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Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Yup - another windmill table runner.

These things are addictive because it's so easy to slap together a charm pack with a 3" border and then use the spiffy template to cut apart the units and sew them back together. I cut and apart and resewed this one the last 2 mornings before work.

For this holiday charm pack, I pieced all the darks into the center with a light border. I already have the lights pieced with a dark border - just need to cut them apart and sew back together. Golly, that does need a better name.

What I can't decide (and yeh I have 3 or 4 tops done and another in the works) is how to quilt them and I am open to suggestions. This one screams spirals thanks to the ornament design in the border. I've thought of straight lines for the others but the seams don't really line up for something like that.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Design Wall Monday - 7/26/10

Let's just say I am soooo proud of myself! I started this wall quilt at least 3 years ago. The pattern for the cats is from a 2005 magazine and the printed directions for Tonya's letters were printed in 2007 when I made the cats and didn't yet trust myself to make the wonkyWords.

Based on last week's design wall monday post from Annie I was inspired to think about pulling this project out of the UFO box. Then I commented on something on Tonya's blog and heard back from her right away. The combination of the two got me to make some significant progress this weekend.

I think the top, right and bottom edges need another border of the backround fabric and then I might add one colored border. What do you think? Colored border or leave it as is? It could be the fabric used for the cats (not really enuf of any one of the 10 fabrics - original pattern called for scrappy borders), the words or the backing which is another brown. It's just about the right size to hang over my headboard and I'm quite excited to get it up there.

The quote is adopted from an old page-a-day cat calendar. My original plan was to have small, lower case vowels and larger upper case non-vowels. I didn't really keep that in mind as I was making the letter but I think it came out great. I must say, sizing them all to fit together is not really fun but I like the finished words.

I hereby encourage anyone else who has been stalling to make Tonya's letter to get to it!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Chocolate Garden

This IS quilt related - can you guess how before you get to the end of this post???

Last night, after dinner at the Hole in the Wall, my friend Jacquie, co-owner extraordinaire, showed me pictures of their latest honey harvest and asked if it had been me who told her of my wish for a chocolate garden. It was!

I think the wish started when the spring catalogs had plants that were either chocolate colored or flavored. Then I found the Chocolate Flower Farm which further cemented my wish. Since I can't decide where to plant my chocolate flower garden yet, I've just begun collecting plants that I can later move to the new bed. Most chocolate plants seem to be brown or dark maroon in color but some are black or dark purple. There are chocolate annuals, perrenials and vegetables (oh wait, I think they are fruit since they have seeds).

My most obvious and official start to the chocolate gardent, is this Chocolate Mint. It has the traditional 4-sided stem like mint altho it's a chocolate color. The green leaf tastes minty with something else but not really a chocolate taste. Hey, it's the name that's important, huh?!

LEFT: This sedum also fits the color bill altho it seems to grow a little wilder and spindlier than my green sedum that is in the back left of this picture.
RIGHT: I have this coral bells (I think it's called licorice). It started the summer a much darker color (dark chocolate?) that has now faded to this lighter (milky chocolate?) color.

Then, there is this cactus. Or is it a succulant? From the top it looks like a hens-n-chick but from the side you can see it's on a stem. I bought the smallest (translate to cheapest) this nursery had but the largest specimen they had available was on a 6-8 inch stem and the "flower" was maybe 10 inches across. I am not sure if I want this plant inside or outside yet but I couldn't pass up such an interesting plant.

 This morning I picked 3 Black Beauty peppers from my garden. They start out green but turn this dark eggplanty purple color. Can't wait to see what color they are inside.

These are off topic but look - my hens-n-chicks had a rooster! I actually have 4 different plants that did this so maybe it's the hot weather we've been having.

Does anyone else have chocolate flowers they can suggest? I'm talking everyday plants that fill the color or name or speciality plants that fit.  TIA.

So... did you guess the quilt relation to this post? My quilt guild's annual "picnic" was held at the Hole in the Wall with a very yummy menu, quilt mystery to solve and our usual show-n-tell.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Design Wall Monday - 7/19/10

There was a lot of sewing at casaGrande this weekend - most were itsy bitsy teeny weeny pieces but it was good to be sewing again.

