The Lotus quilt.

If you remember, I had a kit that I knew I was gifted but was afraid I'd never make.  I had held onto for a long time, wishing I would, and when I realized it wasn't really going to happen, I shared it with a follower, Michelle (less than a year ago...that's going to be important later) .  Michelle was excited and as she's made progress, I've shared her comments and pics and progress a few times.  She's finished her quilt top now.  And, she shared pics. 

Check out the clamshell border.  She extended the applique out into that border, but simply so it doesn't conflict with the clamshells.  And, added flowers in the seam lines so the quilt doesn't look so blocky. 

 Here's a closeup of her work.  Here, you can see the embroidery that she added. 

She made many adjustments to the pattern.  Here's the original pattern, which we had trouble finding because it seems lots of people added flourishes when they made this quilt.  If you compare this picture to the picture above, you'll see how a few changes really made this quilt.   

It's been such a pleasure keeping up with Michelle and her progress.  It truly is a piece of original art, Michelle and I congratulate both your skill and your creativity in adding interest to the quilt.  Great job and I can't wait to see how you quilt it!

As for me, I might have taken on more of a project than I'm up for with my guild.  I've been asked to help with next year's raffle quilt.  And, I said yes.  And, Rob reminded me that last time I did this, I asked him to remind me that last time, I said NEVER AGAIN.  But, I'm doing it again.  And, for me, that always starts by making a test block. 

Every so often, I admit that something is just too fiddly for me.  My skills aren't up to it and the skills I'd need to develop are not interesting to me.  Sewing one circle inside of another circle with matching points is just not a skill that's interesting to me.  So, instead of that, I broke my block into quarters, drunkard's path style, and then joined the quarters.  I'm going to suggest this to the guild because it will be much easier for the quilt's final assemblers than taking circles made by multiple people and turning them into a perfectly matched piece.  It breaks that circle into four much easier curves, and it gets those curves taken care of by the members that will volunteer to make blocks, not by the quilt's final assemblers.  I can support that idea. 

How about a couple pics from the garden...

Down the garden path. 

A vintage plant stand of ferns. 

A velvety Mr Lincoln rose:

I worked in the yard most of Saturday.  This weekend was a "pots" weekend.  I'm setting up pots for the year, getting them established and ready to place in the garden.  The plastic greenhouse is still set up, so I'm using it for a humid environment to start cuttings and plants in.  It's working great and I hope I remember to leave it up for these few extra weeks next year, too. 

And, yesterday, we celebrated Easter. 

Rob loves the memory of dyeing eggs, so Saturday night, he and Sydney dyed a dozen eggs.  I sat in the living room, sewing a label on the wedding quilt that STILL isn't delivered.  And, I listened to them in the kitchen, dying eggs and laughing.  The next morning, I peeled them and turned them into deviled eggs. 

And, we had a nice lunch. 

 And that's about it for us celebrating the holidays. 

It's going to be a pretty normal work week for me, but on Wednesday, I'm taking the day off to spend it with my raffle quilt co-volunteer, shopping for quilt fabric.  Saturday, we're having lunch with Rob's cousin, who is passing through town and then the wedding is that night.  And, Sunday will be Rob's birthday, so lots of stuff will have happened to fill next week's blog post. 

Everybody have a great week!!  Lane


Flower pics and a Sydney story

There is very little to show quilt-wise this week.  All my quilt work has been binding the wedding quilt (which apparently is some kind of continuous circle that will never end) and cutting strips for the arcs quilt.  I still need to make and attach a label to the wedding quilt, so hopefully, next week, there will be a nice post about delivering it. 

Work was very stressful last week.  I have too many projects on my plate and my boss is being kind of obnoxious about my workload.  His solution is for me to hire a temp to help me manage it.  My suggestion is that if my workload is more than one person can do then HE should hire someone to handle it.  In the meantime, I'm done working myself so hard trying to keep up.  A weekend in the yard was exactly what I needed and I worked out there until my hands ache and are stiff this morning.  Perfect solution to stress.  And, the garden is definitely paying off. 

The mock orange in bloom before the big storm we had on Saturday.  Of course, the rain played havoc on it, but it's still covered in flowers. 

Sedum blooming.  I think this is the first time these have bloomed this way.  I'm using it as a ground cover in the sunny part of the garden.

