Friday, May 31, 2019

Something New

Vegetable Garden

One year (in another life) I had volunteer tomato plants in the ditch behind our house where the neighbor's castoffs had washed down to our lot.  Another year (in this life) I planted a 25-cent tomato plant and it flourished until the ants got to the fruit before I could ...

That's been the extent of my vegetable gardening experience -- until now. I thought if I had a raised bed on the deck I might be able to keep the deer and other varmints from devouring the fruits of my labor.  So Santa brought me a raised trough garden for Christmas.

VegTrug and liner from Garden Supply Company
Yesterday we got the liner installed and mixed the recommended soil/manure/vermiculite mixture.  We decided it would be easiest to mix the three products directly in the trough in three layers.

DH used my new (and still unused) kayak paddle to stir each layer.

Let the planting begin!!!

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Another Tiny Thursday

Well, it's done.

TT Monarch Butterfly
Mine came out 1/4" too short -- I wondered why the body part was too long!  I think the lower wing pieces need to be cut 2.5" x 2.75"  and we need 4 of both background squares.  

So my proportions don't look as nice as Angela's but it's cute and sweet and I can adjust the final size with the sashing.  I usually make two of each TT block, so I may try another one ...

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

A Tip for Tuesday

a/k/a How to eat an elephant ...

Our local guild here in the Glade -- Fan-Tastic Quilt Guild -- has an open sew day on the 4th Friday of most every month.  When we're lucky, one of our members will share her knowledge and experience by teaching a technique or a special project to those who are interested.  (Otherwise, where 2 or 3 are gathered, we sit and sew ... and chat ... and eat ...)

This past Friday we had a special class with Sharon N. who LOVES small piecing.  She led the group through the Ins and Outs of piecing a 2" (finished) 9-patch, from the importance of an accurate 1/4" seam allowance to taking advantage of strip piecing.

The project had the 9Ps set on point with alternate 2" (finished) plain squares.  If you've ever made a large quilt with blocks set on point, you know those corner-to-corner rows can get pretty long.  Imagine if your blocks are 2 inches how many teeny blocks are in one of those long rows.  So Sharon came up with a way to organize the final piecing into sub-units that are not only easier to sew and press, but in the end will improve the overall accuracy.

For demonstration purposes I drew out 3" (finished) 4-patches with 3" setting squares.  The size isn't important; organizing your process is the objective.

The red lines indicate my sub-units.  I looked for a combination of blocks that could be repeated several times.  You will notice that all A units are 5x5; the A units have 4-Ps in the corners, and the
A-1 units have plain squares in the corners.  The B units are identical, as are the C and D units.  Again, the size of the blocks OR the size of the sub-units is not critical.  The objective is to break the final assembly into something that is easy to manage and easy to press.  In the end you will improve your accuracy!

I hope this is as eye-opening to you as it was to me!  And I thank Sharon for letting me share her technique with my readers.

Monday, May 27, 2019

A Little Patriotic Stitching

... Almost

Now that the snowbirds have returned to the Glade, our social calendar is filling up.  Add in chiropractor visits and my guild responsibilities as Education chair (someone had to step in) and that hasn't left much stitching time this week.

I decided it was time to get back to my Dawn to Dusk (from More Nickel Quilts) project.  While "auditing" a class at 4th Friday Sit-n-Sew, I used my time to cut about 20 more blocks which I put together today.

I prepped about 25 more blocks this afternoon but after making mistakes assembling the first three blocks after dinner tonight I decided I should give it a rest!

I also assembled  a stack of Strip Twist blocks while I was tending the class on Friday (as Ed chair I have to open and close so I chose to stay and sew ... and listen to the class ...)

I think I need to make a few more blocks before I start laying this one out.  Besides, I want to get the blue quilt together and off the wall first.

A patriotic sunset  

Sunset 5/27/19
I wish my phone camera would catch the reflection in the water.  It looks like pink Kool-aid.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Tiny Thursday

Wha ...??

