Feline Friday is hosted every friday and HELP for Hexie-aholics is hosted on the 17th of each month. We hope you'll join us!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Design Wall Monday - 6/28/10

My muse hit the lotto this weekend and I didn't really get much else done around the house. I also had a visit by Kristie and my nephews to see the snow peas but didn't think to photograph the boys while they devoured crisp snow peas they "harvested" themselves.

EDIT: Erin the Librarian was impressed that I listened to nine CDs of an audiobook while working in the studio and thought I should share...each CD is about 70 minutes.

Remember the tube quilting blocks in Friday's post? I happened across some WOW fabric already in my stash and decided to run with it, including taking apart those 4 blocks from Friday and putting a white corner on them to create 8 blocks. The process is so easy, I had all these blocks done by early-Sunday, after a good share of Saturday at the Farmer's Market, working on the inventory grant at work AND working on some other projects I will show another day. There is still some work to put the top together but nothing that can't be accomplished in a few hours. I'm sorry that the stars don't show up as well as they did in the online design I was copying but I'm willing to make another since they are a great stashbuster.

This is another technique I saw online - basically a slash and shuffle design from the Layer 'Em Up book. The author's video demonstrated how to use 8" blocks but with some simple math to get the proper ratio, I made these with 6.5" blocks. I still need to square them up but I will finish with 30 blocks from 5 fatQuarters. Basically, the stack of squares in the background is cut into that mock-9-patch design and several pieces are shuffled 1 or 2 spaces and then sewn back together. Again, another couple hours should have all the blocks completed. I've also seen other designs that work with the slash and shuffle concept and hope to try them soon.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Bits & Bobs

I've been kinda floundering around in the studio this week. Between cleaning house a little at at time and wanting to be outside in the gorgeous weather and my new-to-me hammock, I just haven't been able to get into any specific project.

I've been cutting neutral fatQuarters into 2.5", 2", 1.5" and 1" strips for my strip bins. I used 2.5" strips to finish putting sashing/cornerstones on all but 2 of the 26 Sister's Choice blocks. Now I need to determing how many more blocks I need.

This morning I also cut some of the 2.5" and 2" strips into squares for my Omigosh quilt.

Last night I also pulled 4 2.5" strips out of the strip bin to try tubeQuilting - that was easy and fun and I didn't even need the strip tube ruler, thanks to this video. Hmm, it appears I should have watched the video again before doing this as I think a quilt will look nicer if you use 2 strips for one side of the tube and 1 wider strip for the other side - that's the next experiment :)

This photo shows the box I keep my Omigosh parts in and the 4 blocks I created tubeQuilting which I will continue to play with since it's lots of fun and sooooo easy!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

First fresh salad of the season

Picked a ton of fresh lettuce from the garden last night and whipped up a batch of hot bacon dressing to make a wilted lettuce salad. I forgot to boil some eggs so I added cheese and orange flavored craisins instead. The salad was so good I had a second, which is what you see here. Based on weather and available cooking time, I'll probably have one a day until the lettuce gives up the ghost.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


In case you were under a rock, a 5.5 magnitude earthquake was centered about 30 miles north of Cumberland, Ontario, Canada at 1:41 this afternoon. We felt it here in my office building in little Perry, NY - It really wasn't a bad quake but it was my first!

At first I heard a roaring noise and then the ceiling tiles "breathed." When it's windy the front door swooshes out a little and the tiles breath and when semis go by we hear noises so I wasn't concerned. In fact, I didn't say a thing to my office mate down the hall. I merely looked across the street to see if the leaves were moving on a tree and they weren't so I brushed off the whole thing.

Then my boss called to see if we felt anything, because he had felt it and his son had called from Nunda to say he felt it. So I asked my colleague - she had felt it and assumed it was a semi as well. Then her sister called to say she felt it, called Mom and Dad but they didn't feel it, texted my brother and he had felt it in Victor (closer to the center of activity). The cemetery sexton just came into the office, he missed it as well.

