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!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Mom's new purse

For Mom's trip and Mother's Day, she requested a purse to match her new dress and shoes for the wedding they are going to. She had shortened her green dress and gave me those left overs and then found various peach fabrics for the rest of the purse. I think making this purse with lots of different fabrics would also be fun.

I needed to add a little quilting to the sides of the purse but didn't want anything extensive so that the bag would stay supple. I choose a variegated neutral thread so as not to distract from the roses on the fabric. I found a neat corner FMQ pattern in one of my quilting books and enlarged it 25%. I knew there was no way I would be able to do this free hand so I tried a couple of ideas but finally resorted to using my 505 spray basting stuff to attach the paper to the purse side. Genius, even if I say so myself.

Before actually quilting the purse parts, I traced the pattern with my finger several times to get my brain in the groove. The red ring is my Halo - a heavy rubberized iron ring - which is the only way to FMQ as far as I am concerned. The rubber grabs the fabric and the ring keeps the workspace in the center flat. It also provides something to grip while moving the quilt sandwhich.

The photo above shows the quilting a little better - you can see I was not overly concerned about staying on the lines. I was looking more for the gist of the pattern with my own twist.

Then I needed to pull off the paper with the help of these great sideways tweezers that I bought when I was doing more paper piecing. The only downfall to sewing over the paper was that the stitching was a little looser than I liked but I spritzed it with water and some steam and the stitches tightened nicely.

The handles can be pulled thru the grommets evenly to carry the purse by hand ...

or pulled thru the grommets for a shoulder strap.

That completes my deadline items for this month...Now I'm back to hexies :)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Clematis @ Casa Grande

My purple Clematis are now three years old.

The Clematis on the right is supposed to grow 8 to 10 feet but this year it just kinda grew "out" before I realized and could train it upwards. The season is still early and it blooms for a long time so I still have hope it will grow "up." For now, bits have started climbing the porch railing (with a little help!) and I'm liking the look.

The flowers are a gorgeous medium purple color.

Did I mention the blossoms are HUGE??!!

The Clematis on the left is only supposed to grow 6 to 8 feet but it's still really small this year...not sure why. The blossoms are a much darker purple...

but the petals don't stick around very long, leaving this fluffy center.

This year I also purchased a yellow Clematis that has little bell flowers.

This delicate little plant is supposed to grow 21 feet!! I've probably got 2 years, before it's really established, to find something for it to grow on (fence, only iron gate, etc). Ideas?

Yup - we mulched the new flower beds. It's a little chunky but the price was right - it's free at the Village Park.

I have one other new Clematis that is supposed to be pink (yeh, I know *pink* but the price was right) but it's struggling a little from the heat so I didn't take any photos...no blossoms yet.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Night & Day table runner

Mom and Dad are going on a trip and Mom purchased two of my table runners - one as a wedding gift and the other as a hostess gift. I have no idea which is which but, of course, one wasn't quilted when she decided she wanted it, in fact it had been sitting for quite some time while I ruminated about how to quilt it. I had already quilted random straight lines in the border and needed something to match so when I reviewed the pattern book (Night & Day by Eleanor Burns) I found just what I needed: double swirls and more straight lines in the stars.

I know these are pretty washed out but they show the texture pretty well. There isn't a lot of value difference in the green and purple batiks so I would choose different fabrics next time but I still like this runner.

You can see on the "front" pic to the left that I am still working on the binding. I went back to my fav method with 2" strips and sewing it down by hand with an applique type stitch.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Feline Friday - 5/25/12

Perfect spring days start with some window time...

Are there are any birdies in the feeder - those hummers move fast!

Have the day lillies blossomed yet?

Is the neighbor doggie (black blob to the right of the hummer feeder) outside? He's a nice (quiet) doggie.

Are those rascally neighbor cats out and about?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Rain Barrel

Obviously there hasn't been much sewing going on this week because I have another garden post for you...

