Sunday, December 31, 2017

Rainbow Scrap Challenge 2017 Wrap-up

How did I do?

The Rainbow Scrap Challenge (RSC) is hosted each year by Angela at soscrappy.  She announces a color each month and participants try to make a dent in their scraps by making something with scraps of that color.  It is a wonderful way to purposefully work through your scraps; if you haven't participated in the past, I suggest you give it a try.  Angela will kick off the 2018 challenge in the next few days.

I managed to stay with the program this year, doing better some months than others.  That was limited not only by the time I had to devote to it, but also the amount of my scraps in any given color.  Throughout 2017 I had three ongoing projects:

1.  Chunky Churn Dash blocks.

Chunky Churn Dash blocks - RSC2017
Some months I made as few as 2 (light neutral and orange); one month I made 20 (green).  Even though I made a total of 66 blocks, at 6" finished I still need a few to make a quilt.  They are so cute and fun to make that I will keep them in my queue for 2018.

2.  Triangle Nines.

Triangle Nines - RSC2017
My plan was to incorporate both light and dark triangles of the month's color, but I found that I am very short of lights in most colors.  Not sure if I will continue making these in 2018, but adding light colors to my stash will certainly be an objective throughout the year.

3.  Scrap Jar Stars.

Scrap Jar Star - RSC2017
These were fun and relatively easy to make so I was able to able to make two or three every month.  I opted not to make any in brown because I didn't think they would play nicely with the other blocks, plus I had enough to make a complete quilt -- almost.

Scrap Jar Stars before border
I have selected and cut a border fabric, visible on the upper right; just haven't had an opportunity to get it properly measured and attached.  That will be my first task at my upcoming Rock Island Retreat.

Thank you, Angela, for inspiring so many of us to organize and use our scraps!

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Slow Stitching Friday

A day with friends

My big plan to host a pre-Christmas luncheon for the Smores went by the wayside when the painters occupied the house for 4 weeks.  Instead, I chose a date between the holidays, but between travel, appointments, and sickness, only three were able to make it.

What we lacked in numbers, we made up with cheerful conversation and slow stitching.  D crocheted a potholder, N worked on her perpetual applique project, S trimmed some HSTs, and I cut coral triangles for Sunset on Radnor Lake (a/k/a On Ringo Lake).  A big bowl of chili for lunch countered the chill of freezing temperatures outside.

Clue 6 - On Ringo Lake
Now that Christmas is behind me, and with no plans for New Year's Eve, I intend to devote today to catching up with all the clues for Bonnie Hunter's mystery so that I will be ready for the final reveal.

Christmas 2017 Rewind

Hermitage Style

Since we alternate which son we spend Christmas with (also Thanksgiving), and having trekked to Conway, AR for the Big Day, we decided to celebrate Christmas with the local Hermitage gang on Thursday, when both grandsons and one fiance were in town.

Even though I didn't finish the boys' picnic quilts, I stuffed a square in each of their stockings so that they could anticipate what would be coming in a few months.

GS-2 with Fiance
On the quilting front, I hit the jackpot!

A new book for more inspiration and a variegated quilting thread color card and this ...

OK, I know it's not exciting, but I had all these items on my Amazon Wish List because I REALLY wanted them.  I don't want the kids to spend money on "stuff" that I don't need and I try to keep a lot of reasonably priced items on the list so that they won't go overboard on the budget.

Christmas 2017 is now in the books.  Looking forward to an exciting 2018 -- lots of changes on the horizon.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Christmas 2017

A quick recap

Christmas in Conway - 2017
After a white-knuckle drive through rain, we arrived in Conway, AR in time for Friday dinner at a Mexican restaurant.  The pile of gifts under the tree doubled along with the bags of stocking stuffers from other branches of the family.

Son-2's house was decorated with many mementos of past Christmases, including this painting of Santa done by my very talented MIL who died in April.

We participated in the family's annual table-top game tournament, highlighted by a complex scoring system developed by GS-3.  Even though I won Sushi Go Party (my secret weapon was tempura shrimp), I was at the bottom or near the bottom of every other game we played. 

