And Summer Begins

And Summer Begins

Is May getting away from you?  Welcome to the club.  The time is going so fast, I feel like I can’t keep up.  So my answer?  Take the week.  I did a little sewing, a little gardening and some general messing around last week.    I also took a couple of naps.  Except for Monday, I wasn’t very efficient.  I didn’t begin to get through my to-do list.  And guess what?  The world is still turning.  Yes, this week I’ll be catching up, and I’m ready for the challenge.

It actually looks like it’s snowing outside right now although the temperature is in the high 60’s. 

What we have here is cottonwood.  We have a couple weeks of this every spring.  These little fluffs get on the dogs, in the house and stuck in the screens.  Apparently about half of humanity is allergic to the stuff.  It’s kind of a mess, but it should be over soon.

Strawberry season is here and they’re marvelous! So far I’ve made strawberry pie, strawberry shortcake and strawberry/lime jam.  Barb and I did the jam last Saturday and we’re looking forward to raspberries and apricots as they both make fabulous jam.  I’m not fooling myself this year – summer will be busy and tasty.

    

A couple of weeks ago my small quilt group, Quilters on the Edge, had the reveal of our latest projects.  To see all the finished tops, you can go to Quilters on the Edge on Facebook.  We each made a center and sent it off to be added to by each of the other members of the group.  Seven of us participated.  We don’t get to see our own top until the last meeting.  I was so tickled with mine and want to show it off.

It’s cutting the line to be the next top quilted.

I’m already looking at my Halloween fabrics to decide what I’ll work on for this fall.  I have enough Halloween fabric to last for the rest of the 21st century.  I tell myself every year that I don’t need more and it’s so true.  Yet nearly every year some designer comes up with something I just have to own.  I’m sure this is a sign of something, but I honestly just don’t want to know.  I want to just wallow in the fabric.

Yesterday was Ella’s eleventh birthday.  She has no understanding that she should be a quiet, dignified older dog.  She runs up and down the stairs like a puppy and is known as “the instigator.”  If there’s trouble, she started it.  Happy birthday to forever young Ella!

Now I have to go work on the catching up part of my day.  Share us with your quilting friends and browse the rest of the site.

Quilt for Fun!

Candy

And Then There Was Sun!

And Then There Was Sun!

Today is springy and it feels so good.  I actually sat outside in the sunshine and took in a bit of Vitamin D.  I’m always surprised at how much more energy I have on sunny days. It’s nice to have the windows open and I can hear kids playing outside and imagine their mothers sighing in relief.  There’s a leaf blower in the distance and by tomorrow the air will be alive with the sound of power washers.

The house repairs are finally finished and what a relief.  I am really enjoying the quiet.  The only sad part is that I have no excuse to put off housework!

I’ve been quilting this quilt

which has been nameless until now.  I looked up the name of the block and was disappointed to find it unimaginatively called Double X #4.  That is just not cutting it.  I’ve decided to call the quilt “Birds Heading Home.”  The birds are the little green triangles and the birdhouse has a bright pink door.  I’ve quilted the top right corner.

It’s a lot of quilting, but since the piece isn’t really big, it won’t take too long.

If patriotic quilts are your thing or you do Quilts of Valor, there’s a lot of red, white and blue fabric out there now.  I love the colors and am ready to do at least a runner.  I have some older runners I’ve made and looking at them now reminds me how long some of those pieces have been around.  Many of the blues I used before the turn of the century have faded to gray.  The newer dyes are much better and I now have windows that block the UV rays that bleach out carpet, draperies and even wood floors.  If you’re looking for patterns for patriotic quilts, I’d like to recommend our Blue Star Mothers pattern.  If you want a good sized quilt in a hurry, Fall Into Halloween would be great in USA prints.  Also, for some cool patriotic fabrics, Mother Goes Mod works well, especially if you have a red, white and blue layer cake.

Blue Star Mothers

Blue Star Mothers

After a long, hard winter, get outside and get a little sun.  Then quilt for fun!

