Monday, June 28, 2010


No sunshine outside today, so I had to make some of my own! Here are 113 hourglass blocks for my Sunshine Quilt. At 3.5" each, that only makes a quilt 30" x 33" at this point. Well, I have lots more triangles cut so it should grow!

Here is a quilt named "Sunshine Flower", from Leslie Beck's Best of the Best Quilts, a book I checked out of the library. It is so sunny and happy! I might try to incorporate a few of those sunflowers into my quilt.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

To Quilt or To Garden?

The weather is gorgeous, and as much as I want to sew, I can't resist being outside and working in the yard!

Husband and I have been working under the fruit trees (plum on the left, apple on the right). The former owners put landscape fabric down between the two trees and covered it with rocks. It really helps to keep new mini-fruit-tree suckers from breaking through to the surface. But after years of pine needles and dirt and whatnot getting into those rocks, not only do weeds take root, but suckers break through and become impossible to remove. Here is a before shot:
The trees make it difficult to mow the lawn, especially when laden with fruit. We put old carpet down to kill the lawn so we could expand the rock garden. We pulled up all the rocks and old landscape fabric and screened out the dirt (which was actually very healthy worm-laden compost--I put it under the raspberry bushes). We put down new landscape fabric, returned the rocks, then moved the carpet and put down more fabric and rocks. Here is how it looks now:
We moved the old carpet to the other side of the trees to kill more grass, and next year we will do the same to that side. We don't know what to do with the very large rock. I thought it would make a great fountain. It is a three-man rock; it was really hard to move with one man and one wimpy woman (me). I operated lever and fulcrum while Strong Husband pushed and cajoled.

I thought I'd share a couple of other shots around my backyard. This is my birdbath garden. I planted over 30 ranunculus bulbs. Only two came up. I am hopeful more will come up next year.

The nasturtiums are finally starting to bloom. I planted them in the new herb garden. I've heard you can eat the petals, but we have not tried them yet.
Here is a gorgeous flower that came up by the shed. I had not planted anything in that flower bed yet, but when this plant came up, I was curious what it would become. What a surprise to see these giant purple bell shaped flowers! (click on the photo to see it closer!)

Here is a close-up. It is called Campanula Medium, a.k.a cups and saucers.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Beach Boys 2 sashed

The shadows really show up once the sashing is complete.
At this point the quilt top measures 35 1/2 inches square. I could add the border and it would be larger than the standard crib quilt.
Here is a close up of the border; it is all dog tags with typical dog names! Except for the ones that name the fabric designer (M'Liss) and her websight!

I have always been fascinated with shadow box quilts, with the optical illusions. But I had no idea how easy they are to make. I took a strip of white (1.5" wide) and sewed it to black (10+" wide). Then I cut them into strips 1.5" wide.
I had trimmed my blocks to 8.5", and so I cut a black/white strip at 8.5", then I sewed it to the bottom of the block. The strip for the right side of the block was cut at 9.5" and sewed on.
Now that I know how easy it is, I will be sure to make another shadow box quilt!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Shadow Box Blocks

This will be Beach Boys 2. I had fussy cut the squares for Beach Boys (yesterday's post); the leftover fabric had full images of dogs, but I could no longer cut them all the same size.

Instead, I framed the different size squares and cut the blocks the same size. Then I added shadows to the blocks. They will really stand out when I sash these with white. And I have the cutest fabric for the borders!

I wanted to show close ups of the five different dogs-on-the-beach scenes.

This one's drinking 'puspi cola".

Somebody needs a nap.

Here come the young studly dudes...

These guys remind me of the characters from the old movie "Cocoon"!

I've linked this up with Judy's Design Wall Monday at

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Beach Boys and Rosey

I finished the Beach Boys top tonite. I think it turned out cute! The black border is all paw prints. I sort of wish that I had used a darker bottom sill of the attic window block.
So, here is my amazing new machine!
It can go 1500 stitches a minute, which I tried out for the first time (while sewing the borders).
Well, Rosey was in her kennel, which is right next to my sewing cabinet. The high speed of the machine produced a high whine, which made Rosey highly uncomfortable. After a few wimpers and shifting in positions...
...she high-tailed it as far from me as the front door!
Poor Rosey.
But it made me laugh!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Beach Boys

I had an ah-ha moment today. I found this adorable dog fabric in the remnant bin at Joann's; I tucked it away until I had an idea how to use it. I knew I wanted to fussy cut the dogs to emphasize the personalities of these beach boys. The guy in the lawn chair is drinking "pupsi cola'!

Attic Windows is the perfect pattern to showcase a great fabric! Here are the first six blocks. (I have six more to go.) These took me an hour to whip up; they measure at 8" square.

These guys just make me laugh! The small print gives basic dog commands: sit, stay, fetch, etc.

The Christmas Sampler was set aside; I must first applique those two last blocks before I will allow myself to do another block. I guess I am not really excited about applique. It is more fun to piece the blocks!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Christmas Sampler Blocks 3 and 4

I have not spent much time on the sewing machine. I have been working in the yard.

