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!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

May's UFO Challenge is done!

I actually "finished" my May UFO project!!
All I had to do was finish adding 2 outer rows of borders to 2 sides of the quilt. The batiks were already sewn together, I just had to add the background material to fill out the rows (not enough batiks as these were from charm packs). What did that take? 30 Minutes?

I've kinda decided to call this "Headed North" or "Moving North" or "Moving Home" or something like that. What do you think? The batiks were purchased in NC as I was moving from Florida back to NY.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Road Trip

We interrupt your regularly scheduled "Feline Friday" to bring you a road trip!

Year's ago (we're not counting how many) I never would have allowed myself to say this but now I'll say it with no qualms: I love country music! This isn't the whiny somebody-done-somebody-wrong stuff of my youth - heck, Pop singers now sing country music. The only station I listen to (unless I am out of range) is WBEE 92.5 out of Rochester.

This summer they are doing a summer tour of their listening area. Now, Wyoming County isn't considered part of their area but you can "listen" to them in over half the county. Anyways...Their first stop was scheduled for Mt. Morris, a mere 20 minute drive from home. Do you know I actually hesitated going because of the cost of a gallon of gas? It was well worth it and a great way to end a wet week.

You've heard of Flat Stanley, right? Well this bench boasts Flat Terry - one of the Bee Morning Coffee Club DJ's. I forget the original story of why the bench was made, something about a fundraiser, but it was fun to sit on.

The DJs and their laptops and equipment were squished into a corner of the Rainy Days Bakery and behind us were tons of people - some for the food alone but others for the show. It was neat to run in to some new friends...

Terri, Hausman and Newman get along just as well in person as on air and were a riot to see as they messed with each other while trying to be serious. Before I had to run to work, I asked them to sign one of their BMCC stickers that they were giving away.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled Friday...are you taking a road trip this weekend?

And don't forget to thank a vet or two this weekend!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Back to the drawing board

The hexie flower is the store sample I am working on. The LQS has kits to make what you see but there was no sample after our demo day was over. I'm going to look for some lavendar or something at the Dollar General to make it in to a sachet.

The fan is something I was playing with to make a nametag. Can you believe that I have been in my quilt guild for 2 years and haven't made a name tag yet?! I usually remember the night before meeting. Thankfully there are no fines for lack of nametag. I was trying to emulate a photo I saw online for this sample and it didn't quite work so this will probably become another sachet. Back to the name tag drawing board...

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

An early morning...

After getting up at an obscene hour to deliver the special election satchel this morning, I returned home with nearly 2.5 hours to sew before I even had to start thinking about breakfast let alone getting ready for work. So, what did I accomplish, you ask? Not.a.lot!

I finished a civil war block, looked for fabric to make a sample Quiltville block but couldn't make a final decision, machine appliqued a hexie flower as a shop sample and subcut the strip set shown above. I then worked on some hexies.

I know it sounds like a lot but I really felt like I was just wandering from to do list item to item. I seem to be doing that a lot lately, wandering. I love the civil war blocks and the donation quilts were quick and fun but I need to work on a bigger project, even a UFO, that will take some time to finish...to focus me on something, anything. Maybe after Zumba tonight I can find the bits for this month's UFO (can't find them now that I am "cleaning" the studio).

Monday, May 23, 2011

Design Wall Monday - 5/23/11

So, there was no rapture on Saturday but even more miraculous is that there was nary a raindrop all weekend. And that means no sewing other than the button/hole job I was hired to do so I'll have to show you some of what I designed outside...I am bruised and sore and my hands are permanently stained with dirt and grass but the work just felt good!

The highlight of my day/week/month/SUMMER was seeing a pileated woodpecker in my yard. They are so rare to see - Dad having only seen "his" 3 times in 40 years (and his house is surrounded by nature preserve with tons of birds at his feeders versus me in the village where I have to fight for all 7 or 8 birds that comes to mine). I wasn't able to get my own picture but this is what they look like...these birds are crow size.