Candy

PS  Newsletter coming out next week!  Sign up at the top right of this page.

 

Something Springy

Something Springy

Spring is  here.  We know this in the Northwest because we’ll have a sunny and 70 degree day followed by a rainy 50 degree day followed by a dry, mixed sun and clouds day.  It’s confusing, mostly because whatever I choose to wear, it’ll be either not warm enough or not cool enough.  The trick here is layers.  Lots of layers.  BTW, these hyacinths smell lovely.

A couple of weeks ago AQS had a book sale.  The quilt library is already stuffed, but there’s always room for one (or four) more.  My biggest problem is that I want to do ALL the quilts.  Time is a bit of an issue here.  The good news is that no matter what, I’ll never be bored.  The big question is, what do I do next?

“Sewist’s Delight” has the quilting finished and the binding attached.  This one comes under the heading “better finished than perfect.”  I like the idea of the quilting better than the reality.  If I were to do it again, I would quilt each of the four big blocks individually and then put them together.  I’ve done this before with some large projects and it would’ve been more appropriate for this one.

The narrow quilting went fine within each block, but got kind of hairy between the blocks.  Live & learn.  The plan now is to finish the binding and wash the quilt.  A bit of shrinkage may help the overall look or make it way worse.  Only one way to find out.

One of my spring favorites is “Tulip Field.”  The pattern is on sale through the end of April for $9.00.  Treat yourself when the taxes are done.  Or any time, really.  Click on the shop button and have some fun.

 

There are actually tulip fields not far from here.  I haven’t visited them in a couple of years and it’s about time.  As soon as they’re seriously blooming, I’ll take a field trip.

Quilt for Fun!

Candy

Working with Scraps

Working with Scraps

We’ve been having dry and partly sunny weather and tulips are coming up. And the crocus are flowering.

I even went next door to sniff my neighbor’s daphne. (They know about it.) This makes me want to start planting things.  I want flowers and veggies and . . . wait a minute! It’s the second week of February.  There’s still time for a lot of weather before real spring starts.  At least it’s still light at 5:30 pm and that’s really nice.

You may remember a photo I posted here last week.

At some point I just couldn’t bear to throw out “reasonable” sized strips.  Some years ago I made this with leftover strips.

I haven’t done that for a while and I might make another one, but not this month.  So I decided to take my own advice and do something about the strips.  Here’s what I got.

I picked greens, yellows and a few dark blues and just started sewing strips together.  I didn’t worry about how straight the strips were – some are really straight and others are wonky.  The ones that were too wide I sliced in two with a rotary cutter but no ruler. The only thing I was careful about was cutting 8½-inch squares to make it easy to sew together.  The binding will be dark blue.  My only regret is that it didn’t make as big an impact on my scraps as I’d hoped.  I think this will be a great way to play with color combinations.

At 40 X 48 inches this would make a good baby or toddler quilt or just a bright hanging.  It speaks to me of spring, which is always good.

On a completely different subject, here’s a picture of Ella Puppaccino Face. She got this treat after her checkup at the vet’s.  And yes, we saved some for Toby.

For the next three days, I’m taking a class at Art & Soul, Portland.  It’s not about quilting and that’s a good thing.  I really think that any art or craft class helps with quilting design and decisions.  The sewing machine may be lonely for a few days, but I will return with lots of enthusiasm.

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Quilt for Fun

Candy

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

This year is starting out with a bang.  Sweet Husband and I have spent chunks of this week helping Barb move into her new house.  We got lucky with the weather – mostly dry and sunny. It’ll be great when she gets everything unpacked, sorted out and put away.  For now it’s a bit chaotic.  Whether you move next door or to another continent, it’s about the same amount of trouble.  Between that and the updating we’re doing on our own house, my quilting plans for this week pretty much got put back a week.  Such is real life.

