Summer Sunrise

Summer Sunrise

“Autumn Sunset” has a new sister quilt.  It’s called “Summer Sunrise.”

Just so we’re clear, I’m rarely up in time to see a summer sunrise.  The poppy is a simplified version of one that grows in my garden.  It’s a pretty tough customer as it was unplanted, divided and replanted several years ago. It was one of the few perennials that survived the winter of 2016-17.   I have no idea what this particular flower is called and I haven’t seen another one.  I just love it.

Some details will be added with quilting and possibly paint.  There is also an outside chance of embroidery, but that’s pretty iffy. This imaginary sunrise is a bit smaller than “Autumn Sunset.”  Same number of blocks, just a bit smaller.  A few things I’ve learned will be added to the pattern, along with block and cutting measurements for the new quilt.

I have an idea for one more background that would involve colors closer to each other on the color wheel.  I hadn’t really planned for this to be a series, but these projects tend to take on a life of their own.  So much for the illusion of control.

In preparation for an eventual downsize, I’m trying to thin the herd a bit.  We’ve lived in this house for almost 29 years and it’s appalling how much stuff we’ve managed to accumulate.  Most of the kid’s stuff is gone.  They’ve long since moved out, but we stored things for them for years.  As I begin to go through things, it seems I have an emotional bond with books, and art and craft materials.  Those things I’m putting off until last.  Oh, and kitchen gadgets.  I love to bake, but don’t really love general cooking.  For that reason I’m a sucker for anything that purports to make cooking easier.  I won’t even bore you with the quilting gadgets.  As you’ve doubtlessly gathered, this is going to be an interesting project.

Now that Barb has quilting space in her home, she is 1) realizing how much stuff she borrowed from me, and 2) how challenging it is to wrangle all her quilting stuff.  And remembering what you already have in the heat of shopping is a whole other drama.  Barb is now using Evernote to keep track of what she has and I am (slowly) following her lead.  Evernote is an app that lets you keep lists right where you can always get to them (on your phone) and even allows you to scan in pictures.  This means that I can scan in the lists I already have and then add to them as needed.  Since I nearly always have my phone with me, it’s easy to check to find out if I really need that new fancy-pants ruler that a quilt shop is demonstrating.  I have, on occasion, bought the same ruler twice, not to mention the same book.  The book list will go into the app too.  The basic app is free and well worth having.

The sun is finally out after a dreary, rainy weekend.  We really needed the rain as the 0.04″ of rain we’ve gotten in the last month wasn’t really cutting it.  Oregon had a lot of bad fires last summer and fall and we could use a year off.  All I need now is for Toby to stop barking at the squirrels and we would have a sweet peaceful summer.

My goal for the summer is to keep this lovely little begonia alive and quilt SO much.

Keep quilting for fun.

Candy

How Many Tools?

How Many Tools?

While I’m welcoming May, I’m still wondering what happened to April.  It just got away so fast!  If anyone knows, I’d love to hear.

Quick question:  How many quilting tools do you have that seemed like a great idea but turned out to be either useless or more trouble than they were worth?  A healthy number of mine were discovered at a quilt show vendor.  Whoever was demonstrating these clever gadgets made them look so easy and time-saving.  Not to mention just plain cool.  (Like my father before me, I love gadgets.  Just ask my kitchen drawers. They will rat me out in a heartbeat.)  The thing is that a few of them turned out to be great.  The rest are hard to part with because I paid good money for them and they really should work.  Or they used to work before the next cool thing came along.  Sound familiar?  So here are a couple of hints to review right before that impulse buy.

  1.  What do I use now that this new doodad will replace?  Do I really need to shave a half second off my cutting or sewing time?
  2. Ask the demonstrator to let you try it.
  3. Does it take time to set up?  If the answer is yes, will you really do that?  Be honest!
  4. Did your head spin when you heard the price?
  5. Step away from the table and think about it while you have a cup of tea or a donut.  Sometimes just getting away from the sales pressure gives you  some perspective.

In your heart, you already know this stuff.  The trick is to remember it at the right time.  Copy down the questions you need to ask yourself in your quilting notes, your phone or your bullet journal.

