Wednesday, September 30, 2009

VTT Cups, Saucers and plates

It's that wonderful day of the week, Vintage Thingies Thursday and if you visit Colorado Lady's blog you will be able to follow some of the other VTT bloggers. I have learned so much participating in VTT and I think nary a week passes that I do not encounter another rare VT that I haven't seen, or heard of, before!
I grew up in Australia with the custom of "Morning Tea" and "Afternoon Tea". At a minimum this consists of a good cuppa and bikkies [cookies]. If company is expected homemade cakes and biscuits, pikelets and perhaps even "scones and jam and cream" [called Devonshire Tea in Australia] would be offered.
Every self respecting woman back then had a nice collection of fine china cups, saucers and plates, Royal Winton, Royal Doulton, Staffordshire etc etc and many other names well known in the English tradition of fine bone china. To this day my 98 yrs. young Dad insists that the tea doesn't taste right unless it is in a nice bone china cup and I tend to agree with him!
The other requisite for Tea with company was a silver teapot, creamer and sugar bowl.
I have all of the above that I have shown on other VTT's!

I began my collection of china at 13 when my very English Grandma gave me my first cup, saucer and plate, it's the pale pink one second from the left on the top shelf. The set on the far right on the top shelf my Mum gave me, she chose it because the brand on it is "Roslyn" and if you enlarge the pic. you can even read my name on the cup. These have special sentimental value, both the lovely ladies that gave them to me are no longer alive. A couple of these sets were 21st. birthday gifts and two or three DH brought me from UK when he was on business.
I remember that my other Grandmother had an entire large china cabinet- probably 6-8 shelves absolutely packed with tea cup sets I don't think I ever saw so many in one place and I doubt there were any duplicates.
I gave up collecting them many years ago because I just didn't have a place to keep them or a need for them, Teas are not an American tradition.
There are a couple of other sets that are not English china, this is one, it resides on a different shelf, there isn't space for it with the others. It's different, very oriental and my senior brain can't remember who gave it to me!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Baby Matthew you are getting so big!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Shakespeare In The Park and Flying Geese!

Ever since I first saw a Shakespeare In The Park [SITP] quilt I have been longing to make one.
It’s a combination of two different blocks that make it appear quite complicated and the directions describe very unusual methods so it can seem rather daunting.
I have been collecting black, white and red fabrics that would be perfect for such a quilt.
Just recently an offshoot group formed from Stashbusters to make SITP so I jumped in and joined. The group has a couple of “leaders’” who have already made SITP - they will be assigning us one step a week to work through this rather complex process, as shown in Judy Martin’s “The Creative Pattern Book”.

This is Week 1, and the task is to make Flying Geese [FG] blocks.
Here are some of mine.
Every time I make these blocks I revisit four or five different methods I know of for their construction, and each time I return to the following method mostly because it is fast and produces four FG blocks at a time.
It requires one large square of one color and four small squares of a different color for each set of four FG blocks, but here’s the deal- you will need to know the finished width and height of your FG in order to cut the fabric.
One important fact to keep in mind is that FG blocks are always twice as wide as they are tall [in order for the "geese" triangles to have a 90 degree angle] so if your measurements do not reflect that there is something awry!
The large sq. will be cut width of finished block plus 1.25”.
The four small squares will be cut the height of the finished block plus 7/8”.
For my SITP I need FG that are 3” wide and 1.5” high finished [twice as wide as they are high, remember].
Therefore my large square will be 4.25” [3+1.25] and the four small squares will be 2 3/8” each [1.5+7/8].

For example, one large B and W square and four small red ones. Draw diagonal lines corner to corner on the back of each of the four small [red] blocks as below.
Place the large square rt.side up and take two of the small squares, placing one in the left top and one in the bottom rt. hand corners of the large block, as below, with fabric rt. sides together. Don’t worry that they will overlap a bit in the middle.

Now for a little sewing!
Stitch a scant ¼” seam on either side of the line. It is very important to have an accurate ¼” seam [either with a special foot or actual lines drawn on either side of the cutting line]. One or two threads width can make the difference between accuracy and inaccuracy, to trim or not to trim! I hate to trim but I do it when necessary because I want my blocks to go together neatly and my quilt to lay flat and square.
Cut apart on the line you drew between the two stitching lines .
Press seams flat towards the small triangles. You will have two of these units, set one aside while you complete the other. The first time I encountered this method my brain just could not make the jump from this odd looking shape to two FG blocks but it can happen, have faith!
Lay one of the remaining small squares in the corner of the large triangle as shown.
Stitch a scant quarter inch seam either side of the line you drew as above.
Now cut apart on the drawn line and press, then trim the tags. You may need to trim off a sliver to make your block the correct size depending on how accurate your seaming is.
Repeat with the remaining unit and small square and you will have four perfect Flying Geese!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

A Walk In The Woods

This afternoon we took a two hour hike down into the valley below our house, probably close to 1,000 ft. down in elevation to where a path winds around for a mile or so by the river.
Every bend in the river reveals a new view of the Master Gardener's landscaping.

