Monday, October 29, 2012

the making of Flying High

Well, the Scraps to Treasure challenge for 2012 has officially come to an end, so I'm free to post about my entry, Flying High.   As you recall, everyone was given the same sets of 6" squares, and we were allowed to add a certain number of squares and fat quarters from our stash, with the challenge to create a quilt.

It all started last winter as I was trying to come up with ideas for the 2012 challenge.  I thought about a few options, and this one evolved from thinking about things that fly.  Flags, birds, planes...those were the obvious.  I wanted to take a bit of a whimsical turn, and came up with flying turtles, getting a chance to look down on their surroundings.  I thought, even if they could only be 12" off the ground, it would be high for them.  :)    Here's the first sketch.
Its important to have an idea in mind because when you send in your initial squares for the exchange, you're allowed extra of that fabric to use.  Knowing I'm looking at sky, even without a totally firm idea in mind, I went with three blues.  We were only required to send 2 squares for each, but by sending in an extra square, I gained an extra bit of blue to use.  I took a couple of pics of my fabrics, but they didn't come out the best.  Instead, here are the fabrics each of us started out with, and I'll try to put an arrow on mine...though it's rather obvious when you look at the final quilt.  :)

So I received my squares somewhere around the end of April.  Plenty of time to finalize my thoughts, put it together, and be totally at ease in the process.  Yeah well, that is unless you procrastinate like I did.  By mid-August I had about decided to forget about it, my muse wasn't speaking to me about quilting.  Then Labor Day weekend rolled around and I decided to jump on it and see what I could do. I gathered together my sketches, laid out the squares, and just started pulling them together and sewing.  First were the turtles and their parachutes.  One turtle or two?  Same size or different?  High or low?  Greens worked well for the landscape the turtles were flying over, with a couple of teal blues thrown in for a lake.  Browns and tans across the bottom gave an interpretation of the road of life.  Not always smooth, a few bumpy spots and unexpected pot holes.  I also decided some mountains might be a nice touch, so I pieced them together.  Going with the Flying High title, some flying geese were an obvious choice, and the pinwheels were fun. 

Since we were able to add a designated number of extra squares from our own stash (only 1 6" square of any given print), I pulled out an eagle and fussy cut him for the corner.  As it was coming together, I thought it still needed something.  My bathroom rug caught my eye, and in an aha moment, the idea for a row of houses came together.

A square of dragonflies made its way into the bottom left corner.  Those dragonflies eventually were used for the backing and binding.

Of course there was a bit of frog stitching going on (rip it, rip it), but by the end of the weekend the top was pretty well stitched together, and by the next weekend I had it sandwiched and ready to quilt.

Flying High didn't come out in the top ten this year, there was some pretty strong competition.  Yes, I admit I'm a tad disappointed, but in the end its all about enjoying the process and being happy with the result.  So in that regard, yes, it's a winner.  :)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

blowin' in the wind

As I've mentioned, recently I've been trying to finish a few of my ufo's.  I started piecing what I call Blowin' in the Wind around 2005 or so, maybe a year later.    I had originally come across this picture of a raffle quilt that Hill 'n Hollow Quilt Guild had posted on line, a group in northern Arkansas.  It really resonated with me, and I couldn't get it out of my mind.  Sorry, I don't know the name of the original creator of the pattern to give proper credit.  I don't think this picture shows Mr. Wind up in the left hand corner, blowing the leaves around, but he is what really captured my attention.

I looked for a pattern similar to what the guild used, and I found a leaf block in one of Jennifer Chiaverini's books.  I used different autumn flavored fabrics, and there were several days of taking the stem blocks to work so I could applique the stems in place on my lunch hour.  I decided not to go with a bed size quilt, rather a smaller version.  Mine finished out at about 45" x 49"

Wah-lah!   Another UFO completed!

Friday, October 26, 2012

milestone time again

Another family milestone day has come and passed...Elizabeth had a birthday!  She took the day off work, and I was able to spend a good part of the day with her.  

We went to the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History and out to lunch, then later had birthday pizza and cake.  Great day!   I came across this picture of Elizabeth on her third birthday.  I think its appropriate to show it since Elise just had her third birthday.  :)
and here's Elise on her third birthday:
I'm editing this to add a little side note.  When we were at the museum yesterday, we were outside with Elise at one of the other exhibits.  It turns out one of the other little girls was named Elise as well.  The moms talked about the names, and how they each spelled Elise.  Then the other mom made the comment that people sometimes ask her if the child's name is Elsie.  "Can you imagine?  Who would name their child Elsie???"   Elizabeth and I just looked at each other with a bit of a smile.  Later I thought (isn't it often later, when it's too late to do anything about it) I should have introduced myself by saying, "oh, I'm Elsie".  Ah well. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

this time of year...

