Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The Best Intentions ...

... Go by the wayside

I had several projects lined up for retreat that would require large design walls -- at least larger than I have at home. But in the end I left those at home since I decided I should finish a few small projects and work on Christmas gifts. 

First up yesterday I enlarged the tote pattern and quickly assembled another one.  My little travel Janome did not handle the stitching quite as nicely as my Baby Lock at home, though so I have plans to make another one for Secret Santa when I get home Thursday.

Tote #2 - New and Improved
This one went into the S'mores Dirty Santa swap tonight.  It was picked first and stolen once.  Quite a record for me!

My first gift pick turned out to be an oh-so-soft pink and gray wool scarf with matching gloves.  It was stolen by the person who brought it because she couldn't bear to part with it!  The nerve!

I ended up with a Frivols mini quilt kit.

This one is Polka Dots & Paisleys (Minick & Simpson for Moda) in luscious patriotic colors.

The kit will make this sweet 26" x 26" mini.

Guess what I'll be working on tomorrow!  I haven't been able to finish any of the other projects I brought for one reason or another.  And I don't think my small travel machine is the best choice for quilting the Christmas table runners.  So why not start something new!!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Secret Santa

Shh, it's a secret!

My first attempt at a quilty non-quilt item is less than spectacular.

Travel Iron Tote - needs handles and buttons
The little travel iron tote -- pattern by Sisters' Common Thread -- looks a lot more intimidating than it is.  The instructions are well written, considering it's difficult to describe with words where to put stitching lines in an oversized rectangle. 

A template would have been helpful, but I carefully followed each step, double checking measurements along the way. Voila!  The amazing thing is the stitching lines really make the thing fold like it's supposed to!

So why do I think it less than spectacular?  First, the only elastic I have on hand is pure white so I tried both coffee and tea dying it.

Attempting tea dye
Apparently polyester and rubber don't absorb dye, but I did take a little of the whiteness out.

Could I find my button box when I need it?  NO. So a stop for buttons will be on today's agenda. 

The main reason for my disappointment, however, is the iron I purchased to go in the tote is too big!

I don't have to include the iron in the gift, but I thought it would be a nice touch.  I plan to attempt making a bigger one this week at retreat.  Stay tuned.

And now I'm off to three days of sewing with some really great friends.  Have a great week, Y'all!

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Oh, Happy Day!

The second clue of Bonnie's mystery -- you know, the one I'm *not* doing -- was revealed on Friday.  Even though triangle-in-a-square blocks are my least favorite, this clue made me happy because:

1)  I found the perfect magenta fabric in my stash!

2) I was able to make the units at 4-1/2" to match my erroneous 4-patches without doing any higher math calculations!

And 3)  Even at half the number, the larger unit size will yield a nice size quilt.

So far, so good. Forty-eight TiS units done; waiting to see how they will be used before making more.

Hop over to Quiltville's Quips and Snips to check on others' progress.

In between I squeezed in some small flying geese as leaders/enders.

The beginning of Dutchman's Puzzle
I had cut the geese for another project, then changed my color scheme for that project. I think this chocolate brown with sprinkles background/sky will be unexpected.

This morning I went in a totally different direction, working on a Secret Santa project.

No, it's not a placemat.  It is going to be ...

... an iron tote!!!  Once I worked through the geometry of the stitching/fold lines, it was a lot easier than I thought it would be.  Now on to the binding, handles, and buttons.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Not Doing Bonnie's Mystery

Repeat, Not Doing Bonnie's Mystery

For new readers, Bonnie Hunter at Quiltville's Quips and Snips hosts a mystery quilt-along in the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Years Day.  A clue is released each week on Friday and the following Monday there is a link-up to share progress.

I am NOT doing Bonnie's Mystery!

Pretty strong declaration for someone who made 120 neutral HSTs last weekend, huh?

I still have lots of UFOs as well as new projects in progress, so I made the decision not to play along  this year.  Instead, I will look at it as an extension of the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, using appropriately colored scraps with each clue until I run out of that color.  I may or may not have enough units to make the quilt even at half scale. But, as Gayle at mangofeet said, Bonnie's units always fit together and I can use them in a design of my own, if necessary.

There's one problem, though ... I was working from memory and pulled 2-1/2" strips instead of 2".  Big DUH!  I could easily trim them down to the correct size, but the thought of wasting that much fabric hurts.  OR, I could just make everything else bigger.  If that plan requires high-level math, then I'll just use the neutral 4Ps as background for applique!

Hop over to Quiltville to see how others are keeping up with the mystery.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Smith/Murray/Bowman Thanksgiving in Review

The Family

Libby, Alex, DS-2, CG, AA, DS-1
(DIL-2 taking the picture)

The Parade

DIL-1 somewhere in the crowd
Also 2nd cousins in a band

The Meal

Turkey, Glazed Carrots, Green Beans Almandine
also Colcannon, Stuffing, and Rolls

The Games

Colt Express
Camel Up!
Sushi Go!

Ticket to Ride - Asia
And the Winner Is ...

Son -2!!
After three days and nights of stiff competition, Son-2 took the overall "Z score."  Don't ask me what that means, but AA assures me it's a mathematical calculation of relativity to zero.

I came in last.  😞

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Blogger Issues

Is anyone else out there upset with the recent format changes in Blogger?

At my age I'm doing well to keep up with technology.  Once I get comfortable with something, I don't adapt well to change.  I liked when I used to go to Blogger Dashboard that my reading list appeared.  Now I have to go in search for it.  It took me about 10 minutes Thursday morning to figure out how to start a new post! 

Why are some of my older posts showing up as drafts, yet there are comments so I know they were posted?

And why is it trying to publish before I'm through composing???

Can someone steer me through the changes?  Or can someone recommend an alternate platform?


Happy Thanksgiving!

Blessings to One and All

On this Thanksgiving morning, while I am thankful for so many things, I want to especially highlight the blessing of getting to "know" so many "virtual friends" through blogging. 

Every day I look forward to reading about your adventures, learning from your misadventures, receiving your comments, and benefitting from your advice.

Thank you, Dear Readers, for your friendship!

Alex and I made it to Conway Tuesday with only minor glitches -- a tire pressure light that eventually went off after the temperature warmed up (apparently my tires don't like 37 degrees), and a wiper blade that almost flew off in a rainstorm.

Thanks, Toyota Conway, for your quick and kind service!

Son-2 arrived safely yesterday wearing his NYC Marathon Shirt ...

... and the games commenced.  First up was Phase 10 Twist (a twist on Phase 10). I started out strong, had a brief sprint to the front midway, but in the end Son-1 took the prize (bragging rights only).

After dinner we played Colt Express, a game of schemin', stealin', and shootin' in the Wild West.
So politically incorrect in so many ways, it was still fun and challenging. 

Alex and I teamed up as Cheyenne.  Our best schemes were thwarted in rapid succession and we finished in last place.

The turkey went in the brine last night and is soon headed for the oven along with sides of glazed carrots, green beans almandine, and colcannon mashup. Son-2 is the head chef in this family but DIL is in charge of the turkey.  The meal is always beautiful and delicious!

Looking forward to more fun and games while watching the Macy's parade this morning and sports this afternoon.  All-in-all, the Best kind of Thanksgiving celebration.

Best wishes to everyone for a blessed Thanksgiving.