The US Geological Survey site has a form to log in what you did or didn't experience during an earthquake and it's been interesting to watch this map expand with more and more reports. Be sure to click over to the link above for an updated map.

Wazzit Wednesday

Do you recognize this cactus? The picture doesn't show the plant very well, altho it is in the background, but this was the last picture on my memory card. The plant has lethal little spikes and is probably 4 feet wide and 3 feet tall. The leaves are flat but there are also triangular sections of "stem." These blossoms are probably as big as your hand and dribble a sticky liquid onto the table cloth. We have no idea what it's called and would appreciate any insight. There are probably 6 blossoms on it right now as it seems to love the heat of late and the west facing window. I can take more pictures if that would help you figure out what it is. Anybody have any ideas?

We be Jammin!

Strawberry season is winding down here in WNY and it's the perfect time to make strawberry jam! Last night Mom and I made 7 batches of jam which worked out to be 22 jars. I only needed 4 since I just have a small freezer. The rest will be consumed at their house - apprently Dad lives on the stuff :)

I was the offiical stirrer and bottler so I don't remember the measurements but... mashed strawberries are stirred into sugar and then allowed to sit for 10 minutes with an occational stir. Then the pectin, mixed with lemon juice, is continuoulsy stirred into the berries for 3 minutes. The whole sugarry concoction is then transferred to the jars and allowed to sit at least 24 hours before putting it in the freezer so it can gel. Mom wants me to make sure I tell you it's freezer jam! A few leftover berries will be consumed for dessert tonight and I can't wait..

Monday, June 21, 2010

Design Wall Monday - 6/21/10

Saturday was a quilt market sale at one of my LQS where I picked up the kit for another tablerunner. The kit came with the pattern card from Pieced Tree Patterns and gold dusted fabric for the top, back and binding. I don't have the back situated yet but so far I think we're lacking fabric for the binding. There are pieces of everything but not enough of any of the fabrics from the top. The pattern calls for the dark red fabric to be the binding.

I won't get back to this until later this week - tonight is library board meeting and tomorrow is strawberry jam making at Mom's.

I've tried for so long to get this picture to turn sideways...sorry :(

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Play Ball!

Friday night was Ty's last home t-ball game and the whole family was there - both sets of grandparents, his immediate family and his (obviously) favorite Auntie Sarah. I'm the only aunt on the Ballinger side and the only aunt within so many miles - that's gotta count for something? Right? I thought so! I never did catch which side won but the kids had fun and some of them did particularly well for 4 & 5 year olds.

While Ty (bugjuice grin and all) waited in the dugout for his chance at bat, his little brother played in the sand pile. What you can't see is his green t-shirt that advises to "Lock up your daughters." Watch out girls!

Great follow through - too bad it was a foul ball!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Super Cruise & Sister's Choice

Last Night was Super Cruise night at the Corral and I didn't think to take a single picture of the 550+ cars, trucks & motorocycles.  This is a picture taken by someone else last night and even tho I looked, I guess I've never posted a picture of dad's 1929 International truck on my blog - will need to remedy that...

The Wyoming County Fair Guide arrived in today's mail ... time to start planning what I want to enter. That can mean something new or finishing some UFO and I will enter two butter/jam spreaders into the antqiues division. I think one is stamped 1837 or so...

I'm still working on my Sister's Choice blocks. For the 26 blocks completed so far, I have the top sashing on all of them. I only have the side sashing and purple cornerstone on 13 of them because I need to cut some more 2.5 inch neutral strips. I much prefer to piece individual sashings to the blocks, instead of a row at at time, because I find it easier to work with one block at a time. I know, I'll still need to sew one long row to another but it works for me :)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Birds, UFO's and cats, oh my...

I know this isn't a great photo since it was taken through the screen but look...this goldfinch has a mohawk. Yeh, I know it's just a few feathers out of whack but it was funny to watch him this morning without a care for his hairdo.