I'm working on the first 100 4-patch units - about two-thirds have all 4 triangles sewn on and now need trimming down to 2". That is my 45mm rotary cutter in the picture for scale. The 4-patches are made with 1" strips and the halfSquareTriangles are cut from 2.5" squares. I only need 344 more of these units before making colored halfSquareTriangles and fashioning them into ShoeFly blocks.

Here's 100 9-patches sewn to 100 2" squares. Again, the 9-patches are made from 1" strips. I only need 450 more 9-patches before making double 9-patches! The subuct storage box is pretty empty at this point but I have some strip sets that need to be subcut and, thanks to Val, I have some strips that need to be sewn into sets. I think it might be a while before I get to sewing more 9-patches since it will take a while to trim the 4-patch units and subcuts and it was just a smidge of itty-bitty-overload this weekend.

And just so you know I'm crazy - here's confirmation - that is an American quarter on the 2" block. As best as I can tell, there will be 9,941 tiny pieces without considering the three Bs. Omigosh, what have I gotten myself into? The tiny blocks are cute but this sucker is going to be heavy with all those seams.

On a slightly larger scale, here are the subcuts for the purple/cream redRover 4-patches using 2.5" strips. I did find a few more purples in the green stash but I also realized I'm gonna need 4" strips for the halfSquareTriangles. I think I bit off another long term project while I accumulate more purples...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Putzing and begging

There hasn't been much meaningful time in the CasaGrande studio lately - too many other activities that need attention. You know, like laundry, mowing, meetings, melting in the heat, garden sitting and making sure the hammock is positioned correctly under the maple tree for reading!

I've putzed with 2.5" neutral and purple strips to begin a "Red Rover." Turns out I don't have as many purple fabrics as I thought...how did that happen? I have two drawers of just neutrals FQs so there is lots of variety there. I think it was Bonnie that got me hooked on neutrals and they are about the only FQ that I regularly buy without a specific purchase. It's fun to look for new and different fabrics or more of a fav that is just about gone.

I've also been putzing with my Omigosh quilt - as you can see my box is pretty full. I've sewed together strip sets and started to subcut them but need to make some room in the box for them so I've also been pinning together subsets until I used all my pins. Subutting. I have tomorrow off so maybe I can actually get something substantial done. It's supposed to rain so it will be nice to stay inside with the pitter patter of the rain through the open windows.

OK, so here comes the begging...anyone want to send/trade 2.5" purple strips or any-color 1" strips? My friend Val already gives me her 1" strips and it has added a lot of variety to my Omigosh but I'll need close to 1,000 tiny 9- and 4-patches so this is a long term project that just begs for variety. Would a cutie kittie change your mind?    TIA.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Design Wall Monday on Tuesday 7/6/10

It was such a busy 4-day weekend but I didn't seem to accomplish much other than this tote bag for Mom's pending trip to Ireland. Do you think the oppressive heat had anything to do with it? Today's high was expected to be 94F and the rest of the week will be in the 90s as well. Last summer we had ONE day in the 90s. I know we aren't as hot as DC but I live in an rural area that doesn't normally have AC. Thankfully my house is generally 10-15 degrees cooler than outside.

Anyway, this bag is a copy of the Wizard of Oz bag I made but with one long handle to go over a shoulder and 3 interior pockets for Mom's "stuff." I again used texture magic for the red bottom and quilted multiple crosshatch patterns so that some areas were denser than others leaving a really nice texture. You can see that I started with a 19 by 27" piece of red and texture magic that covered most of my ironing board but ended with a much smaller piece (that I forgot to measure...sorry!). I find the steaming part very tedious, especially with a heavy iron full of water. I do however love the final result and it's very worth the expense and effort. I noticed that this red piece shrank a lot more than the yellow for the other tote - is that due to the quilting pattern or because this is newer (and improved?) textureMagic?
(quilted)                                 (steamed)

Thursday, July 01, 2010

I Heart NY

Ok, so SOME days the heart is left out in this tax ridden, still-can't-pass-a-budget state but this is where I grew up and this is where I moved back to two years ago today. I can't believe it's already been 2 years.

Oh sure, there are plenty of places and friends to miss after 14 years in Miami but now there are all the new friends and places I would miss if I left NY again. But, I'm not - so don't get any ideas. Never wanna make another cross-country move like that again...