Starting this past Monday thru sometime in August (ya know, peak growing season) my village will have a water ban while we install about $7,000,000 worth of new water lines and update the resevoir. Ughghgh. I wanted to photograph the fire hydrants with the orange 'out of service' bags over them but didn't get a chance. Heaven forbid we do have a fire, our neighboring FD will be dispatched immediately to start pumping water from the creek. There just won't be enough water in the temorary storage container for a fire.

Ever since I bought my house I thought it would be a good idea to have a rain barrel. Finding out 5 days before the water ban went in to effect was that mighty big kick in the toukus I needed to finally make one. Of course, I can only assume that with the water ban and lack of a real winter we will also have a drought...

Anyway, I bought a 32 gallon garbage can. I was going to get the cheaper version at Wallyworld but noticed it was cracked when I got to the register. When the clerk said it was the second one in a week I said never mind and bought Rubbermaid. I also bought a spigot, 2 large washers and some other things that we later didn't use. Luckily, Dad had a few bits that made the project easier than the directions I had found online at bhg.com.

Don't hold the untrimmed grass and weeds against me -
focus on the daylillies or the purple rhoddy in the background

We cut a hole at the bottom of the barrel, making sure there was enough clearance for my watering can. Placed the large washer on the spigot and smeared clear silicon gel around it. Inside the barrel we spread more silicon, added the other washer and the nut. I let it dry several hours and then tested to make sure it didn't leak. 

Next I cut a hole in the lid for the downspout to go thru. The original directions called for landscaping cloth to be placed over the barrel before the lid was added but since it somehow worked out that I cut the hole perfectly to fit the downspout but also managed to not cut the downspout quite short enough, I decided to skip that part. What I didn't figure on was all the crap from the gutters washing into the barrel. Oh well.  

I started by mostly filling the barrel from the hose, knowing that we would be getting some rain this week. I didn't expect the torrential storms Monday and Tuesday would already cause the barrel to overflow but that is what it's designed to do. The original directions called for a kind of cascade system to retain the overflow in other barrels. I just might consider that...

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Oriole feeder tutorial

By popular request...here is how I made my Oriole feeder:

Hold on to your seats because this is time consuming and requires precision and lots of supplies.


And no...I haven't seen an Oriole yet but you'll be the first to know when I do! 

  • (1) tall stake - Dad gave me a nice cherry stake, probably about 6 feet tall to use. It has 3 holes drilled into it at various heights which will be nice to string up my new yellow clematis.
  • (1) 5 or 6" square of plywood - Just about any size will work as long as it's bigger than your jar lid and offers the birds a place to sit and eat a while
  • (1) large jar lid - use the biggest lid you have a available. I used a large blue peanut butter lid but red is really the desired color
  • (1) screw - use anything that will be long enough
  • (1) jar of grape jelly
excuse the dirty hands & nails - I had just spread Bessie's Best
Based on the photo, layer your stake, plywood and lid and screw them together. I used a hammer to insert the stake about a foot into my new garden bed and then put 3 large spoonfuls of jelly in the lid.

We've had some pretty good rain the last couple days so I need to go see how watery the jelly has become. Apparently the friend who told me how to make these feeders has tons of Orioles on her property...I'll be happy with one returning customer :)

Here is my new flower bed with Oriole feeder at the back, rain gauge at the front, 2 clematis, 3 peonies, cornflower, lotsa columbine and a few other goodies mixed in. It still needs some more rocks and mulching but I can't wait for it to fill in this summer and not look like a dirt pile with specks of green :)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Yet another hexie update...

When I get up in the morning I read, but can't answer, my email on my "stupid" phone. This morning I was thrilled to get an email from Connie saying I was the featured blogger for this week's Linky Party. WOOHOO!!

At first I panicked - I didn't have anything new and exciting to show today when people will link over expecting "something." Then I realized I got FB because so many people hopped over to look at my hexie project and since I was already planning an update today they may be just as excited to see my progress. I know a certain few followers who will always appreciate that I am progressing on my hexies  :)

It's probably hard to tell from the photo but it was previously in several big sections on the design wall - those have now been attached to what Bonnie calls the "mothership." I hope she doesn't mind that I stole her terminology! I have now begun working on the section on the top right, adding sashing and...drumroll...the first of 2 outside borders!!! Ok, it's the same black batik as the sashing but it's exciting because I can finally see the size of this project with the border and corners/half diamonds in place. For the record, it's going to be 55" x 65" and I don't have a final hexie count yet but Connie's estimation of a gazillion feels about right!

