Sunday, March 30, 2008

March QOV's

I finished up the second QOV & plan to send them both off tomorrow to the piecer who made them, she will bind,label & launder the quilts before sending them to one of the military hospital chaplains who distribute them to the combat wounded. The other QOV is a compilation of blocks "signed" by the kindergarten class her son attends, so I quilted it with appropriately whimsical motifs. I think that tomorrow I will work on some of the paper pieced BOM blocks from "Singing His Praises" quilt- I have 5 blocks finished but I haven't worked on it since the fall so it's definitely in the UFO category. We took a long walk with Button but the roads are dotted with muddy areas & in spite of our efforts to keep her away from them she needed a good foot & belly wash when we got back! The Cimmarron & Sneffels ranges received a good dusting of snow but we had only a few snow flakes fall on us while we walked even though the wind was icy. It was good to get back to a nice, warm house & some spiced cider. Soon after we returned the snow began to fall very gently & so far we have a couple of inches on the deck- the morning view will be freshly sparkling with new snow.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Orange Crush - and Devonshire Tea!

All the required light & dark scrap strips are cut for the new mystery a few days ahead of the start up date, April 1st. It will be hard to resist sewing that day but I will be busy packing up to return to AZ. As instructed I have thrown in everything but the kitchen sink, & honestly I am amazed at how I managed to amass such a large collection of weird fabrics! To my relief they are all scraps which means they are not part of my actual yardage stash. To my despair, there is far too much of it still remaining! Obviously I have to continue to make more large scrap quilts if I ever hope to reduce this collection of leftovers & rejects! I notice that the light/neutrals are reading as sort of pink, which they are not in reality, it must be the lighting. I took a couple more pics & even tried to edit out the pink in Photosmart without success. Even the fabric they rest on shows up pink, that's strange.

It is a cool, breezy day here at 9,000 ft. in SW Colorado with intermittent sunshine & a balmy 52 degrees outside. This is the view from our deck to the south ; the mountains around us are 12-14,000 ft. Mt Sneffels being the highest just out of view in this picture. It is a spectacular panorama any time of year. I decided to make Devonshire Tea this afternoon-Australian style scones, jam & thickened cream. I wish I had taken a picture before they were all devoured! There's a big difference cooking/baking at 9,000 ft. versus sea level. I notice it most with beans, rice, pasta & cookies. No problem with yeast breads or anything else but I think it took me a year or so of experimenting to conquer the cookies, they would just spread out all over the pans. The scones baked up perfectly at 400 degrees F for about 12 minutes.Yummy! We had elk steaks for dinner, courtesy of my friend Gale, the hunter [& her husband]. Last night it was elk spaghetti, the boys love that; elk meat is very similar to lean beef, no whang to the taste. Last year we had moose from the same source, & the boys would beg for mooseburgers!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

From Colorado, new OC mystery

It was a very long day, over 500 miles to get back up here from Phx., driving two vehicles, so I drove the Avalanche with my pinched nerve, ouch! It's sunny & in the 40's up here at 9,000 ft.
There's lots of snow, more than in previous years I think, it's piled up high on either side of the road. I chose the fabrics for the Orange Crush mystery,the picture on the left was my original choice but then upon raiding my QOV stash I found a brighter red [photo on the right] & I think that will work. The lighter blue is something I bought for my backing stash years ago & it's kind of weird, looks to me like those dark things are bugs but I'm hoping that when it's cut up & mixed with all the other scrap confusion the overall effect will help conceal the weird bug look! If I decide otherwise as the mystery is revealed that fabric will go back into the backing stash & I'll find another option.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

What next?