I’m thinking about quilting goals for 2018, and this year I’m taking a shot at realistic plans.  If I can do more than I planned, that’s great.  I just don’t want to be annoyed with myself if (when) I fall short of goals that could only have been accomplished with the aid of a miracle.  I have enough good UFO’s and ideas for new things to keep me busy.  As always, I’ll make a list and then pare it down to be more realistic.  Quilting is kind of like going to a buffet where my eyes are always bigger than my stomach.  In this case, I like almost all the quilt ideas I see, and all the fabric, and all the notions.  I could use most of them if I didn’t have anything else in my life.  There are a LOT of other things in my life.  So the final plan is to be as efficient as possible and enjoy everyone in my life.

My studio still looks like this:

It will probably be like that for another month.  Just out of the picture to the right is a plastic wall that I have to sneak by to get to the cutting table.  The long and short of it is, it takes more time to find things, and I trip a lot.  Now to collect my perseverance and stubborn qualities to just go in there and get it done.

My son and daughter-in-law (aka Dan and the lovely Catherine) sent me these scissors for Christmas and they are wonderful.  They are Tim Holtz Non-stick Micro Serrated Scissors from Tonic Studios.  I love them because, not only are they sharp, they have big handles that don’t mess with arthritic fingers.  This pair is 7 inches long (2″ blades) and also come in 5-inch scissors and 9 ½ inch shears.  They are available on Amazon and Blitsy and probably lots of other places.

I used them to cut out the wool pieces for this cute project:

It’s not finished (big surprise), and I’m not putting it away until it is.  I will stitch the pieces down while I watch TV and it’ll be all ready for next year.  I love old pickups, so this project has a special place in my heart.

For those of you who are having a very wintry winter, stay warm.  For the rest of us, stay warm and do not gloat.  It’s not nice to tease Mother Nature.  The longer our snow shovel remains hanging in the garage, the better.

Keep quilting for fun!

Candy

 

Halloweening in the Studio

Halloweening in the Studio

Here in the Northwest, fall is at its most colorful.  The reds and oranges seem especially bright this year.  Or maybe it’s my imagination as I try to take it all in before all the leaves fall and we head into the gray and dark green months of winter.

Brightly colored trees were the only colorful thing on this dark and rainy day.

 

Maybe that’s why many of my quilts are made with the bold colors of fall.  Think deep and rich colors.

                  

 

 

Harrys Halloween

Mother’s Halloween

 

There’s still time to make a quilt in fall hues.

A friend brought me this panel, knowing I would get a kick out of it.  I’m not Mother on a Broomstick for nothing.  It’s called The Queen of ‘Ween and is right up my alley.

 Not only is it very cute, but it gives me an opportunity to practice my free motion quilting.  Since the panel design doesn’t need any additional activity, I’m using matching thread and following lines that are already printed.

I have several tops waiting to be quilted and this is the perfect way to get in the rhythm after a couple of months of piecing (also some traveling, and Halloweening and generally goofing around).  Although it’s hard to show it in a picture, this kind of quilting mostly adds depth to the printed picture.

Come visit our Shop page.  We have lots of fun designs to choose from.

Enjoy the beauty of fall and we’ll try not to mildew.  Seriously, we may have 4 inches of rain today!

Quilt for Fun

Candy

 

Coming Home

Coming Home

Sweet Husband and I just got home from a two-week trip to Eastern Europe.  We had a marvelous time and saw some sights I couldn’t have imagined.  Walked on a lot of cobblestones and took lots of pictures.  Yesterday was a 24 hour trip home.  If nothing I write this morning makes sense, you’ll know why.

We learned lots of history and have a new appreciation for those who’ve had a really hard time over the centuries and realize how fortunate we are to live where and when we do.

Fall really happened while we were gone.  The veggies are about done and I have some catch-up work to do.  We’ll be eating some fried green tomatoes.  Also, grocery shopping.  Am I beginning to wander?

I can hardly wait to get back to the sewing machine.  I get a little scary when I don’t get enough time with my fabric!

AUTUMN LEAVES

Remember this one?  It’s fun in both fall and Halloween fabrics.  Look for it on our Shopping page.

I’ll check back in when my brain is functioning in this time zone.