Here are the next two blocks for the Christmas sampler. I still must machine stitch the applique; they are only ironed on at this point.
I have not done machine applique before. I'll need to set up another machine, as my Juki only has a straight stitch. My old machine has zig zag on it, but no applique stitches. So I have brought home one of the church machines that does have a few applique stitches on it. This is all new for me!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Christmas Sampler Quilt, Block 2

Not a whole lot of sewing going on right now. The weather is finally dry, and the weekend was spent outside working in the yard.

I did make another block for the Christmas Sampler Quilt. This one took a long time, for I did not like the fabrics I had chosen the first time around. I changed a few things, ripped a bunch out, and now I like this final product.

The positive side of sewing and ripping? My pile of leaders and enders for the Sunshine Quilt is growing!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Christmas Sampler Quilt, Block 1

The flying geese had to disappear for a while, as the recipient dropped by. So I started a Christmas Sampler.

Last year I won a copy of this magazine.

There are 100 different blocks by 100 well-known quilters. I had a fat quarter bundle that included the right colors for a Christmas quilt; I making blocks from the magazine.

Here is block 1. I like how it turned out. But it took a while to get it done. You see, the pattern had a few measurements wrong, so the block would not go together. I had to recut three pieces.

Unfortunately, I did not have any more of the green fabric, so I had to piece the little bits of leftover together to make the third piece the right size; I had to include a bit of solid green.
You can see it in this picture, but when the quilt is finished, no one will ever know it is there!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Geese, plants, and...ICK!

I pulled out the flying geese quilt I am making for my homeschool mom friend. Shhh...she does not know. I thought I made enough, but, nope. Had to make a couple more.

Hey, look! There is a little Sunshine ender!

Here are the geese all flying together. I think they are confused, some flying to the east and the rest are flying to the west!

I then worked on the red and black strips to separate the geese. Here is a mock up of the layout. (Very poor color.) I am trying to decide if the black strips need to be thinner. Maybe the geese should go in different directions?
Tonite I looked at my poor indoor plants and decided it was time to repot some of them. I did it in the solarium because it makes such a mess. (I'll clean it up tomorrow!)

And look what I found in my garden, filching my lettuce! There are TEN slugs here.
They make an awful slimmy mess. But they are fun to watch. If you touch them, they sort of curl up. But when they feel comfortable, their antenae/eye protuberances pop out and they work at sliming away. I really scrubbed my hands well after this. Then I could still feel them sliming all over...especially in my neck. ICK!
(Please do NOT ask what I did with the slugs. It was very traumatic, and I can't talk about it.)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Sunshine Quilt!

More cut fabrics from the church stash. I found a large stack of squares cut from this wonderful fabric. Apparently I had sorted a bunch of fabrics a few years ago, because I had set aside yellow squares with these.
It was so rainy on Monday that I thought I would work with these fabrics to create my own sunshine! I pulled some orange fabrics from my own stash to add pizzaz. I have had enough of nine patch blocks, so I cut triangles to make an hour glass quilt.
After sewing a small stack, it is time for squaring up the little blocks. This is my least favorite part of the quilting process. These are on the small size, squaring up at 3 1/2" each.
And when I spread them out on the floor, I really liked what I saw! This little bit measures 21" by 24". I have no idea how big it will be eventually.
I am making this a leader-ender project. I have all the pieces cut out and setting off to the side of my machine. When I am chain piecing another quilt, there is always the point where the fabric must be cut from the machine. Rather than wasting long threads, I will sew two pieces of the sunshine quilt together and leave them on the machine under the foot. I go and press the fabrics from the other quilt, then come back to the machine for more chain piecing, and no wasted thread!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Marmaduke lives across the street from me!

These are my neighbors two Great Danes. They are pure bred show dogs. Serena, on the left, is the (smaller) female.

This is Spirit, a VERY large male. (See my house in the background?!)

Spirit is the star of the new movie Marmaduke! Well, he and his brother shared the lead role. It was too much for just one dog.
Yikes! I was afraid Spirit was going to lick my face!
(Please pardon my gardening clothes; the sun is actually shining, and the weeds are a-growin!)

More blocks from the stash...

Here is a grad quilt we made in 2007. It has two blocks: the nine patch and the hourglass.
In the stash, I found two finished hour glass blocks, and there were some more ready to be made. There is a cool trick to doing it the fast way without the trouble of a stretched seam from sewing on the diagonal.

Take two different fabrics, stacked right sides together. These are 12" squares. Draw lines from corner to corner.
Sew a quarter inch on each side of the line in one direction; cut in half on the center line.
Iron the two squares open.
Put them right sides together again, opposite colors on top of each other.
Sew a quarter inch from each side of the diagonal line again. Cut it half.
Voila! It is an hour glass block! Easy peasy.
I think there are eight of them now. They will get used eventually.