-whump-whump sound, then the coals would light up atop the volcano, then you'd hear music and a rhythmic drum beat!

The picture at the left was taken at a later eruption, to show how impressive the fire and lights were after dark.

Water and fire erupted from the sides and top of the volcano - what a sight!

The finale included a large gush of fire from the side, and little jets of fire representing hot coals rushing down towards the plaza.

Of course we visited Fremont Street after dark; what can I say about Fremont Street... nuff said!

I think this year there were even more animated statues and super heroes/villians on the strip than I've seen before.  On Fremont Street there was a "snake man" who did all kinds of contortions, and stuffed himself into an 18" box as a finale.  I started not to post this picture because the full length of Fremont Street is covered by a canopy of lights showing animated music videos, and it's impossible to get a good shot, but here it is...
trust me, he got all the way down into that box - and closed the lid!

We were there for a week and had a wonderful time!  OMG, the food at the Rio!  Michelle had a platinum card and it felt great bypassing the long line for the buffet - and, they served us free champagne! But... it's always good getting back home, isn't it?  
My sister Michelle, friend Sandy and me at Flamingo Hotel.

Sew forth and sew on til later!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Fruit art

Vacation time!

These playful dolphins were too cute not to share!

Sew forth and sew on til later...

Thursday, June 12, 2014

More play time

Three things to be happy about:
(1) an intuitive cook
(2) fresh spinach
(3) ham and cheese omelet

(I think somebody's ready for breakfast!)

Can these three pieces play nicely together?

I've been doing structured work lately, now it's time to play some more!

Let's see about these three pieces...

I got all three in a bag of scraps (thanks, Deb!!) and I wanted to create a free-form quilt with them.  The 25-patch was part of a strip...
that I unpicked a unit from and added little mini-sashes to make a single long strip...   
I didn't get a picture of the strip before I cut it apart, you'll see it later...

This is a block I made in November 2013 from leftover 2-1/2" pieces (see it here) that I didn't like and knew I wasn't going to use...

I sliced and diced it...

it's got possibilities!

Here are my parts and pieces so far, not necessarily in the right places...
The little one at the top started out as the green 9-patch, the long strip on the right was made from the 25-patch and sliced vertically.  Who knows how this free-form quilt will grow and transform! 

In case I don't blog again this week, I'm on my way to Las Vegas on Sunday morning (6:55 am flight *yawn*) for a week with my sister and a friend.    And as they say - what happens in Vegas ... gets reported on my blog!  

Sew forth and sew on til later...

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Play time

Three things to be happy about:
(1) "forever" stamps
(2) fancy needle cases
(3) California Chrome

I saw this on Facebook and thought it was cute:

I probably won't be doing much in the sewing room the rest of the week, doing this and that to get ready for my vacation.

One spot of good news - the next book in Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series (Written in My Own Heart's Blood) is scheduled for release today!  The last book's cliffhanger (An Echo in the Bone) had me on the edge of my seat, I may spend some time re-reading parts of it before I start the new one.

There were some things I wished hadn't happened though - I wish big Ian hadn't died; I wish Roger hadn't gone back thru the stones to the 1700's to look for his kidnapped son; I wish Roger and Brianna had used more common sense with the letters from Jamie and Claire; I wish Claire hadn't had to marry Lord John ...

Sew forth and sew on...

Monday, June 9, 2014

Keeping the art alive!

In a previous post I talked about a visit to our Bee from Double Nickels president Toni Ford, who is chronicling quiltmaking by seniors.  Founded in 2006 by Antoinette Ford, Double Nickels Theatre Company is a community theatre whose focus pays tribute to the legacy of seniors and veterans by highlighting and sharing their true life stories.

Friday I attended a cook-out at Toni's home to preview the final version of her film, "Senior Quilters: Keeping the Art Alive," and it was great!   I was proud to be a part of it.  In the photo are Double Nickels board members Antoinette Ford (right) and JC Hayward.

I was debating whether to blog about the event because I didn't get a lot of pictures and I'm a bit tongue-tied (or finger-tied) on what to say about it, but I'll share what I have, it is what it is!

Beautiful quilts on display!
This lovely quilt was given to the caterer by her grandmother - why didn't I get close ups???

and what would a cookout be without great food!
The Grillfather is an avid fisherman, he caught the fish he was deep-frying!

yes, that IS home made sweet potato pie!!!

I don't know why I didn't get more pictures of the quilts, what was I thinking?  Quilts were hung under the trees and draped over the fences.  

Double Nickels will release the film on You Tube soon, I'll let you know when it is available.  You might see someone you know!

That's it for now, have to get me gone before the parking restriction time kicks in at 9:30, they DO give $50 tickets!

That's it for now, sew forth and sew on til later

Friday, June 6, 2014

Still finishing up

Three things to be happy about:
(1) unsalted pistachios in the shell
(2) Trident gum
(3) toothpicks

Last Friday I picked up my anniversary quilt from the LA's, just have one more side of the binding to finish by hand and it's done!

Sewed the first border on the Milk Maid star quilt, looking good!

I'm haven't decided what to do about the outer border, maybe something with a large busy pattern - pull out one of those ugly pieces!  I don't think I want to use red for this one.

Remember this project?  It's my x and + quilt!  I started cutting fabric for it in this post.

I took a few bits and pieces to my last bee meeting and cut a lot of two inch strips on my Accuquilt GO! for the project bin.  

I put another block together, just to see if it's what I want to finish up next.

I think it's a go, let's move this one out of the box!

Just a few last pictures from the quilt show...

When I saw the quilt on the right, I just wanted to stand and stare at it!  

The placement of  the blocks, combined with the colors, creates a lot of interest and movement.

In this one I really like the way she placed the inserts, without being predictable!

You gotta have heart! 

That's it for now, sew forth and sew on til later!