Keep quilting!

Candy

 

 

And Then It Was Fall

And Then It Was Fall

Somehow it got to be mid September.  Apparently I wasn’t looking when that happened.  We’re looking at the first serious rain since about the end of June and I’m actually happy about it.  (Actually it rained a bit last Saturday when we went to the OSU football game, which was unexpected since it was 80 and sunny when we left the house.)  Usually I whine through the rainy season and dance through the sunny parts.  This year we’ve had lots of big and scary wildfires in Oregon and a good dump of rain would be marvelous.  Yesterday was one of the smokiest we’ve had and this whole smoke thing gets old pretty fast.  My son and daughter-in-law visited for about 10 days and we wanted to show off the beautiful view from  Mt. Hood.  The picture below was not what we had in mind.  Maybe next time.

Did get this the next day, in Central Oregon.  Now that’s more of what we had in mind.

 

I was gifted a bowl of tomatoes from a friend’s yard and since my peppers did really well this year, I got some salsa canned.

My tomatoes (except for the little ones) are just ripening now.  Not my best year.  For once, I actually wrote down what kind of tomatoes I planted where and will use that information to avoid the breed that produced 5 tomatoes.  That one’s so off the list for next  year.

I’m going to do a little research this week to find out how to help fellow quilters in Southern Texas and Florida.  I can only imagine how lost they must be feeling.  My studio is my happy place when life dumps some lemons on me.  If you know of something geared toward helping quilters, please let me know so I can pass it on.  The other issue that hasn’t gotten much press is the wildfires in Montana.  Again, looking for a way to help.

I also actually sat at the sewing machine here and there in the last couple of weeks.  My usually reliable machine spent some time in the shop but is back and sounding better than ever.  I made a few inroads into the Jaqueline DeJonge quilt which is getting put aside for a bit while I work on a block for my small quilt group round robin.

 

I’ll post pictures when we finish next spring.  The quilts stay a secret from the person who started it until the whole process is finished.  Then each person gets the center they made with added borders from each person in the group.  We did this the year we formed the group and decided to revisit it because it was so much fun.

I also put the finishing touches on this and hung it up even though it’s a bit early.

I wish I could tell you that this was original, but it was a pattern from a book I bought online.  I started doing decorative painting in 1975.  It’s been kind of an on and off thing.  I learned with oil paint and it got shelved when the kids were little.  I will tell you, however, that some of my favorite laughing times were in tole painting classes.  One was taught evenings in the front of a craft and floral shop.  The raucous laughter got us moved to the back of the store.  Good times!

So basically, I’ve been running around doing a bit of this and a bit of that.  Writing this down makes realize how scattered I’ve been.

I’m putting up fall decor and it reminds me, and now you, that it’s time to get on those fall and Halloween projects.  Actually it’s probably time to start Christmas.  These Halloween quilt patterns will be on special until October 10.

 

                                                                                                                  Snapshot

Starshine Runner                                                                                                                                        

 

Harrys Halloween

                  Harrys Halloween

Colors of Fall

Go to our shopping page to order these and other Fall and Halloween inspired patterns.

As always, Quilt for Fun and enjoy the season.

Candy

When Life Gets in the Way

When Life Gets in the Way

The saying goes, “The best laid plans of mice and men . . .”  This is especially true when I think I have a few days in a row to quilt.  Then my sewing machine goes back to the shop.  Third time’s a charm.  (I’ve borrowed Barb’s machine, which is identical to mine, but it’s just not the same.)  Or when the pharmacy didn’t get the message and I have to go back.  There’s almost always a load to go in the washer or I forgot something at the grocery store or the dust is becoming measurable and I have to do something about it.  We spent a few days at my mom’s last week, taking care of old-house issues.  It’s the little things that throw our plans out of whack.

I have been working on a Be Colourful quilt, which as I surely have mentioned before, is going to take a while.  I’m all the way up to part B.

