Thursday, January 24, 2013

The End of the Beginning (and giveaway)

I have finished cutting all the needed strips for the Punk's Junkyard Quilt (scrappy trip along). This is 20 more blocks' worth of cut fabric, organized into strip sets.

See how empty my palette stash is? I used almost every fabric at least once.

I now have a huge stacks of fabrics to sort and put away!

Much better, yes? This makes me happy to see, but I'm thinking about removing these boxes from my studio for a few months. They infringe on my cutting space.

I have plenty of fabric for creative endeavours without using my newly slimmed down palette. I have a HUGE jar full of strings and possibilities. I also have refilled my random scrap box and my "crumb" collection is getting to a respectable level again.

When I began my January cutting marathon, this box could close. Check out this stack of 2.5" squares! These are leaders and enders for my long-term Jacob's Ladder quilt. I have 8(?) blocks sewn up, and I've decided that binding this quilt with prairie points might be a cute idea. End date goal of Christmas 2014.

I also have a tentative desire to finish (as in quilted and bound) 12 quilts this year. At least one will be baby sized; for whom I do not know yet.

While cleaning and sorting, a few more fabrics made it into my fugly pile. I keep it hidden under my desk so that I don't have to look at it. It's mostly neutrals and sickening chartreuse.

However, since it is anathema to throw away usable fabric I am offering to give it away. I'd love for it to go in one lot to save on postage. Who wants it?

If several of you want it, I will get my Pixie to randomly pick one.

PS Am I the only quilter who gets a little thrill to see one of "my" fabrics on someone else's blog?

Saturday, January 19, 2013

January Days

I have come very close to not reaching my goal of being able to walk every day this year. Some days I can only stand for 4 or 5 minutes at a time, but if I work slowly and methodically the chaos remains at bay and the children still get fed. Every day gets better (or so I keep telling myself).

I pulled these stacks of fabric to make my Punk's Scrappy Trip Quilt. I've decided to call the quilt "Scrap Yard" or perhaps "Junk Yard" since a lot of the memories attached to it are of me broken down and not being able to move! I made it a goal to cut out one strip set every day and I finished these last night. They are sitting in a pile by my machine, awaiting the days that I can slowly piece them together.

I made an effort to make these smashed potatoes that are floating around Pinterest. I've made them before, but always thought they gave too many steps to the process. I've narrowed them down....

First I boiled jacket potatoes until tender, and then distributed them on a greased baking sheet. Mine is covered because it is many years old and looks more ghetto than the world should know about.

Then I laid a clean. folded tea towel over each potato and exerted some aggression in a downward motion.

When all the potatoes were flatter, I drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper.

Then simply bake until GBD. (That is, Golden Brown & Delicious.) We served them with Awesome Sauce.

Awesome Sauce is simply concocted by snipping a large handful of chives or scallions into a tub of sour cream and mixing well (salt to taste). Also excellent as chip dip.

The other day I sorted through crayons while my Pixie coloured next to me....I came up with this rainbow and the idea to make some melty crayon art. If all goes well, I shall share my fail with you soon. I'm thinking about papering the room with multiple dropcloths before this is attempted.

And lastly, some yarn work. This was a long term project that I was hoping to have the patience for:

But I simply don't like look of join-as-you-go crochet. I unraveled the yarn....

And I re-crocheted! I like this much better. There is no pattern or colour scheme, and I need to haunt thrift stores because my stash of yarn is dangerously depleted; but I love the work so much more now. This will also be for my Punk, because her crocheted baby afghan turned up with a huge hole in the center, likely from some young girl's indiscriminate use of forbidden scissors.

Could've been this girl, but I'll never know. Might've been a mouse!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

A Little Every Day

If I only do a little every day, the quilts will still get made. Sitting at the machine is equally as painful as standing to cut, so progress is slow but progress is still being made.

I would like to make at least another ten blocks. They don't look so bad all together, but I think I'll focus more on very bright colours.

We have decided that this quilt will be for the Punk because she sacrificed her denim quilt for Daddy to use in his truck. She took a very keen interest in colour choice when she found that out that it will be hers. She stands right next to me while I cut, approving each choice.

With a 4x5 block layout, it will still be a little too small for the Punk's twin size bed. I may cop out and use borders to compensate for size. A good border might just pull all the colours together nicely. I do have some pink....Or green. My Punk loves green.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Already Done List

Sounds so much better than a To Do List!

Today I finished my Christmas apron. I'm going to pack it away with the Christmas decorations so that it can be a surprise for myself next Christmas. Also going in the box are the cut-but-not-sewn fabric gift bags. I'm just sick of Christmas crafts. They'll be done in December when I dig out the tree again.

I love the gold ric-rac and the pleated ruffle.
This little owl has been finished for a couple of days, but this is your first time seeing him. I'll deliver him to Teenager tomorrow. The second owl is for the Pixie's BFF and it might get to her this month....

I spent the rest of the day in a circuit: wash some dishes, fold some laundry, ride the stationary bike, stretch the hips, cut fabric, sit on the couch, then back to dishes, etc. Today is not the best day, pain-wise, but I try not to bore you with whining. I've un-bookmarked blogs because they started making too many excuses to balance out their lack of production.

If I work slow and steady, it still gets done! I've been cutting more strips for the Scrappy Trip Along. I have three sets pinned together, and a huge stack of strips that need placing in stacks of six.

And my Jacob's Ladder box is overflowing with 2.5" squares! I love it.


"I'm so embarrassed to have cut too many pieces for that last project!" said no quilter ever.

