Not finished Friday

My friend Rebecca is hosting TGIFF today at her blog.  Please visit and see the finishes that link to her post.  I'm sure you'll enjoy it.  I wanted to participate.  It would have been my first time to do that in years. 

Unfortunately, I didn't get it finished.  I finished the quilting.  I might even have tried to get partial credit for that, but the quilt is only 12.5x17.5, so there really wasn't that much quilting. 

Oh, well.  You wins some and you loses some.

But ain't it cute?

And, the back.

I'm hoping to use a binding I already have cut.  I always over cut bindings and I've been saving the ends.  I plan to use them all sewn together on scrap quilts, but I'd gladly lend one to this little quilt.

I also have a bunch of garden pictures.  This is Mock Orange.  We have two and this year, I dug up some offshoots with roots that had grown under the fence, and planted them in a big pot.  And, they're making leaves.  It's always cool when I can get something to divide.  It does this reliably, every year in a part sun spot.  We have one inside and one outside the fence at about the same spot.  Together, they make a fountain on both sides. 

I finally got some Iris that aren't white.  Yay!  These probably came from my Mom.  They may be new.  She sent some to Rob a couple years ago for his birthday and these may be them.  If so, we haven't seen them bloom before.  I think I planted them too deep originally and they got moved and planted more appropriately last fall..

Baby oranges starting to form.  I've moved the trees into a sunnier spot.  They won't survive winter here, so I grow them in big pots and move them into the greenhouse for the winter.  I'm hoping the sunnier spot will help them retain more fruit.  The trees can only support about a third of what they make, so a lot of them get the size of the end of my thumb, and fall off.  Nature's way.  Then, the birds get a few by landing on the branches and breaking the fruit off.  And, the rain and wind get a few.  And, we get what nature leaves us in December. 

Tired of the stone path yet?  Hope not.  It's going to be in a LOT of pictures.

I took a HUGE spineless cactus out of this pot this year and moved it into a bigger pot.  I planted two potato vines, one dark and one light, in the old bean pot that sits on its side; perfect for a vine.  They each did something different.  The dark one bloomed.  The light one grew out of the end of the pot.  I'm worried the light one will choke out the dark one because the dark one paused to make flowers.

Anyway, that's what's happening inside and out.  Tomorrow will be a busy day.  We'll go to the grocery very early to get it out of the way.  Then, Rob plans to mow the meadow that's grown up in our yard because of the spring showers.  He wants to dye eggs in the afternoon...don't read too much into old men dyeing eggs.  It's just his excuse to make sure there are plenty of deviled eggs on Sunday.  I don't know what we'll have yet for the holiday lunch.  I need to be thinking on that today.  Maybe AllRecipes will be helpful.  They tend to feature seasonally appropriate recipes and I find that very helpful. 

Last night, we had a marinated and grilled pork tenderloin.  Tonight, we're having Tandoori Chicken, an Indian dish.  We love Indian food.  I had a manager a few years ago that was from India and he introduced us to the food.  He and his wife would invite the three of us over and they'd cook the food they knew for us.  It really introduced Sydney to a different world and I'm so glad they were there and willing to be part of our village.  They've moved away, but we still eat Indian about once a week.  Anyway, it needs to marinate all day.  I'll let you know how it works out.  It's my first time.

Everybody have a great Friday.  I'm sure it will be a very slow day at the office.  But, that can be a good thing sometimes, right?  It's a time for reflection.  A time for beginnings and fresh starts and new adventures.  Enjoy your weekend, whatever you find to celebrate and however you choose to celebrate it.



Does a body good

Good work does a body good.  It was a wonderful weekend, but again, it felt a little short.  That's a good thing.  Remember that old saying about always leaving them wanting more.  Weekends sure know how to do that. 