He does magnificent work!

Someone has been helping the Master Gardener, there are places to sit, rustic benches made from logs, to rest on & meditate or to simply lose oneself in the beauty & the song of the river.
But of course what goes down must go up again so we had the long hike back up to the top of our mountain!

Nearly there!

The sun was setting, it was 5.30 pm. & as it filtered through the trees I could not resist one last photo, it was a beautiful day.
When we got back to the house I saw from the deck that we had more visitors.

These two handsome fellows!

This one came up closer I think he was hoping for a handout, he just stood & stared at me for several minutes but the Forest Rangers & Game Wardens will fine us, so sorry chaps, no freebies!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

A Visitor!

DH has exchanged the hummingbird feeder for a seed feeder.
We hadn't seen any hummers for about a week so we think they have moved on. The past week has been rather chilly up here at 9,000 ft. so no doubt our tiniest feathered visitors have fled the alpine regions in favor of warmer climes.

This afternoon this little chap was hanging out & busily gobbling up a free meal! I believe he is a red headed woodpecker, a very handsome little bird.
We have lots of Sterling Blue Jays & although they also are handsome birds [they look a little evil to me] they are very mean & bossy & chase off all the other birds. They do not even "play nice" with their own kind & that to me is a very bad thing! I knock on the window & yell at them when I see them but there are too many of them & they are so greedy & persistent that it could be a full time job.

In the quilting arena I have been working on another UFO, one of the last two or three that I hope to finish this year.
I bought the pattern & some of the fabric while we were visiting son Matthew in Hawaii in 2005. I love the borders I think they really set off the center, the orange & green triangles & then those cheeky little turtles make a great final border- I have enough of the turtle fabric to bind it also.
There are actually five borders to this quilt, & although I am partial to the look of pieced borders they are not always fun to make, takes much more fussing around with measuring & fitting all the pieces together.
I cut out the turtles some time back but never got any further for lack of supplies & as you will see two of the turtles are lacking some appendages due to to a continuing need for a certain product! I plan to rectify that when we go into town for church tomorrow, then I will be able to machine applique the turtles & this UFO will be ready to quilt when we return to AZ in a few weeks and it will be one more off the list.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

VTT Glassware

I'm writing this a day early because I know that when I get home from quilting all day tomorrow with the Huggy Bunch I will be tired & not feeling up to making my VTT post. That's what happened last week & I missed out so if I don't want that to happen again I need to prepare ahead. Colorado Lady does such a great job of hosting VTT & I hate to let her down. You can follow a large group of bloggers with a wide selection of vintage items, some of which no doubt you will never have seen before.

I am really drawn to old glassware & when I saw these two canning jars at a flea market in Ouray[CO] I thought I could find a use for them. I keep nuts in them & they seal nicely. One is an Atlas & the other a ball jar.

A few years back I started a collection of glass insulators-I haven't progressed far but a couple of our neighbors have quite impressive collections & I had intended to take pics to include here but I kept forgetting to take my camera the past week on our daily walks so those will have to wait for another VTT.
These three are rather ordinary looking nothing remarkable about them at all.
This one is a light golden brown, it came from Australia, from my parents farm in Wauchope, NSW & I brought it back with me when we lived in TX at least 25 years ago. It is cracked but quite large & somewhat unique so it is a keeper as much for sentimental value.

This beautiful blue insulator is quite large also & it says "MADE IN USA".

Here is a smaller blue one, the patent date you can see is "MAY 21 1893".
This unusual looking wooden peg, threaded on one end, is how the insulators were attached to the poles.

Like so, then the pegs were screwed onto the poles through the two holes in the peg!
Now you can pop on over to Colorado Lady's blog & check out some other interesting memorabilia.

Thank you Ruby!

Some time back I had a "conversation" with a blogger friend Ruby about cigarette silks-those little squares of silk that were included in packets of cigarettes around WW1 I believe. I have a few from my Grandad, with different breeds of dogs on them but none of our dog's breed. Ruby had noticed that our four legged kid is an Australian Terrier & said she would send me one of her silks with an Aussie Terrier.
Today in the mail I got this adorable decorated box with a cigarette silk of an Aussie Terrier!
See how the embellishment makes this little treasure one of a kind & if you click on the pic you can see the details of the beautiful handwork, silk ribbon & embroidery.