This time of year we start getting into the "sorry, can't talk about it" or "sorry, can't show any pictures" mode.

We know my challenge quilt is still in the voting stages, and that won't close unitl next Saturday.  Maybe they ought to consider a 10 day voting period, instead of 2 full weeks.  Anyway, time's moving along on that one.

I'm also in another swap, The Twelve Days of Christmas.  I participated last year, and it's fun.  At least 12 people join in, the more the merrier, and each person makes 12 items that are mailed to the coordinators.  They swap out the gifts (they are wrapped when sent in, and have our individual names on the outside of the package for being "from"), and mail them out in time for us to open one a day before Christmas.  As we open the one a day, we get on the forum at HGTV and let them know we opened something, but can't say what so the other people will be surprised.  Last year I sent in my embroidered hankies, and received among other things a potholder, decorated journal using scrapbooking supplies, and a hot pad for the table.  The idea is to do an inexpensive remembrance type gift.   While I can't say specifically what I'm doing this year, I can say I'm using up some of my binding tape that I've had awhile!  And I'm learning a new-to-me technique too, so that's a good thing.

Shifting gears, every fall the local Friends of the Library hosts a Mansfield Writes program, as well as a Mansfield Reads program in another part of the year.  I went to the writing program Friday night, and it was an enjoyable evening listening to 6 authors, mostly local people.   Diane Kelly, Liz Lipperman, Carl Stower, Wendy Watson, and Melissa Bourbon, and newspaper columnist Judy Lee spoke and answered questions, and also of course had their books available for purchase.   It turns out the fellow I was seated next to has also written a couple of books, Ken Aldridge.  I don't know that Carl Stower has ebooks, but the others do, and I'm ready to read the few I've downloaded.  I think they'll be entertaining. 

I was talking to my neighbor the other day, and she homeschools her girls.  She talked about craft time, and I may be helping them learn to sew.  There are several projects that they could do, and would serve to introduce them to sewing...pillowcases, pot holders, and coasters, and who knows what else.  Should be fun. 

Guess that's it for now.  Have a good week!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

let's see now...

The ironing cover on my tv tray needed replacing, so I made a new one in the last couple of weeks.  Forgot to show it last week.  It sure comes in handy.

I've continued to work on my ufo's.  I started this "Through a Winter Window" either last winter or the winter before. I finally have gotten it ready to be sandwiched and quilted.  The problem with taking awhile to finish is I sometimes forget things...I think I must have worked this up with the background bigger than it should have been with the intent of trimming it down, then forgot to trim it when I got to that point.  Oh well, it's still cute, and I'll know for next time.  Oh, and to give credit where credit is due, the pattern was in the 2004 Quilting for Christmas magazine, by Pearl Louise Krush.  I think the pattern is probably still available at LQS if you don't happen to have the magazine.
The Friday night PJ parties have resumed on the HGTV quilting/needlework forum.  This week was Artist Trading Cards (ATC's), which I've not done before, taught by toryam.  Now the class started out with the premise of "drawing" a flower, but you know art sometimes takes it's own direction.  Mine resembles more of a gnome, but hey, I'm fine with that.  I still need to complete some stitching on the side, and maybe add a bit of bling, but here's what I came up with.  I look forward to trying more of these.  Care to offer an idea for inspiration?

And on a different note.  I usually sing a little song to Elise before her naptime, "you are my sunshine, my only sunshine..."  Its one Ashlynn liked when she was about Elise's age.   Elizabeth downloaded a few songs to her IPod recently, and this happened to be one of them.  She sent me a text, telling me how Elise heard it and was happy saying, "just like Gaga sings", and then just a short time later was crying because "I miss Gaga".  I had to blink my eyes a few times on that, they started getting kind of wet.  And yes, while I'm Grams to all my grandkids, Elise has stuck with Gaga.  Somtimes its Gaga Grams, or Gaga Mommy (which I consider her version of grandmother).  Its all good.  I think it also qualifies me as another version of Lady Gaga.

Remember my challenge quilt?  All entries have been submitted, and voting started today.  I think it closes on the 27th, so after that I can show pictures and tell you about it.  I'm sure your enquiring minds want to know.  I've got some heavy competition out there, as I knew there would be.