I started the weekend by starting something new.  I have a friend that's announced her retirement and I decided to send her a little something.  I designed something and decided it was too personal, so I switched tracks to something else we have in common; gardening.  I had a flower block appliqued already and just needed to add some squares around it, but that simple step took over two hours.    I laid out a set of squares and started sewing them together.  And, then I realized they weren't all 3".  Some were 2 7/8" in one or both directions.  So, I ended up measuring all my 3" squares and laying them out and taking a very ordered approach to picking fabrics.  I guess I needed that.  It satisfied some need for order and control.

Anyway, I've started quilting it and should have it to her well before her last day.  Just a li'l something to remember me by.

I also got the baby quilt pin basted so I can start quilting it soon as this is done and bound.  I had hoped to get a Linus quilt basted, but it didn't happen. 

Our big project was sealing the deck.  It was time and we had a few bad weather weekends and even this weekend acted like it wanted to rain, but we waited it out and got it done. 

I spent a lot of hours in the yard and repotting. 

Columbine.  I've had the yellow for years, and this year, bought the red and white and planted it nearby, in hopes that it will be as happy.

Violets and Ajuga.  I use them as ground covers and indicators of when the garden needs water.  They're very tolerant and will wilt, but then perk right back up when they get what they want. 

Weed.  I'm sure it has a real name, but I don't know it.  It makes a pretty flower, so I don't pull it.  And, it won't stand the heat, so it can't choke anything out.  I have a couple of weeds I let grow because of those qualities.

This winter's oranges in bloom.  Bees galore.  No pollinating with a q-tip.  Yay!

These pots will make bright spots in a shady place in the yard.


Okay, so that's it for me today.  A little quilting.  A little gardening.  And, I even made a peach cobbler.  So, it was a pretty good weekend overall.  Hope yours was as well.  Another workweek begins today.  I wonder what human thing I'll do this week.

Everybody have a good one.  I'm going to go cut a border. 



Just keep going

There's a song about going through hell and how you have to just keep going and you might get out before the devil even knows you're there.  That's what this week has been like for me.  I've been under tremendous pressure at work and I let my stupid mouth think it knew how to handle it.  And, while I didn't offend or hurt anyone, I still did something impulsive and stupid and embarrassing and in front of all my peers. 

And, I can't quite let myself off the hook for embarrassing me.  I really am getting better and better about that all the time.  But, sometimes, I still have to hurry though hell, hoping I get to the other side quickly. 

I'm so glad I've made sure Sydney knows she doesn't have to be perfect every single time.  She sails through life's little mistakes like they were nothing.  Makes me a little jealous.

I walk through the garden a lot because I can look down and think, I did that.  I put that there, and I helped it grow.  And, I was the one to look down and appreciate the flowers.  And, if I can appreciate that little coreopsis, then maybe I can appreciate me when I struggle to be my best me.

I got this top together and got all the basting stitches picked out last night.  Now I need to decide what to do with it.  It might need a pink border.  I'm torn between wanting to see if I can make it into something more than it is, or just let it be and move onto something else.

But, if you know me, then you know I'll probably get up and look for a pink fabric soon as I hit the publish button.
I'm going to close with a little humor because that's part of looking on the bright side. 

Everybody have a great Friday!  One more day and the week is over.  And, hopefully, a bit of hard work around here will leave me feeling just a little bit better about embarrassing myself...again.

Enjoy your weekend!  And, if you get a chance, tell someone you're close to that it's all going to be okay.  You never know who needs to hear it or when.




Just fold it in half and sew around it...

First, we are glad to see the Austin bomber out.  That was getting close.  The fedex location where the packages were shipped was across the street from where Syd works and the Goodwill is the one we shop at, both locations about 2 miles from home in opposite directions.  The news is coming so fast that in the pauses, the reporters and newscasters are tripping over themselves trying to find something to talk about.  They're not going to cut to another story because they might miss the scoop of the next thing released.  So, I have it turned down so I can hear anything new without having to hear all the rest. 

Anyway, I'm taking the baby blanket in today. 