This project is taking some organizing tools I don’t generally use.  There are 24 bright batiks in the kit, so keeping them in order is actually a thing,

Look at the baskets, not the crazy in the background!  I’ve found that I can use a sharpie to put numbers on flower-head pins which helps me quite a lot.  And any help is good help.

I have a non-quilting question that I hope someone can answer.  My salsa garden is not as coordinated as one would hope.  The tomatoes aren’t ready yet, but the Anaheim Peppers, Banana Peppers and Jalapeños are going crazy.  What does one do with way more peppers than one needs?  I’ve chopped and frozen some, but they just keep coming!  Any help would be SO appreciated.

And speaking of crazy, the bumblebees are crazy about my California poppies.  They’re too busy to bother us and they’re fun to watch. If I could harness that energy . . .

We blew off Monday morning watching the eclipse.  We had only 98% totality.  Barb drove south a few miles to get the whole experience.  I must say that an eclipse is a little creepy, but very cool.  Apparently the worst part was the traffic afterwards that took on nightmare proportions.  Three hours for a drive that normally takes 20 minutes is more than frustrating.

I’m finding it hard to deal with the fact that summer is almost over.  Feels like it just started.  Although it’s cool and cloudy today, it’s supposed to by 98 by Monday, so naturally, school starts on Tuesday.  I remember the feeling so well.  Who would my teacher be and who would be in my room.  My grade school class was fairly large and we were divided into two classrooms.  We didn’t find out until we got there on the first day of school who our teacher was.  It was a bit stressful.  By high school, I looked forward to all the activities and worried less about the teachers and more about what to wear and how much fun the football games would be.  Somehow, I survived it all.

The “Autumn Sunset” quilt pattern is on sale for a few more days.  The background block is easy so you can concentrate on the changing colors.  It was fun to do and we hope you’ll enjoy it, too.  You can get the pattern by going to our Shopping page.

Have you started your fall projects yet? Thinking of Christmas and other Holiday projects?  No pressure.

Here’s wishing you a happy and safe end-of-summer.

Quilt for fun!

Candy

 

 

Summer Quilting

Summer Quilting

Sunny days and warm evenings; what more could one want?  Add some quilting time and it sounds pretty perfect.  I can be in the studio during the heat of the day and enjoy relaxing time when it cools down in the evening.  I got a good mix of lobelia and nasturtiums  in the window boxes and so far the pots on the deck are holding up.  I even have a few tomatoes (still green) on the vines.  So, yes, it’s summer and I love it.

Our week in Sisters was both colorful and fun.  I took a one-day class with Laura Wasilowski.  We used Laura’s hand-dyed fabric and fused scraps and I came up with this:

 

The idea was to have no pattern, just an idea, some fused fabric and a pair of sharp scissors.  I’ve added a bit of embroidery for flower centers and leaf vein and will stitch a bit on the vase.  The oval was fused and then I used a decorative stitch around it with my machine.  My Pfaff has a whole bunch of stitches I haven’t used and I’m working on trying some out. This provided a nice finish to a really imperfect oval.  I’ll show it again when I’m finished with it.

I spent another two days with June Jaeger learning to paint on fabric with ink.  June is a wonderful artist and I enjoyed myself thoroughly.  I started with this photo I took about five years ago of a peach-colored pansy.



And here’s the one I painted.

The plan is to appliqué it to some dark blue/purple fabric.  I can’t wait to try this on some other subjects.

Barb spent two days dyeing and a day making tote bags.  When she comes up for air after catching up at work, I’ll have her post pictures.

I just had a fun idea for a Halloween project.  As soon as I work it out, I’ll post it and get right on a pattern.

I’m close to finishing the top of a quilt that’s been “in progress” for five or six years.  It’s not a typo.  YEARS!  There was a lot of embroidery and a whole lot of distractions.  Now that I’m motivated to finish, I’m going for it.  Because the top has a lot going on and I don’t want to detract from that, the quilting will be simple.  Well, as simple as quilting a big project ever is.

 

Enjoy the summer and don’t forget to Quilt For Fun!

Also, share us with your quilting friends.

Candy