I attended 2 plant sales on Saturday. Love them! People pull stuff out of their own gardens, the money goes to a good cause and I know it will survive in this area. The second sale was for the local cat shelter. When Vickie realized I was the one who made the "Avocato" wall hanging she was raffling she wouldn't let me pay for plants. I only took 3 small plants altho she wanted me to take more.

This is flower bed has my Sum & Substance hosta - some day the plant will be 5 feet wide and each leaf will be 24". In the back is the yellow woodland poppy that just loves this corner. The new plants are Solomon's Seals - 2 each on left and right. They are a weepy plant that has little white bell flowers under the leaves. The poppy is from last year's plant sale. This bed will be expanded to the right along the foundation wall to include more hosta, sedum and Ladies mantle.

These are my purple clematis vines - with buds already! You can see where I stand in the mulch to trim or twine the stems around the trellis. I stopped on the way home from the plant sales to dig out a huge flat rock from the side of the road that will work perfectly here as a stepping stone. The day lillies and sedum are new! I pulled out a hosta that will go into the new hosta garden. I might need to move the coral bells. They are eventually destined for the chocolate garden that might appear this summer but I think for now they will be a little crowded with the new stepping stone.

The purple iris are about to bloom. I didn't get any flowers last year so this is twice as nice. The yellow iris' are already blooming - they were from last year's plant sale. You can also see the new brown-eyed-susan's in the background. I like to mix it up! Just outside of this photo are new purple cone flowers. Are you catching on to the color scheme here?! Purple and yellow! My columbine is nice and leafy but I am not holding my breath on flowers - there's weren't any last year - I can't even remember what color they are supposed to be.

This bed looks like a mess but it's a work in s.l.o.w.progress. I have a final shape in mind and I just keep working outwards as I get plants to fill it in. It will have a rock wall when it's "done". There is also this little weedlike bulb that I am dealing with - it gets lanky leaves that die off and later it blossoms with a pretty white flower. It looks awful as part of a garden bed so I am gradually pulling them out. This bed has new day lillies, b-balm and delphinium plus it already had jacob's ladder, phlox, bleeding heart, hardy geranium and my white azalea.

And because there is always more to do - check out this mess. This is the side porch that serves as the nursery. It just so happens that the porch deck is the perfect height for a "table". Middle tray is for the upcoming hosta garden (near the sum & substance), tray on right is veggies waiting until garden dries out and can be tilled and tray on left is misc. plants to find a home for. The bricks are for the start of a border I want to do around the pear tree, the green trug is for weeding and the USPS/pink boxes hold empty pots that need to go to the basement.

It's raining again....at least I won't have to water plants tonight!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Feline Friday - Toys

If you've got fur kids you've probably noticed that they are a lot like human kids where the "free" toys can be more fun than the store bought. You know what I mean - my nephews played in the box for the new water heater for weeks, forgetting the new toys they had just got for some holiday.

Not that there is anything wrong with the store bought stuff... but probably half of them haven't moved in weeks. A quarter of the toys are spread around the house after being played with or carried about by Squeaky and a quarter are MIA which means I need to do a sweep under all the furniture. I'm sure your cats store their toys under the couch as well. Right?!

Squeaky is the youngest and most playful. Not only does she carry the store bought toys from room to room and up and down the stairs but she also plays "soccer" with them....flipping them in the air or behind her other front leg.

Pepper is getting pretty lazy but he loves a good box and the laser light. Some days he'll even chase a thrown toy. Squeaky definitely enjoys the freebies: sticking her paws in and out of the holes in the milk crate or chasing a leaf brought in on a shoe. Or remember when she played with my socks? That old shoe lace is getting frayed but she loves to drag it around the house. Even better is the hair elastic that she found somewhere that makes her looks like a bull with a nose ring when she carries it around!

Her latest fav is a chunk of hem that was fraying and I had to trim off my jeans. I had left it on the bathroom counter but it was subject to some soccer moves and then I found this...