It's cute.  I can see why the Mom wanted a blanket made from this.  But, what I did is not what should have been done with this.  There were things I said I'd try that I couldn't do.  I couldn't sew it right sides together and turn it.  The fuzzy right sides shifted too much and I couldn't keep it from bunching.  Wrong sides together is a knitted texture and that didn't walk so much. 

I did serge around the edge and then sewed a line a half inch in from that for stability.  I wanted to sew a hashtag across it to hold the two layers together for laundering, but I couldn't get that to work.  The fabric is stretchy and I don't have the skills to sew two stretchy fabrics together.  And, wasn't all that innerested in learning them.  So, I sewed two stability basting stitches along the center line.  I hope that will help keep it from separating in the wash, but I won't swear to it.  And, I'm not laundering it to find out.

That's it for me.  Almost halfway through the workweek.  I have a class with Edyta Sitar coming up.  We're going to make tree blocks.  I'm going to fellowship with other quilters.  Time to check on that supply list.  I know I own everything I'll need. 

But, will I be able to find it?

Have a great day!  Lane


Weekends are too short

I realize that people used to have to work every day, from sun up to sun down.  But, I bet those people weren't very happy.  And, we're lucky that we don't have to live like that.  But, this whole 5 days on, 2 days off could still be improved upon.

I started Sunday by cleaning up the messes I made working in the yard on Saturday.  I'm cleaning last year's leaves out of beds and cutting damaged leaves off the aspidistra.  And, finding things that we stuck in the beds and forgot about.  I'll never get to all the things I want to do in the yard, which is a good thing because there's always something to look forward to.

You all hear me talk about my stone path all the time.  It winds through the garden, letting me get up close to the plants. 

Plants are just jumping out of the ground.  Not many blooms yet, still a little early.  But, we're having days in the 80's, so it won't be long.  The roses are all setting buds and the mock orange is about to explode in a fountain of white.

I go out and dig in the dirt and get it all up under my fingernails and my hands hurt and I'm a little bit allergic from dragging moldy leaves out of flowerbeds. 

But, I love it.  I love the constant variety and the new things that happen unexpectedly and waiting for something for a year and seeing it emerge and go through it's annual cycle.

Like running into an old friend.  This last pic is behind the shed.  Still got some cleaning up to do on this side of the yard.  This is where Rob was working over the last couple weekends, so I was trying to stay out of his way.

On a quilty note, I got this quilt bound. 

I cut three bindings before I found one I wanted.  I did a red one and hated it against the back.  Then, I cut a dark blue one thinking, oh, it's dark blue.  It will look good with the back.  NOT.  Then, I cut this gold one.  So, I have two more bindings ready, I guess I'll have to make two more Linus quilts to go with them. 

No problem.

The baby quilt is together.  And, on Saturday, we picked up a back that's been washed and is ready to iron.  I'd show you the top, but I folded it up to take to JoAnn's and it got all wrinkled.  Because I apparently love to iron.  NOT!

I made a really good effort on the baby blanket.  I did what she asked for.  I wouldn't wrap a baby in it, but I'm not this baby's mom.  Part of what I did worked.  Part didn't.  It is the best I could do and I'll try to take a picture later, just to show what not to say yes to when someone asks you. 

Yesterday, we had lunch with our friend LD.  That's always a great and inspiring trip.  She is working a puzzle and Rob and I both stopped at the table for a while.  That was addictive.  Then, I came home and did chores and cooked some food and cleaned some house and got ready for another five on. 

Gotta do something about that. 

Everybody have a great Monday!  Another day in paradise.  But, at least I've found a good music app, so there will likely be chair dancing.  I don't think my young co-workers understand. 

That's okay.  One day, they'll get that it's more important to enjoy the day than to just sit there and act professional. 

Not that they're all that professional.  But, they're young and have a different standard for what professional looks like as is illustrated by their shorts, t-shirts and flip-flops. 



Old stuff, nothing new

This week, all I've done is sew some baby quilt blocks together and machine finish the binding on the purple Linus quilt.  Some weeks are like that, when no matter how hard I try, I don't go very far.  Other weeks, it looks like the fairies came in and worked for me overnight.  It takes a slow one to appreciate a fast one, I guess.  Anyway, since there's nothing new, I thought how about something old?

