Monday, April 30, 2012

FO Challenge for April

I had a few starts in April and most of them became finishes.   I did the April Sunbonnet Sue block.

I decided that she would look good in my new repainted and re- floored laundry room.
 I started quilting the Blue Beast.  This will probably take me all month to just finish the quilting.  I can only work on it about an hour a day.
I have some mug rugs/cookie coasters ready to quilt and finish.
 When No. 38 complained that there was never a napkin on the table when he needed it, I decided to make a napkin holder which was big enough to accommodate the salt & pepper shakers.
 And, last but not least, I started the May doll quilt for my swap partner and it's ready to quilt.  Here's a peek.
 That's it.  I love being retired.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Surprise Mail

I got the nicest surprise in the mail on Friday.  My friend Sandi at
A Legacy of Stitches sent me her pattern for a cookie coaster and some fabric.
 She had a give away on her blog about a week ago and, of course, I entered but, of course, I didn't win.  So, when this arrived in the mail I was genuinely surprised.  She lives about 20 miles from me and we became friends through our quilt guild.  Sandi is very generous with her time and talents.  And, she has many talents.  She introduced me to wool felt and got me hooked on crazy quilting.  I've been thinking of making some more mug rugs..which is another name for a Cookie Coaster and now I can get busy with this cute tea pot fabric.  Thanks, Sandi.  You made my day.,

Yesterday was such a miserable cold day and I barely moved beyond the couch and/or bed.  Minnie and I curled up and watched a movie, read a book and ate junk.  Today was a bit better weather-wise, although no heat wave.  It got close to 50 degrees, I think.  I did some yard chores and marveled at the spring flowers blooming a month early.
Flowering Crab
Fern Peony
 The Hibiscus is growing in a pot and I drag it in and out of the house almost daily.  Actually, I have four of them in large pots.  Three belong to my sister and I said I would winter them over for her.  Once the weather settles down, which I hope is soon, I'll take her three back to her.  They have been blooming continuously for the past two months. 

Predictions are for a warmer week ahead.  Maybe some rain, too.  I'll be busy outside, if that's the case, and I hope to get some sewing room time.  The Blue Beast is coming along but it still has a long way to go.  I keep plugging away at it.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Guess What?

No, it's not a teapot hanging on the wall.  I've never seen one of these before but we have one, now.  It's a weather barometer.  We inherited it from No. 38's sister.  Her girls are simplifying her life by cleaning house and decided this had to go.  It ended up in my car.  Sigh!  Everyone should have one of these.  

It's actually quite interesting.  First a little history:  Dating back to the 1600's, the Weather Barometer is sometimes called the oldest barometer known to man (or woman).  Historians believe the Pilgrims brought these thunder glasses to the colonies.  This instrument was one of the few tools of its era based on scientific principle and became a standard on seafaring vessels.  The Weather Barometer has been referred to as many other names including:  Thunder Glass, Spout Barometer, Goethe Barometer, Storm Glass, Poor Man's Barometer, Thunder Bottle, Water Barometer, and Weather Glass.

So, how does this highly sophisticated scientific instrument work?  According to the box, it provides advanced warning of weather changes based on atmospheric pressure.  High pressure causes water in the spout to fall, indicating fair weather to come.  Low pressure causes water to rise in the spout, indicating precipitation  will likely occur.  A rapidly approaching storm, which is generally associated with low pressure, can cause water to drip from the spout opening onto the drip catcher.

Based on this, the water is dripping from the spout as I write but there is no rapidly approaching storm unless you count No. 38 raging about politicians, the noisy motorcycle revving next door and the barking dogs across the street.  However, it is clouding up, outside, that is.  I think I'll keep my weather radio on.

I'm sitting outside in the backyard with Minnie as I write this.  I love my backyard.  I call this Minnie's yard.  Can you see the little 2 foot high fence on the right side?  That's all I need to keep Minnie safe from marauding squirrels.  She loves being out here, too.

 Talk about relaxation.  She needs it as she hurt herself somehow getting out of the car and could barely walk yesterday.  I was pretty worried but, this morning she was her old treat-demanding self.  Yesterday she refused treats.  We both have vulnerable backs, it seems.

This came in the mail yesterday from Karen in  Williamson, New York.  She was my swap partner from the New Beginnings Mini Quilt Swap hosted by Michelle at Quilting Gallery.

 Quite colorful.  Those pinwheels really pop.  Thanks, Karen.  I'm going to have to start a Mini-Quilt Wall.  

