Thursday, February 20, 2014

Moda Quilt Olympics

 Click on picture for better view

Several months ago I saw an amazing quilt on Pinterest.  I was so intrigued with the use of so many disparate fabric prints and styles and I loved it.  It was youthful, creative, and pleasing to look at.

When Moda unveiled its Quilt Olympics I at first thought I didn't have anything made or in process that would fit the requirements.   Then a picture of that fun quilt popped into my mind.  I wasn't sure I had the ability to select fabric and sew it together in such a clever way but I decided that it would be a challenge for sure.

I practiced and practiced.  Picked a wild fabric from my stash and held different fabrics next to it until I had 5 pieces I hoped would work.  There was some unpicking done removing some fabric and adding another one.  At times I wished I could have gone to the store and done some picking and choosing, but I live in a small town so I didn't have that option.  I had to use what I had on hand.

This is my Olympic quilt because I had to stretch to reach my goal and because I made it while watching the 2014 Sochi Olympics.   I think I achieved "Gold".   I'm really pleased with how it turned out.  Unfortunately, pictures don't do it justice.  It's brighter in real life.  The grey daisy border doesn't show up well in the pictures, either.

Here are a few close-ups of a few of the blocks that show the colors better.

Labyrinth Quilt Pattern - by Red Pepper Quilts

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Olympic Quilt Challenge

Moda Cutting Table is hosting an Olympic Quilt Competition.  The parameters are quite wide - the quilt can be about the Olympics, inspired by the Olympics, or something you worked on during the Olympics.  So I'm catching the spirit of the Olympics and submitting a picture for the challenge.

I made this star quilt in 2011 using half-square triangle units.  I sewed all 20 blocks into rows and finally finished my quilt top.  It didn't turn out as stunning as I would have liked it to so I stashed it away into the back of my closet.  I pulled it out for this contest - issuing myself the challenge to fix it.

I started by unpicking all the seams that joined the blocks together.  In some cases I replaced parts of the blocks so there would be better contrast  in hopes of making the stars easier to see.  I realize now that I didn't really have enough charm squares in 2011 to offer the value difference I needed. 

There was too much fabric in the blocks to merely toss them without a guilty conscience so I decided to do quilt-as-you-go and practice my machine quilting.  Trust me, I need LOTS of practice.

The first picture shows a couple of stacks of blocks sandwiched together with  a few more over at the table waiting to be glued into a quilt sandwich.  I thought making these smaller sandwiches would be a perfect time to try out the Elmer's school glue technique.  It worked great.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

I Love Seasons

Okay, I don't love all the seasons equally.  I don't care for the cold of winter but I will put up with it so I can have Spring, Summer, and Fall.  The change of seasons provides setting aside some things and reacquainting myself with the sights, sounds, tastes, and feelings of bygone seasons.

Today was cold in my neck of the woods so I thought a bowl of soup would be welcome for dinner.  I made up a batch of Taco Soup.  The smell and anticipation were divine.  The first bite of an old favorite was warm, comforting, and delicious.  I commented to Candleman that if we lived in Hawaii we would probably never want to eat Taco Soup or any of my other favorite Autumn and Winter foods.  Meatloaf, baked potatoes, acorn squash, and apple crisp make up another fall/winter favorite meal.  I would never be in the mood for that dinner in the heat of summer.  Would love to hear about some of your favorite seasonal foods.  Leave me a comment.

Another cold weather activity that I couldn't enjoy on warmer days is quilting.  I am watching the season premier of Person of Interest and sewing the binding on a quilt.  Feels good on a cold night.  Something else to look forward to in Fall is the return of some of my favorite shows - Amazing Race, Blue Bloods, Chicago Fire, The Voice, Elementary, Castle, Hawaii Five-O, Parenthood, Last Man Standing, The Middle, and Modern Family.  This season I'll be giving some new shows a chance - the one with Michael J. Fox, Blacklist, Hostages, and the one with Robin Williams all look good.  Which of your favorite shows are returning?  Which one(s) are your favorites?  One that I am still missing from a couple of years ago is Good Guys.  Loved that show.