This is my first quilt. 

Some of you have seen pictures of this one before and heard its story.  I had a friend who had inherited a sewing machine and stash and wanted to learn to quilt.  He asked if I'd show him how to use the machine and if I would, he'd share part of his stash.  We did, and I brought home some little bit of fabric and a pattern book.  I promptly lost the pattern book.  But, I didn't let that stop me. 

I did what I could remember.  And, apparently, I remembered everything except how to shade a log cabin block or how to set them together.  If you notice, I did alternate  light and dark...but on opposite sides of the block, not next to one another.  Anyway, it's still a great quilt and I'm very proud of it for my first attempt.  Like my fore-quilters, I machine pieced and hand quilted it.  It has a foldover binding.  And, a lot of squares and ovals quilted in it.  And, some very big stitches.

Thank you Alex Anderson for teaching me to quilt.

This is my oldest UFO.  The quilt is called Old Maid's Puzzle and it's a child's quilt...and a game.  Like the card game, every square has a match.  There are two squares made from each block pattern, so two Jacob's ladder and two checkerboard, two baskets and two log cabins.  But, they're colored differently to make them hard to find.  Once all those are matched, the leftover block is made in old maid's puzzle pattern.  And the instructions of the game were supposed to be embroidered in the black block, but I couldn't think of something cute to write there and the hand quilting was taking forever, and this one got moved to the side as a UFO.  Many, many years ago.  Which is a shame cuz it's really cute. 

And, this is the only quilt I ever made out of all solids.  All quilts made from solids are not Amish.  The block pattern is Old Maid's Puzzle.  Yes, I do like that block and don't know why I stopped using it. 

Rob and I made this quilt together.  It's the only one.  He did the pressing and I did the sewing.  And, the hand quilting.  Because in the beginning, I thought all quilts had to be hand quilted.  What a dork.

Now, I guess I'm versatile.  It hurts my hands to hand quilt too much.  I like to do a small project, but I don't know if I'll ever do another queen size because it would take so long to finish.

This was another very early quilt.  I made it right after my mentor sold me her mother's Bernina 930.  I made one for me from my stash and one for my mentor, using her stash, which she had loaned me a portion of to add variety to a project.  Rob loves this one and it hangs in the living room most of the time.  I remember how hard I worked to get the light center, darkening as you moved out to the edge.  And, those prairie points aren't really prairie points.  They're the leftover HST's folded in half and sewn into a border. 

This is my first and still my biggest sewing machine mistake. 

This is Lenore, a Singer 401a.  She belonged to a friend's mother who sold it to me after her Mom passed.  This was early in my machine collecting.  And, she was filthy.  So, the first thing I did was take her apart and clean her really good.  And, I took the top tension apart.  Dang it!  It never went back together right.  (Now, I know to clean a tension assembly by taking a piece of dental floss, tying a small knot in it and flossing between the tension disks...believe me, that knot knocks loose a lot of lint.)  I've used the machine a few times, but she skips stitches and pulls to the left, and we've just never gotten along for very long at a time. 

She's on my mind because this week, I bought a whole new tension assembly.  I took this one apart the other day, and it's missing pieces that I either didn't put back on or didn't think I needed or were never there...whatever.  The new assembly will be here in a few days, and I can try again. 

Everybody have a great Friday and a great weekend.  I'll be quilting.  And, probably gardening.  Sydney is gone for Spring Break to a Renaissance Fair.  She's glamping, whatever that means...and I don't care how glamorous it is, it's still camping...unless they hired a cabana boy or something, which I highly doubt. 

