Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Mystery Quilt Progress, plus More

Our newspaper said the low temp yesterday was minus 29 degrees. Glad I didn't know that - my thermometer at 7:00 am said only minus 20 degrees! Yikes.
Making progress - my blocks are all finished, pressed and lightly starched. Instead of blue corners, I chose a dark purple which is indistinguishable from much of the greens I used in the 9-patches. With all those pieces in each block I am amazed they fit together so well. I took the time to trim them exactly (well, as close as possible) to the 9 1/2 inches. Yikes, the vacuum cleaner is really filled with snips!. Pieces? 2298. I'm glad I didn't know THAT at the onset, but am VERY pleased with this lovely project, called DD Mystery Quilt from A huge THANK YOU BONNIE! YOU ARE A TREASURE!!!

And here is Jody-Goddess's Tobacco Road/Row? all finished and quilted. She has EVERYTHING in those scraps! We call her Jody-Goddess because she can do anything and everything, and all of it is done WELL!
Below is another of Jody's projects - She said this was a (corrected) Debbie Mumm project. How does one quilt a project like this? Aren't those blocks cute? Many of them have black buttonhole stitch around them, giving them even more definition. I can't wait to see it quilted.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Lotsa Wood and RSVP Quilt Done

Political news is mostly depressing and if you quickly clicked away from my previous post, I don't blame you a bit -- I couldn't stand it myself!

It is cold in western Nebraska, and we've had several days of snow, fortunately, without wind! Still, nights are hovering near/below zero. Thank goodness we have a fireplace.
MY rule for DH was, "OK, wood in the house was OK, just not any higher than the cabinet that was holding the stack up." You see, it IS higher, and later after I took this photo, the stack was even higher! (Hey, it kinda looks like a quilting pattern?) The kindling stack is on the other side of the fireplace, also, IMHO, is also out of control. It's kinda hard to promote any aura of gentility when the wood is stacked like lumber in the family room. Now, get this - the majority of the originating wood pile is about 25 steps outside in the garage - it's not like, like, like out in the woods! Well, the room IS warm and cozy, and yes, the wood IS handy but, the stack is now so high I dare not disturb it for fear of it collapsing on my feet.

Below is the finished quilt our local quiltmakers have made for a local raffle. I bought quite a few tickets for this treasure. And look how simple those 4-patches are, although that lovely applique is strictly a "Jody-Goddess" contribution. When we chose the colors for the 4-patches, we just wanted those with a grayed tone to them. Other than that, most all colors are represented. This is from a book by Mimi Dietrich, Bed and Breakfast Quilts. Funny thing, I had picked up that book from one stack and was moving it to the "I'll never use this book any more" stack. Our local quilt group had just discussed making a quilt to be raffled, and I opened the book for one last glimpse, and this perfect pattern jumped out at me. It's queen size.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Forget? Did I forget something?

I am appalled with the suggestion that an educated, "most qualified for the job," experienced individual who could 'forget' to pay his taxes, would be considered for the most powerful AND INFLUENTIAL financial position in this country. This nation is in a dreadful financial crisis. What else might he 'forget'?

Is there even one employed person in the whole nation who is not aware of the obligation to pay their taxes?

Yesterday, I had such high hopes, but today, they are dashed. We just don't trust our government - THAT is our nation's problem.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Inspired at Dawn

I LOVE Quilt Guild Day. My friend Sydney and I drive together and we have that hour drive each way to visit, refresh friendship, catch upon news -- What a great day!

The meeting was wonderful. We start with refreshments, coffee, etc., which eliminates late comers. Our President keeps business running smoothly and quickly, so there are no boring moments. Yesterday the Ardis Wannabe presentation was again, special. Each presenter had a different version of her arty project, based on the word "HOUSE." They were all wonderful, but my favorite was the fabric house based on one gal's real old family home, and the story she told. Many of us had tears in our eyes, as she spoke of her memories. Our new word is "QUIET."

If you have not belonged to a quilt guild, I urge you to give it a go! We always have a most inspirational meeting, the Show and Tell is always amazing, and we come home energized, inspired, moved, worn out but mentally challenged and eager to try something new.