What next, it's a new start because I have finished all my non-quilty sewing commitments for the moment-it feels really good to have that all completed, the drapes, cornice & Roman shade- & now I can decide what to tackle next. The new Bonnie Hunter Mystery quilt begins April 1st. while we are in Colorado but I will definitely need something quilty to fill in the gap! It seemed like a lot to do all the household sort of sewing in a week especially since I was "re-inventing the wheel" so to speak; sometimes I surprise myself but never my children, LOL, it's just what is expected of Mum, hence the big "S" on my cape! Perhaps I'll get pics of all that next time we are at Andrew & Lana's. Now the quilting, well that's a different story, because it's a passion. Other sewing I can do, yes, but the quilting I must do, it is sanity! The CC mystery has a new home with our friend Jane. I was trying to make the label look nice & Word isn't the best software for anything like that so I called my first "help" line, Loretta, & as usual she came through[PTL for email]making the thing look pretty in "Desktop Pub" a program I must acquire unless I go to a Mac, a distinct possibility! This morning Lana & I had "Devonshire Tea" at Gooseberries, it was lovely, their scones are more authentic than most I have come across in the USA, they were closer to what we know as scones in Australia, NZ & UK. I daresay we will return there occasionally.Here are a couple of pics of Walt's handiwork in the yard, now for the flowers etc to finish it off. Didn't he do a terrific job on the pavers? I'm so proud of his ability to turn his hand to nearly anything it seems. It is still a little bit of a WIP, we have to yet to plant flowers & we need to replace some that we lost last summer, & I'd like some additional furniture out there to make the area more useable. DS#1 says he has a bench he doesn't need so I think we'll use that then I only need to find a small table. I found a fountain that we like, I'll order it after we return from the CO. Spring skiing trip with Lucas & family. Walt already has the necessary "hook-ups" for the fountain on the back fence, & I'll also be looking for some lights for the big pepper tree. Perhaps tomorrow I can finish the little Linus quilt on the longarm & re-organize my sewing studio. It's Good Friday & we plan to go to Stations Of The Cross at LFAC at 7 p.m.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Patio is done!

It was a big job for DH but single handed he has paved the back yard, well three quarters of it & the yard looks terrific. Walt is very well pleased with the results & tomorrow I will take pics. It has transformed the yard which always looked unkempt to me with the gravel. I told Walt that I love the result but hate the fact that the reason I asked him to do it is to make a memorial garden for our son. St.Francis is back in place under the Brazilian Pepper tree with Matthew's cross. I'll get some annuals to plant around the tree after we return from CO. & Spring Break with Lucas & family, everyone else will ski & snowboard but I am thinking I may pass, I am very afraid of the risk of damage to my deteriorating joints.
I quilted this floral quilt with a meandering vine & will mail it out tomorrow to the piecer in Colorado. The fabrics are soft, pretty & busy & we knew that none of the quilting would show except on close inspection. The outline of the quilting can be seen on the back & that's about all. I used QD wool again, it is a lovely batting & it's so light it will be perfect for the elderly woman who receives it for her 80th. birthday.The rest of this week will be mostly spent on draperies for son#1 & fiance's home - they have asked to if I can complete the drapes before their wedding, April 5th. & of course I wear a large "S" on my cloak! They are expecting around 80 guests & the festivities are outdoors around the pool area - the AZ weather should make for a perfect evening & pics of course will be posted!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

More quilting progress

I can't begin to describe the past few days -way too much to be done in the allowed space of 24 hrs. a day,LOL.Now the piped binding is done on the flame quilt & I got one of the QOV's on & off the LA this afternoon. The other is all ready to go tomorrow, have to wind one more bobbin before I thread the A-1. Only have one spool of my Bottom Line colors & I'm using it in both top & bobbin in this next quilt. I'll post pics. tomorrow, the camera is upstairs & when I go up it will be to bed as it's already after midnight. With any luck I'll have pics of all three quilts the flame, & both QOV's.
I took a couple more pics. of the progress because it's getting closer to completion. It looks a bit messy but that is the nature of a WIP! Walt was working on the circle aroundbackyard the trees today, & I'm glad he took my admonitions to heart & wore the dust mask & ear plugs, that brick saw puts out both too much dust & noise to go without protection for lungs & ears. I was on the other side of our admittedly small yard & my ears hurt from the pitch & volume of the saw cutting through the pavers. I'm sure that the neighbors will be pleased when it's done & the noise ends! I spent some time on spring trimming in the yard & wore gloves & today am glad I had gloves because our friend Kris told me how she was bitten by one of those nasty Brown Recluse spiders in her yard yesterday-now she does live way out by Queen Creek so probably there are more unfriendly critters out there! I'm so thankful we don't have any, none of the 6 & 8 legged pests in 10 years in this house.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Quilt related progress

Finally, the CC Mystery is done! love the way the QD wool batting quilts up & the piped binding is my new favorite binding method. Takes some time, but probably no more than all the hand-sewing, maybe it's a wash. Much pinning is required but then the final sewing goes pretty smoothly. I purchased a "Narrow Edge Foot" for my Pfaff which made this final step a breeze & using Bottom line thread from Superior in top & bobbin the stitching disappears into the fabric. All in all, a most satisfactory result.