I'm sure I can find a use for them.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Four For Four

The fourth owl - a visiting teenager just had to have one and she picked out these colours. I love her, so I'm hustling the creation.

Four more blocks for the Scrappy Trip....I have the vague plan to put the lowest value fabric in the center of each block. It still looks messy to me. Whaddaya think? Keep going?

My plan for tomorrow is to sew my Christmas apron and the gift sacks - the ones I cut out on Boxing Day. Then they will all be packed away to surprise myself with next winter.

After that: More Scrappy!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Stash Management

A quick look at how I cut out pieces for four quilts at the same time.

Iron your fabric and fold it for cutting.

When you square it up, don't just cut the tiniest strip you can get away with - cut off a good inch to inch and a half. This is quilt #1 Strips. Put your piece into a designated holding container. I use a mason jar.

Next I'm cutting 2.5" strips for the Scrappy Trip Around the World. I can get two usable pieces from one w.o.f. cut. Quilt #2.

After cutting these pieces to the required 16" length, I have these little leftovers. I cut as many 2.5" squares as I can from these bits.

They go in to my Jacob's Ladder box for use as leaders and enders. Quilt #3.

The last cuttings are crumbs. If it's too small to be a perfect square, but larger than 1/2" or so I save it in a jar designated for "crumbs." Quilt #4.

One jar for crumbs, one for strips. When full, transfer to a large zip-lock baggie and vacuum seal for longer storage.
Don't laugh at my tiny pieces. I made my purse out of this jar last month. I will show you how to do this once my crumb stash is replenished.
All that's left is tiny fabric dust and selvedges. Throw these in the round file and don't feel guilty.

So for the rest of the day I will be chopping up these fabric stacks....and I will have more Scrappy Trip blocks to show off tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

On Day Two

Today, I have solidified my top goal for this year: I want to be able to walk every day. Not that I want to "work-out" or spend half an hour hitting the streets...I mean I don't want to lose any days by not being able to walk! Last year I missed out on Easter because I was flat on my back in bed, unable to walk.

This year I want to be able to walk Every Day.

Some of the things I will do, and maybe you want to join me: stretching/yoga every day, hip mobility exercises, and eating right to "encourage" weight loss (losing weight is not the goal, but I won't object). Hip mobility exercise is usually walking in the summer, and while it is stoopidly cold outside - stationary bike. I'm up to about 35-45 minutes a day. Goal of 1 hour every day by January 15.

On the fabric front, I might have made a "Scrappy Trip" block. Join the "trip along" here. I think I could hide some fuglies very easily in a busy quilt like this.

I also want to redesign and complete my Green Monstrosity quilt. It has been sitting in a basket in pieces for 9 months or so. I have succeeded in intimidating myself by the size of my own design. Now I will make it smaller - and possibly quilt it in four pieces before finishing with binding.

I'm toying with the idea of posting a goal every day, and having my Readers follow along. Would you be up for it? Or perhaps a goal every week? It'll be stuff that we all can do, should do, and probably already do but we need to be reminded that we're on the right track. Stuff like "drink more water" and "ten deep breaths" and "clean out your hall closet."

Anybody want to join me?

I can tell Pixie will not be watching calories. Lately, she has been choosing her activities for herself. She puts on her own snowsuit and asks me to open the door instead of asking me if she can play outside. She pulls a chair up to the counter and starts measuring sugar instead of asking me if she can bake cookies. She decides she's hungry and goes to the fridge for carrots instead of asking me if she can have a snack.

In a home where there are no paper towels, newspaper fills in for greasy jobs like bacon and cookies.
She's growing up! She's only three....

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


Sometimes this home is not the monarchy I wish it to be. The King is currently in another country, and the peasants have decided to dictate the day's activities. As Queen, I shall graciously follow along.

It started with this rice filled hot sack. I made it two days ago and it has already seen a fair bit of use, not all of it by myself. This is a problem for me because my Pixie can make the rice migrate to the ends faster than I can even it amongst the sections.

When I suggested making each girl their own hot pack, they cheered! Plus, I already had an idea in my design book:

First, we chose fabrics from the flannelette box. We chose enough for three critters, because my Pixie decided that I had to make one for her best friend "Izzy-belle" too. Only cottons for this project - you don't want anything melting or super-heating while in the microwave.

I grabbed a piece of paper and free-cut a pattern. I also eyeballed a belly piece for each owl.

Open and check: Not right yet. Too fat. Correct before cutting fabric.

Trace belly piece onto interfacing. Cut one for each owl.

Fuse and cut. Looking good.

Interface and cut out eyeballs.....

.....And beaks.

Then carefully applique in layer order: beaks and bellies first.

Do you know how to chain piece? I chain applique! Put the eyeballs together.

Put the eyeballs on the bodies. Looking good, guys!

Pin fronts and back together well.

Sew!! Clip, turn, and press. Be sure to leave an opening to stuff.

Our little owls were filled with three cups of rice and two tablespoons of lavender.

Pin closed and sew straight across the end to finish.

Ta da! My new parliament of owls.

I know that a group of owls is called a parliament because I have a thing for random, useless trivia. This very piece of information won a game of Cranium for me once. True story.

My kids love them. They wanted their pictures taken with them.

They wanted them heated up right away: 90 seconds in the microwave.

This Punk is so stoked her eyes are crossed, LOL.

And that was Day One!

I'm going to take some time this week to write out goals for 2013. I'm a firm believer in not starting everything on the first of the year - total recipe for disaster. The year will still be new in March, People! Maybe you want to join me in some goal reaching this year? More to come in a couple of days.