During the EARLY morning hours today (5:00am ish?), I couldn't WAIT to get to my sewing machine and this practice machine quilting piece (DSM) is the result.

Most mornings, instead of coming awake to the disturbing TV news, I put on a VCR (Simply Quilts or Fons & Porter) or a Patsy Thompson DVD and just soak up the pleasure. Also, it's interesting how those old Simply Quilt programs that previously were not interesting, can inspire new ideas, so don't poo-poo the old programs, or your old books.

I solved my problem of being unable to find my special self-threading needle. See that little black circle on the pin cushion? That's where I MUST park it! LOL And that white thing (there are 2)? That's a piece of pvc pipe, cut and glued to the pin cushion, where I 'deposit' my thimbles, so they don't go rolling all over the place when I move from room to room. What a brain! LOL

Friday, January 16, 2009

More Snail Trail Quilts

Since some of you asked, here are two more little quilts I've made previously.

This scrappy version (above) was made maybe 10 years ago, and the blocks are about 6 inches.

The second (below) one was made for a mini-group about 4 years ago, when we focused on "The Quiltmaker's Gift" which, by the way, is one lovely little book. There is a companion book "Quilts from the Quiltmaker's Journey" which includes many patterns. The story is delightful for 3 year olds up to adults, and the drawings are excellent. One can spend a lot of time just looking at the lovely colored drawings. If you are thinking of a gift for a youngster, take a look at "The Quiltmaker's Gift." One gifted friend took all the quilts we made from the book, and made preentations, reading the story, to schools, libraries, ladies groups, church circles. A third Snails Trail was given away - no photo, but done in 2 colors plus border. In the border I appliqued 3 snails - a big one (the Daddy), a middle one (Mommy) and a little fella (the baby). Of course, you could just add a bunch if there are already a bunch of kids! Those appliques really gave it an added, entertaining punch! I KNOW they were loved, even if they were snails. And you don't have to be much of an artist - do a Google (etc.) search on your subject, and you'll find examples of line drawings, or whatever your ability is, and just draw it. The teacher sites are good because those drawings are usually simple. It doesn't have to be accurate, just representational.

I don't have a pattern, but you start at the center with a light/dark 4-patch. I started the 4-patches with strips of 1 1/2 inches. Then start adding the triangle corners. I always like to start those kinds of triangles oversize, then trim exactly. Watch how your colors are situated. These have 3 rounds of triangles - can more be used? Maybe? They can swirl clockwise or counterclockwise - pay attention! LOL

In the second photo, you can see my DD Mystery Quit from I kinda stalled with other demands, but I can get back to that lovely project. It's turning out wonderfully!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Dorky? but DONE

Our Ardis Wannabe word was HOUSE. A SNAIL carries her house, a multi-colored creation. My project is DONE (with the exception of binding). Quilt Guild is in a few days, so I had to really hurry last night and finish it. (Now I can get back to my Mystery Quilt in process.)

Part of this project I LOVE, most of it I don't, but as we're learning - it's a JOURNEY! This is a lot harder than I thought! Just WANTING to be artistic, does not mean you automatically ARE artistic! It takes WORK, plus determination, plus trying, trying, trying again.
It deserves a B- for execution.
Maybe a B for originality.
Overall ??? a C+.
But an A for effort! 8-))
I LOVE the background of the muted Snails Trail blocks - that deserves an A.
I discovered it's impossible (I think) to paperpiece a spiral.
I learned to use lower contrast in the Snail's Shell - in my opinion, that is the most wrong, but I HAD to get it DONE.
The 'slime' thread is lovely - I'll use it for something else.
The leaves and branches were a good idea to kinda balance things.
Her body is barely discernable from the background but ... isn't that the way a snail is?
The grass in the foreground hopefully gave it depth.

LOL - my first effort at the shell turned into a plump, free standing pillow, with a big hole in the center!!! LOL - even DH was trying hard to think of something pleasant to say about it! It's in the trash!