And then there are the holidays that go with each season.  The 4th of July wouldn't be too fabulous in the winter but it's great in the summer.  We always host a large family barbeque because our house is close to the park where they set off the fireworks.  Members of both Candleman's and my families come and bring  potluck dishes.  We provide the burgers and homemade root beer.  My grandkids look forward to the root beer as much as the fireworks.  If they had their way we would have root beer more than just once a year.  Would potato salad taste as yummy in the winter?  Perhaps, but it's such a great summertime food.

There are so many things to look forward to with each season change but there are a few things that are perfect year round - reading, doing genealogy, diet coke, family, friends.  What am I leaving out?

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Winter Sowing

Recently I saw a picture on Pinterest that led me to a new idea that sparked my interest.  The picture was this one from Kevin Lee Jacob's blog, A Garden for the House.  He has several helpful posts about winter sowing (planting seeds in the winter in little milk jug greenhouses.)  He has lots of other cool stuff on his blog that I enjoy, too - like recipes, houseplants, etc.

I have been feeling those winter blues that show their demon heads every year.  So when I read about winter sowing it sparked an interest, gave me a purpose, a needed distraction from reading, genealogy, and quilting.  I can prepare for SPRING!

Today my granddaughter came over after school and we melted holes in a couple milk cartons, added soil, and planted lupines in one and hollyhocks in the other.  I let her use the wood-burning tool to melt the drainage holes in the milk jugs.  We were tickled how easy that tool did the job.  She planted the seeds and I labeled the jugs.   Here's a picture of our little greenhouses.  There will be more.

I'm hoping we get our poor picnic tables painted this summer.  It was on the list for last year, but we didn't get to it.  Of course, that didn't stop us from having b-b-qs and lots of visiting time around the tables.  We even encouraged people to peel the paint off while we visited so we wouldn't have as much to remove when the time comes.
While we were feeling 'springy' we tried our hand at propagating geraniums.  This activity took some pre-planning - I had to bring the plant inside last fall.  (It's not everyday I get to pat myself on the back.)  Here's a picture of our baby geraniums.  They are all Martha Washingtons.  I'm thinking I'll buy 6 more pots and try for 12 babies.  I love geraniums so the more the merrier.  I could never justiify buying 12 new geraniums from the nursery.  Usually, I only allow myself 3.  It'll be fun to have more of them in my gardens this year.

The flat of pots in the tray under the geraniums is for planting in March.  I thought while I was outside dealing with potting soil, I'd put some in that tray, too.  We have finally made it into the 20s & 30s during the day so it isn't so awful to be outside for a short time period.  You can see the snow has started melting and our brown grass is starting to peak through.  We had a friend from California who moved here in the winter.  After several weeks he asked us why we didn't cut down our dead trees and shrubs!  Luckily, he lived here long enough to see everything start to grow again in the spring.  We met him when we lived in San Diego.  The weather was delightful there, but after a couple years I began to really miss the seasons.  Okay, I didn't miss winter so much, but I will put up with it so I can have spring and autumn, especially autumn.

I love the seasons.  Each one has it's special delights.  I love winter for the soups and other comfort foods.  Who wants to eat a big Thanksgiving meal in the warmth of summer?  Winter means meatloaf with baked potatoes, acorn squash, and baked apples.  Cold, quiet January is the perfect time to curl up with a good book and some popcorn. And winter is the best time to sew quilt tops.  It's also a good time to work on genealogy, organize pictures, write histories, etc  Spring is iffy - it's either windy or rainy and the temps can switch so quickly between mild or cold.  Heck, it can even snow but you know the snow will melt in a day or two.  But in spite of those drawbacks, spring is when the new buds appear on the trees & shrubs, tulips & daffodils pop up from the ground, trees blossom and the world looks pretty again.  It's a time of new beginnings, rebirth, and spring cleaning.  Summer is not my favorite but it means the grandkids are out of school and I get to see them almost every day, lots of barbecues, watching the kids run through the sprinklers, reading on the patio, berries are ripe, the 4th of July celebration and homemade root beer.  My grandson said the other day, "I can't wait for the 4th of July."  When I asked why he said, "Because we get to make root beer."  And then there's fall.  Ahhhh, my favorite.  The harvest, corn on the cob, the cooler weather, the colored leaves, school starts up again and I have more time to myself.  And about the time we get tired of mowing the lawn and eating zucchini, it's winter again.  What a perfect cycle.

What's your favorite season?  Do you dabble with gardening, reading, genealogy, quilting?  Would love to hear what you love and why.