Saturday, June 27, 2015

June quilt 2: an itty bitty baby blankie

I am still waiting for one more color of pearl cotton to finish one of my quilts, so I needed to work on something else.
getting closer
When I went to the quilt shop last week I got a precut pack of 2 1/2" squares of Fresh Cut fabric by Basic Grey. It's not a lot of fabric but I started playing around with the squares. I started with a basic checkerboard but then went with an Irish chain block to stretch it out a bit more. And in a couple of days, it was done. Yea for small quilts!

I backed it with a floral flannel I've had for a while--and that seemed to coordinate perfectly with the Fresh Cut vibe.

It is done -- and now I am back to waiting on the purple pearl cotton (should be today). I have enjoyed being able to hand quilt while watching the World Cup. I also have some new gouache paints to play with. So far I've loved the vibrant colors and quick dry time. (The painting in the background is my daughter's, with acrylics).

Friday, June 19, 2015

the Crystal Bridge

Late this morning we (well, I) packed our lunch and loaded up for a field trip to the Crystal Bridge in Oklahoma City. Since it there was not some sort of festival going on, we were able to find some free parking nearby, which was a great way to start the trip!

The Crystal Bridge is this giant tubular building in downtown OKC filled with tropical plants. It would be a wonderful place to visit in the winter when I need a little warmth and green scenery. Today was a bit warm. Before we went in we found a shady spot in the Myriad Gardens area and ate our picnic lunch. A band even started up midway through. The flowers and other plants looked great, probably due to the feet of rain we have received over the past month.

Once inside we all wandered around. I quickly decided that although I had brought my sketchbook, I needed to just take pictures and draw once I got home. It was hot and the kids wanted me to wander with them. But such awesome color!

 They did not necessarily want me to take pictures of them while I was with them.

See? Pictures not good.

The gardens are divided up by plants that love water on one end and desert plants on the other. The desert plants have such interesting structures.

 They were fascinated with the fish. I was thankful this was not an authentic tropical rainforest fish pond filled with piranhas.

I made them stand still for the picture. They were fighting off and on (or whining) but they were joined in solidarity of grumpiness for this one.

Since we were in the city, I decided to head a little farther north to Oklahoma Quiltworks, hoping that they might have some of the pearl cotton I've been wanting so I could pick some in real life rather than on a computer screen (they did). This is what happened:
They were both sitting there designing quilts. I was finished shopping before they were ready to leave. It was bizarre--and a huge blessing!

Not sure where we will head next week. It depends a lot on how far the flooding recedes. Several of the spots on my list were underwater midweek. I guess if they start getting cranky they need me to take them to an air conditioned quilt shop, so I may need to do some research!

Monday, June 15, 2015

June quilt 1: summer flowers

A summery June quilt:

This one began as I was digging through all of my scraps for the scrap rug. I kept finding lots of long strips I had cut off the edges of quilts after I had finished quilting them. They weren't the right colors for the rug but looked interesting together so I started tacking them up on my design wall. This was on top of another set of fabric so I went to work on it quickly to get it out of the way.

Once I finished piecing the strips, it would have been ok, but really seemed like it needed something else. I had been looking at dresdens and decided to go for it. I did NOT decide to hand applique it on though. I didn't trust my stitching ability and didn't want it to fall off in the wash!
I was able to use a lot of scrap pieces for the petals too. Piecing it together how I laid it out on the table was trickier than I expected but after ripping out one section to try to put it back in the right place, I decided that was enough.

The back is pieced a bit, but not enough to cause seaming problems against the quilt top or detract from it.
I was able to use the off cuts and leftovers from the smaller polka dot for the binding, which simplified my life a bit and kept me from adding back to the scrap bin.

This was not a quilt I had planned but love it and all of it's scrappiness!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

little adventures

This blog post was going to be about a quilt finish, but since it was just the top with one picture, and by the time I had started the post could tell it was going to be completely done by the end of the weekend, I'm gonna wait for that one. It's getting close though.

One of my plans for the summer is to rest a bit. A lot of stressful things have happened in my life over the past year or so, plus I allowed my daily schedule this spring to get overscheduled. Resting doesn't mean sleeping all day (although there may be a nap if needed). It does mean working a lot of healthy into my days and for me that includes "field trips." This week we ended up on three mini ones. On Monday we dropped off big brother for camp and then decided to head out to the lake for a picnic. We were surprised to see how high the water still was, covering the area we usually sit for our picnics as well as completely obscuring the beach we had walked on a couple of months ago. Which I thought I had blogged about but apparently not.

This area is now back under the lake.
On the way home we stopped by one of the Ranger stations to check out the field of wildflowers. And sneeze a bit.

 On Wednesday we went to help with some watering and harvested a few blackberries.
And then went to a nearby JoAnns to cool off and to see if their store was different from ours (it was).

Friday was the day to pick up brother from camp early. That meant a trip at lunchtime to get to go to Smokin Joe's.

And a stop at the Bedre chocolate factory before heading home to rest for the party. Going at lunch time meant we didn't see anyone working in the factory, but we find some chocolate on sale because it was in an older packaging design.

She is super happy to have her brother back home.
And this is what happens when you put a bunch of soccer players in a pool. They kick--a lot.

Friday, June 5, 2015

a little bit at a time

Last Friday I saw a post on Crazy Mom Quilts blog about a rag rug she had just finished by knitting together scraps. My daughter has been wanting a different rug in her room but I don't knit, so I did a quick search and found a crocheted version on the same blog. I haven't crocheted much since I started making quilts, but figured I could give it a try. She recommended a P size crochet hook. I only had an N and decided I would try to make it work. It seemed to be fine as long as I cut the scrap strips at around 1" wide. I quickly made one pass through all of my scrap bins and got started. After cutting the strips, I sewed them end to end then wound them in a ball. The next day my daughter helped me make a second ball of fabric yarn. It was taking a LOT of scraps to make a decent sized rug.