The new storage units from Ikea are together & in place but the larger one hasn't been filled yet -I plan to move most of the supplies that are under the design table into this 4 drawer bureau. These pieces are white, though the photos make them look pink, must be a female, my new camera, LOL. I actually feel a lot more organized & actually noticed a difference working on the binding on this last quilt- clearing off the clutter from around my DSM helps I can tell. I received another client quilt in the mail today & plan to put it on the LA Monday. It's soft florals in large rectangles & we had discussed a meandering floral/leafy vine but I'm wondering if maybe I'd like to quilt it all with meandering feathers - guess I need to run that by the piecer! The weather was cooler again this week, so nice to push back the heat but we'll be back to the 80's over the weekend.
My Lenten reading continues in "The First Fruits of Prayer" & I am on chapter 29 of 40. It is suitably repentant, & fits into the Lenten idea of Examination of Conscience.
Tomorrow I plan to begin the piped binding for my flame quilt- my Mum used to say " don't tell the devil too much of your mind" & I often think of that when my "plans" fall by the wayside so we shall see how much more binding I get done. I really feel as if I am on a roll with this newest technique!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Quilted Postcard

Today I made this postcard for a friend to thank her for my birthday treat. I think quilted postcards are a unique and interesting way to send a special greeting but they are somewhat time consuming for a tiny product though I am getting a little more efficient. And of course they require a visit to the USPS and the attendant wait in line to get them in the mail. The very pretty blue and white quilt [with a little red] I received last week, not sure how I will quilt it. This quilter, a good friend, usually gives me free reign but she did ask that I quilt the red block with " straight lines following the angle of the block." Hmmmm........suggestions anyone?

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Isn't March supposed to be windy?

Well, I just learned another lesson in the blogging world-don't try to leave your post until you are sure that it has been saved! Drat!
By the time I returned from church, lunch etc & visits to Ikea & Costco the weather had turned blustery & chilly. During worship this morning at one point I was fanning myself with the church bulletin but by 6 p.m. when I reached home I was sorely tempted to pass on the park visit except that I know Button needs it & really, so do I! The park was almost deserted, one other dog & owner, the cold bite in the wind sufficient deterrent for all but the most determined. I could seriously drop a chunk of change at Ikea- they have the most clever & interesting storage solutions- but I was very discrimminating & after much hemming & hawing, talking to myself and a couple of the delightful & helpful [not to mention very youthful] Ikea employees I settled on a 4 drawer chest to replace the desk in my studio & a smaller 3 drawer unit to place beside my DSM. The latter will require me to discard[gasp!] or relocate about 4 drawers full of assorted sewing related items [currently housed in a tall set of yucky plastic drawers] which though not often used are really helpful when needed.
I tend to either hang on to things or ruthlessly purge & then regret, but reducing my storage capacity pretty much forces me to discard SOME of this stuff! I am in constant pursuit of simplification & streamlining of my life & possessions in the course of which I manage to acquire more "stuff!". These new storage items are of course "assembly required", more projects for DH, who says he can barely finish one before there is another & I say he needs the stimulation of the challenges to keep the grey cells moving! In my eagerness to be helpful I opened said boxes & began to ferry the pieces upstairs, a half dozen or so trips later I had one box emptied but do you think I could maneuver even one of the pieces from the second box, leaving DH another opportunity to be my hero! The backyard project is making progress by leaps & bounds & my clever & diligent DH is creating a lovely setting, more even than I would have hoped for & it will be a fitting memorial to our beloved son. Last evening friend Kris & I moved a few dozen pavers but that really is the limit so far of my physical input to this work. Tomorrow I will take a picture of the progress to post on the blog.