What I should have walked away from (even though it was a good deal):

  1.  The rolling ruler.  Seemed like a good idea.  In reality, not so much.
  2. Another magazine subscription.  Because I don’t have enough.
  3. Any ruler that only does one thing.

Sometimes the simplest tools work the best.  What I would have a hard time living without are my tweezers.

  The bottom pair has a really tiny tip which is great for grabbing that bobbin thread and pulling it up when quilting.  The top pair is perfect for picking out threads from unsewn seams or bits of fabric or thread or batting that seem to be drawn to dark fabric.  Not fancy, but really useful.

I’m putting the binding on “Birds Heading Home.”  It was my UFO project for April that turned out to be more labor intensive than I thought it would be.  Nearly all the quilting lines are about ¼ inch apart.  It wasn’t difficult, just time-consuming.  I really should’ve seen this coming.

If anyone knows how to stop time for a couple hours a day to get more quilting in, let me know.

Our newsletter will come out at the end of the week.  The sign up is at the top right of this page.

Even though the sun is out, at least in theory, and the weeds and flower pots are waiting, there’s alway some quilting to do.  So be sure to get some fresh air and Vitamin D, and then quilt for fun!

Candy

 

 

Is It Dog Days Yet?

Is It Dog Days Yet?

It’s hard to believe that it’s already August.  Now that we’ve survived the great Northwest Heatwave, we are enjoying low 90’s and smoky  weather – warmer than average and cooler than last week   I’m not complaining, mostly because I whined all winter about how cold and snowy and rainy it was.  The only upside of the smoke is the colorful sunrises and sunsets it makes.

I’ve been dividing my hot afternoons between quilting “Snapshots,” piecing a Jacqueline de Jonge kit called “Enchanting Stars,” and painting a decoration for Halloween.

“Snapshots” won’t have fancy quilting as it would just disappear.  It just got kind of big so will take a bit of time to quilt.

I bought the “Enchanting Stars” kit when I went to the Quilt Show in Houston a couple (or was it three?) years ago.  When I got home and opened the kit and got a look at the instruction book, I kind of panicked and put it away.  Now that my calmer self is in charge (for the moment) I’m starting to cut and piece.  The trick is not to try to take it all in at once, but to go step by step and not hurry.  This is what I’ve done so far.

This is going to take a while, and I’m enjoying it.

Finally, I’ve spent time in my cool, cool basement working on this project.  It’s not quite finished, but you get the idea.

I’ve been doing decorative painting activities off and on for about 40 years and while I haven’t done original designs, I find it calming to work on projects like this.

Since the begonias live in the shade, they did pretty well in the heat.  One of them makes flowers that look like this.

I’d love to figure out how to piece a thing like this.  Maybe painting it on fabric would be the way to go.

The summer squashes, cucumbers and peppers are doing great.  The tomatoes are taking their sweet time.  Looks like the “farmette” will be active well into fall.  Naturally, the salsa garden ingredients ripen at different times.  The peppers will have to be chopped and frozen since I already have a bunch.

We’re only about ten days away from the solar eclipse.  Oregon is getting ready for a pretty big influx of sky watchers.  The total eclipse will be visible about 40 miles south of here for about two minutes.  Sweet Husband and I are probably going to sit on our front porch and make do with a not-quite-total eclipse.  I’ve only seen one before and it was a bit eerie and very cool.

I’m re-dedicating myself to a regular newsletter.  Among the things we’ll be talking about are tools ( I love gadgets and sometimes I actually use ’em), and the books, magazines, and techniques that I’m finding inspiring or helpful. Because the newsletter is emailed, you have to sign up for it.  Nobody wants unasked for email less than I.  It’s easy and free to sign up at the top right corner of this blog.

This quilt is one I just love for fall.  It’s actually easy to put together.  It’s on sale for the rest of August, so check it out on the shopping page.

And the dog days?  Apparently it has less to do with an actual dog, like Ella, peeking around the corner, below, than it does with the constellation Canis Major and the star Sirius, which marks his nose.  For our canines, late summer is more about laying around in air conditioning.  Also participating in the neighborhood twilight bark.  The dog friends are actually kind of a gossipy bunch.

 

Stay cool and keep quilting for fun!

