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, April 30, 2012

Design Wall Monday - 4/30/12

I'm back!!! Today I have a hexie update for you. The end is near and it's exciting!! I took some hexie "kits" with me last week to my conference, expecting to work on them after evening activities, but not expecting to get a lot done because we have a lot of activities. :)  Come Monday morning I decided I might as well work on them during some of the classes/meetings - there was space to work and I can listen while I sew. Sadly, I finished everything I brought with me by early Monday afternoon and that left Tuesday and Wednesday with out any hand work. Acckckckck. And, no, I wasn't able to concentrate as well in my hexie-less classes. Weird, huh?!

I have just started a full size diamond this morning, I'll have another full hexie and then 7 half hexies to do. I don't have any kits cut yet because I need to see what colors need to be augmented. Any suggestions? Then I'll finish playing with color placement of the finished pieces - I already moved two after taking this next photo. Then the sashing and the top is done. I am pretty confident that can be accomplished in May. I may eat my words come the end of May but that's my goal and I'm sticking to it.

On the way to and from my conference in Saratoga Springs, I stopped at 2 quilt stores in Syracuse. I picked up a few FQs for more hexie variety but I am most excited to have found the following 5/8" hexie fabric to use for the backing!!! There was also a black version but I didn't want to mix this design with the black batik I have been using on the front. I love how the color varies from lighter to darker shades of the teal color.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Feline Friday - 4/20/12

I don’t know about you but when I want to make sure to take something with me, it’s either clipped to my keys or dropped in front of the door.

Wednesday I dropped my folder for class and the garbage-bound pizza box at the door. Not 10 minutes later I found this:


There are sew many quilty linky parties around lately...would anyone be interested in having a kitty party here every Friday? Leave me a comment if you want to participate or even just read and after I get back from my trip I'll see what the consensus is...

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Spring Cleaning

I have wanted to do this for quite some time now but never made the time to do it...

Back when I still lived in Miami, our quilt store did a monthly mystery quilt. There was always three color ways to choose from and the kit fee included the directions and class. The class was based on a passport of sorts and there were prizes, food and games. We spent a year on international countries and in the second year we were doing US States. I enjoyed the classes and the quilts were pretty simple so when I moved back to NY I made arrangements to have the kits and directions sent to me up here. I eventually stopped purchasing the kits and I don't think a single one has been touched since their arrival nor have some of the UFOs been finished. They just weren't as much fun without my classmates :(

After reading an organizational series at http://fabrictherapy.blogspot.com/ I finally *MADE* myself spend 10 minutes before EMT class last night to go thru a box where some kits were stored.

This stack shows the 5 kits that I decided to dismantle. I have actually thrown out the directions, not because I didn't like those quilts but they just aren't high on my bucket list and I already have too many quilts I want to make.

People, I discovered that each kit has at least 3 yards of fabric. That's a lot of "new" fabric!

The batik bundle on the top was a starter kit for one of my fav authors who worked at our store. The pattern does nothing for me anymore so I thought about using another pattern in my stash but again, I have UFOs to finish and the batiks will probably just be separated into my batik FQ box (even tho these are 1/3 cuts).

I have already started using the "new" fabrics!! Erin said that I needed more yellow in my hexie quilt so I cut a hexie "kit" with the yellow and black fabrics in the bottom kit. (Only 3 more full diamonds to do after I finish the already cut "kits") One of the peach kits has been cut to make a Kindle case for the bazaar this weekend. There is still a lot of fabric left to add to the stash but I'm happy to actually be using it, even if just one little piece at a time...

Of course...you know what new fabrics means? More selvages! I also received a bundle of selvages at this week's guild meeting too :) Val thinks I am going to be overwhelmed with selvages but I just don't think it's possible and that's even with knowing that Julie has a growing pile for me :)

How many kits can you purge from your boxes into usable stash this week??


I’ve decided to take a short blogging break next week. I am already behind with chores to get ready for the bazaar on Saturday and leaving for a work related conference on Sunday. I just can’t imagine having time to schedule some posts and get the laundry done and the house clean for the kitty sitter (aka kitty grandma!). I know you’ll have fun without me and I’ll check back in soon…

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Almost Wordless Wednesday

Block #3 is done for the Pocket Patchwork SAL...
Anxiously waiting the 4th block on Friday...

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Cat nip toys

I am pretty sure I have blogged about these before but I was making more for the bazaar this weekend and thought they were worth repeating.

I sew 2 charm squares together on 3 sides and turn them right sides out. I do not clip the corners nor do I press the seams...seams to make the toy puffier.

