Tuesday, June 27, 2006

June Review

Is it just me or is my Little Boy getting big? Anyway - this is a photo of our play purchase for the month of June - a BIG purple ball! He just loves it!

What happenened to June? Oh right - it got washed away in all the rain we have been having. Speaking of rain, guess what? I found out that my car is leaking - big time! You see, a HUGE tree fell on my this winter and totally squished it flat -except the insurance co. did not total the car. Oh no. So more than $7,000 later in repairs we are now up to the leaking and the inside of my car is now a swamp. Sigh. Well, I am hoping it just needs a new seal and that a seam is not leaking...

My flowers are starting to bloom...

I showed Little Boy how to pick strawberries that are in a flower border...

We've learned about the North and South winds, Fiddler crabs, Hermit crabs, barometers, tide clocks and I don't know what else - Little Boy is like a sponge and soaks it all up!

We have found TONS of seaglass on our beach walks this month...

And lots of other various and assorted stuff to make the month just fly bye! Oh yeah, and add the fact that Litte Boy and I drove over 2500 miles together on our various journeys. Oh yeah - that is where the month of June went to - a good 12- 13 days in the car!!! Right - that would be the very same car that is leaking...

And on the sewing front...
1. Continued working on my green Ocean Waves
2. Put final borders on my Heart swap top! Ready to be quilted!
3. Cut out 2 scrap quilts and packaged them up - ready for sewing this winter in Austria
4. Worked some on my checkerboard borders for a log cabin
5. Continuing to pick away on making blocks for a Country Wife project I started last summer
6. Finally cut the setting triangles for the Octagon Flowers I made in January
7. Cut the binding for another log cabin (ok, it is a start on the binding process, so has to count for something!)
8. Did not start any new quilt projects (other than cutting kits for the winter).

So- onward into July!

Heart Swap Top

I love to make blocks! This quilt top is the result of a 10" heart block swap that I did with quiltchat.com about 7 years ago. Just a small collection of odd heart blocks which I finally decided to make into a top. So this is an old UFO which is now ready for the longarmer!

Well, first off, I needed more blocks! So last summer I made the connector blocks and the 4 heart blocks that are the same and pieced them all together. I got both block patterns from the book Once More Around the Block by Judy Hopkins. Last month I added the green inner border and was at a stand still until I bought enough yardage for the final border. I'm not totally convinced about the bright pink outer border, but that is what I came home with, so that is what I used! Even at that - I had a hard time finding a calico that sort-ov went with - seems all the fabric stores now have newer styled prints in inventory. Just another reason to hurry up and finish some UFO's while I can still buy similar fabrics for the finish.

Blocks were made by:

Row 1: Me, Elissa Murray, Inverary, Ontario, Me
Row 2: Margaret Cook, Welland, Ontario and Carol VanderMolen, Summas, WA
Row 3: Rachel Smith, Rohnert Park, CA, Me, and ???
Row 4: June Brandon, Baltimore, MD and Susan Steward, Ch'town PEI
Row 5: Me, ??? and Lucinda Mayo, San Ysidro, CA
Row 6: Lucinda Mayo (2nd block) and Rachel Smith (2nd block)

Although not a favorite, all in all, I am pleased with the final result. Much better than a pile of lonely blocks in the back of the closet!
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Saturday, June 24, 2006

Green progress...

Even though I haven't posted anything "quilty" lately, I have been sewing - mostly on my Green Ocean Waves. I first posted about this top on May 10th - at that time I only had 5 blocks done and 2 more 1/2 done. I've been picking away on this project and now have all 18 blocks done, 8 of the 1/2 blocks done (the other 2 just need 1 seam each) and have just a few more seams left on the 4 corner pieces! I am so very happy with this top that I will keep it for myself! Hopefully I will be able to finish it up before the summer ends. So, that's my GREEN Project Spectrum update (green was the color theme for the month of May - so I am a bit behind, but all those triangles take just about forever and a day to piece!). Posted by Picasa

Friday, June 23, 2006

Have some coffee - or tea...

See that middle machine? It is our coffee maker and for some reason that thing and I just don't get along. Which is fine - as long as DH is around to make me a cup of coffee and then because he is around, he has a cup too - because the thing simply does not know how to make just one cup of coffee. Every once in awhile I attempt to make coffee in this machine. But it never seems to go right - for starters, there are 6 buttons, which would be just fine, even a little on the easy side if this was a sewing machine we are talking about. But it's not. It is a coffee machine. And, if you forget to turn OFF the grinder (by pushing a button) and you just so happen to put pre-ground coffee in there - well, it doesn't make a good cup of coffee for at least a week. Ask me how I know. Sigh. I am almost convinced that the machine is a super-sonic machine from the Jettson's (think Outerspace here) and if I only spoke its' language it would happily brew me up any kind of coffee I wanted. But, alas, I don't speak the right language.