Candy

 

Deeply Into Summer

Deeply Into Summer

I walked into one of my favorite fabric stores today and right up front and center, what should I see?  Christmas Fabric.  And lots of it.  I’m not ready!  I get it.  If one is going to create some fabulous projects for Christmas (and I mean for 2017), one should probably start now.  I know that Christmas in July is a thing; it’s just not mine.  It kind of reminds me of back-to-school supplies on July 6 in the variety stores.  It’s just too soon.  There’s a fine line between WAY too early and a day late and a dollar short.

It did remind me, however, that it’s time to start Fall and Halloween projects.  The new fabric’s been out for weeks and I still have about a million yards from years gone by.  As I’ve said before, (at least I think so; okay, I’m pretty sure) the biggest problem with Fall and Halloween fabrics is that the prints are so cute, one (me) doesn’t want to cut them up into tiny pieces.  I’m pretty sure I’m not alone.  So, how about this?

The picture blocks finish at 5 X 7 inches, so it’s possible to use up some  smallish scraps of fun fabric.  It’s also layer cake friendly.  I’ve done some repeats on the quilt above, but if you stay in a somewhat limited palette, you could make all the pictures different.

And yes, it would be great with Christmas prints for the make-way-ahead crowd.

The plan is to have the pattern posted by Tuesday, August 1.

Today, I’ll pick my first tomatoes of the year.  The Sweet Million plant is really going to town.  There’s nothing like meaty, sweet tomatoes from your own yard.  Or Farmer’s Market tomatoes, fresh from someone else’s farm.

 

This is one of the top reasons I love summer.  Also, warm evenings, bare legs, the smell of newly cut hay, and fresh fruit.

So what’s on your quilting list for the week or the month?  Comment on the post, send us an email, include a picture.  We’d love to know what others are working on.  Share us with your quilting friends.  And, of course, keep quilting for fun.

Candy

 

Let the Quilting, Fusing, Dyeing Begin

Let the Quilting, Fusing, Dyeing Begin

Summer is here, the garden is in and my sewing machine is in the shop for its yearly checkup.  Apparently June is tune-up-your-sewing machine month as it’s been in the shop for two weeks and it’s just now ready to come home.  Since today is a Friday in the Summer, I’m not going to retrieve it until tomorrow.  I find that about 2 pm Friday afternoon, about half the population takes a stupid pill and hits the freeway.  It should be a lovely weekend so there will be lots of traveling to lakes and beaches.

Sunday, Barb and I head for the hills, (literally) when we drive up to Sisters, OR for a week of quilting topped off with the Outdoor Quilt Show on Saturday.  Sisters is located on the east side of the Cascades at the edge of Oregon’s high desert.  It’s a lovely setting for both Quilter’s Affair classes and the Outdoor Show.  I’ve been going since 1993 except for a year when we vacationed in Europe and the year my son got married.  This year I have four days of classes and a day to just hang around.  There’s a lot to be said for the relaxation of just hanging around.  In this day and age, people don’t do it so much and I think that’s a shame for both adults and kids.  Enjoying a day, taking it all in, is good for the soul.

On the left, the highway through town is closed on the day of the show.  On the right, quilts are hung on the outside of most of the buildings in town.  How can you not love this?  Also, being with friends and not cooking or cleaning is always good.

For the first year ever, all my quilting stuff is packed up and ready to for Sunday.  Clearly, that’s because the sewing machine is gone (although I could’ve borrowed Barb’s) and I found the need to clean the quilting studio.  Who saves tiny bits of fusible web?  Not to mention some weird junk that I have no idea what it does?  The good news is that it’ll be ready to roll when I get back.  This year I’m doing a fusing class, quilting with rulers and painting on fabric.  Barb will be dyeing fabric and making tote bags.  So much to learn, so little time.

         All packed up and ready to roll (left). Just a small mess in the background.       For me, this is neat.  Just a little more quilting to do on Submariner’s Compass.

I’m already thinking about fall.  I have a couple of ideas in my head and will get lots more inspiration this coming week.  Now I’ll go bake some cookies for my housemates.

If this post has issues, please know that I couldn’t preview it and hope to have the problem solved quickly.  I love the internet, but it’s always something.

Have a wonderfully fun and safe Independence Day weekend.

Keep quilting for Fun!