Partially fill each bag with 'nip, home grown of course! More is better but it depends on how much dried 'nip you have available. You will probably find that store bought is crushed pretty fine and probably ok in a pinch but we just let the leaves dry and don't crush them. The cats will do that later as they play with the toys  :)

This part is a little hard to explain but pinch the open end together at the seams, turning all edges in 1/4" and edge stitch the ends together. This will give you a weird shape that my cats find easier to carry around :) Give the toy a little shake to spread out the 'nip.

Once the toys are completed, they must be tested by the local QCOs...

I have spent over an hour trying to upload an adorable 15 sec video of Squeaks playing with the pile of toys but I had to give up on it. Sorry. Would love any suggestions to get it loaded...
Warning: catnip can cause extreme bursts of energy for your QCOs

Monday, April 16, 2012

Design Wall Monday - 4/16/12

Ok, sew I have no self control...I started another sew-a-long!!

This time it's six 6" finished stars. Not quite as cute a the 4" baskets but still cute.

The SAL is hosted by Pam Buda @ Heartspun Quilts and she's calling it Pocket Patchwork - Busy Work, based on the projects women stowed in their pockets in case they had a few minutes to spare. The SAL is actually half over already but I spent the last 3 weeks trying to talk myself out of another new project before I finally gave in. LOL.


I finished blocks 1 and 2 this weekend. I had planned to go more scrappy, as the pattern calls for, but decided I liked the first block enough to keep these fabrics for each block. She hasn't posted her layout yet but I am hoping to use that fern fabric for the sashing or borders since it was the color inspiration.

I'll get block 3 done sometime this week and will be looking forward to block 4 this Friday...

Friday, April 13, 2012

Feline Friday - 4/13/12

TGIF the 13th!!!

We could think of nothing better to share today than lazy, sunny days!

Pepper finally gets to sit in "his" chair but only because his chair stealing
sissy is taking advantage of the heater vent.

Midgie's normal grumpy look when Momma won't hand over the treats being demanded.

Squeaky is ever on window patrol...
in fact this morninng she noticed the neighborhood stray was lounging in the sun on our porch.
Too bad the stray is uber-skittish...

Thursday, April 12, 2012

4 + 16

4 + 16 is the working title for my new leader ender project. I guess that makes it a NewFO and a UFO at the same time!! The quilt is based on a quilt I saw online which I can no longer find. I know it was called "brown quilt" for a monthly color challenge. If this is your quilt please speak up as I would love to give you credit.

This quilt is really just a ton of 4-patches. The larger 4-patches are made from 2.5" strips and finish at 4". The 16 patches are made from four 4-patches made from 1.5" strips. Two 4-patches and two 16-patches create the block.

The overall quilt is then made of 16 x 18 blocks for a 74" x 82" finish. My quilt is being made from scraps but EQ7 estimates it will take about 6 yards each of blue and neutral fabrics.

Of course, I needed a leader ender "kit." As I subcut units to make 4-patches I put them in this old muffin tin, which sits perfectly on the basket. I have rolled up/pressed 1.5" strips in the basket along with finished 4-patches.

Pinned pairs waiting to be sewn are stored right on the sewing machine so they are handy.

The hardest part of this (leader ender) project is not doing it all at once :)

Anyone want to make a 4 + 16 with me??!!
I can write a tutorial or pdf or whatever if it would help...

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Do NOT buy this iron!


The steam has damaged the lables

I bet I haven't had this iron 6 months and it's driving me nuts. I like a good heavy iron with lots of steam holes and this iron was touted for it's steam and durability. I had to turn down the steam levels when I first bought it because it was so copious (enough of a blast to burn your hand) but I soon found that as the water is used from the iron I have to turn up the steam level to maintain the same amount of steam. That's tolerable but a bother as my other irons were much more consistent regarding steam.

I have hard water (the directions said to alternate tap and distilled water) so I expected the calcium (?) deposits to come out of the iron. I'm even ok with the fact that the Teflon coating is wearing away on the edges. I do use my iron every day and not for ironing clothes!

What I'm not thrilled with is the fact that the iron now spits, spurts, fizzles, dribbles and drips. It even sometimes spurts dirty water on my fabric and board cover!

All good quilters have a close stash of candy!
The dripping has been sporadic as the iron was used but yesterday morning it also created this mess. Every single time I set the iron down after pressing a selvage, more water would leak out.

This is the second iron I've bought since I moved back to NY. The iron I brought back with me had lasted all 14 years I was in Miami. The next iron was a Black & Decker that worked like a charm until the heating element gave up the ghost.