That's enough for now.  My computer is getting tired and it's time for a cuppa.  Thanks for visiting today and reading my ramblings.  The water in the Thunder Glass is now midway up the spout meaning fair weather.  Yup, No. 38 went for coffee.  Hee-hee.  You know, this thing might be a treasure after all.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Monday Morning Bark

I'm late on my morning bark, about 10 hours late.  Oh well.  I was busy this morning as I started quilting the Blue Beast at 5:30 a.m.
 This quilt is 105 by 96 or around there; thus, the Blue Beast.  I set the blocks on point with sashing between so the first step is to stitch in the ditch going both directions between the blocks.  Once that's done, I'll quilt the blocks.  I have an inkling of an idea of how I'm going to quilt the blocks but have not quite decided yet.  Does anybody else quilt large quilts with their sewing machine?  Since I added a table behind my machine, it works so much better.  I sewed until 7:00.  I did another hour this afternoon.  I'll be in a world of hurt if I spend too much time at one sitting.

This afternoon I finished painting the entryway.
 It's called "Green Tea".  Normally, I would stay away from green walls but this is such a rich green that I felt brave and decided to go for it.  Besides, it's only this wall and the wall opposite which is the coat closet.  The quilt you see is the doll quilt I got from my swap partner at Doll Quilters Monthly.  Vickie from Creative Notions
made this one for me.  I sent her a tulip quilt which I hand pieced.
We've already been assigned our May partners so I must get busy on the May Flowers quilt for my partner, Linda, in California.  This is a fun swap and you can join anytime.  Just click on the link above or the button on the right side.

 It's time to rest.  The day was busy and I'll probably be up at 5 a.m. sewing on the Beast.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Garage Sale Weekend

Yesterday and today was the annual city-wide garage sale.  Lots of stuff everywhere.  The last thing I need is more stuff so I decided it would be prudent of me to stay away from any and all sales.  Sorry to disappoint everyone, I didn't go to any..well, that's a lie.  I stopped at two because quilting fabric was advertised and scrap booking stuff.  The fabric was not that great so I passed (you'd be proud of my restraint), and I was too late on the scrapbook supplies.  I did get out for my usual morning walk and passed lots of open garages.  I refused to look and my heart was going pitty-pat as I passed by. 

My friend Beth stopped by with her Boston Terrier puppy for a social lesson with Minnie.  And like a dolt, I didn't take any pictures.  The intro went well considering this is Minnie's house and she was suddenly invaded by this high-strung pup who wanted to play.  There were a few growls when Raz got too close to Minnie's treat cupboard.  Minnie got Raz's toy and gutted it.
 This was a hedgehog!  Minnie guts all her toys so all that's left is a piece of soggy rag.  Raz didn't care.  She liked Minnie's rags better anyway.  I'll get pictures the next time they have a play date.  We'll visit Raz on her territory next and see how that goes.  Minnie needs to socialize a bit more than she does.

The laundry room is done.  New floor, new paint, new shelf and new washer.
 I'm very satisfied with how it turned out.  It was a mess but it got done.  Today I finished a little Sunbonnet Sue's Washday to hang on the wall.  I ended up drawing my own version.
 The blue matches the paint.  I'll sew that binding tonight.

That's about it.  My back is improving.  I've had two good days in a row.  The chiropractor eased up yesterday and it made a big difference.  I'm encouraged that I'll be able to function normally again.  We've been promised warmer temps next week so I'll be getting in the gardens and yard.  

Thanks for visiting today.  Hope your weekend is going well.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

FMQ Challenge for April

April's FMQ instructor is Don Linn, aka Mr. Quilt, and he presented his technique of  drawing a quilt design on tulle and transferring that design onto the quilt.  What a fantastic way to quilt those complex designs.

I first selected the design.  I borrowed Don Linn's book Sophisticated Stitches from the library and selected the ones that looked interesting and doable for me.
 Then I transferred that design onto tulle which was inserted in an embroidery hoop.  I didn't have actual tulle.  Instead, I had some netting which seemed to work just as well.
 Then I traced the design onto my quilt fabric using the water erasable blue pen.  I used plain muslin as my practice piece.
 And off I went to the sewing machine.  In no time at all I was done quilting this design.  That was so much fun I decided to do another..and another..and, another.  I had four samples finished and put together using the Quilt As You Go Method on Leah Day's blog.

 This is the muslin side
This is the other blue side.

