Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Excuse number 437...

I decided last night that I really MUST get the bindings put on the four (or is it five?) queen/king quilts that I have finished and waiting. That was my plan. I cut the 2" binding strips for my Red Sea Scrolls quilt. So far, so good. But then I decided that I needed to look at the quilt for just a moment before I started sewing my strips together. I don't even remember WHY I needed to look at it. Anyway, I flopped (yes, flopped is the technical quilting term for that maneuver) the quilt onto the cutting board for just ONE tiny moment, and... Yes. You guessed it. Tessie.

*Just TRY to make me move and see what happens.* Well, finally she did move. I then tried to move the quilt away from the table. Nope. It seemed to be caught on the bottom. So I looked under the raised flap of the cutting table. Yep. You guessed it again. Maxie.

This photo only worked because of the flash. It was actually pitch dark under the table, but this is what I found lodged in the quilt when I flashed the camera under the table. Finally, Maxie gave up and wandered in search of a dark place that would actually stay dark. So I reached for my strips to sew them together. Yep again. Callie.

Callie had built a nest with my cut strips. At that point I gave up. I had no idea where Sinbad was, but I was sure whatever he was up to would have stopped from sewing, so I decided not to take a chance. I went to bed. Sigh.

Just another pretty rose I've been enjoying in my garden.

'Til later, good luck in your own sewing room!

Monday, April 23, 2012

I have a new pattern!

First a photo of the finished top of my tree. I ironed it last night, but the current wrinkles are compliments of Sinbad who can't seem to resist sleeping in/on the tree.

Now. Finally. My new pattern (I've been waiting oh, so patiently for a month now - ha!) just arrived in the mail yesterday. I won't tell you how many e-mails I sent to Hancock's of Paducah asking them where my pattern was. Okay, so it was only two, but I thought about sending one EVERY SINGLE DAY! Are you ready?

Ta-da! Its the Farmer's Market pattern from Laundry Basket Quilts 2011. Isn't it great?


Bottom. Double click on the photos to enlarge them if you want to see the pattern better.

I'm trying to convince Mom that we need to do this quilt together. (Actually I'm a little intimidated by it as a project just for me, but don't tell Mom that.) Since there is so much coping going on in this pattern, it won't even matter if our sizing is different. We'll "cope." I think we ought to agree on a color scheme and draw from our scraps and stashes. We both have plenty. Mom hates half-square triangles, and I love them. Mom loves log cabin blocks, and I hate them. See? It's perfect! Five years or so from now we may actually see it completed (smile).

We're enjoying such a beautiful spring, that I thought I'd show you a few more flower shots.

I saw these white buttercups on the side of a stream while my husband, mother, and I were walking the dogs.

Above is my husband's beautiful American Beauty rose from California. This rose bush is covered with dozens of black/red, frilly blossoms. They're so large and heavy that the canes are bending to the ground.

I can't remember the name of this rose, but my sister bought it for us for my husband's and my anniversary about three years ago. Its scent is just as beautiful as its color, size, and shape. I love it. Thanks, Sis. 

My Gertrude Jeckyl rose isn't in full bloom yet, but give it a day or two. This is an old-fashioned rose and has lovely pink blossoms with a wonderful strong scent.

Another shot of my beautiful dark purple irises. These are three blossoms together.

Another rose whose name I've forgotten. This one does not have any scent, but it looks beautiful and blooms proficiently.

And one last shot of the bi-colored buttercups. These blossoms are both from the same plant. I must admit I prefer the yellow, but the white does have novelty on its side. : )

I'm shooting for some leaves on my tree tomorow. Well, actually, I'm "sewing" for some leaves on my tree...

'Til then,

Sunday, April 22, 2012

My tree is done!

Despite the four-day migraine, I managed to finish my tree this weekend. Yea! Now shy owl can hop out of his hole and onto a branch without fearing that the pins might give way and drop him right off of the fabric!

Anyway, I'm now trying to pick out the appropriate green fabrics for the leaves. I think I've chosen a winning combination of some of Mom's fabrics and some of mine. Mom sent home quite a few of her batiks so that I can steal borrow use any of them I want. Isn't that kind? She has had a beautiful variegated pastel batik that I think will do wonderfully for the flowers. Yep, it's mine now. ; ) Once I have some of the leaves and flowers sewn on, I can start adding some owls around them. I'm getting antsy just thinking about it. I wish I was retired!

'Til later,

Friday, April 20, 2012

Red Seas and Harvest Times

How fitting. Mom's feathers remind me a little of scroll work. Maybe instead of Red Sea, I should call this quilt Red Sea Scrolls, do you think? I like it!

 The outer edge triangles have half designs.

 A full design on a light square.

A distance view of the pattern.

 A complete feathered circle on the red squares as well.

A really good photo of the feathers on a light square.