Sorry - didn't have time to compensate for the low light but yes, while playing, Squeaky somehow got the piece to balance on the chair rail and left it for me to find! I left it there but forget to look for it again so it's probably under a couch by now.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Garden Patch Cat

I finished my latest donation item with a whole 4 days to spare! Cheryl came to pick it up yesterday but with no sun there was no way to get a good shot inside the house. Check out my dandy dandelion crop - it's a bumper this year!

The chinese auction and plant sale is this weekend to benefit the local dog and cat shelters. Cheryl said she would make sure that proceeds from the wall hanging go to the cat shelter.

That was easy - should I start next year's now or wait? Hmmm...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Welcome Spring!

This is not at all the post I thought I would be writing today. I had thought I could get some nice sunny pictures of the progress of my gardens (I was gifted a number of perennials this weekend and also potted my porch containers) and dandelions (one must remain optimistic, even when the neighbor "offers" to mow your lawn).

Instead, I only have this foggy shot to share...

It's currently 44.5 degrees and quite foggy. It's not raining right now but it has been for days. In other areas massive rains have caused flooding and thankfully I don't have that problem. My problem was blowing out a windshield wiper (not at all like blowing out a flip flop - sorry couldn't resist more Jimmy Buffet humor, see liquor store sign in above photo) on the drive to work this morning. Try driving through the rain and fog with no wipers = I was not a happy camper.

Daddy will help me get them fixed (Edit: Fixed already - that was easy!!!) and all will be better but I really feel bad for the hummingbirds. I religiously (yeh, all 3 years now) hang my hummer feeds on Mother's Day weekend in anticipation of their arrival. I jot down the first day I see them in my bird book and for the last 2 years it has been on May 14th. Poor things thought they were coming north for the summer and now they are freezing their tiny tushes off.

For some reasons my hummers seem to only like this tiny feeder best and I've already had to refill it once. Mr. Hummy was doing a fly by looking for some nectar yesterday morning as I was walking back out the house door with the refilled feeder. I had hoped he would come to me holding the feeder but he didn't - maybe later this summer when he gets used to me.

The funniest siting yet (oh how I wish I had been able to get a photo of this) was Mr. Hummy flying around the feeder watching the squirrel who had been stealing my birdseed but who was now watching the hummingbird. :)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Design Wall Monday - 5/16/11

Ok - put on your rose colored glasses and remember that I don't normally "do" art quilts...

This past Saturday my quilt guild sponsored semi-local artist Mary Diamond, http://www.squareonpoint.com/, to teach Fabric Portraiture. Be sure to check out her what's new and gallery sections to get an idea of what these are supposed to look like when they are completed. It was a fun class but art quilts just seem so fiddly to me and I'm not sure I'll do another. Heck, this one still needs a lot of finishing work so it'll take me a while.

These were my two fav class samples. Up close all the hand stitching is a bit gaudy but when you step back, they are amazingly realistic.

We started class with a blank canvas of fabric basted to felt. We sketched out the face outline and spent what felt like hours on the eyes…working with small bits of fabric to create the whites, irises and eyelids followed by hand stitching eyelashes and eyebrows. After lunch we worked on the mouth and shading the face. The face was shaded with a combination of dried Sharpie pens, spray paint and blusher. We all have hand stitching to catch up on and then the hair.

Mary came with us to the LQS to help us pick out fabric for the hair and background.  When the hair (some are just doing hats) is finished the body will be cut out and can be incorporated into a larger quilt or I'll just probably mount it on the fabric as a small wall hanging. I'll be using some of the flowers to create a necklace to blend into the shoulders.

We have a guild show in July and we are thinking of displaying our finished faces...

Friday, May 13, 2011

Feline Friday

As you probably noticed - blogger has been having "problems" and I have just now been able to log in to my account. My post from yesterday is still MIA altho blogger states that all posts since Wednesday nite will be restored. I hope so!

Miss Midge has now decided to sit in the kitty chair - not sure if it's because the other 2 cats are using it or because I put the fake fur in there. Whereas Pepper fills the chair and Cali spreads out in the chair, Midge just fills about half of it and snuggles in as much as possible. Such a little bitty thing she is...