Relaxing Summer

Relaxing Summer

Just so you know, I’m aware that the two words in the above title are mutually exclusive.  Oh, there will be times when it’s possible to sit outside and sip iced tea or a margarita.  But on the whole, there is more gardening, more traveling, more cleaning (the dogs bring in lots of bark dust and little sticky things), and more daytime to do the things we want and need to do.  The good news for many of us is that we have more energy when we enjoy more sun.

My vegetable garden isn’t in yet, but will be soon.  I find it pointless to put in veggie starts in May and watch them  just sit there and shiver for a month.  Also, I don’t garden much when it’s 50 and raining.  I have standards.  Here’s a picture of what will be veggies next week.

The coral poppies really went to town.  I was afraid they’d be pretty seriously abused by the cold weather last winter, but I’m happily wrong.  The California poppies (aka “weeds” in my dad’s book) do just what I want:  provide color between tulip and veggie seasons and require no care.

Every once in a while I go through my stash and just re-stack the fabrics.  They get messy when I pick through them and creating a neatness makes me feel more organized.  It also reminds me of what is hiding in there.  A couple of weeks ago I rediscovered some fabric that I bought three years ago.  The collection is called Handmaids by J. Wecker Frisch.  These are funky and a bit steam punk and I bought several pieces.

I love the mix of color and black and white and the funkiness of it.  The problem is, what does one do with these pieces?  These squares measure about 7 ½ inches.  There was only one thing to do – update “Harry’s Halloween” and make a quilt.  The collection also includes some black and white rectangles to which I added a bit of color with sharpies.

This was a project that I couldn’t wait to get out of my head even though more than one top is waiting to be quilted.  The top is almost finished and here’s a peek at how it turned out.

It’s not all sewn together, but you can get the drift.  I’m planning to hang it in my studio.  Doing this reminded me that this sort of project needs some organization.  I will be posting some pictures and additional instruction on the How To page for those who want to make Harry’s Halloween and its relatives, Mother’s Halloween, Harry’s Alphabet and this quilt, Sewist’s Delight.  While some parts of the quilt get changed, the basic idea remains the same.  The Harry’s Halloween pattern will be specially priced until July 10.  As always, if you have questions about patterns and instructions, we are happy to help.  Email us at motheronabroomstick@gmail.com and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

Ella just celebrated her 10th birthday.  She has absolutely no clue that she’s an “older dog.”  Actually, I’m not sure she thinks she’s a dog.  Perhaps an ever-youthful, furry person.  This picture was taken at Easter at Nana’s house. Ella and Toby love going to Nana’s house.  Nana scratches their ears and tells them how beautiful and smart they are and how she wishes they would stay longer.  Of course, they don’t get her up at six in the morning.  Funny how that works out.

I’m off to finish “Sewist’s” and clean up the big mess I made choosing background fabric.

Enjoy Summer and keep quilting for fun!

Summer in the Air

Summer in the Air

Almost the entire Northwest is dancing in the streets as the past couple of days have been sunny and warm AND there’s no rain in the ten-day forecast.  AND it looks like a sunny and warm holiday weekend.  We’ve set some records for rainfall this winter so the sun is ever so welcome.

I finished the top of my Submariner’s Compass quilt using the RobinRuth books and rulers.  The smartest thing I’ve done for a while is to start working on it the day after I took the class.  There’s now a good chance I’ll remember how it works when I want to do other compass projects.  Robin’s books are very clear and there are videos on her website (robinruthdesign.com) which will be a big help.

My small quilt group is returning to a challenge we did some years ago for our first project.  We each made a medallion for the center of our quilt and included some fabrics and a few guidelines and sent it to make its rounds through the group and did not see it again until the top was finished.  (We could see all the other quilts as they progressed.)  The group was smaller then and not everyone knew each other well.  It’s a giant leap of faith to release control of something you’ve made to others and let them  add to and work on it.  Forget any vision you may have had when you made the center.  It’s like falling backwards and trusting that your friends and fellow quilters will catch you.  The new quilts started their journeys through the hands of dear quilter friends in April and we won’t see how ours turned out for a year.  I’ll work on part of every quilt, comment in the journal that accompanies each quilt while trying to imagine what will work best and what the owner will like.  The challenge is not in getting the quilt you want, but in letting go and receiving the gift of friendship that will be handed back to me next June.

