Saturday, July 31, 2021

Sewing Saturday... table scraps! and more...


It's been a busy week in studio! I'll just start with this month's "table scraps" mug rug. I left out one cabana when making last month's summer beach quilt... and made it into a mug rug for my friend Lane in Tampa. 

She and I grew up together, starting from elementary school, through high school band trips and her family often invited me to spend their beach week with them. She and I had many adventures over the years, many of them at the beach, so of course I made a momento for her. 

She is also a nurse so I used some nurse fabric to make a smaller coaster too. 

Sewing wise, the blue fabric border is seashells, I did a quick envelop turn (self binding) edge treatment on both. Cabana pattern (minus hat, lady and flag) from Moda row by row book.

 For other work this week I sandwiched the blue and green petals improv piece, and it's ready for quilting.

 I chose a border in a lovely hoffman golden stars on cream fabric for the 9-patch neutrals piece and it's ready to quilt, 

I suppose technically it's the shape of a table runner but I originally planned for it to be a bed runner accent piece. I found some more little solid color squares this size, more than I had of these, so maybe those will turn into a bed runner.
and started a Kaleidoscope quilt along in fall fabrics.

I have a drawer of cute fall fabrics but this strata based quilt needs long cuts and a lot  of mine are fat quarters so I chose a few to start with, and mixed in blue, purple, red, gold, brown, green and beige fabrics to blend with them. 

 I made a kaleidoscope Christmas quilt one year, so this is technically "re-learning". I know when it all gets cut up and resewn the pieces often break down into colors mostly so I made sure the fall designs were cut into thicker strips and  the pretty colors show up as accents like little pieces of glass in a real kaleidoscope. 

double strips ready to sew into two identical strata
 You start with strata, differing width strips, then after drafting angular patterns you will cut out template shapes from the dual strata sections. 

four double strata, the last one not ironed yet, done out of 5 needed

This is not an improv quilt, each 1/16th of an inch matters, and you lose the effect if not precise. 

The fact that I made mug rugs, a traditional style 9-patch, an improv art quilt, and now working on a precisely pieced intricate puzzle quilt shows how versatile this artform is!  

It's supposed to be a leetle bit cooler today so I hope to bake my husband a birthday cake... but the studio is calling too!

 I really want to make this... not today but one day

look at this clever EPP portable sewing tray!

patchwork Sunday                    
oh Scrap Sundays


Thursday, July 29, 2021

I LIKE Thursday #255

well... it's Thursday again and time for this week's list of likes starting with the wildflower seeds are starting to blossom!

I spy with my little eye lots of blooms!

and the beans are growing finally

the pod is up to about a half inch and I see beans in there!


I  love my angels who protected me this week. I was changing my rotary cutter blade, which I don't do often enough. My new blades are several years old, bought back in MD with a Joann's coupon when I often went shopping to use coupons to "spave" 

the new blade was dry and hard to force apart from the others, and when put into the holder it was stiff. I decided to add a drop of sewing machine oil to it, and accidentally grabbed for the blade...eeek!

I wondered if I just didn't feel the cut yet, (that happened when I sliced off the edge of a finger with a different rotary cutter). A miracle happened and no cut!!!

I'm calling it a miracle, and if you want to make a pilgrimage here, let's wait til more people get vaccinated.  Thank you to my angels. 

 Speaking of sewing, I started a free workshop with Ricky Tims doing another kaleidoscope quilt. I chose fall fabrics and colors, gathered them and started slicing them up to sew into strata. The next lesson tomorrow will show us how to design the actual pattern to use for templates. I'm behind on it of course. 

More sewing pics on Saturday. 


For  art this week, I have only colored in part of the calendar page... dh asked why I haven't been painting... I don't know. When I feel depressed I sew, not paint. I also practiced some lettering.

I'm watching  some reality shows like the bachelorette, Master chef, crime scene kitchen, Housewives of Beverly Hills and NYC, and the olympics. 

I love the olympics and the whole concept of them. I'm only sorry they were held this year as we are STILL in a global health crisis with covid. Nope it's not gone. Nope it's not safe yet.

 On the Olympics I am trying to catch at least 15 min of sports I don't normally watch, like surfing, rowing, fencing (why do they scream?) arm waving, er, gymnastics, killer badminton (not like anything I've ever played) some weird pick up rules game called handball that looks like basketball married rugby and used a softball. Judo where a woman almost had an eye put out and went on to win gold. Archery with modern weapons,

 so. much. swimming.