Thursday, May 12, 2011

UFO Thursday & Civil War Blocks

This month we are supposed to be working on UFO #9 which is this batik quilt.
It looks done, you say?! Not quite because it's only 95% done. I need to finish the borders on 2 sides.

When moving from Miami back to Castile we stopped at a Quilt Store in one of the Carolina's and they had batik charm packs for sale. Who can resist a good charm pack or three? Especially when moving from the sunny south back to the cold, gray north. The borders were made from left over charms and they are all cut - some of them maybe already be sewn into strips - I just need to sew them to the top.

And that porch...by summer's end it will have a brand new coat of paint on it! We think the main support posts may be original to the 1892 house so we will have to be careful with them when scrapping paint. The trim will remain white but I plan to paint the deck a nice purple color. It may cause my 'hood to be in an uproar but I'll smile everytime I see it :) See, just thinking about it put a smile on my face :)

I've been playong catch up with my Civil War blocks. I'm now making two of these quilts so I had to go back and make duplicates - 3 done, 3 more to go. I've also made two new blocks and have a third cut and partially sewn together. Progress is good!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Almost Wordless Wednesday - Mother's Day

On Sunday, the family went to the Glen Iris for breakfast. The Glen Iris used to be the home of William Pryor Letchworth who later donated the land for Letchworth State Park. It is now a gift shop, fancy restaurant and B&B. The building is located near the second of 3 falls in the park and there is also a fish pond with humongous gold fish. After breakfast we drove thru the ~26 mile park to see how high the river was after many weeks of rainrainrainrainrain.

The water was still considerably high. The pic on the right shows part of the Genesee River Valley. You can see tree tops but supposedly they were covered a week ago. The dam on the left is pretty high but it has been higher in my lifetime.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Library Tea Party

This past Saturday was the annual tea party fundraiser for the Cordelia A Greene Library. This year's theme was a Hawiian party based on the American Girl doll of the year. I wore my big flowered hat and Hawaiian shirt with the other workers and attendees dressed similarly.

I didn't get many pictures during the event since I was serving tea - it was so fun to see little girls all excited about a cup of peach tea. Almost 60 girls and their moms/grandmas/aunts/etc attended the tea and each place setting had a different tea cup. The tea cup collection had been donated to the library several years ago and I think their individuality just made the table setting perfect.

Every person who bought a ticket (adult or child) goes home with a door prize. Just look at all these doll dresses. Left overs were sold for $10 apiece and they didn't last long. You can see my donated wall hanging at the bottom of the photo. There was also a table with doll quilts/afghans, candles, purses and other goodies.

This photo shows the AG doll that was the grand prize to one lucky young lady. Ray is also practicing his snow cones which were a real treat. Check out the flip flop cake in the middle - we forgot to cut into it!

There was a photo booth set up for everyone. Photos were printed immediately and mounted onto cardstock and decorated with flip flop cutouts and information on the tea party. What a great memento!

Oh and lets not forget the treats - this was just a small sampling. The painted cookies and (stacked) bonnets on the left were some of the prettiest. There were enough cookies for everyone to take several home.

Can't wait to hear what the theme is for next year's tea and hopefully I won't forget until the last minute to make my doll quilt...

Monday, May 09, 2011

Design Wall Monday - 5/9/11

It's been another little-of-this-little-of-that week...

I was out of town 4 days last week for a conference so I didn't do any machine sewing but I did work on hexies! Especially fun to hang in the hotel room with hexies, watching a Law & Order marathon, for 3 hours before my roomie arrived! I couldn't remember if you had seen all of them so far but this also shows an approximation of how they will be layed out. Some of the diamonds have a darker middle row (all have the same center/green) and I am still deciding if I will work that into the pattern some how. The newest diamonds are on the bottom left. Working with the stripe took a lot of "thinking" but I really like the effect.