Well, enough is enough. Today I bought myself that adorable little coffee maker to the left of the big machine. It is just perfect - 1 step on/off and it makes a perfect portion - 1 cup! You can put any cup under it so if you loose or break a cup - no big deal - just switch cups. But hopefully that cup won't break because, despite a chip on top, it is my favorite snowman cup.

And to the right is my electric teapot. Now - that is one appliance that I truly love because I drink LOTS more tea than coffee. I might drink 1-2 cups of coffee a week and that is only when I am going through a coffee mood, but I easily drink 3-5 cups of tea a day. No matter - I should be able to make a decent cup of coffee all by myself when the mood strikes - and now I can. Yippee!!!

So now that we are all nice and cozy and drinking our coffee - or tea - I just wanted to add a little something about comments... and thank you very much for all your nice comments! I really love to read comments left on my blog, and I also really love to read comments that are left on other people's blogs too. I try to leave as many comments as I have time for when I read other blogs and I am sorry if I don't always leave comments for you. Only so much time - oh, and sometimes I try to leave a comment and Blogger won't let me!

Anyway, sometimes I take a comment as sort-ov chatty and if it involves a question - I don't always answer. Perhaps you don't show your e-mail so I can't just fire off a quick answer. Or, maybe I just don't know the answer (for example - the bird photo I showed earlier this month - I THINK it is a waxwing, but I am not positive - so whoever asked me what kind of bird it was - I didn't answer). But more times than not, I just think of the comments as chatting and it is hard to "chat" on the computer so I don't answer. And then I am off doing things and forget my good intentions of incorporating some comments/questions into my next post. Tsk, tsk. Please don't think that I am ignoring you because I am not! And, I know that lots of people read my blog who don't or can't leave comments (you have to have a blog to leave comments), and that is just fine with me. Please keep reading - I know that you are out there!!! Then there are people who do leave me comments, but I am not a regular reader of their blog - although I do try to stop by from time to time to see what you are up to - so thank you for stopping by and leaving me a comment!

Well, nice to "chat" with you all - I am off to admire my new little coffee machine - ah the temptation - but it is 8 pm here... OK - skip that idea - time to put Little Boy to bed.

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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Some new pavement

We got some new pavement tonight and Little Boy was thrilled to have his very own version of "Mighty Machines" right in our driveway. That green machine is huge! There was also an equally huge dumptruck that went in front of the paver, plus some other equipment too. A very exciting night, indeed, for Little Boy! He was all eyes.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Summer Fun!

No, we haven't fallen off the face of the earth, we are just very busy! Here is a shot of Little Boy playing in a sprinkler for the first time - what fun! He had a blast!

We finally made it to the States - despite mostly rain, we also had some nice weather. One night we stayed along the coast of Maine in a wonderful hotel - right on the water - for a seriously discounted "off-season" rate, even though we are into June. Got to love that! We had some great visiting time with the cousins - the next generation which is neat to see, my sisters and my Dad. And I hit a super sale at Joanne's fabrics - I got mostly batting at 50% off, but also fabrics - mostly backings, an Ott Light (with a 50% off coupon), sewing patterns, and some other goodies - all stuff on my shopping list though (including those safety pins I needed)!

Little Boy has turned 3 and had an Elmo birthday cake, the only thing he wanted for his birthday. He was thrilled with the cake!

And, we hosted a big party with somewhere just over 80 guests - lots of food and prep and a good time had by all! Our party was to benefit our local musuem and they raised over $600 in donations, which is excellent, plus more members joined and it also raised an awareness about the musuem.

Absolutely no sewing getting done at all!
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Sunday, June 04, 2006

Sewing Quilts for Toddlers

Due to lack of any progress to show on my log cabin, and since some of you are talking about machine quilting your quilts, I'll share these 2 little quilts...

I bound these for Little Boy back in April - this is the best photo I have showing the 2 quilts together - Little Boy barely let me snap a photo before he was dancing around with the smaller quilt! I also quilted them myself too - but more on that later...

