Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Seeing RED!

My stash of RED scraps is getting out of control.  (Yeah, what's new about that!).  This Judy Martin quilt, Country Cousins, has been tugging at me for YEARS!  Then a few days ago, I received this Land's End catalog of all these red and purple and pink and orangey bathing suits.  I'm not purchasing bathing suits but this ad was the catalyst to start somthing RED. 

I kept it simple, decided against, Judy Martin's design, and started Buckeye Beauty or Jewel Box.  Bonnie Hunter also has a similar design.  What fun!  Making this one is fairly FAST!  Here are 56 blocks - for now, I'm aiming for 110.  The block is 6 in. finished.  I need a total of 240 4-Patches, and 240 HSTs.  I'm halfway there! 

Here are my strips of red and light, pressed and laid out on my cutting mat.  I still have issues with cutting accurately, with eyestrain and accuracy, so I purchased a June Tailor Shape Cut ruler.  It has slots at every 1 inch and half inch.  This works VERY well for me.  Each cut strip remains precisely the same size, and I'm not straining my eyes.  I've showed the ruler before - it's one of my favorite tools.  It's a bit flimsy, so  I store it on it's side between furniture cabinets, along with big square rulers.  This was under $30.00 at JoAnns and I used my 40% coupon.  I've VERY happy with this gadget.  An entire mat full of carefully laid out strips can be cut in just a minute or two.  Press down firmly on the ruler and nothing moves.  One must be careful to cut at the right slots - it's easy to get carried away and miss your mark!  I used my Olfa cutter - not all cutters work.

Here it is with the ruler laying on top of the strips, ready to cut!  You slip your cutter into the slots along the edge of the ruler. This would be PERFECT for a variety of blocks, especially when you have hundreds of cuts to make.  I haven't tried it on anything but strips yet.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

"Step Lively" a Rebuilt Log Cabin

This looks a lot like a previous "Rebuilt Log Cabin" I posted, but it's yet another quilt -- the colors are probably similar.  If you have studied this design, you may notice that I did the same cutting of border corners as I did with the block - look what happens? Hey, cutting off those 4 corners took courage!

I have a Tutorial -- my one and only Tutorial (tab across the top) for a Rebuilt Log Cabin  block.   

It's quilted with a variety of patterns and threads requiring several different needles and a LOT of tension  adjustments.  I'm happy with it, and LOVE the border variation, and really love that I took a chance!  Quilt size is about 65" x 85".  

I quilt on a DSM, a Janome 6500.  I started quilting Sunday, and finished it today, Thursday.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Solar Eclipse

Were you looking, were you looking????

Sunday, at 6:30 pm, I started getting antsy to drive out in the country to watch the eclipse - there are too many trees in town that block our view.  After some uhhh, strong encouragement on my part, DH  agreed we'd take a short drive to see what we could see.  Now, you might remember, I live in a small town waaaaay out in the country - a person doesn't have to go more than 2 miles to be OUT of town and IN the country for a clear view of our gigantic sky. 

I had my viewing "box" correctly lined inside with white papter on one end, and had jabbed a hole in the other end.

Well, out we went driving, and driving, and driving, passing up all the myriads of suitable spots to pull off the road - I was ready to strangle that man if he didn't stop soon!!!   "Are you trying to get closer to the sun for a better view?@/3(!!!XXgh?"   I could "feel" by the sun's rays that they were cooler than a few minutes  previously!!!  Jeeesh, stop already, DH!!!  We can't do this again until 2023 for goodness sake!  STOP!

OK, finally, DH stopped, and with my ameteur astronomy shoebox, we could immediately see the circle of the moon in front of the sun.  We looked EAST into the box, with the sun behind us to the WEST.  DH decided to try a larger hole -- NOT!  That's why this photo has TWO sun images -- a small hole is required.

Farther southwest of us, Utah, Nevada, I think they saw a perfect moon in the exact center of the sun - like a Lifesaver! 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Unexpected Blessings

We finally upgraded our $19.95 tacky bird bath (14 years old!) with this pretty green choice.  Even after 2-3 weeks, the birds are highly suspicious, and have not used it heavily.  I am disappointed!

On our beautiful Mother's Day, I had just finished basting a quilt in the garage.  DH was still putting the tables away.  As I walked into the house, I looked back at the birdbath, hoping some birds had finally lost fear of the bigger and better birdbath.  Uhhh, what is that in the bath???  That  ... thing ... a small branch? a gopher? a small cat?  It took me a minute to realize -- my gosh -- it's a little screech owl, in the middle of the day, in the middle of the bird bath, just having a good ole splashing time, while all the robins, sparrows, finches and blackbirds, were having a chirping conniption.  (Naturally this event happened while the camera needed recharging!!!) 

 This must be one of the same pair we saw earlier this spring, (same photo)-- perhaps he likes my little back yard.  DH walked closer to him, and even with less than 20 ft of space between them, his presence  didn't concern the owl in the least.  Finally, after his 10 minute bath, he flew into the spruce tree for another half hour of preening, and occasional snapping, all the while, the other birds were definitely voicing their objections!  Finally, he flew off to wherever little screech owls go in the middle of the day.

This owl is so small, so dainty, and just plain stunning in his coloration - I can't help think of him as a natural jewel on this beautiful Mother's Day. What an unexpected blessing!

I Googled and was surprised that our "special event" is not at all unusual!  Who knew?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Visit with Colorado family

Last long weekend I drove to Denver to 1) visit a GF I've not seen in 45 years, 2) visit my brother and SIL in Broomfield, 3) visit Quilt Fest, 4) visit my brother and SIL new farm and new/old house in southern Colorado, and 5) return home in a snowstorm/blizzard.  The last part was unexpected!

Quilt Fest was overshadowed by my enthusiasm for my SIL to see what happens at a Quilt Fest - I barely spent any $$$.  She has asked me to make her 2 quilts for their new/other house in southern Colorado.

Farm photos show some serious drought situation.  Photos here are generally of little interest to anyone but family members but the DRY situation is amazing!!!

And there is one photo of an interesting 9-Patch quilt seen at Quilt Fest, made my favorite way, making the block and then trimming or cutting, to invent a new layout.  I'll have to make this one, soon, I hope.

 That is white sand off in the distance.
 Red mountain at dawn, or was it dusk?
Farmer brother at his holding pond.
 Windy, dry conditions - look at those dust devils!
 Dave and Mary - new/old real farmers.  Gotta have hats and cover-ups - the blowing stinging sand was merciless!

David walking his acreage. 

When we were kids, our folks moved from Chicago to a small farm in Illinois (with 3 little kids and a baby on the way for gosh sakes!!!).  We all loved that farm life but this brother, a retired engineer, could not resist the challenge of tomorrow, wanting to return to a farm in southern Colorado, using sustainable and green energy and renewable resources within his grasp.  Mary is right there with him - she is a retired Art Teacher, and an artist through and through.  They have embarked on this life with enthusiasm and determination.  Little mountain snow, and climate change, for whatever reason, has not subdued their enthusiasm.