The little dog depicted on the silk here is a male, our Aussie, Button, is a feisty but sweet little girl.See how Ruby used coordinating vintage buttons for the feet on the box.And here is the inside of the box, all padded & lined & decorated & she even sent me some vintage buttons!

Thank you Ruby !

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Blankies & Some Bread!

A little detour from quilting, a friend asked me to help her out & sew up a big pile of fleece fabric into blankies for grandchildren & for herself. They are double sided so I cleared off my big island in the kitchen to trim them with the rotary cutter. Then I blanket stitched around them on the machine.

Don't they look cozy? And with the chilly weather outside & fresh snow on the surrounding[12-14,000 ft] mountains, these blankies make me want to curl up with them & a good book in front of the fire!

It looks rather bleak doesn't it? Some of the aspen seem to have lost all of their leaves & others are still green, a few are all gold along the roadside.
I did make bread, French Baguettes, here they are fresh from the oven, very rustic!
Yum, I could eat an entire loaf!
We have invited friends for a glass of wine this afternoon & I had no baguettes on hand & had to make them-I made tomato/basil topping for bruschetta, one of my favorite snacks!

Before I returned to quilting I took some of my test quilt "sandwiches" that I use to try out a new design idea or check my tension on the longarm, & trimmed them & overlocked the edges. They go to the animal shelter for the rescued dogs & cats, it's nicer than the bare cage floor or paper or whatever they use, gives the poor abandoned critters a snuggly thing to sleep on. Otherwise I would be throwing these practice squares away so I am very happy to find a place that can use them.

I have now returned to working on a client quilt, her G'ma's vintage Dresden Plate blocks. I have them all faced with a very thin non woven interfacing ready to applique to the muslin blocks.

They are beautifully made, machine pieced with lovely 30's fabrics & well preserved. They will make a very sweet quilt. I want to have this top ready to quilt when we return to AZ in about a month.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Success! A Flimsie.

Tada! What a great feeling to get another UFO to this stage, [only two more left] the quilting should be a breeze after the agony of the piecing. I saw a mistake as soon as I laid it out after attaching the final borders but I am not taking them off to fix it.
It was a PITA to make, but now it is ready to quilt. You will notice that I did complete the little musical note blocks , one for each corner, I guess I am glad that I did even though they took way more time than they deserved!

"Singing His Praises"[Sherry Moore] is a theme quilt, each block has a Bible reference & hymn, for example, the Crown of Thorns block is linked to "Crown Him With Many Crowns", [Words & music Matthew Bridges & George Elvey, 1852 & 1868.]
Originally I saw this BOM online & decided to make it & donate to the church for auction or raffle for ongoing building programs, hence my determination to finish it.
Now I can move onto more enticing projects.


This is my progress on the unspeakable BOM, next time I hope to report a completed flimsie. I think the worst is behind me- once I have completed the pieced borders it's just a matter of fitting them onto the main body of the top. I wanted to lay them out to see how it would look & how much I have to fiddle with the borders to get them to fit. I can do this!
Stay tuned!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

D9P and a BOM!

Here's the sweet pink D9p for baby Jacqueline, the first Phoenix baby born on labor day so she actually made the news!

This quilt is wicked fast & fun to make.
Currently I am struggling onward with this much dreaded Block Of the Month, one of only three remaining UFO's I have to finish this year in order to begin 2010 with a clean slate.

"It's called Singing His Praises" by Sherry Moore.
The blocks are mostly paper pieced which I really don't mind if the directions, fabric allowances & cutting instructions were more dependable. A couple of the blocks have pieced sections because no matter how carefully I cut there just wasn't enough fabric. This pattern is not for the faint of heart & would be very difficult for an inexperienced quilter.
Here are my 12 completed blocks not yet sashed.
I doubt that I will ever make another BOM with fabrics included, this experience has quite turned me off them but since I am now down to the sashing & borders [also pieced] the end is in sight & I hope to get that part finished up tomorrow.

These are the corner blocks-the first one took me a couple of hours, partly because I had to dig through all the cut pieces at every step to find just the correct size for each section of the block. It is only a 5" block so if you double click on the pic. you will get a close up & be able to see that the pieces are often quite tiny. This is where PP helps to attain great accuracy in reproducing the design, the only other way would have been to applique & that would have been faster & easier. Hindsight, 20-20 right, but PP is what the pattern called for so I soldiered on! After the first one I was ready to quit & not use this part of the design, but this afternoon I was re-energized & tackled three more of the little devils!
With any luck I may have a flimsie to show tomorrow night!