Here’s my quilt from the original challenge:  I had no idea what to expect at the big reveal.  It’s one of my favorite possessions.

If you’re a Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan, you’ll recognize the appliqué on the bottom.  It’s both fun and a little scary when your friends know you this well.  I can hardly wait to see what they come up with this time!

We’re heading into Red, White and Blue season.  The “Blue Star Mother” pattern will be on sale until the end of June.  Check the Shopping Page and consider what some of the other patterns might look like in patriotic fabrics.   I enjoy working with the colors and the themes of this season.  There are lots of patriotic quilts and craft projects I’ve worked on over the years.  I love bringing them out and making new ones.  I’ll show off a couple in my next post.

Enjoy the upcoming long weekend and be safe!

Keep quilting for fun.

Candy

 

Last Sweet Days of Summer

Last Sweet Days of Summer

Dear August,

How did you get away so fast?  I’m still waiting for those lazy dog days of summer where I sit in the shade, sipping iced tea while doing a little appliqué.  It’s such a cool fantasy and I dream it every year.  Then life happens and school starts.  Hey August! I want you back!

Okay, now for a little visit with reality.  What actually happened during August was a day at the air show, a two day class with Sidnee Snell,  (to see her wonderful work, go to sidneesnell.com, it’s really cool), a week with my mom in Southern Oregon and after a few days home, my son, daughter-in-law and their Labradoodle Finn, (age 8 months) came to visit for a few days. Sunday I canned salsa.  Yesterday, I capped off the month by defrosting the freezer in the garage.  It’s life, my friends and I can’t spend all my time in the studio.

With fall just around the corner, I want to show a couple of my favorite fall patterns.

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Harry’s Halloween came about because of the cool pumpkin and broom theme fabric.

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There are wonderful fall and Halloween fabrics out now, just waiting to be the theme of your quilt.  All of the center is squares or half square triangles and can be a great stash buster.

AUTUMN LEAVES

Autumn Leaves is a 3, 6, 9 quilt which basically means that you make some blocks and put them together any way you like.  It all fits together because the block sizes are all divisible by three and you put in coping blocks wherever you need them.  The quilt above is bright and busy because I find fall to be those things.  Use your favorite fall fabrics for a more serene look, if that pleases you.

We invite you to visit our Shopping page for a little, well . . . shopping.

The class with Sidnee Snell was really fun and a lot of info stuffed into two days.  About three quarters of the time was spent learning how to use Photoshop and Illustrator to simplify and posterize a photo and then create a quilt out of it.  We practiced on a pattern of Sidnee’s and I finished the top a few days ago.

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This technique has a lot of potential.  I’ll post a picture of the coffee cup after it’s quilted.  I just hope my notes from the class make sense so I can do more.

Southern Oregon is a bit of a trip in the summer.  Days in the 90’s and hundreds are the usual thing.  I grew up there and keep telling myself I’m used to it.  Here’s a little tip:  105 degrees, even if it’s a dry heat and you’re “used to it” is still awfully hot.  I did get a couple of cool pictures.

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I have to ask my mom the name of the flower on the left.  It’s a good sized bush that’s climbed up a fence.  The honey bee at the center top was too busy to come out and get his face in the picture.  The hydrangea on the right is such a cool color.  I’m not much into pink, but I love that shade.

My squash crop is going to town.  I also planted two of the three kinds of peppers that go into my favorite salsa recipe as well as cucumber.

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 Sadly, my tomatoes are not ready, so I had to buy some at the farmer’s market to make salsa.  It’s fun having lots of the ingredients come out of our garden.  The only thing about salsa is that there’s a whole boat-load of chopping to make this much salsa.

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Just one zucchini plant and one yellow squash make so much squash.  Must be time for four kinds of zucchini bread!

I’m almost finished with the appliqué on this top.  The piecing part went together quickly and the handwork isn’t hard, just a bit time-consuming as handwork tends to be.  I found the pattern when I was cleaning out quilt patterns and inspirations that I’ve torn out of magazines over the last fifteen years or so.  This was an insert in a magazine and I decided a few weeks ago to try it.  ( I think it’s a Fons and Porter pattern, but it’s gone missing.  It’s around here somewhere and when I find it, I’ll pass on the details.) I love the purples and oranges together and it’s a nice hanging for early fall.