This weekend I went to Breakfast Club at one of the not-so-LQS' and was able to get a lot of the previous mentioned work done. I also came across a sample block where I just loved the color combo. I picked up these four FQs that I will also pair with a neutral to paper piece this awesome star blossom kit from paperpieces.com. One star is about 13" so it's a little too big for my mini quilt stand. In other words I have no idea what this will become, but I couldn't resist the kit or those great fabrics for a fussy cutting project. Oh and check out those selvages with the flowers!

And just so you know how "bad" I have this hexie sickness...I spread out some of my different EPP papers for you to see. Some I have plans for and some I just had no will power to resist. Starting with the pink tagged 1" tumblers and moving clockwise, I also have 2" coffins, 3/4" half hexies, 1" pentagons, a chrysanthemum kit, 2" hexies in the purple package to cut up for my rose star project, 3/4" 6 pointStar diamonds, and 3/4" jewels. I also have a few other "kits" but ran out of time for photos. And now y'all know just how addicted I am :)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Design Wall Monday - 5/21/12

Not the best photo but I wanted to show you that Pepper also gave his stamp of approval to the completed quilt for the cat shelter raffle.

I just added some straightline quilting to accentuate some of the diagonal seams and then used the same brown from the back to bind it. I hope the binding calms down some of the brightness to make it more palatable to possible winners.
I tried a newwer-to-me method of machine sewn binding on this quilt. I still prefer to hand sew my bindings for personal or special projects and I generally start with 2" strips. The last method I tried included zigzagging a thin string down the middle of the strips and then using my stitch in the ditch foot against the string to make sure it was positioned right on the back. It worked ok for the sides but the corners were never right and I felt the zigzag was "scratchy." I didn't have any problem with this method other than I thought cutting the strips at 2.5" was huge compared to my usual 2" and the binding wasn't "full". I will probably try this again but with a 2.25" or 2" strip. 


Friday, May 18, 2012

Feline Friday - 5/18/12

This was originally Pepper's favorite chair but upon Squeaky's arrival into the herd she claimed it. Ok, so she has really claimed *everything* in the house as hers.

 I used to have a long glass "sofa table" in this window for plants but it gets moved out of the way for the Christmas tree every year. I was enjoying watching the cats in the window more than the table so the chair stayed after the tree got put away.

Now that the birds are back, Squeaky prefers to sit on the chair for a better view. This is especially helpful when her brother gathers the nerve to sit in *his* chair!  Looks nervous, doesn't he?! 

Thursday, May 17, 2012


Nothing of my own to report today... My EMT recertification final is tonight and I haven't done much this week besides the remaining classes or review for the test. I'm whooped altho I haven't over-done it and I'm not sure why. Probably just too many weeks with too many projects/deadlines and I won't get a decent break until June.

Instead, I'll share the peonies from Genesee Country Museum last weekend. I now have 3 peony plants of my own and will be re/planting them in a brand new, much sunnier, flower bed this weekend. I hope someday they will look like this!

I know they are pink (my least fav color in the entire universe) but they are peonies and I make exceptions for peonies.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Meet Lady...

...my female Downy Woodpecker. Sometimes Woody stops by, but not as often.

Lady is probably the least skittish bird I have around - I can stand at the door and watch forever whereas the House Finches flee when I walk thru the room that faces their feeder. This morning she chirped her arrival but the door was still closed so the pic (taken thru glass door and screen) is a bit darker than I like.

This week I'll be asking Dad to help me make some Oriole feeders - copying Barb's design. It's a small plywood platform on a stake and on top of that is screwed the lid to a peanut butter jar. The lid holds grape jelly.

I have the hummingbird feeders out but no sign of hummers at my house yet. Mom has had several so I know they are around...