Rob and I will be bachelors...taking care of Sydney's dog.  And, her chores.  But, first, I have to get through Friday.  It's been a weird week at work.  Something's up that no one is talking about, and I'm not asking questions.  Just keeping my head down.  My boss got some good feedback about me.  You all remember a meeting I was nervous about a couple weeks ago.  I've become the de facto leader of that team, even though there's someone else whose name is in the "in charge" slot.  We're rewriting a book that got several years out of date.  Everyone on the team keeps complimenting me on what a good job I've done mocking up the necessary changes and keeping the team on track as we work through them, one by one.   It doesn't hurt that I make them laugh a lot.  This week, they started telling my boss.  That's always a good thing. 

On the other hand, I'm having to train some new people on what is and what isn't my job responsibility.  And, that's not such a good thing.

People.  Can't make them all happy at the same time, no matter what I do.

Guess I better focus on making me happy instead.



Baby quilts

Last night, Sydney asked how many baby quilts I make a year for friends.  It seems like a lot more than it really is.  It's just that this year, it's seemed back to back. 

This was the original plan.  Rob and I both love it.  But, it does not remind either of us of a baby quilt.  2/3 of it sat in my sewing room floor for a week and I still couldn't teach it to say baby. 

But, isn't it going to make a nice wall hanging?

Anyway, I saw that pattern in a magazine and thought it was perfect for the parents, but it was all in browns and I knew I didn't want to do that.  I had some points that I picked up at a guild boutique that are batik and I thought were cut in the narrow half of the tri-recs ruler.  But, when I pulled one out to use, that's not the shape those triangles are cut in at all.  I don't know what I'll ever be able to do with those except sew a light one and a dark one together to make a rectangle.  Then find something that needs that shape.  Does that seem like the wrong way to design a quilt to anybody else?  Although, I wonder if they'd make a border for this quilt??? 

And, there I go after something else shiny.

Anyway, in my search for baby quilt patterns the other day, I found this one.  It's a simple disappearing nine-patch, but you don't put the blocks back together after cutting them.  They go back together at random.  Except I'm no good at random.  I can never seem to get random to come out quite random enough, unless I have a plan, and that defeats the point of random.

Anyway, I laid my squares out in the floor and moved them around to get sufficient randomness to the blocks, then I took a photo of each one and stacked the squares and numbered them to go with the pictures and yesterday morning, I put them together. 

I laid them in the floor for a picture before I cut them and Syd walked by and said "it's nice.  Kind of random...but not nearly random enough."  And, I told her "just you wait." 

I cut them and laid them out again on my portable design wall, otherwise known as a flannel backed vinyl tablecloth and a pool noodle, and I called her in for another viewing.  Still not random enough.

And, again...still not random enough.

Again...and again.

Then, I laid them out, alternating the cool green and aqua large squares in a pattern with the warmer large squares...and finally it was random enough.  Even Sydney said so, so it must be true.

You gotta go with what works, right?

So, now I just need to sew those 36 squares together into a top and I'll be on my way.  Until Rob asked what I was going to bind it in, which led to what am I going to back it with.  And, a whole 'nother set of questions was born. 

On a les fulfilling note, a co-worker asked me to take a big piece of something fleecey and turn it into a baby blanket...just fold it in half and sew around it.  Right.  NOT!  I sewed around it.  And, I got something that was not the right shape.  So, I cut my serging off and will try again.  Biggest problem is that what she bought isn't meant to be used this way, and she didn't buy enough of it to make what she wants, either.  And, besides all that, quilters work with cotton, not this slinky slidey fuzzy artificial stuff.  Last night, at 1a.m. when it was worrying me, I think I figured out how to make it work, so I'll give it one my try.  But, that's all the time I've got for that project.  I could offer to make her a quilt for her grandbaby and it would probably be less work than folding this in half and sewing around it.

That's it for me today.  All about them babies.  But now it's back to work.  Rob and I both had a good time overdoing it in the back yard this weekend.  One of his projects is nearly done and my garden is looking very fresh and spring like.  Now, when my muscles stop being sore, I should be fine.  Until I overdo it again.

Everybody have a great Monday!  Lane


The week flew by

The first week of the month is often very, very busy.  This week was first week.  And, it was very, very, very busy.  Fortunately, most of the people around me are equally busy the first week of the month, so it's nice and quiet. 