I was gearing up to leave town last week when the Tiny Tuesday block was introduced.  And I had a day full of activity on Tuesday this week so even though I sewed, I didn't have time to plan and prep the TT blocks.  Until yesterday

Those bear paw claws will finish at 3/4".  Each week I try to make a reverse-value block but that bear paw bow tie is NOT going to get a partner! I'll find another little block to make in orange if I need it.

Sunrise 5/23/19

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Sewing again

After an extended weekend in Arkansas to attend GS-3's high school graduation, I finally had some time to sew today, continuing with Strip Twist that I first wrote about here.

Strip Twist
At Devo and Sew today I was able to complete 32 of the 48 blocks I will need.  The beauty of this pattern is the diagonal seams match because the seams nest but nothing else has to match block-to-block.

Our Floor Show (show and tell) included one of my donation quilts that Jane had quilted.

Summer Heat - Nancy Mahoney design
Another gorgeous sunrise this morning.

Sunrise 5/21/19

Sunday, May 19, 2019

It's Been a While

Sorry, Family comes first!

The Fam without the Graduate (I didn't quite fit in the photo)

First look at the regalia - I'm obviously impressed

The kid on the Jumbotron

The grad, proud grandparents and aunt

Friday, May 17, 2019

Burr under my saddle

Strip Storage

Some things just annoy me to the point I need to take action. 
Believe me, this doesn't happen often 😏
This week it's this mess.


A couple years ago I attempted to organize my scraps a la Bonnie Hunter into some sort of "Scrap Users System."  I sorted 1.5", 2", and 2.5" strips.  I even cut some miscellaneous chunks into these frequently-used sizes.  The problem is I don't make scrappy quilts!  At least, rarely do I go totally scrappy.  So my boxes and bins just sat on the shelf.  And the strips developed more ravelly edges the longer they sat.

The day had come when I couldn't stand it any longer!  I have to admit, though, that coming across a free Bonnie Hunter pattern while purging my pattern files was a big inspiration.  The pattern, Strip Twist, uses 2.5" strips.

Strip Twist by Bonnie Hunter
So I started randomly sewing light/dark strip twosies and then paired them to make foursies and cut them into 8.5" chunks.

I have to admit it was kinda liberating to just grab and sew!  AND, I threw away any bits that were less than 2.5"!!!  Sadly, I've hardly made a dent in the bins so far but I intend to keep going, perhaps with a more controlled palette with some of the fabrics that have multiple strips already cut.

My rough sample showed me I need to watch for repeat fabrics and that the really light fabrics seem to just disappear in the mix.

Test Block
Each quadrant is 8 inches so a finished block will be 16 inches.  That should make a nice size quilt go together quickly.  I'll start pairing up blocks at the next Devo and Sew day.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Wildlife Wednesday

We mostly have Mallards.  But this week, at the neighbor's duck spa, I spied a pair of Wood Ducks.

Wood duck pair leaving the spa beach
I'm not sure you can see it in this photo, but the male wood duck (upper) is recognizable by his crest.

Stock photo - Getty Images

Earlier in the week we had a mother mallard leading her 6 ducklings to the edge of the neighbor's dock.  She jumped into the water three times and each time her offspring said "Unh-uh, No Way, not doin' that!" She finally gave up and waddled back to land.  I'm not sure how, or if, she got them to get their feet wet.

I'll leave you with a foggy sunrise over Dartmoor.

Sunrise 5/15/19

Monday, May 13, 2019

Humble Quilts Doll Swap

Today's the big day

Participants in Lori's doll quilt swap will be linking up at Humble Quilts to share the quilt they received from their swap partner.  Size couldn't be larger that 24" and fabrics no later than 1910.

This was my second swap -- the first was modern and quite different!  In both cases, though, there was a bit of fear and trepidation that my offering might not measure up and would I be pleased with what I received.  I'm happy to report I was not disappointed in either case.

Well before the assigned deadline of April 30, this delightful little quilt showed up in my mailbox.

All the way from Grand Island, Nebraska ... Thank you, Vicki!

Vicki used some lovely reproductions prints that I had never seen before.

Beautifully executed, quilted and bound.  I'm thrilled.

Check out the sweet beauties other swappers received at Humble Quilts.