Yesterday, Mom finished quilting my Harvest Time Mystery Quilt from two - or was it three?- years ago at the Q.U.I.L.T. Retreat to the Hills. She did a great job, as usual! Here are some photos, starting with the backing.

I actually had to buy fabric for the back of this quilt. I couldn't find anything that was the right color or feel in my stash. This fabric came from Digital Quiltz in Eureka Springs, AR. John's sister was clearancing out the shop after John's passing earlier this year. Now I'll think of John and Martha every time I see my quilt. That will be a nice memory. The photo shows the colors a little darker than they actually are. The flash on my camera phone didn't go off. Camera phone photos, you say? I know, but I was in a tearing hurry this morning, and it was the best I could do if I wanted to get something posted today. I broke my husband's car Wednesday, so he had to drive me in to work this morning. That means that I was on his time schedule instead of mine.

This photo is actually a little light, but it shows off the quilting nicely, so I included it. Isn't the quilting beautiful?

Way too dark of a photo. I hoped to show one of the butterflies in the red square, but oh well. You'll just have to use your imagination.

 Again, a bit light on the colors, but you can see one of the cute little butterflies in the green.

Entirely too dark without the flash again, but a great shot once more of some of the quilting.

A look at the overall Turning Twenties design that we were given for our mystery quilt. I chose the inner border design to give it a bit more challenge then used a wide outer border to feature my lovely focal print fabric. Fairly accurate on the coloring in this photo.

Ooh, I caught one of the red butterflies with this shot!

 Another view of some of the pattern. This photo shows the colors the best. Aren't they lovely and warm?

 Callie (on the far right) was trying to help me lay out this quilt.

Okay, so I'm now up to five large quilts to bind, right? Aaauuugh! It's a good thing I have July off because I think I know what I'll be doing! How exciting. At least I know that I'll have a couple of quilts to enter in our guild quilt show next April.

Back to grading...


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Quick update

Just a quick note to say that I'm sorry I haven't posted anything new this week. As I warned in my last post, I'm neck deep in grading papers, preparing interview questions, and getting ready to give finals. Tuesday is my last day to give interviews (43 of them!), so I should be able to take a breath again then. Whew!

I'm still sneaking in stitches on my owl wallhanging when I can. I'm currently working on the upper branches and looking forward to starting on the leaves and flowers. The owls are still a little way off. Tonight is Busy Bees night with some of my best quilting buddies. If this migraine I have now eases off, I should be able to go and get quite a bit done (while steadfastly ignoring all of the schoolwork waiting for me - sshhh, don't tell the students I'm playing hooky!). If the migraine persists, I'll be home in bed within the next two hours and STILL not getting my schoolwork done.

I haven't posted a photo yet of the beautiful quilting job Mom did on my Red Sea quilt. I'll try to sneak in some time (maybe tomorrow) to get some posted so you can see it. I'm really excited about it. Eventually I'll actually find the time to get it bound. ; ) I have four large quilts waiting for binding. My goodness! I have never had more than one quilt this close to the finishing line at one time before!

Gotta go - I have a meeting in seven minutes, six, five,...


Monday, April 16, 2012


Shy Owl now has a beak! I made a great deal of progress on my owl wall hanging this weekend. I spent Saturday at a training session that allowed me get most of the trunk sewn down. Sunday was a little more problematic. We had terrible storms most of the day, so I wasn't able to sew on my machine. Hand sewing was fine until the power went off. I sat out in my sunroom semi-sunny/semi-cloudy room and sewed until the dark clouds made it impossible. Here's my progress so far.

 Shy Owl, the tree trunk, and the lower branches are finished.

The upper branches are still pinned down. Mom says that she bastes large patterns like this instead of pinning to keep from bleeding all over the project. Great idea! Unfortunately, I already had the pins in, and I'm too lazy stubborn to take them out.

 Shy Owl surveying his domain. Is his beak on straight? I've been worried about it...

Good-bye, whoot-whoot!


Saturday, April 14, 2012

Shy owl is peering at you!

Okay, so the poor thing doesn't have a beak yet, but at least he can see. Here are three pictures from Friday night.

Today I got a lot of the trunk and some of the branches sewn down while sitting through a very long and extremely dull election training session. The info was good, but I thought that only my students, when asked, "Do you have any questions?" answered with, "Can you repeat all that, I wasn't listening." I really felt sorry for the presenter. Anyway, I will sew on my shy owl's beak this week and post a few more pictures later (maybe tomorrow if I have time between grading papers.

My posting over the next three weeks will probably be spotty. Please bear with me. Final exams are the first week of May, and I'm grading a lot of last minute papers now. The third week of May brings the primary election and a new five-week summer semester. I'll have a little more posting time in the afternoons then since I only have morning classes.

'Til later,

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Oh no, Sinbad's up a tree again!