On Monday, I decided to take a hand project to guild.  And, I picked this one.  Now, when someone says "not my style", THIS is the project they're talking about. 

I bought this project as a UFO at a guild boutique.  I don't know what I was drawn to, except it is a tumbling block and I've never made a tumbling block.  Or maybe it was because I had never done any paper piecing.  Who knows.  I bet I didn't pay more than $2 for it.  Anyway, I started cutting paper and diamonds and did some basting and I've sewn a few new blocks together.  I think I'm going to get about 20 more blocks.  And, there is a piece of perfectly matching dark blue fabric to go with it.  We will see what it grows up to be.

Best part is, I won't have any trouble walking away from it when something else shiny comes along. 

But, I did decide I needed a new pincushion because of it.  I would say the mind works in mysterious ways, but the truth is, I needed a distraction at work for my rest breaks and searching for pincushion patterns was more fun than reading the news.  So, it's not all that mysterious.  I came up with this. 

I had a small piece of wool that I cut into 2.5" squares.  And, I added a tan cotton strip cut 1.25".  And, I sewed them together with a 1/8" seam.  I added a couple buttons and some pearl cotton thread.  It's not fancy, but it is quite a manly pincushion...you know...as pincushions go.  Pincushions aren't really famous for shouting "butch" much.

How about some more purple.  You wouldn't know I don't use much purple if this is the only post of mine you read. 

The Linus quilt is quilted.  I did the Swirly Vine pattern from Wendy Sheppard's book in the coin columns.  They have a bit of a direction in such a narrow space, so I alternated the direction they flow from column to column.  And, yes, that was a pain that I probably could have skipped on a Linus quilt, so let's just not talk about it.  I made up for it by not quilting anything in the purple sashing. 

In the outer border, I did something I read about in someone else's blog several years ago.  I used one of the stitches my machine makes, maybe called the serpentine stitch.  I used a light back, so I used a variegated thread on top and white thread on the back. 

I also caught up on some Barbara Brackman BOM blocks last weekend.  These are from her Antebellum Album series.  I still haven't finished the last one.  The blocks are made, the layout decided.  I even know who I'd like to give it to.  And, there it languishes.  Incomplete.  Maybe I'll finish it before end of year when these blocks are done.  If you're following Barbara's Civil War Quilts blog, then you may notice that I took some liberties with my blocks.  Uhm...my blocks. 

Everybody have a wonderful Friday and a great weekend.  The trees are blossoming, I've had many Iris.

And, like all gardeners, I can't wait to see what's going to bloom next. 

I need to spend a few minutes today deciding what I want to focus on this weekend.  I have to make a baby quilt.  But, I just spent my baby quilt mojo on that pink Dresden plate quilt.  And, I am having no end of trouble coming up with a new idea.  The frontrunner would need to be made in reproduction fabrics.  And, I just made a quilt with reproduction fabrics.  Remember that gardener thing...what's next?  It's kind of a difficult pattern.  The second front runner is an easy, easy, easy pattern.  So, right now, I'm trying to decide just how much I like my co-worker whose wife is expecting.  That's a tough spot for a person to be in, right?  Someone deciding how much they like you?  A quilt in the balance?

It's not really that hard.  He's a really nice guy that throws me great, high profile projects every so often, even though we work in completely different regions.  I gotta like somebody that makes me look good.  The least I can do is make his baby look good, right?  Right??

Anyway, that's what I'm going to be focused on.  Because right now, I have cr....uhm, stuff spread all over the studio, hoping something will slap me and inspire me, but it didn't, so I pulled out my pattern books.  Honestly, I'd like nothing better than to pull out another Linus and finish because those are just for fun.  I like just for fun project.  No pressure. 

Now, what are you sitting there reading for?  Go sew.  I'm going to. 

Not really.  I'm going to spend 15 minutes putting some of this cr...uhm, stuff away.