Little Boy picked out the fabrics himself over the course of a few trips to the fabric store (a novelty fabric is a wonderful bribe so Momma can shop for 5 minutes - sometimes all the way up to 10 minutes - in peace and quiet!). We got just small cuts of the John Deere prints (they are the darker blue and brighter yellow - I have a major thing about paying big bucks for a licensed image, but how could I resist when he loves tractors so much?) and rounded it out with the less expensive race cars and airplane prints. All the fabric in the top is flannel. The backing is a super soft fleece with puppy dogs - also picked out by Little Boy.

Let's see - the bigger quilt is 47" square using 8" finished squares (so if you are good at figuring out math - not all of them are exactly 8 - I cut the fleece a tad bit off"!). This is actually a fairly generous sized toddler quilt but still fits in the crib nicely and is easy to carry around. The smaller quilt is 22.5" square - I had to cut the squares a bit smaller on this one in order to use the small tractor motifs in the center - they are 3.5". I think I pretty much used every scrap of that tractor fabric!

The idea behind the smaller quilt is that he likes to hold a blanket in the car and in the summer that can be hot! Also, the smaller blanket will be easier to wash. And, I figured if I made a smaller one we wouldn't have to lug the bigger one around with us everywhere!

Guess what? He loves, loves, loves the small quilt. Right away he snatched it up and it now lives wrapped around his little pillow (which is so flat it is more like a pancake than any pillow!). So next time you are making a toddler quilt, try making a smaller one with the scraps.

The bigger quilt he ignored at first, but I kept it in the living room and it came in handy when-ever someone visited with a baby - perfect floor quilt! And it was right there for when I read books to him. It didn't take long for that quilt to grow on him and it is now another favorite. Mary once asked me how many quilts Little Boy has - well his collection is growing! These 2 toddler quilts, the I-Spy and small blue log cabin, plus a blanket I knit for him are all done and being used - still to be quilted is a scrappy patchy.

Kids really like simple things! I think sometimes we tend to get too complicated with baby quilts when all they really want is something simple and soft, with a fun fabrics (not necessarily novelty prints), and small enough to tot around. The smaller size is good for the washing machine too.

These 2 quilts were super easy to make (I did use extra pins though with that flannel). And - I learned that fleece rolls a bit when you cut it - so you might want to cut yours a bit bigger and weigh it down with something when you cut. The nice thing about fleece though - it comes in wider widths so you don't have to piece a backing! There is no batting in these quilts - just flannel and fleece - snuggy-wuggy!

The back - not too puckery! I just loosely pinned before starting the quilting. Loosely because the pins poke me - I've got to add some big safety pins to my shopping list!

And a close-up of my "technique"... just lazy squiggles around each square using kelly green thread to match the tractors! I like to see where I am going so I set the needle down feature on my sewing machine and if I need to pivot, the machine stops with the needle down. Oh, and I haven't gotten around to copyrighting my technique or naming it for that matter, so feel free to use it as much as you want (ha, ha - this is a joke - I just had to get my little rant in). No worries about any shapes or staying in the lines, just fun. I also machine quilted his name on the smaller one.
How easy is that? And, it looks pretty cool from the back too - not sure that photo shows the quilting, but the effect is a neat checkerboard design. I don't bother trying to pull threads up and tying them, etc. on a toddler quilt to hide the starts. The thing is going to be washed and washed, so I just go back and forth a bit to really secure the stitching and don't really care that you can see every start for each square. Little Boy certainly doesn't care and I know it won't come apart in the wash so we both are happy.

Friday, June 02, 2006

UFO Busting

I am making really good progress on my 2 Ocean Waves tops, but am taking a short break from all those triangles - just for a bit. But, rather than start anything new, I am going to try to finish this log cabin top (no triangle in sight)! Currently it measures about 60" X 60". It needs to grow some - in a "creative" moment I decided not to make the remaining log cabin blocks that I usually put around the outside edge. So, it has sat and sat for at least 3 years (at least - it is pre-Little Boy) because I am mentally stalled on any border idea. Today I decided that whatever I do is going to be better than having it sit in the back of the closet for how many more years? So, I've raided my box of 2" strips and squares and I am going to make a checkerboard border all the way around - that will make it grow very nicely! I might, might, might add a thin red inner border before adding the checkerboards, but will wait to see how the checkerboards make up first.

And - look who was sitting in my apple tree this morning. Actually, there were dozens upon dozens of these birds bombing the tree - I think they were eating the apple blossoms!