Wonder what the next WORD will be! Since it was ME and a friend who came up with this Guild challenge, we HAVE to produce SOMETHING.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Manicotti tricks anyone?

Non-quilty - but I have to actually COOK occasionally!

There must be a better way to squeeze the cheese/spinach mixture in those manicotti tubes? I had planned to do it myself, but realized when I had the filling gizmo in both my hands, I still needed another 1 or 2 hands, so DH came to the rescue. Well, you know these guys, filling those tubes brought about all sorts of uhhh, mmmm, uhhh unmentionable guy-stuff conversation! He was happy, but the manicottis ended up a mess. I don't make them often - is there a better way? You can see my hand slobber all over the tube and many of the manicottis split when we filled them. Maybe overcooked?

But they were/are delicious!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Another Ardis Wannabe (artist want-to-be) Project

Yikes -- Quilt Guild in one week and I've got to get my 'arty' project DONE! REAL artists are right - it's the JOURNEY that takes precedence over the project, but still, one has to have something to show for all the thinking! I'm wondering what the difference will be between my FIRST arty project from my LAST arty project. And always, the emphasis should be in TRYING!

We pulled the word "HOUSE" last month. Thinking of different kinds of houses - I settled on a SNAIL with it's own type of house. As it happens, I even have this little scrappy Snail's Trail quilt. Good thing I had a sample to remind me how it goes together.
Then I thought about making a dull, green/gray background that a snail might crawl along, leaving a trail of slime. Suddenly my cutting table, previously devoted to the latest Quiltville Mystery, is completely disorganized by ideas for a snail, slime, background, strip pieces to be made into a snail shell, batting to create the shell, and whatever else comes to mind. Oh yeah, I pulled some cream tulle (sp?) out. (Pulling all those ideas out -- now THAT'S !!! the journey!)

The 'slime' thread is in the lower right photo, with my original drawing (I made copies, for cutting. I'll have to start cutting out that drawing to make the pieces. Wonder how that will play? Who knows what will happen next? If I never talk about it again, you'll know something went wrong, but in the meantime, I am running full throttle, full of energy, full of ideas. DH, who would never claim to be artistic. made several excellent suggestions.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Laundry Detergent Recipe

I am still very pleased with my home-made soap/detergent. A number of you have asked for this recipe. This is the liquid/gel version.

I purchased these ingredients at a large, farm/ranchy kind of grocery store. My local grocery stores in my small town did not carry the Fels Naptha.

Liquid Laundry Detergent

3 pints of water
1/3 bar Fels Naptha Laundry Bar Soap, grated
½ Cup Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda
½ Cup 20 Mule Team Borax
1 quart hot water
2-gallon bucket

- Mix grated soap in a large saucepan with 3 pints hot water, and heat on stove over low heat until dissolved. Do not allow to boil.
-Stir in Super Washing soda and 20 Mule Team Borax. Stir until thickened.
- Remove from Heat.
- Add 1 quart hot water to a 2-gallon bucket
- Add soap mixture and mix well
- Fill bucket with more hot water, leaving a few inches at the top, and mix well.
- Set aside for 24 hours, or until mixture thickens.

Use ½ Cup of mixture per load.

I poured mine (need a funnel because it's thickening, while it was still warm) into plastic milk jugs, but it thickened more and wouldn’t pour out, so I cut the top off the jug, and I leave the ½ cup measuring cup sitting on top of the jelled mixture.

There is a DRY recipe out there someplace -- you can do a Search.

The ingredients cost about $10.00, but this batch only uses a small portion of that original purchase. So far, I have no reason to buy anything else – I’m very pleased with this home-made product, and now refuse to purchase the regular Tide, or equivalent. I’m guessing this $10.00 will make well over 2-300 loads.

I have a water softener for my laundry. I don’t know how hard water may affect the effectiveness of this soap.

Thanks Sue!!!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

DD progress - 4 blocks

So far, so good! I'm thinking it could use some pale melon lights, to brighten it up a tad.

Suggestion - If you're just starting, pay attention to accurate measuring of those square in a squares. After that, it's all easy!