I wasn't super inspired to work on anything yesterday so I pulled out a UFO. These blocks are from Bonnie's Sister's Choice pattern and they have been a great "in between" project since I have a plastic box already stocked with precut green and neutral parts. I have 26 blocks done and I started adding sashing (mixed neutrals) and corner stones (the purple is hard to see on the right side of the photo) last night. I'm not sure how many more blocks I'll make but that box still has a lot of parts. Of course, then I'll just need to decide what to do with all the left over half square triangles.

And last but not least...Pepper was working on his suntan. I can tell he is lonely without his mommy, Tula, but I am enjoying the increased attention he allows me. Someday I will let another cat adopt me but not just yet...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

There's no place like home...

Mom and Dad are going to Ireland soon ... Mom wants a big tote bag to carry all her "essentials" and purchases. We picked out a pattern and fabric at the LQS - the pattern uses Texture Magic. And that's when I saw the yellow brick road fabric. I like the Wizard of Oz but I can't say I go gaga over it; I just couldn't resist making a practice tote with these fabrics...

And it was a good thing I made a practice tote - the directions are for two sizes of totes, with the larger cutting sizes in parenthesis. I didn't realize I cut the main fabric too small short until it was too late. The finished size is usable but more of the characters would  have been visible if I had cut them 3" larger like I should have. I'm going home to highlight the large size cutting directions so I don't goof again.

Mom wants one sturdy strap to cross over her body and inner pockets, possibly with invisible zippers. It's a cute pattern and I won't mind making one for mom and maybe more...

Monday, June 14, 2010

Design Wall Monday - 6/14/10

Well, there's been a few things on the design "wall" around here...

What do you think of my new blogger template? This template has a wider layout which means better photo layouts from now on but older posts no longer look as good as when I first wrote/arranged them...oh well.

I worked on creating a new flower garden by the front porch this weekend . There was already a white hydrangea, white azalea and pink bleeding heart there but I wanted to fill in the crazy outline of my house (used to be a parsonage so it's cross shaped with lots of crazy little corners to mow) with pretty flowers. I envisioned a cottage/english style garden with tall flowers for cutting. Not sure if the plants I picked will fill in that way but I'm happy with it so far. I ran out of mulch and I was wilting in the sun and muggy weather so this is half a garden...who knows when I will get inspired for the other half. Check out just some of the rocks I dug out of the garden. We think they may have been from the original foundation since most are flat. When the whole garden is done, I'll build a little rock wall around it with these and "farmer's" rocks.

I've also worked a little on this UFO. I had two of the traingles done and had enough of the light green to make another two. The QN pattern I was working from called for 3 large solid and 3 large pieced triangles made into a 6 sided table topper. Think I should made the table topper that doesn't fit any table I own with 1 traingle for the orphan box, make these 4 into a table runner or Mom thinks this should be the back of her tablerunner (which I don't agree with cuz the colors are off)??? The pattern is easy with a specialty ruler I came across in Florida so I might have to make more. The original pattern was in batiks...

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Design Wall Monday on Tuesday 6/1/10

Sunday was a good day for staying inside in the shade and quilting all day - yeh, I said ALL day. I quilted three table runners, have the bindings machine sewn on all three and handstitched down one. I'll show you the other two another day.

You might remember seeing this tablerunner here and here. I free motion quilted it to echo the snail trails with red, white and black threads. The only red I had was Masterpiece so I was also going to use the black Masterpiece thread. It was breaking sooooo many times I actually threw it out because this is the second quilting session that has happened. I love Masterpiece for piecing and I had no problems with the red but that black was just too much to deal with when it breaks every couple inches, even with a new needle and freshly oiled machine.

It was a busy weekend with three rescue calls, marching in the Memorial Day Parade, a family picnic, long bike ride, trip with Mom to the not-so-LQS and baking for Yard Sale Days this coming weekend. I figured if I don't have a lot of "stuff" to sell, I can sell baked goods along with my tablerunners and other homemade crafts. Three other people will have "stuff" in my yard so we should get a lot of lookers.