A friend asked, are you trying to make it educational? Why not I said, can't travel, might as well see what's happening out there somehow! I never knew I'd like curling til we watched it on Olympics

I'm reading this at night but the library is about to take it back unfinished with two people waiting

I've finished several audio books and now listening to # 4 in the series of Kilts and Quilts

The Accidental Scot - Griffin, Patience

I can't take any more murder mysteries at the moment and this one is character driven

I just loved this studio video... the look, the organization, the beauty of having your supplies at hand

 I have a new pet. A fly came in, for what I have no idea, but he seems to follow me from room to room. Ergh! GO lie down!

Milo:"this town ain't big enough for the both of us!"

I like a freshly groomed poodle who smells good and is so soft... 

I wanted to leave his legs pretty and fluffy at the bottom but he has a tendency to pee on them if the hair is long. Trust me he smells good now, but it won't last! I went ahead and trimmed the legs as usual

Milo's Moments

Mama: Hi honey... what 'cha doing? 

Milo: I'm First! I'm in front of Daddy! (looks back at Daddy over his shoulder)

Mama: I see that, first in front of Daddy, for what? 

Milo: to help you with the cookies. 

Mama: Help? how? 

Milo: pick some up if they fall  or  taste them to make sure they are good. I bet they are good. 

Mama: I made some just for you with no white chocolate so here you go!

Milo (running off to a quiet place to eat his cookie) (then right back pushing in front of Daddy) It's good! I'm baaaaack! Need anything Mama? You're my favorite!   AND I have nothing at all against chocolate.

Mama: well it's not good for doggies honey

Milo: who you calling a dog? 

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rosie and the boys nature pics 

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Saturday, July 24, 2021

Sewing Saturday... Summer Blues

 Welcome to this week's sewing round up!

I worked on scrap challenge blocks in dark blue, made a whole new piece, and finished borders on last week's piece. Let's get this party started, shall we??

the design wall was exciting this week!

I'll start with the wine bottles in dark blue scraps... here is the mock up, supply gather...

pattern free from Hoffman Fabrics

They are a bit close in value to the "bright blue" month at rainbow scrap challenge but that's okay, at least I got the labels different. 

Lesson learned
1. fabrics look different according to the proportion used...
2. cropping fabric images can really change the finished product
3. with paper pieced weird angles, pin pin pin

Next up is the blue petal scrap improv work from last week. I auditioned a lot of fabrics to finish off the edges and bring ones focus to the center... harder than one might think. 

I added the bright green (more intense in real life) at the top, and it needs adjusting

Then chose a lovely green and blue vintage fabric from the stash to contrast with the busy center but hopefully bring your eye back to the petals. 

I looked through my blue scrap strips til I found a print with blue and green in a flower print to remind the viewer this is a floral abstract. 

I did try this one and it was a close race....

In the end I decided to use the one with a flower print, and cut some curves into it with the idea to start squaring it up on the outside edges

about 15" X 19" now

I'm satisfied. Now to block it, and get it ready to overquilt!! I plan to use some inks to make the center blossom stand out more, and this one is calling out for beading and hand stitching with thick threads. 

I woke on Monday with "the blues" in my heart, and wanted to sew something mindless, as a tonic to my spirit. On a sorting expedition into studio two last week I spied a set of tiny 1.5" squares someone gave me a while back. The kind Keepsake used to send as samples. Okay I thought, let's use neutral scraps to make 9-patches. 

Whee! they make unfinished 3.5" blocks. I have been wanting to use my prints on beige backgrounds in something for a while to showcase them, so I cut a bunch of 3.5" squares from those scraps. Like the Chinese food, spools, stars, donkeys..... then sewed them into a whole center...

Loved the softness of it but it wanted a border. I auditioned a lot of fabrics, then sent the pic to some friends and one said to use more 1.5" blocks in contrast to finish it off. 

No, not going to cut up more of those tiny blocks but I do keep a box of 2" squares laid out in watercolor shades. I went to the  next to lightest squares and created a border. No matching of seams needed and they work beautifully to give the center some room visually! Thanks Linda!

I made this in two afternoons.    Lessons?

1. Even if you think it's just mindless sewing it will need design decisions 
2. light shades and neutrals still have contrast and 
3. low contrast is calming and still interesting
4. a traditional block and setting can feel artistic too
Time to quilt it now! Oh I tried the fabrics again, to border it and like Joy said when she saw it, they are a bit too intense or bright for it, which is why they take your eye way from the center. 
lesson? Even if colors match, and pattern matches, sometimes it doesn't help the artwork
I also made two cute mug rugs for my friend in Florida... she spent the week with her family at the beach so I took the leftover cabana and fixed it up. She is a nurse, so I used some nurse fabric scraps to make a 2nd one too. I'll show those on Table scraps party next week!
I'll end with a quick watercolor sketch on my calendar page done this week while having morning coffee... just a way to see color relationships and it matches my quilting this week. 
Three analogous colors of watercolor pencil... scribbled overlapping, then brushed with water to blend
To me it looks like a water scene, one I couldn't have planned but is one that looks like scenery I've observed over the years. See how similar it is in color and depth from the blue petal piece... purely serendipity.  Just by playing with color pencil... Now I wish it was done on good paper! 