I counted the number of pieces -- oh my, good thing I didn't know at the onset or I would have been scared away from doing this beauty!

Monday, January 05, 2009

Joined in on a Mystery Quilt

Regarding my efforts at Stashbusting, I weakened the last day of 2008, decided to join in on the Quiltville Mystery Quilt called Double Delight. This is the first Mystery Quilt I've ever joined in on. And to be sure I did it correctly, I was 'forced' to buy some fabric! (Do ya believe 'forced'?)

Going through my neutrals, I found this bit of vintage yardage I've been saving for just the right project. There is only a small chunk, but isn't it cute? It's going in this quilt. (Fuzzy picture).
Here are a stack of more units - hey, there are a LOT of pieces here, and I've only completed Step 2, and started on Step 3 (3 inch 9-patches). She has Step 6 posted - and what a gorgeous quilt it is going to be! This danged 'job/working' thing is getting in the way of playing all the time! Whew - lots of handling, but look at this handsome block! Those points on the Square in a Square take careful pinning and firm pressing.

I've seen the end result and IT IS STUNNING!!! Once again, thanks Bonnie - this is another winner!

Friday, January 02, 2009

Log Cabin with cornerstones, a Linus, and a Mystery Quilt

First, here are my Log Cabin blocks, all 67 (a few extra). Now, a border decision is needed, to add about 8 inches to each side. The cornerstones add a LOT to this project!
Below is a finished Linus Quilt. It could use additional quilting in the border.
My original quilting gloves (on the right - how dirty/discolored they are!) have been replaced by Machingers, which are lighter in weight, cooler, and the fingertips are coated with lighter-weight material, and most of the time, I don't have to remove them for detail work. The thread was used for this wild little Linus Quilt. Hey, what can you use when the quilt colors are so bright and vivid - you add MORE bright and vivid quilting thread! It's happy and cheerful with all the swirls. Oh dear, my 2009 Stashbusting effort is already in trouble, as I decided to make the Mystery Quilt from Quiltville. Absolutely HAD to purchase more yardage. There are thousands of quilters making her Mystery Quilts! Below is Step 1 for Double Dutch, and she already has Step 5 posted. I'm falling behind, but this is Sunday afternoon -- where did the weekend go???

(Technical/geeky type info - I wrote this post on Friday, but saved it as a DRAFT, until Sunday evening, when it's getting posted. Blogger will post the Friday date, whereas I'm actually posting in Sunday.)

On the other side of the studio ...

From time to time, I post a photo of "The other side of the studio" ... our "studio" is a small room that my DH and I share. I sew and he works on his boats. He has threads in his boats, and I have wood dust in my quilts -- we got over it. The room is approximately 10' x 12' - even small for a bedroom. If we both roll our chairs out at the same time, they will bump. There is my sewing machine desk (large) and two small rolling cabinets (mine). He has a desk made of a door sitting on file cabinets, and a big cabinet for storage and the radio/CD player. Miraculously, we manage. The wood boats he builds are excellent in detail due to his power boating knowledge. The whole time he is working, he is THERE, IN that boat!!! He once owned a good-sized power boat, and this current project is a replica of that boat. He puts more time in a boat than most of us do on a quilt - maybe 200-300 hours. Some of them have over 100 tubes of Super Glue!

The boats are built just like real boats, only smaller in scale. He planks it, one plank at a time. One time he actually purchased real plans ($$$!) and had to sign a document promising he was not building a full sized, 56 foot boat! He then reduces everything to scale.

Once a man asked DH to build him a model of the guy's boat, and the guy suggested he'd pay $100.00 for it. huh? the man had absolutely NO IDEA of what was involved! Kinda like our quilts.

This is not the best photo of him, but he's happy, playing with his wood toys, and I'm happy playing with my colors and cutting. We're not far from being kids, are we?

The second photo show the deck removed, so one can see the galley, berths, etc. Almost all of his boats have removable decks so one can see down below, engines, bilge pumps, berths, galley, head, etc. Other boats have storage for cargo, fish, nets, or coal and crates.