Gifts from family included warm slippers, a luxurious bamboo scarf, and Isotoner gloves.  On the quilting front, I am looking forward to starting Jen Kingwell's "My Small World."  And I'll attempt to work my way through Tula Pink's City Sampler: 100 Modern Quilt Blocks.

Santa surprised me with two gift certificates -- one for a new really smart phone to replace my current somewhat smart phone, and this:

Longarm quilting class and supplies
I'm home again and thinking about my quilting goals and plans for 2018.  Stay tuned!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas!

Season's Greetings to One and All!

Best wishes of the season to all my Virtual Friends.  
I appreciate the connection with every one of you and 
look forward to expanding my circle in 2018.

My very first Christmas quilt
I began quilting in 2001.  I finished my first quilt in July 2001 for GS-3 who was born in August that year.  We moved across town in April 2002 and I joined a new guild soon thereafter.  The above quilt (design by Lynette Jensen) may have been finish #2 or #3.  I made it at a retreat, quilted it myself, and gifted it to Son-2 and family that year.

Quilting detail
Yes, that is the extent of the quilting!  There is NO quilting in the borders.  The holly leaves are fused on, but no top stitching.  Regardless, my son brings it out every Christmas and displays it in a place of honor in the living room.

I have made a number of Christmas quilts in the meantime, had hoped to have them photographed for a Christmas quilt show.  But since it's been fruit-basket turnover at our house this month, I guess you'll have to wait till next year to see them all.

Again, best wishes for Christmas and the New Year!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Lookie, lookie!

A Living Room!

AND touches of Christmas can be observed.

I'm happy to report that, after six weeks of general disruption, including four weeks of sniffing paint fumes, we're back to just the two of us.  Actually, the house felt kinda empty yesterday without strangers moving around ...

Anyway, we are slowly regaining control of the house.  I've even slept in my own bed the last two nights!  The upstairs is almost 100% back in order.  And the entry nook, where the painters stored their equipment ...

... now looks like this:

Entry nook
Oh, look, I see where the outdoor broom has been hiding!  The view from the front-back door (or maybe it's the back-front door-- the house is oriented away from the street and no one uses this door):

Entry hall
Hoping to get the dining room back in order today and then all that will be left is the master bedroom and my studio.  Speaking of the studio, I have found time to get the last blocks of the second picnic quilt finished, but not together yet.

Picnic quilt #2
Needless to say, the grands won't be getting these for Christmas!  Life happens, what can I say.

Well, if you read to the bottom of this post, let me take this opportunity to wish my readers a very Merry Christmas.  May you have safe travels over the holidays.  I cherish all my virtual friends.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Wildlife Wednesday


Hard to see, I know, but it's rare to see a hawk perched on such a low branch in our yard.

I'm not sure what kind it is.  Not a red-tail, more likely a sharp-shinned, but I didn't get a good look to see if it had yellow legs.

I will miss the wildlife on this hill, but I'm sure there will be many new varieties where we plan to go.

Monday, December 18, 2017

ORL Part 4

When Bonnie Hunter released Clue 4 of her current Mystery "On Ringo Lake" Friday, I knew I wouldn't have much time to devote to it.  But I wanted to experiment with an idea that came to me when I was writing about Mary's Triangles earlier last week.

Mary's Triangles
Clue 4 is exactly like the pieced half of one of Mary's Triangles.

Make two Mary's Triangles blocks at a time
Illustration by That Patchwork Place
Sew I have worked out a way to do Clue 4.  I started with two blue 2" squares and two brown rectangles, 2" x 3".  I stitched one of each together, right sides together.

Sew square to rectangle

I pressed toward the brown ...

Press toward brown
... then stitched the two units together with the blue squares on opposite ends.

Stitch two units together
I snipped the seam at the mid-point so that I could press toward the brown again.

Snip seam at mid-pint
Last, I cut the triangles, using my 6-1/2" Easy Angle Ruler, making sure to allow for a quarter-inch seam.