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I missed the year-end meeting of my small quilt group as I was at my mom’s, but I posted a picture on Facebook (Mother on a Broomstick Designs) to show them off.  All of the blocks are from Tula Pink’s book “100 Modern Quilt Blocks.”  Each of us was assigned a color group and provided five fabrics to the other members and chose five blocks from the book.  Each of us made at least 60 blocks (several of us did more).  What we wound up with was pretty diverse and totally beautiful.  They’ll all be quilted this fall (some overachievers are already finished) and will be shown together early next year.

Finally, Toby and Ella had a great time with their houseguest, Finn.  At eight months, Finn is full of energy and finds that he likes to run with the big dogs.  Toby (who’s almost 13) doesn’t do a lot of chasing around.  He prefers the basic bark-off.  It’s noisy, but nothing gets knocked over.  Ella, on the other hand played chase around the house and through the mud after the sprinklers went off.  I was amazed at how much dirt came off those two during the obligatory hose off.

Toby’s taking the week to rest up.

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Ella says she doesn’t need to rest up.  She’s still looking for trouble.

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Enjoy these last sweet days of summer and as always,

Quilt for Fun

Candy

Lemonade and Limeade

Lemonade and Limeade

Last week I posted a picture of Lemonade Stand and put the pattern on sale.

Lemonade Stand

I like how summery it is and it’s one of the few times I’ve ventured into the world of pink.

This week, well actually, this morning, I pieced a new version, in runner form, called Limeade.  It’s not quilted or anything yet, but you get the idea. I made seven blocks which is just about right for a runner.

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While I generally don’t do much with pastels, these feel like sherbet which seems just right for hot August days.  The binding will be green and I may just quilt in some straws.

I was in Michael’s the other day and of course it’s wall to wall fall projects and decorations.  While I hate to wish away summer sunshine, my intellectual side knows that new fall projects, including quilts, need to get underway now.  I’ve got background done for an autumn hanging and now I’m working on some appliqué for it.  I’m finding out that one piece of fabric for background, even if it’s really cool,  just isn’t cutting it anymore.  Keeping in mind that it is background, it still needs some interest on its own.  It seems I’ve been leaning toward this for a while, but after a class with Rosalie Dace this summer, I’m recognizing it more.  Funny how sometimes somebody has to point out to me what my subconscious has been trying to tell me for some time.

The background for the quilt below came from Gloria Loughman’s book, Radiant Landscapes.  It was part of a class about working in a series and I started the day knowing just what I wanted it to look like.  I finished the top the same afternoon.  It’s called The Last Leaf.

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The background is a piece of hand dyed fabric that I cut up and rearranged to get the look I wanted.  It looks like I’ll be playing with backgrounds for a while.

Here’s a fall pattern that could be started now, so it’ll be ready for fall.  It’s called Colors of Fall.

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This was the first pattern Barbara and I created and it’s still a favorite of mine.  It features both piecing and fused appliqué, and is really easy.  Go to our Shopping Page to check it out.

I’m off to quilt my new runner and will show it off when it’s finished.

Have a safe and sunny weekend and don’t forget to quilt for fun.

Candy

Quilting in the Heart of Summer

Quilting in the Heart of Summer

Here we are in the heart of summer.  I think it’s my favorite part of the year.  The veggies and flowers are at their most beautiful and I even have a tomato ripening up.  I think this is the earliest one I’ve ever had.

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I posted this picture last week of a pile of fabric that I found inspiring.

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So here’s what I have so far.  Not all of it is sewn together, but I’m liking how it’s turning out.

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I’m not sure if I should be proud or embarrassed that it all came out of my stash.  I wouldn’t have believed it ten years ago, but my stash contains plenty of purple.  I’d like to think I’ve just learned the value of purple as opposed to being an older woman.  I was warned and should have seen it coming.

The Lemonade Stand quilt is going on sale for the month.  I like it because it’s easy, summery (I hope that’s an actual word) and it’s easy to alter the size without changing the look of the quilt.  I’m thinking I might try it again in a different color way and put in a layer of flannel instead of batting.  It should be just enough to ward off the chill of air-conditioning without roasting you out.

Lemonade Stand

Stay cool and quilt for fun.

Candy