I really don't want to buy another iron when this one technically works. I can't seem to justify the expense, even tho this one was only about $20, especially when I have no idea how long the next one will work. Maybe I need a cheaper iron so I won't worry about the expense...

Anyone have iron suggestions?
Yup - it was snowing this morning!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Chop Chop Chop

I thought I would show you some of the fabric cutting that's been going on here at CasaGrande but I was feeling a little ADHD taking pictures for this post...

I've been cutting bricks from my collection of 1930's for a lattice quilt. I won't won't have pictures of the sewing for quite a while because I still have considerable cutting to do. After the bricks are done, I'll also need to cut squares from that solid purple as well.

I've made some progress on my itty bitty twister. You can see how much it shrinks from the original thru the cutting with the tiny template and on to when the seams are sewn. I am not enjoying these open seams. I like my seams flat flat flat and I just can't get these halfway flat. When I put the finished section up on my design wall I put it up front to the wall so it would stay attached - can you see how it sits up "above" the mat? This morning I sewed the 3 middle rows together.
While working on the itty bitty quilt and some bazaar items, I decided I needed another leader/ender project. I had saved a photo of a quilt online that used 4 patches and 16 patches, hence, my working title for this quilt is "4 + 16". Thought provoking, no?  I can't find the link right now but I plan to post more info on the quilt Thursday and I'll have the link then. I have a lot of blue in my strip bins from making a little boy quilt some time ago so I probably won't need to cut any more 2.5" strips but I will need more 1.5" strips since I designed a pieced border in EQ7. It looks great on the screen but it will take considerable cutting, sewing, subcutting and resewing :)

As I dig thru the recesses of my stash to find "new" fabrics, I also find more selvages. You may recall that I have also been gifted some selvages recently. I pressed them all this morning and I hope to cut the 7" sections I need tonight.

This pile is to be cut for making swags for the Bazaar...some of those fabrics I've been "saving" for who knows what. I'm happy to have found a reason to cut into them! It's hard to see but the top left fabric under the pink bias tape has lingerie and then some matching blue and pink batiks in the baggie. Wouldn't that be cute in the laundry room?

Oh wait...let's not forget that cutting fabric for projects means there is also a pile of scraps to cut to size for the scrap bins :)
I certainly have my work cut out for me. Oi, didn't mean for the pun but it's there so I'll leave it.
Happy Tuesday!

Monday, April 09, 2012

Design Wall Monday

I'm in craft bazaar prep mode. I don't plan to make a lot of things, partly because I have leftovers from the Christmas shows, but also because I just don't feel the need to kill myself in prep for a (new) show where I have no idea how well I'll do. I decided late to participate in this show and I have my usual evening meetings and EMT classes to take my time as well.

One of the items I have decided to make are Kindle cases. They are based on the tutorial at http://frizzylizzie.blogspot.com/2011/02/patchwork-kindle-cover-tutorial.html. Everywhere you turn there is someone with a Kindle or a Nook so hopefully they will need a case.

This bazaar version is larger than the one I made myself. I think I prefer the smaller one I made only because it feels more secure to me but the larger version should fit more sizes of Kindle/Nook.

And just to put a smile on your face...I asked my nephews to pose for a picture yesterday and this is what I got. I guess I should have been more specific. I really wanted to document the fact that the 7 year old was wearing the 4 year olds jeans - they fit the waist but were about a foot too short and it didn't seem to bother Ty.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Feline Friday

Birdievision has been in full swing this past week - both for the humans and the cats!
For some reason I barely get any birds in the winter but spring and summer we get enough to keep me on my toes.

What about out this window?

Or maybe this one?

It's difficult to get great bird pictures thanks to the glare of double paned windows and the screen but we have been enjoying goldfinches and (my fav!) cardinals. This year I have seen 2 male cardinals who are much more skittish at the feeders than the 1 female. I have also had purple finches but they are also too skittish for photos.

Mom offered me some suet from the local butcher to try again for the woodpeckers. I can see huge woodpecker holes in a half dead walnut tree that is really the neighbors. I'll just have to put the suet somewhere out of the squirrels reach...

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Another NewFO

Yeh, I never did my March report on NewFO's and UFO's. oh well...
Yeh, I was lazy when I got home from EMT class at 10pm last night and then stayed up to watch a movie I had already seen and then couldn't drag my toukus out of my warm bed this morning. oh well..