I'm editing this to add one other new thing I learned recently.  You know, with the advent of debit cards and on-line bill pay, I rarely write checks these days.  Occasionally I'll stop in at the credit union and they'll print up a sheet or two of temporary checks for a nominal charge.  This last time I asked what was the smallest amount I could order of the pre-printed checks.  She scratched her brain a  bit remembering something about this, and made a phone call.  They offer a package of 50 checks at no charge!  You have no choice in the design, and they come in a variety pack.  Probably samples of what's available.  I don't think this is something you see on the check re-order form, so if you're interested in saving a few dollars, ask about it at your local bank or credit union.

Guess that's it for now.  Have a good week!

Friday, October 5, 2012

reminds me of Grandpa

As I mentioned earlier, my tv now only gets the local channels. Its gone really well, probably better than I expected.  Tonight however, I felt a bit of frustration that the local channels weren't airing the American League Wildcard game between the Texas Rangers and the Baltimore Orioles.  I happened to think about the radio, and found that it is indeed playing on the KESN 103.3 FM station.

I had to download an app so I could listen on my IPod, which didn't take but a few minutes. With it parked in the speaker, it's coming across loud and clear.  I find I like the play-by-play commentary, and also that I can move around the house and not be tied to a visual game.  I also find that Grandpa Johnson has been right here in the room with me this evening.  No, Grandpa and the Rangers weren't in the same era, but he was indeed a big baseball fan.  I remember many visits to Granny and Grandpa.  He had on his bib overalls, and was sitting in his recliner with the radio at his side.  At the time, I had a hard time seeing the appeal of listening to a game on the radio, but you know, I'm enjoying it tonite.  Since I went to The Ballpark last year, I have a nice mental image of the team on the field.

Hey Grandpa, want some popcorn?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

mad monkey changes

Elise has several sock monkeys now, and enjoys playing with them.  She even got a new one for her birthday.  In the last week she decided one of them was mad, and it bothered her, so she asked GaGa Grams to fix him.

The eyebrows were her main concern.  They were pointy, along with his nose.

It didn't take long to make things right in her little world again.  Snip away the old stitches, and with her help on design, stitch on the new.   "I lub him so much!"

Monday, October 1, 2012

tying up loose ends

I've been trying to go through a few things in the sewing room, and it's an uphill battle.

I've had a plastic tub that held purchased patterns (in their little plastic sleeves), those printed off the internet, and odds and ends of little notes.  Its a nice little catch-all, but got so that I couldn't find what I wanted without pulling everything out and making another mess.  So I pulled everything out one more time.  Using a three ring binder, I've been able to corral the printouts and notes, and its nice to be able to thumb through the book for what I want to see.  For now the patterns in sleeves are back in the tub in a neater fashion, but that's subject to change as I progress.   And yes, I do have a lot of project instructions saved on the computer, but sometimes I just want to access them easier.

And you may remember I mentioned my printer not working like it should.  Well, I realized for the bit of printing that I do, Staples office supply store is my new friend at 10 cents a page.  Each page is on good quality paper, and I don't even have to think about ink running out.  I take in my little thumbdrive, along with a list of what I want printed, and its done.

In going through things in another part of the room, I came across the blocks from a swap that ithinksew (we all have our board names) hosted on the HGTV quilitng and sewing forum. This swap had to have been at least 5 years ago, so I thought it was time to do something with them.  I made a quick trip to a fabric store and got a yard for the sashing, and got started.

ithinksew made 2 blocks, and I also have blocks from solidgolddancer, quiltnanny, needprozac, byabasket, LisaP8, myjack, nr4crafts, and ball63. One block was the squares and triangles to make it, for us to assemble ourselves. At first as I was laying out the swapped blocks, I thought I was one short.  Then as I read the little note included, I saw her comment about finishing the one ourselves.  Its possible someone dropped out, but this worked out fine.

ithinksew gave us specific colors she wanted used in the quilt, such as apple green and purple, along with kind of a royal blue and deep red, all on a cream tone background.   Her last sentence in the little note mentioned that she would really love to see our finished quilts.  Sadly, ithinksew died almost a year ago.  I think she would have liked it.

While this ufo is not completed yet, I do feel better that it has progressed to this point from being a bunch of squares in a bag.  :)

Will I ever get my sewing room completely squared away?  Who knows.  I've already got another project going though.  Can't stifle my creativity when it decides to come visit!

Have a good week.