Yellow roses.  Just starting.  It's not quite hot enough for these roses to go nuts yet, but soon. 

Asiatic lilies.  Syd gave me one for Mother's day one year and I bought a second.  These usually die here because of the heat, but this one is doing quite well in a pot. 

These two iris are first time bloomers.  Hopefully, this won't be the last time.  I'm not sure what I did last year to get all these iris to bloom, but I sure hope I accidentally do it again.

I also found some time to play in the scraps for the arc quilt.  I need 24 sets of 16 gradated strips and 24 sets of 9.  I counted last night and had 16 sets of 16 and 31 sets of 9.  Oops!  That's okay.  Nothing is wasted in this quilt.  There will be plenty of need for strips in the borders. 
I've got two weekends sunk into cutting strips, and I haven't sewn the first stitch yet.  Hmm.  That ain't right.  I'm ready to sit at a sewing machine for a while.  Cutting these strips is just standing at the ironing board, ironing my scraps, tossing the polyester and then cutting the tone-on-tone scraps into strips.  YAWN!
Sydney has been in Nebraska for the weekend.  She comes home today.  It was her first flight alone.  She was really cute as I tried to share all my experience.  We sat on the sofa the night before with her phone and I showed her how to check in using her phone and pay to check her bag.  We looked at pictures of airports so she could see what it was going to look like after she went through TSA.  And, we looked at maps of the airports she was traveling through so she could see how far she was going to need to walk between gates.  And, I shared that she should find her gate, then walk around to find food.  I took her to the airport on Thursday morning and we talked as we drove in.  She looked like she was going to be sick and we laughed about that.  We checked her bag in and I showed her how to use the check-in kiosk and walked her to TSA.  We talked about the machine she was going to need to go through and how to stand when she did.  Fortunately, there were no lines to wait in and she got right in.  And, I left her there.  She kept us up to day through the day and was picked up on Omaha by her aunt. 
We've talked to her more since she's been in NE than we talk in a month when she is here.  She has called every night and we text and chat and laugh about her family.  We sent all the ingredients for her to cook Indian food for Grandma, and Grandma loved it.  She has visited with her Aunts, both of whom she lived with before she came to us.  One called Rob to tell him what a wonderful job we had done with her and to tell what a great person she had grown into.  Very independent and confident.  And, honestly, that's what we were going for.  Before she left, I told her that no matter what mistakes I had made as a parent, the one thing I never worried about was her ability to stand up for and take care of herself.  And, I'm pretty sure there was some standing up for herself that needed to be done. 
Family forgets that people change when they move away.  Family thinks that people are in some kind of stasis in their new location and only change in concert with the family.  But, that's not true.  Just like family members grow and change, the ones that move away grow and change.  And, when the two groups come together, it can be uncomfortable.  I think one of the Aunts thought Syd would still be the same person that left 12 years ago.  But, she's not.  And, the Aunt apparently wasn't very interested in who she'd turned into.  That's the Aunt's loss because Sydney is certainly a  LOT more interesting today than she was when she was 9.  And, just like it was the Aunt's loss, I don't think Sydney was bothered by it.  I think she looked at the Aunt and celebrated that she had moved away. 
Everybody have a great week!  I pick up Syd at the airport tonight and I'm sure there will be fun stories and her dog will be very glad to see her.  And, I'll be glad to know she's home.  Raising kids is crazy.  You spend all that time trying to protect them in hopes they will grow up to thrive, independent of your protection.  I definitely got to feel both sides of that coin this weekend. 


Stormy weather

It was all April showers this weekend.  Thunderstorms, heavy rain.  The garden is gonna love it.  And, I enjoyed the chance to work inside for a change. 

The first thing I did on Saturday was finish quilting the wedding quilt.  I drew and quilted in the feather spine on Friday so on Saturday, all that was left was the loopy feathers.  It took a couple tries to get them just right.  There is a certain curve that makes the difference between a feather and a stick with a bunch of lumpy fat fingers hanging off it, and it took a couple tries to find that certain curve.  I used a plate and a chalk pencil to draw the curvy spine.  I would trace the curve from the plate and then use a straight ruler to connect those curves.  It's not perfect, but it came out nice, I think. 