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Question Tuesday

It's a little hard to tell in this photo, because my design wall isn't quite big enough, but I now have all 42 full diamonds complete. And this was taken before I finished another half diamond and got a good start on another, leaving just 1.5 more half diamonds to finish. wootwoot.

The question for y'all today is...
I started this next half diamond yesterday and showed it to Val at work. We both really like the fussy cut green fabric (yes, it's one striped fabric) and mused that I could make this into a full diamond and replace one of the diamonds I already completed to show off the fussy cutting.

What do you think? Should I make this into a full diamond, make another half diamond and then have an extra full diamond or just go with the original plan and be done sooner rather than later?


Monday, May 14, 2012

Design Wall Monday - 5/14/12

It was a busy busy weekend and I hardly got any sewing done. In fact, Saturday, I was so exhausted, I couldn't whipstitch the last 3 sides of a hexie to finish the diamond before I gave up and went to bed. Sad. I'll post later this week on our Saturday plant shopping day and Sunday trip to Genesee Country Museum where the highlight of my day was a Victorian Tea.

A little tail action rearranged some blocks during our photo session :)

I was able to do a little machine sewing this weekend and I was even able to finish the top for this charity quilt. It's brighter than I had first imagined but I really like the look and this block is super simple.
Midgie offering her stamp of approval – the quilt is for the New Start Kitty Shelter after all!!

I had seen another version online which I modified because I wanted a smaller quilt and only had 4 FQ of the floral fabrics to work with. Essentially I cut 5" squares and surrounded them with 1.5" strips cut 5" and 7" long to attach courthouse steps style. Two blocks were then stacked right sides together and 2 parallel seams were sewn diagonally so that they could be cut into half-square-triangles. Press them open, lay them out and sew them back together. Easy. Peasy.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Feline Friday - 5/11/12

As a follow up to last week's post ...I just wanted you to see that Pepper really does fit in the red bed when he puts his mind to it.

My "little" boy is getting so grey around his mouth and chin...He'll be 10 this August.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Hexie update

It's been one of those weeks:
     Monday - aced my practical exam for my EMT class (final/written is next week)
    Tuesday - fire department meeting - I'm now the sponsorship chair for our annual golf tournament
     Wednesday - all day training session and evening board meeting
and I still need to:
     Thursday - teach BOM class at LQS
     Friday - donate blood
     Saturday - go to local plant sales with Mom and since it's supposed to be nice, plant some of them
     Sunday - Mom hasn't decided if she wants to go to the Genesee Country Museum or ???

All that to say that the only thing I've worked on this week would be my hexies for a few minutes here and there.

I need to finish the outside row on this last full diamond and then I have to make those 4 little kits into half diamonds!!! I have 3 other projects with deadlines this month but I still feel pretty confident I can get all or most of these done this weekend. Keep your fingers crossed.

Check out my fun new purple scissors :)

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Tea for 63

In reality, I just get to participate in the fun part of this fundraiser for my local library: The American Girl Spring Tea.

Bev and family plan every detail of the event from the menu to the room decorations and then divies up the cooking duties. I didn't even have to do dishes this year :)  But I did get the fun "job" of serving cookies to little girls and their mothers/aunts/grandmothers. I got to meet their American Girl dollies and see all their smiles and best manners. How fun is that??!!

This year we had record attendance and had to turn away more away for lack of room. I have no idea how many years this tea has been going on but I have a feeling it will continue for some time as it's now family tradition.

Beatrix talks to the bunnies before reading aloud one of her tales
Biggie size the photo to see the veggies in McGregor's garden

This year's theme was a garden party with Beatrix Potter and a Beatrix even came to the party to share a little of her life and creating her book series with the girls (we are all "girls" at heart - aren't we?). After tea and a craft project, all the girls, dolls and parents were invited to have their pictures taken which were then mounted on hand made frames. Mom and I also had our pictures taken with our dolls - mine is Matilda and I've had her since I was 4! Mom has Cora, a porcelain doll named after her great-Aunt Cora who received the doll as a child in the late 1800s.