Thankfully I had some waiting time on Saturday to sit and work for a bit, and a road trip on Sunday (as the passenger) to get most of it finished. I finished it up in time for my daughter's return from the grandparents earlier this week. I love making something with tons of scraps and such a quick turn around!

I still have trouble keeping the rows even. I got much better with that when I crocheted a lot three years ago, but this one definitely looks a bit wonky around the edges. BUT it is rainbow colored and that makes up for a lot.

I have spent most of my free time this week getting last minute items ready for a garage sale, but did work a bit on some other projects. I started some hand stitching on this quilt. It took awhile to figure out where to buy the perle thread, but was able to find the red and navy locally. The rest that will coordinate (I hope) with the other stars should arrive in the mail tomorrow.

My mom showed me a stack of embroidered flower panels she found in her mother's things, and asked me if I wanted to design a quilt for her with them. Each panel is 9" square. I spent some time this week looking through some of my books and fabric for some ideas.

While I was digging through all of my scraps, I found a lot of the "low volume" strips from backings I had cut off of the edges of quilts after they had been quilted. I pinned them up on the flannel boards. Yesterday I realized I had pinned them up on top of the fabric for a quilt I really wanted to start, so I started sewing these together. 

Once I get them together and see what I have, I'll decide if it is going to be this strippy kind of baby quilt that it looks like now, or turn it into something else. Mostly though it needs to get sewn together and out of the way.

A little bit at a time and I'll have another finish or two for next week!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Learning more

About a month ago at a staff meeting, we were asked "if we could learn anything, what would we want to learn?" I could not answer the question. When I first thought about it, it just seemed like an odd question. If I REALLY want to learn something, I do. Sometimes I think I want to learn something and then get into and realize nope, this is not for me. Or I learn it. The more I thought about the question though, it bothered me that I didn't have a list of new things I wanted to learn. I looked for my "new years" list, but I had written it a different way this year.It ended up a list of places I want to go.

Since then I have thought of a few:
1. Learn to draw lettering so I can use it in art or even Bible journaling like these.

2. Learn to do more quilting by hand. This might be applique or just doing more of the actual quilting by hand. I have started gathering some tools for that, although I have learned that this "perle cotton" everyone tells me to use for the colorful stitching is extremely hard to buy around here!

3.I still want to learn how to grow a garden that actually produces something. Not sure that this is the year to do that, what with the month of rain and all.

4. Learn to live every day more like I do when I travel--taking time to journal and sketch everyday, walking, building relationships and just enjoying where I am. Summer is excellent for this.

Apple Tree Chocolates

We went to the Mabee-Gerrer Museum on Friday, mainly because I wanted to see this Bible, the Saint John's Bible:

There are also three mummies there, which my kids love. This visit my son was enthralled with the samarai uniform while my daughter loved a glass bowl made of sparkly pieces of glass.
They also loved the fish.

After lunch we grabbed a yummy dessert from the Kalico Kitchen Bakery at the Farmer's Daughter Market. We will definitely go back there.
I learned that there is one other place in Tecumseh to get a delicious dessert (the other is at my parents' house)!

Now you might have noticed that my list of things to learn did not have anything that directly tied to my job. I have learned my lesson with that. I had made a list for that. I thought it would be great to learn more about mental illness and the facilities for that here in my town, and to learn more about the criminal justice system. I planned to read some books, talk to some people, maybe take a tour or something. Instead I got to go with someone to check into a mental health facility. I got to press charges against someone and watch that proceed through the court system (thankfully did not have to go to trial). All I have learned through all of that is that more learning did not help me help people. Yes, perhaps it has made me more merciful and understanding. I also learned our systems for mental illness and criminal justice don't really help either, at least not long term. It makes me even more grateful that I can create art and quilts, spend time with family and friends, and just explore more to take a break from all that. And for a part time job with the flexibility to do that.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

another May quilt--fruity patooty

I promise I am not sitting at home sewing all day, but I did finish one more quilt. I decided last week that it was time to make a dent in the scraps from all the other quilts. I cut some 3-1/2" squares, planning to make these type of stitch and flip blocks, but after I cut the squares I really couldn't bring myself to sew all of those together. I also noticed that I would make a larger dent in the scraps if I had chosen 2-1/2".

While watching some tornado coverage with the family last weekend, I worked through some different sixteen patch layouts. My kids even helped. At one point my son asked if this was fabric sudoku, and at that point, yes. After I brought some upstairs to sew them though I changed it around.

It ended up a regular pattern, with the purple diagonal down the middle and the other colors playing off of that. Once the blocks were done, I quickly realized the 6 blocks I had made with the scraps needed something else. Thankfully I had some off white and quickly had a baby quilt pieced together.

The colors remind me of fruit juices--maybe I'm just thirsty. I started to name it Juicy but since it is a baby quilt, and well, I remember too many juicy diaper incidents, it had to be something else. So it's Fruity Patooty. Still not sure about that one either but it is time to move on! This one will be given away as soon as I decide who needs it the most. And wash it. I haven't even washed it yet like I usually do after I finish, but it wasn't raining outside and who knows when the next chance for that would be.

Oh yeah. It has this fluffy flannel on the back to make it extra soft and snuggly.

That is ten quilts for the year, back where I wanted to be (my goal was two a month). After cleaning up my sewing room today and seeing what I have in progress, that should be easy for at least another month or two.