I was also reminded of a donation quilt I had agreed to make back in November. Have you seen the cat patterns, Garden Patch Cats by Story Quilts, that look like veggies? Well, here we have Avocato! He looks a little demonic now but I promise he'll be better when he is quilted and the iris' are added to his eyes.

And since I couldn't get my laptop to cooperate last week to show you the final picture of last week's Dresden Plate donation quilt...let's try again...

I think those swirls in the blades are becoming a trademark...I seem to use them with a lot of different patterns. Of course, my lips seem to move side to side when I am "swirling." LOL! Do you do that? Really get into moving the fabric when you are quilting?

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Civil War quilt update

Remember the old t-shirts, My parents went to the beach and all I got was this t-shirt?

Well, my parents went to Pennsylvania and Maryland and all I got was six 1/4 yard cuts of Civil War repro fabrics. Just what I asked for!!!! Strangely enough, the store they went to wouldn't cut fat quarters of the CW fabrics, altho they do it for other fabrics. Since the Civil War quilt uses mostly smaller pieces, the quarter yard cuts will work fine.

I had Mom pick one of my outstanding patterns to use the blue fabric (which doesn't photograph nearly as vibrantly as it is in person) and this is the resulting block:

This weekend Mom strongly hinted that she would like my Civil War quilt when it's done. I hesitated thinking of how long it's going to take to finish it and how much I like the CW fabrics that I had never used before. Then it dawned on me that I could make two at the same time. To me the longest part of doing each block is picking the fabrics so making 2 blocks won't be that much more work. Of course, I will need more fabric BUT I just got a call from the LQS that I won the monthly drawing for a $25 gift certificate. Is that great timing or what??!!

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Dora the Explora

Since we were "just talking" nicknames, I thought I would add this most recent edition to the list...

Friday morning I worked on that doll quilt for the Library. After about 45 minutes I heard a heard a scratching noise and stopped my audiobook - there was a cat scratching something. I could see Pepper so I went looking for the girls, my little trouble makers. The noise got louder the closer I got to the kitchen and then Midgie shot out of nowhere and stopped just out of reach under the dining room. I scolded her (who runs if they have done nothing wrong?) and asked what she was doing. I know, like she could answer me in words instead of just those wide pleading eyes.

I started looking around the kitchen for a problem and then heard a distant help-me-meow. While checking the bathroom I heard the meow again and opened the basement door. Cali was sitting on the steps and ran into the house as fast as she could. She must have followed me downstairs to read the gas/water meters and who knows how long she had been exploring before she panicked that she was now stuck in the basement. She was covered in cobwebs, especially her long whiskars. I pulled the cobwebs off her before I could think to get the camera and she ran to her chair where she didn't move for at least another hour. Poor Dora the Explora.

And Miss Midgie - as much as she doesn't like Cali, had been trying to scratch open the door to let her poor sissy back into the house. She was rewarded with a couple extra treats!

Monday, May 02, 2011

Design Wall Monday - 5/2/11

Every spring the Cordelia A Greene Library holds a tea party. Tea is served, the girls get to do crafts and there is a "photo booth" to document the day. Many families have been coming for generations and the girls always bring their American Girl dolls. Everyone who attends the tea wins a door prize which includes jewelry or doll dresses made by one of the sponsoring families. The top prize is a new American Girl Doll.

Last year I was asked to make a doll quilt to donate and I had a great time making this little blue and green number. I found out after the tea that the adults were fighting over it - when I made the quilt I had no idea that adults could win prizes and hadn't included a hanging sleeve.

This year I was again asked to make a quilt and told that Kanani was the girl of the year and would be the party theme. I spent some time trying to think of a Hawiian theme to use and then all the sudden I had just 11 days to make it and I would be gone 4 of those days. Ooops!

Batiks are tropical, right? I thought that would be the most fun to play with so I cut out blades for a dresden plate. I looked for my brightest batiks but didn't get too matchy-matchy.

The plate was then machine appliqued to a solid black background and backed with a very bright batik.

As I was quilting, the local quality control officer stopped in for an inspection...I think it passed but he did refuse the bribe I put out for him...