I'm afraid I don't have a lot of pictures because I was "working" so you'll need to trust me that the cookies, cupcakes, chicken salad on croissant and 3 kinds of tea were perfect for a spring tea. Each place setting has a real porcelain tea cup for punch or tea - all the tea cups were donated years ago from a private collection. 

The grand finale of the tea party are door prizes for everyone. The table behind Beatrix is covered in doll quilts (mine is on the right) and various tea or garden related items. The wall is covered in handmade doll clothes. The grand prize is a new American Girl doll. Any remaining doll clothes are then sold for $10 each - a bargain for the detail that is put in to them.

It was a grand spring day for a tea and I've been drinking my latest tea in my latest antique tea cup all week in commemoration. I really should make some scones...

Monday, May 07, 2012

Design Wall Monday - 5/7/12

You probably won't see much difference in this picture from last week but trust me, they are there. I have finished a few more half/diamonds but each time I take a picture I find a couple diamonds to switch so it doesn't even look like this any more.

I still need to sew 1 full diamond and 5 half diamonds plus the rest of the sashing and 1 final "border" row to make binding easier. I have kits cut for 1 full and 1 half diamond which means I need to dig thru my stash for only 4 more color combos. WootWoot! I am getting tired of picking color combos to keep everything balanced but I am still 177% obsessed with hexies.

And now I best get off the computer and spend the rest of my lunch hour working on hexies  :)

Friday, May 04, 2012

Feline Friday - 5/4/12

I don't know how to explain this...

Pepper does fit into the red bed when he wants and sissy checked, the larger blue bed was ok. I guess he just didn't want to actually be *in* a bed...

I'm still working on putting together a feline linky party. The two services that most of my blog use are a paid service. I would love to hear from users and hosts what you do and don't like about your linky party service provider...

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Arrowheads and Tea

It's nearly the summer marching season and I should be thinking about fitting into my fireman's uniform after a lazy winter and no more Zumba classes but who could resist making a quick run to Sweet Sarah's for a Heath Flurrie on this warm and sunny day?! I really do need to talk to Sarah about selling some of my things in her evergrowing gift shop...but I keep stalling for some unknown reason.

This is the (large) doll quilt that I am donating to the library's American Girl tea party this weekend. The pattern is simple but that is exactly why I like it and I've made several over the last couple of years. This year's tea party theme is a garden party so I think the colors fit quite nicely. I'm looking forward to wearing my crazy straw hat decorated with large flowers :)

Not sure that I've mentioned it here before but I've also decided to make another quilt with these arrowhead blocks in only neutral fabrics, an absolute fav of mine. It was an idea that came to me laying in bed one morning looking at the RWB arrowhead quilt on my bed. I've got one block done and the others will probably only get done as I am cutting neutrals for various projects. Yet another long term project :) Did you expect anything less from me?

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Almost Wordless Wednesday

I've got my fourth star block of the Pocket Patchwork sewalong done...I haven't done step 5 (sashing) yet since I am waiting for this week's installment (borders) so I can figure out where to use that little bit of teal fern fabric that I have.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Itty Bitty Twistin' Needs Quiltin'

Happy May Day y'all!
This morning I attended the 119th annual May Day Breakfast at the church up the street from my house. I thought about going when I first woke up at 6:15 (it runs from 6 to 9am) but I just couldn't think about looking presentable that early so I waited an hour :)

Today I am looking for an opinion or three...
I finally finished my itty bitty twister quilt and now it needs quilting. The quilt has a lot of seams and it's pretty stiff, heavy and thick for it's size. The quilt will hang in the stand that Dad made for me and will probably be entered in the mini division at the county fair.

It needs pretty quilting but not dense quilting and I need ideas!! I am no good at stippling (go figure) but I am a confident free motion quilter. I could use a stencil to quilt a wreath over the whole quilt or I could go with some kind of overall FMQ design. I could just do some kind of cross hatching or straightline stitching but I am cautious to stitch in ditch because the seams are pressed open.

Oh and just so you have a sense of scale – this quilt is only 12”. Yes, each square is 1”.