Cut pieced triangle
I repeated on the other side.

There's about 1/4" of waste so I think, technically, I could have cut my rectangle a bit smaller but when I tried 2-3/4" it came out too small and I didn't want to have to find 7/8" on my ruler!

It's not particularly quicker, but I feel like I get a more accurate triangle than cutting little brown triangles with the Easy Angle ruler and sewing them onto the square.

It does end up with one flat corner; I'm hoping that won't create a problem.  Nevertheless, I probably won't have time to do many before we find out where they will be used.

Weekly House Progress Report

The end is in sight!

We had a couple of days' reprieve at the beginning of last week which gave us a few days to catch up on things and relocate more things.  But we are still in a state of total turmoil.

The painting last week focused on the living room and entry hall.

Living Room
 Wondering where that ladder is going?

Floor to Ceiling = 30 feet
There is NO way I'd go up to the top of that ladder.  These painters are acrobats!  The entry hall is almost as bad.

Entry Hall - only 20+ feet
We're hoping today will be the last day.  The only things left to do are finishing touches (including cleaning the windows!) and painting the red wall in the entry.

Entry Hall
Today we will concentrate on getting the two upstairs bedrooms back in order.  Which should give me a pathway to where the  Christmas decorations and wrapping paper are stored.  Shopping is done (thanks to Amazon); let the wrapping begin!

Friday, December 15, 2017

The Giving Season

Quilt Overload

As I'm weeding and winnowing things in anticipation of our next move, I've come to realize that I have far more finished quilts than I can use.  (And we're not even talking about the ones waiting for bindings, or the ones waiting to be quilted.)

I have been thinking about people in my life, especially women, who have played important roles in my adult experience.  My goal is to let them know how I feel by giving them a quilt.

The first one was Sharon, a woman in our church who has served others, both professionally and personally.  She has been the main coordinator of our women's monthly breakfast, many times filling all the roles of host, cook, and worship leader on a single Saturday.

Sharon with Mary's Triangles
I was responsible for the devotion at the September breakfast where I planned to surprise Sharon with a quilt.  I tried to think of a way I could use this quilt made from Mary's Triangles to illustrate my topic, but I soon realized how few times Mary (mother of Jesus) is mentioned in the Bible!

Instead, I talked about scriptures that inspire action or reaction, like the story of the rich man who wouldn't give up what he owned in order to get to heaven.  This passage had moved me to go to Long Beach, MS with other church members to help rebuild after Hurricane Katrina, where we distributed a number of quilts made by guild members.

Mary's Triangles
Mary's Triangles is one of those easy, two-at-a-time piecing techniques that create complicated looking blocks.  I found a great tutorial on Pinterest here.  (It also occurred to me that one could use the first part of the process to make Clue 4 of On Ringo Lake, once you figure out what size to cut.  I'll work on that!)

With Sharon's quilt I started with a collection of 5" strips someone had given me to make the large triangles.  I added in squares and neutrals from my stash for the pieced triangles.  My barn-raising layout was inspired by (and limited by) the number of blocks I could make with the big triangle colors.  Having been to Sharon's house numerous times, I knew this was the perfect quilt for her.  And you can see from the picture that she was thrilled!

Sharing with Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.  Hop over there to see what other quilters are whooping about this Friday.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

ORL Part 3

a/k/a/ Sunset on Radnor Lake

Aside from the fact that I have not had any time in the sewing room this week, I'm not thrilled that yet another Bonnie Hunter mystery includes "diamond in a rectangle" units.  So I'm waiting to see how they will be used before totally diving into Clue 3.

IF I were to make the diamond-in-a-rectangle units, however, I would want to cut them in the most efficient, least wasteful manner.  Gayle at mangofeet described her process to me and it made sense  (that's scary in so many ways!).

Sew, I did a little practice today and I'll share what I discovered.  First, I used my Easy Angle ruler to cut a half-square triangle from a pair of 2" strips of diamond fabric (wrong sides together to get mirror images).