Why did I ever think I could put a 3" churn dash in the center of a 6" block?

Won't fit!
In case you haven't already figured it out, the churn dashes I am making are in a 3x3 grid, 
making each unit finish at 2" in a 6" block.

This is more like it!

3" CD in a 9" block
While I had churn dash on the brain, I made another plain 9" block ...

... and added another 6" block to the collection ...

6" blocks
I'm not completely sure where I'm going with this, but I'm having fun!

Have a happy Monday, my friends!

Friday, May 10, 2019

New RSC Project

Buckeye Stars

My plan is to make 4 per month for 10 months, more or less.  That would give me a nice 6 x 8 and would be 48" x 64" before sashing and borders.

Buckeye Stars
My dilemma is whether I go back to January and start with red, or if I just go forward for another 9 months into 2020 (more likely).   I actually have enough parts in progress that I could make a whole quilt in orange alone!  As it is, I put the remaining orange pieces back in the orange bin and the lime pieces in the green bin. 

My goal for May is to finish the Long Time Gone top.

Those  dang cute churn dashes, though ...

I have had less success with some than others, but I do have a plan ... of sorts.  Stay tuned.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

By George ...

I've got it!

Remember last week when I requested suggestions for  new Rainbow Scrap Challenge block to start a new collection?  Well, this morning it hit me.

Buckeye Beauties!

When photographing the Tiny Tuesday blocks I finished last night ...

... I thought they look a lot like Buckeye Beauties.  Then I remembered the orange and lime collection of BBs I started in April 2016.

Brentwood Beauties
These little beauties will finish at 4 inches.  Apparently I was also thinking about pinwheels ...

So my new collections will be Buckeye Beauties and Pinwheels!  Easy Peasy and should use up a lot of scraps really fast -- or at least I hope so.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Return of an Old Friend

Or has the Friend worn out its welcome?

With the installation of  larger design wall on the face of the Murphy Bed I felt the need to break out a BIG project.

Murphy Wall
Welcome back, Long Time Gone, a typical Jen Kingwell hot mess of a quilt.

Long Time Gone
The name of this pattern is especially appropriate since I first began work on it in July 2017!  I remained infatuated with it for about a month ... until I fell for another Kingwell design, Gypsy Wife.  Then LTG went into "time out" (a/k/a PBO - Project Box Oblivion) for a year.

It reappeared briefly in June of last year, but ultimately ended up in a pile on my "guest" sewing table.  When that table had to be moved for the Murphy bed installation, I decided it was time to move LTG further along toward finishing.

After spending all of Friday making the Trip Around the World block ...

Trip around the world
... and much of Saturday making tiny 3-inch churn dashes ...

... I've realized I am no longer infatuated with this project.  So I'm going to do my best to create something with all the pieces/parts I've made so far and call it done!

Those churn dash blocks are awfully cute, though ...

Linking with Cynthia at Oh Scrap.

Scrap Happy Saturday

on Sunday

I was so busy in the sewing room yesterday, I forgot to post and link up at soscrappy.  That's the place to check in on Rainbow Scrap Challenge progress around Blogland. 

The color for May is ORANGE!  I took advantage of a slow week to make blocks for my two remaining RSC projects for 2019.

Chandelier Beads
Double Shot (Double X)
I'm thinking I need another RSC project to help move out more scraps.  Any suggestions?

Thursday, May 2, 2019


It ain't pretty, but ...

Murphy design wall

Rainbow Scrap Challenge

New Month - New Color!

April snuck a 5th Tiny Tuesday in, but I pretended I didn't notice.  I may go back and reverse applique that little heart at a later point in time; but, for now, I'm moving on to ORANGE!

Always first on my agenda in a new month:  Chandelier Beads.

Chandelier Beads
The most challenging thing about this simple block is finding a scrap chunk big enough to cut a 3.5" square and still have enough left for two 2" squares.  I have a big selection in yardage but this is a scrap challenge, after all!

I have my three Double Shot (Double X) blocks cut and managed to get the first one completed before bedtime last night.

Double Shot
Too bad the new color isn't hot pink.

Big Rhody in bloom