One very cold day-after-Thanksgiving about three years ago, my husband went in to school to do some work on his day off. In the parking lot he found a very small, seven-week-old kitten that had been left to die. My husband brought him home to me. Sinbad had an upper respiratory infection - his eyes were clotted shut and his nose was running so badly that he had trouble breathing. I bathed Sinnie's eyes until he could open them. It was love at first sight for both of us.

Fast forward a few weeks:  Sinbad decided that he was a big boy and needed to prove himself, so he promptly escaped outside and ran up the nearest large tree. Up, and up, and up! Naturally, he couldn't get down. He cried constantly while I tried for about 30 minutes to show him the right way down without having to climb up myself (which wasn't going to happen!). By this time, Sinnie had wavered way out onto the end of a limb that was drooping rather alarmingly. This would be one way down, but unfortunately, he was still about 20 feet off the ground! I was terrified! I called my husband over to help. While we stood there watching helplessly, Sinnie lost his grip and slipped. *Gasp* He clung to the branch with his front paws and cried pritiously. My husband (my hero!) simply held up his arms and told Sinbad, "Let go Junior, I'll catch you." Sinnie did, and Kurt did. Whew!

Why this story? Well, just look at this picture!

I started ironing the freezer-paper tree pieces for my owl wall hanging onto my fabric yesterday. I didn't make it very far before Sinbad was, once again, up a tree! And again, it took me about 30 minutes to get him down, but this time it was because I hated to wake him. : ) 


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

My first owl oops!

Okay, so I learned my lesson. I was greatly distracted last night by the announcement of the firing of the University of Arkansas' head football coach. Enough said.

I should not have tried starting my new applique quilt while thus distracted. Since my actual experience with applique is next to zilch (okay, it stands at one project), I really have to think about what I'm supposed to do before I do it. I decided to start my quilt and make my shy owl who is supposed to be hiding in the hole in the tree. So far, so good. Except that I started on an easy curve before I realized that the tree will be reverse appliqued over the top, and the curved portion of this owl is not supposed to be appliqued down. It's supposed to lie flat under the curve of the hole. Oops! My first stitches in this new and greatly anticipated (at least by me!) project, and I had to tear them out. : ( 

As you can see in the pattern below, I need to sew from the bottom right to the top left and leave the rest alone. Where were you when I needed someone to tell me that?

After tearing out these stitches, I started again on the bottom right of the pattern and began working over his back towards his ear.

The orange piece will be his beak, the green his iris, and the black the pupil of his eye. That is if I don't make any more errors and wind up throwing it all out the window! *Deep breath - and out*

Wish me luck as I try again tonight. I'll let you know tomorrow how it goes.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I can hear hooting...

And I'm off and flying! Hoot, hoot! I finally got enough of my new fabrics ironed that I could pause and pick out the fabrics for the start of my owl quilt. Ignorant as I am of applique, I thought that the tree would be the first piece that I would be appliqueing, but it isn't. I actually start with the small owl in the tree trunk. You can see him below. Thankfully, his body is one piece, so I still get to start with an easy piece. My biggest challenge has been deciding what color to make him. He will be reverse appliqued behind the tree.

I spent last night finding all of my batik fat quarters and organizing them into a carry bin. I won't show you the batik yardages I also have to choose from; I think I can find enough options here.

After much deliberating, I have the pieces picked out and my freezer paper cuttings ironed on. See my new scissors? I went to Sager Creek and bought my first official pair of applique scissors for cutting out precise fabric pieces. I'm so proud!

Anyway, the hole in the tree is a black batik I found on my recent shop-hop shopping trip. Perfect! I have a slightly oversized hole piece cut out on the left. To the right of my "black hole" is the tan batik for the owl's body. Most of my owls are going to be colorful, but I want this shy little owl to show up in his hidey-hole, so he's going to be pale. I'm hoping that the stamped pattern on the tan fabric will show up looking like feathers (sort of). The curve on the left is the side of the hole and the point at the upper right is his ear.

The orange batik will be his beak. I was stumped on what color to use for the iris portion of his eye (the small black circle ironed onto the black material on the upper right of the photo is for the center of his eye - the pupil). The pattern shows white, but I'm afraid that white would not show up well against the pale tan body. Most owls have yellow or orange eyes, but they also don't show up well against the tan fabric. Finally I opted for a bright green eye to offset his drab feathers. The others owls will have bright feathers and less colorful eyes. That should let me shy little owl stand out!

Finally, more photos of my irises and my jealous kitties.

Sinbad, desperately wanting outside. The sunroom is just fine unless he and I are on opposite sides of the screen!

Callie, feeling the same way.

And more shots of my wild irises. Every wild iris I have is purple. I have bought many flag irises, but few of them have actually thrived in my garden. The few that have are all...wait for it...purple!

I hope you all have a great day. I'm going to go home, take care of my baby chicks (usually my husband's duty, but he's out of town), feed my dogs and kitties, then head to my sewing room. If I can get the last of my fabric ironing done, maybe I can start on a shy little owl...

'Til later,