That's the thing with art... there's always something to learn, and something to make 

I plan to watch a lot of Olympics coverage this week... especially dressage, synchronized swimming if I can find it, badminton (can you believe that's an Olympic sport?) and gymnastics. The opening ceremonies were terrific especially the human interpretation of the event icons. 

What about you?

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 scrap happy Saturdays


Thursday, July 22, 2021

I Like Thursday #254 In the good ole' summertime

Gerbera Daisies ordered from Amazon
It's time for this week's list of likes! Starting with the great farming experiment that is my life. 

Another Gerbera daisy plus some wildflower pots

Finally the daisies are flowering, yellow, white and pink. The wildflower seeds are taking, and seem to be working up to flowers

the packet of seeds said Spring/summer/fall, and we just broadcast them into 5 pots to see what's here. 

the basil leaves are basil-ing
and I used some in my 3 bean salad this week.

I wanted some kind of vegetable dish to have with lunches, so dh mentioned trying to purchase 3 bean salad. I thought, heyyyyy bet I can find a recipe 

I used what we had, 1/4 of a really big red onion not half, dried parsley not fresh, fresh basil instead of rosemary, cans of white beans (not canneloni) black eyed peas (no kidney beans) and green beans. No cider vinegar to buy here so I used the last of my champagne vinegar. 

Still, it's kind of like the recipe and it's delish. It does make an awful lot for two people (three cans of beans, duh!) but it should taste better as it ages. Better for us than chips as a side too.

speaking of quilting

I ran across this book listed on quilt books published this year... I'm in love but it is pretty expensive at $35 

 Book Cover of Annemieke Mein - Art of Annemieke Mein, The: Wildlife Artist in Textiles 

Now here is an answer to weeds and brush fires... thank God for Goats and their ability to eat

Goats for Good!


 Remember when you help others you can land a treat!

Artistically speaking:

have you heard of the ICAD challenge? Index card a day for 61 days... any art goes, anything you want to do to the card that day... list something, color or paint or ink, stencil, collage with torn magazine pages, words, fabric, anything creative. All on a small index card. 

I read about this on the alteredbooklover site, and saw a week's worth of her art. SO COOL!


Milo: Hey Mama! I hear chasing a spoo (standard poodle) around the yard is good exercise! 

Mama: well it's so hot honey, and you're pretty fast, I'm wearing sandals...

Milo: Oh. My. Dog. Just come out and chase me! It's my biggest pleasure in life! Next to my ring toy, then being chased around. Er, well I do like my chew bone each night, getting in the big bed and laying on my back between you and daddy, eating sweet potatoes, sitting in my armchair, barking at people, playing hide and seek... heh heh... I do like being chased around the yard though

Dad? pay attention, time to chase a poodle!

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rosie and the boys nature pics 

Saturday, July 17, 2021

sewing saturday from trash to treasure


Here we are at Saturday again and that means, let's talk SEWING! I LOVE to sew, handle fabric, buy fabric, choose fabrics to use and see color next to color. It's like hands on painting! 

 This month the color of the month at RSC is darker blues, urging us to use our scraps. I'm lucky enough to have a stash of scraps in many colors and organize them into bins. This is my blue bin. I made two projects from blues this week, plus made another cool usable object from my painted piece from two weeks ago! Let's dive in!

This year I am making these big hexies each month, and I added in the two in dark blue... they are looking striking! 
I've listened to two books on audio while sewing, both funny enough, with Paris in the title, both VERY entertaining. Notice what's next to the ipad on my sewing table???

book by Jenn MacKinlay and hilariously read on audio

The stamped, then colored in with ink couple you see below, quilted and finished into a cute pin cushion.
6" wide X 4" long

I used some Mary Engelbreit fabric on the sides, and after seeing how cute this was decided not to put it on the top and bottom too... I LOVE the size and shape. I put batting on the back, quilted it, then backed it and did an envelope turn. 