Yes, I know I don't use the ruler as directed, but as long as I know I've cut my strip to the correct size, I don't have to pay attention to any of the numbers.  (I DO follow Bonnie's suggestion to put the line ON the fabric, however.)  I needed to establish a 45-degree angle for the diamond so I cut a usable triangle first, rather than wasting any fabric.  I already have a big stack of triangles from the first cut of the geese in Clue 2 and at some point I'll pair them up with a neutral for another quilt.

After just a few practice units, I discovered that the diamond is 2-5/8" in the long direction so I placed a 3" ruler on the strip, making sure the 45-degree line was aligned with the top of the strip, and the 2-5/8" line was on the angled cut.

I added background triangles, also cut with the Easy Angle ruler, and voila!

Perfect 2" x 5" diamond-in-a-rectangle units!

You're welcome.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Saturday House Progress

The dining room on Friday

Yes, that's a toilet in the dining room!  It's sitting on the carpet that came out of the powder room.  Yuck! I've been wanting to get rid of that carpet ever since we moved in.  Kinda hard to sanitize, if you know what I mean.

By Friday night the new floor tile was installed and the toilet put back in place.  I'm so thrilled with the black vanity!

The floor tile is the same as in the kitchen, done with leftovers from the previous owners.

Remember that mess in the living room yesterday?  DH was very busy while I was at a guild meeting today!

We have a few things to remove from the walls and a couple of large pieces to move to the center of the room before the painters arrive on Tuesday.  (Maybe I can fit in a few minutes of sewing time on Sunday after the handbell performance.)

So where did all that stuff go?  Either the master bedroom ...

... or the dining room.

Musical furniture! BUT, we are nearing the home stretch!  Painting could be finished as early as next Friday.  I am SO looking forward to having the house put back together! (And getting back into the studio to finish up some Christmas projects.)

Friday, December 8, 2017

And I thought the kitchen was bad!

Check out the living room

All of this will have to go somewhere else over the weekend so that the living room can be painted next week.

As I write this, carpet is being installed in the master bedroom and tile in the powder room.  Stairway down to the studio is being painted.  Lowes made the wrong color for the studio wall so I'm not sure that will get done today.  I'm stitching in the kitchen and going upstairs for the bathroom.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Week 3 Progress (or is it Week 4?)

I have my kitchen back!

Though it's not a beauty shot, please note the new Christmas towels -- the sum total of my Christmas decor to-date.  I have reclaimed the drawers, but since this photo the counter has been crammed with china from the dining room sideboard so it still looks like everything's been turned upside down.😞

The day-to-day schedule is still being altered day to day.  I just take a deep breathe and move on.  Yesterday afternoon I started some Christmas shopping, wandered the aisles of our new Michael's, picked up a couple things at Home Depot, and went way overboard at BB&B.  Since I was just looking for kitchen towels, I only took 3 coupons in with me.  Then I started picking up stocking stuffers, big mistake.  Oh, well, it felt good to get out of the house and get started on Christmas.

The exterior door from the deck into the master bedroom was replaced on Monday.

With the old door removed, we saw that the wood under the sill had completely deteriorated!  Which explains the leaks that damaged the studio walls directly underneath.

Once they had reinforced the sill and added metal flashing, the carpenter left his son-in-law to complete the door installation.  He was very fastidious but the poor kid was still doing the final caulking after dark.  It couldn't wait until morning because we were expecting heavy windblown rain overnight.  And boy did it rain!  I'm happy to report no leakage anywhere!

With the door installed, painting could begin in the master bedroom.  We are using the same light tan in the entire house.  In most rooms this is a shade darker than the "builder's white" of the walls.  In the master it is considerably lighter than the original color and has really brightened up that room.  Carpet is currently scheduled to be installed on Friday -- fingers crossed.

I've treated myself to a little stitching by making some more flying geese for Radnor Lake.

I've currently done 80% of the geese I'll need for a half-size quilt.  I'm waiting to see how I like it before I commit to anything bigger.  I had to take a break from the geese, however, to work on a secret Santa project with a deadline.  I'll wait to post photos after the gifting on Saturday.