I liked that feather design so well that I decided to use that on my FMQ sampler.  I also added some echo quilting around the design.
 This is the pink side of the sampler
This is the green side

What a great way to replicate and transfer complex designs on the quilt.  Thank you, Don, for giving us this lesson.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Friday Morning Bark

Hard to believe it's Friday already and Minnie is on her morning bark.
 Someone is cutting a tree down on the block behind us and making a racket.  She doesn't like stuff like that going on in her world.  Besides, it's raining.  Yay.

Have to share some vintage books that came my way.  This first one was given to me from my successor at the library.  She's been cleaning out her mother's house and found this.
 The Quiltie Ladies' Scrapbook by Variable Star Quilters out of Souderton, PA published in 1987.   The Variable Star grew from a core of women who took an advanced quilting course at Souder's Store in Souderton.  Over lunch, someone suggested they continue to meet on their own.  That was in 1977.  They grew to 16 members meeting in members' homes for show and tell, problem solving, and sharing new ideas and patterns.  And, of course, sharing recipes.  Recognition of the fine work of the group earned them the privilege of designing and piecing the raffle quilt for the 1987 National Quilting Association meeting in Easton, Pennsylvania.  Wanting to reflect the local heritage of their area, they blended local patterns and traditional elements in their "Perkiomen Heritage" quilt which is shown on the cover of this book.

It's chock full of recipes, quilt block patterns and quilty lore.
 There's a chapter for each month with recipes for a full dinner or luncheon.  The line illustrations are wonderful.  I think they would work nicely for embroidery.  Many of the quilt blocks I've never heard of.  I'm not sure if they are Variable Star Quilters originals.  I especially like this Sunbunny Sue block.
 And there is poetry
 This poem is called "A Friend By Your Side".  A very fun book which I will use often.  Amazingly, it's still available for purchase through Amazon.Quiltie Ladies' Scrapbook.

I was going to show another wonderful find but I'll save that for another day.  This post has taken over an hour to do and I have stuff, sewing?  I can't waste this beautiful rainy day on the computer.  Not that computers are a waste but, you know what I mean.  Here's a question for all you experienced bloggers:  Do you have trouble linking pictures on your posts?  It seems to take forever with me.  I'll click on the selected photo and it will take two or more attempts to get it to go.  Any and all advice welcomed. 

Hi Ho, Hi Ho it's off to fun I go.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

I'd Rather be Sewing..but

I'm working on that Should ListYesterday I finally got to the doctor about my back.  I made the appointment, then cancelled because it felt better.  Last Friday my back acted up again.  Wouldn't you know!  Yesterday morning I called for another appointment and, as luck would have it, I could get in right away.  After much discussion, xrays and blood work, the doctor sent me to the chiropractor.  I'm totally out of alignment.  He did his magic, gave me instructions and advice and set up a couple more visits.  By golly, it helped.  Not cured, but I feel improved today. 

Improved enough to start painting the laundry room.  The flooring is ordered and the installers will be here next Wednesday.  I hate to paint and I don't trust No. 38 with a paint brush.  Most of it ends up running down his arm and everywhere except the walls.  And I end up doing all the trim work and the cleaning up so I might as well do it all.    Here's the before picture of the laundry room:
Pretty bland.  I ordered a new washer and once the floor installers arrive, they will take these two units out.  I got blue-grayish paint but it looks more blue than gray.
But, it's a laundry room.   I'll call it "Laundry Day Blues".  Maybe I could make a mini quilt to jazz it up.  How about Sunbonnet Sue in blue embroidery work hanging clothes on the line?   Hmmm.  I got two coats of paint on and now have to wait until the appliances are out before I can finish.  One good thing about this project is that I didn't have to worry about paint drips on the floor.  And, my back is still holding up.

We had a hard frost again last night in Minnesota.  The juice in the hummingbird feeder was froze.

 The bird bath was solid ice
 Some of the perennials didn't look too good, either.  Oh well, Mother Nature knows what's she doing.  Just showing us who's boss.

Maybe after another round with the paint brush I can get into the sewing room.  I'm dying to get started on the FMQ for April with instructor Don Linn.  I got his book Sophisticated Stitches from the library yesterday which is chock full of designs.  I might have to buy this book.
On sale at Amazon for $13.30
Tomorrow morning I'm off to Minneapolis with No. 38 for his checkup and I have another appointment with the chiropractor in the afternoon.   

Time for a cuppa.