Yes, there are still threads hanging on it.  I haven't taken time to tie and bury all the knots yet.  I'm gonna have to get on that because there are many.  Late yesterday, I cut the extra backing away and started sewing down the fold over binding.  The backing fabric was too perfect for me not to use it as the binding.  It has so many colors from the front of the quilt.

After the quilting was done, I went to the scrap bins.  Anybody know what this mess is eventually going to be?

More of these arcs. 

I had run out of pre-cut strips for these.  the pattern says it takes about 12,000.  I'm doing my best to be more conservative than that by using small scraps and leftover pieces.  And, when I was cutting, if I had something that was a little wider than the 2x6 they called for, that's great because I can get a point from one end, and then use the resulting triangle to get another point from the other end.  Same if they are longer than 6".  That saved a TON of cutting time because a lot of my scraps are already cut into manageable strips that didn't need further cutting to be used in this paper piecing project.  I got all the above scraps from my scrap bins.  And, I haven't even gotten back into the blue or purple bins yet.  I'll try to get into them next weekend, and then I can get back to piecing these arcs.  I'm halfway there, but then the whole outer border is pieced like this too.  That's going to be a heck of a project. 

I signed up for a two day paper piecing class at guild.  I was so excited.  I was finally going to learn Judy's technique for paper piecing using freezer paper from a certified, trained instructor.  I was hoping to get all the tips and tricks that I might have missed from reading the book.  Guess what?  There's more than one Judy that paper pieces.  Can you imagine?  I use Judy Mathieson's method.  I signed up for a Judy Niemeyer class.  Don't get me wrong.  I think Judy N's quilts are wonderful and I'm sure I would have learned a lot from the instructor.  But, I'm perfectly content with the method I use and was glad to back out and let someone else have my spot in that two day class.  Imagine how many of these arcs I could piece in those same two days.   And, quite honestly, once I learned the secret of heating the freezer paper before peeling it off, I don't ever plan to go back to regular paper piecing where you sew through the paper and tear it off. 

The picking cucumbers in the grocery have been looking good!  And, we were down to a half jar of bread and butter pickles.  So, yesterday, I made a roast and four jars of pickles. 

These are so easy and so delicious that I don't see me buying pickles in the grocery again.  They're sweet and tangy and spicy, all at the same time. 

My last big indoor project for the weekend was to re-make our summer door wreath.  I don't know how long ago I made our old wreath.  I was still into Martha Stewart's projects when I did.  But, it was looking rough.  The birds had been stealing the moss to make nests from and the flowers were dirty.  We liked the old stick wreath base and the blue and yellow.  But, thee rest was for the birds (couldn't resist). 

The new wreath:

All perked up, with new colors added.  And, it looks GREAT on our door.  When I was telling Rob what I would be doing, he kept saying "are we talking about the same wreath?"  And, I kept saying yes.  Then he walked out to the garage yesterday and saw that I had taken it apart down to the wire frame, tightened the bundles of sticks and made small flower arrangements that I then wired to the bundles of sticks, then wired all that back to the metal frame.  I think he was amazed.  It's not done.  First attempts rarely are.  But, I needed it on the door before I could figure out what else to do (trim the sticks so it's more circular and doesn't have those two arms pointing out from it).  But, it perked up the door already and nobody can see the mistakes from the street. 

I've been asked to help with next year's guild raffle quilt.  I am appropriately hesitant (incredible introvert here), but I'm going to accept that offer.  The raffle quilt team leader is a friend and we worked together on the red and white quilt a few years ago and I think we will enjoy ourselves doing it again.  And, honestly, I need to get out more and this is a great opportunity to get out in my quilting community and meet new people and show off what I can do. 

Everybody have a great week!  It's Monday and it's going to be full of new things.  Sydney is taking her first flight alone to go to Nebraska to see Gramma.  And, Rob and I are full of helpful instruction, which means we are getting a lot of eyerolls as we try to explain things we know that we think will be helpful.  But, you can't tell a 21 year old anything, right?  Actually, I can tell she's listening to at least part of it.  My most helpful advice so far: "When you're walking through an airport, don't look down at your feet.  Look up.  That's where all the signs are to tell you where to go." 

So, look up.  See the signs around us every day. And, have a great week!




I worked from home last week while I was having some paint repairs done on the Prius.  7 year old car, but too low mileage to write it off yet.  Hoping that if Sydney ever gets her license, she'll want to buy it from me.  We know it's been excellently maintained and would be a great first car for her. 