I did get a little progress done on my itty bitty twister quilt this morning tho. Yeah!!
I added the first border to the mini quilt:

And I've pressed the seams open per the instructions. It's supposed to help with the small scale of this project. I'm not fond of ironing seams open but I thought I could try it once and if it doesn't help with the finished quilt I won't do it next time.

And then I started cutting blocks. By this point I had to get ready for work so hopefully I can can get it sewn this weekend.

The smaller rotary cutter is definitly helpful when cutting around that tiny template
and solid colored fabric works much better than some of the fabrics I chose.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Not so Wordless Wednesday

I have the bestest Daddy in the whole world!!

For the life of me I can't find it online right now but for some time I would randomly come across a wooden mini-quilt hangar on someone's blog and I finally asked Dad if he could make me something along those lines.

This little baby is made of walnut and will hold 13x13" quilts. There is a knob on the right hand side to pull the dowel out and then replace it into the hanging sleeve of the quilt.

I hope to make that little basket block into a quilt for this hangar (Janet has more basket ideas on her blog for me to drool over). I also plan to make the following into a mini quilt. It still needs borders and then I "manipulate" this into the final design. That was entirely too vague but I don't want to give it away. Can you guess what it will be manipulated into? I hope to have an update tomorrow...

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Hexie update

This picture probably reminds you a lot of last week's photo. It is very similar but I have rearranged a few diamonds and added a few more finished diamonds. I'm trying to keep the colors balanced but was seeing a lot of orange last night when months ago I thought it had too much green and purple. I mean, one can never have enough green and purple but this did...in the beginning.  Do you see any colors that are missing now or any diamonds that should be moved? About half of what's there can be moved but I refuse to spend hours rearranging jut to try it.

And because I was messing around with my camera, I tried B&W to check values. The center round was to have a light (center) and then dark, the next round medium surrounded by dark and then dark surrounded by less dark. I see a couple that didn't quite make the cut but since the color version is ok, I am leaving them.

I have 9 more complete diamonds to make (one of which is already half done) and then the 12 half diamonds for the points. I have 4 diamond "kits" together. I am fairly certain that, unless I see some fabric that HAS to be in the quilt, I won't kit the remaining 4 diamonds until these 5 are done because I will need to decide what colors are missing. I also probably won't do the black sashing until I get all the complete diamonds finished so that I can rearrange as needed.

And look what Mom came across at a recent antique show! There was no article on this specific quilt but the magazine has some good articles and this cover will be added to my GROWING collection of hexie ideas :)

Monday, April 02, 2012

Design Wall Monday - 4/2/12

Last Thursday, the 5th Thursday in March, brought the 5th and final basket block at Temecula Quilts.

They were going to post the quilt layout on Friday so I waited to make the last block. I had originally intended to just pull random brown-ish fabrics from my stash for each block but one of the browns was more golden and stuck out like a sore thumb. Depending on the layout, I could make the 5th block so it was more like the sore thumb or I could remake the block.

I decided to remake the block and of course, that leaves me with a lone block to make into a little quilt. Dad is making me a mini quilt hangar so I think that is probably what I'll do.

Not sure that my model appreaciated this but the colors matched :)

The bottom left block is the remade block and the bottom right block is the 5th/new block. I used a brown batik for the 5th block and I really like how most of the pattern shows up in the base of the basket.

The backing is a cream and brown flower print with tiny white pin dots. The colors match perfect. What I haven't decided is what to use for the binding. I might have enough of the setting triangles and I definitely have enough of the red, turquoise or purple. I suppose I could even use the backing fabric.

Now here's a coincidence...or is it fate?!
Janet - are you reading this?!
I remembered from Houston last year that there was a basket quilt that I adored...which was weird because I never really liked basket quilts before Houston. Unfortunately, my camera battery was fading and I didn't take a lot of pictures...just an overall that turned out to be out of focus and a closeup to see how the block was made. Anything look familiar?

Yup!! Essentially it's the same block as the one I remade for the doll quilt. Her seams are in different places but it's essentially the same. I am dying to make more of this block (It was my fav of the 5) and now I'm trying to decide on colors, how big I want the quilt, should I could I maybe do some kind of swap?!

Here's another coincidence...
Michelle - are you reading this?!
Just a few pictures after I took the basket quilt photos was this quilt. It's the rose star EPP that I want to make next. Oh, why didn't I take a photo of the whole quilt? Anyone out there who went to Houston have a photo of the whole quilt they would be willing to share?

Isn't it funny how those random pictures would be so meaningful just a few months later? I better go thru the other pictues again and see what else I was drawn to...