This tiny project helped me to finally face the BIG BAG of walnut shells I bought at the pet store long ago. It was so heavy I never opened it.  DH toted it downstairs, where I divided it up into 4 ziplock bags to make using it easier.  I admit I made this for my friend Pat in NY (Miss Pat) who said she would love to have the painting. I also admit to being slightly attached to this which is why it's still sitting on my table... and I just cannot risk going to the post office yet because of the doubled infection rate. 

It is for you Pat and will be sent later. 

While going thru my blues bin, I spied some cut off curvy pieces from making a flowering snowball one year... looks like flowers! 


I sewed the halves together, and then started adding in green around them...

oooo promising... 

then because the colors were so close in value the growing whole artwork began to look messy, with no distinct feel of flower field like in my mind. 

when that happens with an abstract work, I start moving sections around on the design wall. The sections are all raw, odd shaped, so there is overlap, or open areas to be be fitted together eventually. 

Finally I settled on sort of a spiral setting with one applique flower shape in the center, and the true work began of fitting and seaming the sections together one by one, changing the layout slightly as they were combined. 

It's a fun puzzle to me!

this is the plan... add in some great greens to showcase the petals and give me a finished edge. I don't have to even up the outside but I want to as it will give order to a chaotic piece with so many fabrics in it. I will admit working abstracts is still challenging for me but made for a change after finishing the pattern used in last week's cabana quilt. 

So if you need me, likely I'll be in the studio working on this, and hopefully go right into quilting and finishing it this time. 

Lessons learned

1. value plays the largest part when using a lot of fabrics, so even color change isn't enough to create strong lines

2. pieces look different when under the needle than on the wall in one larger piece

3. keep a vision in mind but allow for right turns during the creation

4. too many patterns can blend or become distracting... figure out what's going on in your work

5. don't throw away little scraps as good art from little scraps grows...

the first book I mentioned was Lost in Paris  by Elizabeth Thompson a story of relationships, mysteries about your great grandmothers, Paris, Food, love and life.

patchwork Sunday                    
oh Scrap Sundays 

 scrap happy Saturdays

Thursday, July 15, 2021

i like #253


welcome to Thursday's list of likes for the week! Small ones add up to gratitude, right?

I like watching the birds but was shocked to see ones perched on my standing flamingo whirligig this week, especially because I moved it to keep them from flying over (and pooping) my patio. I mean what are they looking for in the wildflowers?

bugs at the Daisy Cafe? 

We ordered new to us wines for pick up and this cat bottle was one of them, a Riesling. I kept the bottle!


I enjoyed a moment this week looking thru my quilting books and planning a new quilt, while listening to my very good book on audio. Lost in Paris is not only focused on a grown woman's relationship to her mother but a mystery inheritance left by her great grandmother. Very fun and good reader.

I'm reading and enjoying the  next Ellie Alexander in the bakeshop mystery set in Washington state

 I love finishing a wall quilt, complete with hanging sleeve, and putting it on the wall to enjoy

that post is  HERE with close ups of the fun!

I sewed a lot this week and plan to show those pics on Saturday Sewing post

I am back on the oil... calming scented oil to sniff to raise my spirits.

It seems to help me and even helped milo during the fireworks. At least his head didn't pop off

 Some fun shows we're watching is Love Island... pure summer drivel and I'm loving it. Big Brother is back with it's silly games and conniving, we thought Miracle Workers (Daniel Rafdcliff and Steve Buscemi was on TBS but couldn't find it... this is the third season and it's quirky and funny. 

We've been watching Crime scene kitchen... where contestants guess what was baked and try to make it too. DH is in his office usually when I have breakfast (difficult for a person allergic to eggs, pork etc) and lately I leave out some remnants so he can guess what I made, A La CSK show! It's funny, I think it's obvious but he's had some errors! 

Carrot & Sweet Potato Soup

speaking of cooking, I tried a new recipe this time for sweet potato, carrot and  apple soup. The recipe tasted good but the texture of my potatoes turned out to be .. stringy.ewwww.

the coloring pages this week looked boring but I ended up loving them! I added in ink flowers and little additions like inked squares and dots, and blended the colors, layering them on top of each other creating depth. I used the staedtler watercolor pencils again, uniball gel pens in black and white.

 to stop worrying about covid and people who won't listen to facts in America, I watch videos on art, history, and mostly the love between good people and animals. Here are two heartwarming ones this week.

true love

how lucky to find a true companion...

Milo's Moments: shhhhh the baby is asleep. His ears are hurting from all the smoke in the air, and he's hot because it's so hot now and he can't take off his black fur coat! He turned an ankle this week and we won't let him run, so he's not feeling cooperative. I know he loves you all though... 

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rosie and the boys nature pics

friday smiles at a stitch in time