And, she could afford the gas.

But, I think she wants Rob's full size F150 pickup.  Cuz that's how she rolls.

Anyway, because I was home last week, I was able to take frequent walks in the yard and every time I would go out, I would find something else, just about to burst with bloom.  I did really good at not getting distracted tho.  I found one plant that was obviously not happy in its new spot, so put it in a pot, but that was all the gardening I got distracted with.  I kept nose to the grindstone and actually got a lot of work accomplished. 

Yesterday, I finished the quilting in the center of the star wedding quilt.  We saw one of the brides on Saturday and the wedding is a go.  They are not going to delay.  That makes me want to say "love wins" or something!  (sad story, the Mother had just mailed in her RSVP when she took a turn and passed away, so there was that to find when they got home).  Now, on to the border.  Ideas?  Because I have too many competing thoughts and could use a new suggestion. 

Saturday morning, I cleaned my part of the garage.  We need a new garage door and I knew I was part of the hold up, so I took care of that and won't be the hold up no more.  I had been planning to swap out my machine for one of the others in the collection, so when I finished cleaning, I pulled out the Singer 401 and looked it over.  This is a dear friend's Mother's machine and when I got it, it was filthy.  So, the first thing I did in my naivete was to take it apart and clean it.  Then, I couldn't get the tension back together.  I fiddled with it and fiddled with it and on and on and on for years and couldn't get it back together.  So, I bought a new tension assembly, already put together and on Saturday, I installed it.  Except it wasn't put together right either.  And, the painted parts of my old one were prettier.  So, I ended up taking it apart too.  And, I managed to put it back together CORRECTLY this time.  And, then I fiddled with the tension and before I knew it, it was sewing perfectly again.  Thanks for all the encouragement, Michelle!  After I had it in the studio, I was so disappointed that I didn't have a project pulled out to work on.  So, I started making four patches, just to set the seam allowance.  It's ready for me, next time I'm ready to sew.

I also repainted this TV tray that was in the studio as a whatever table...as in whatever I needed to put on it.  The ironing board, the laptop, the printer, whatever.  We got it when the neighbors across the street moved long ago.  We took it because Syd had come to live here and we only had two TV trays.  Then, I got the bright idea that family should eat at the dining table, and we hardly ever used it.  It was painted with orange and what can kindly be called a painful red-violet.  But, who cared.  It was free, right?  Anyway, if I was going to use it more regularly, it needed a touch up and a new screw to make a repair.  I painted the whole thing gold, then added new stripes to the top.  But, different.  I like it better now. 

Garden pics.  This is where the title color comes from.  Yellow...


These Iris are really blooming up a storm!

 And, now, these have started.  These came from Boston.  They were so prolific there that people at the public garden were throwing them in the compost heap.  So, we took some, cut the tops off and packed them in plastic and brought them to Texas.  It took them years to climatize.  They are a shorter iris now.  But, they did and the last couple of years, they given a few blooms, but this year, looks like it's going to be a real show. 

And, the mock oranges are really giving it a go with the mass of white blooms and yellow centers. 

And, highlighting it all are the violets, here and there, but giving masses of bloom of their own.  This one is growing in the middle of a coreopsis that's competing for space.  Two plants enter, one plant survives...it's Flowerdome.

And, looky here!  Just when I said the oakleaf hydrangea may never bloom, look what I found on it!  A bunch of flower heads, getting ready to start. 

I got my first check from Laundry Basket Quilts for reviewing Edyta's patterns.  It was a really good feeling.  Simultaneously, I got two new beautiful patterns to review.  For some reason, they won't open on a window's device but will open on my iPhone, so I had to learn to print from my iPhone.  What an adventure that was! 

And, speaking of iphones, one last story and then I'll go.  I needed a new battery in my phone.  It was being very irratic.  It would run down in minutes, or charged really slowly and the next day, it was fine.  It was very frustrating.  So, I made an appointment to have a new battery installed.  I took it out of the case so they could look at it and dropped it on the floor and shattered the screen.  So, I didn't need a battery anymore.  I needed a phone.  Moral of the story is, don't take it out of the case until you're handing it over.  The case is there because accidents happen! 

Everybody have a wonderful week!  My boss is out of town and I'm looking forward to getting more work done.  At least I hope so.  And, may be a little sewing?