Sunday, February 28, 2010

Scraps, Part 2

Since my last post was about the Scrap Bag I had just purchased, and I had by pure coincidence been cutting up the previous scrap bag while watching the Olympics, I thought I'd show you the before and after pictures so you can see just how much fabric is in one of these bags.  Seeing how much usable fabric I actually get from one of these bags is new to me too as usually the contents of a scrap bag just get added to my big bags of these strips, but they were full, so I decided to deal with the last bag as it came in.  The strips have all been pressed since November when I got the bag, but I hadn't gotten very far on the cutting part.  I finished all of the cutting of that previous bag this past week, which was about the extent of my quilting activities.  I've been working all weekend, with a few select breaks for the Olympics and a much needed haircut, but nothing at all done on the quilting, stitching, or crocheting front.

Here's the before picture from my previous post.  And here's what one of these bags looks like all cut up.  From left to right and then to the front are the following stacks: batiks of all sizes, light strings, dark strings, 1 1/2 inch light strips, 1 1/2 in dark strips, 2 inch light strips, 2 inch dark strips, 2 1/2 inch light strips, 2 1/2 in dark strips, and finally, a few 3 inch strips. 

I'm a little burnt out on cutting now, so as soon as I get some quilting time, I will probably do some piecing or get back to my bindings that need sewn down.

Sunday, February 21, 2010


My name is Laura and I am a Scrap-a-holic.  I love everything about working with scraps.  Pressing them, cutting them to size, storing them in pretty little containers and finally sewing with them.  I am always on the look-out to add to my scraps.  I not only save all of my own scraps, but have also had people donate their scraps to me at classes or quilt-ins rather than throwing them out.  Of course I happily accept *grin*.  Dawn always has a bag waiting for me when we have our quilting days.  Getting scraps from other people is like Christmas for me.  Actually, it's even better than Christmas.  I get a much bigger kick out of a bag of scraps than I do out of the most beautiful piece of a single fabric.

By now you've probably figured out how much I love scraps :-).  The point of this post is that I got a call on Thursday that my name had come up for a Scrap Bag at one of my local shops.  Yes, I buy scraps too, when I can get them for a decent price.  This particular shop is about 25 miles from my house, so not real "local", but by Phoenix standards it is, so I made the trek over today when traffic was lighter.  These bags are so popular that the shop has a list of people who want them and they call you when your name comes up.  Each bag is 2 pounds of scraps and the cost is $3.50 which is quite the deal, in my opinion.  The shop keeps the strips they cut off each bolt to get a clean edge and then they make up these bags.  Sometimes there are kit cuttings included as well, but mostly it's strips of varying widths.  So here's the little bag of treasures that I picked up today.

While I was there I poked around and found a few more things to come home with me.  The magazines are older issues and were 40% off and the smaller print floral fabric was also 40% off, so it was a pretty cheap day.

And finally, I finished binding another small quilt during the Olympics last night.  Just a basic one patch that I made to use up some fabrics.  The background on this quilt is here

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Work, Olympics, Binding & Shopping

That pretty much sums up the last week.  We are Olympic junkies in this house, particularly the Winter Olympics, which unfortunately take place during tax season.  So, the deal I made with myself was that I had to start work no later than 8 a.m. each day and then work until 7 p.m., and then I was free to watch the Olympics all evening as the primetime coverage starts here at 7 p.m.  To accomplish this I had to give up my treadmill workouts for the next two weeks as I just don't have time to squeeze those in on top of work and still be done by 7 p.m.  The irony that I'm blowing off my own exercise program in order to watch world class athletes do their thing is not lost on me, but that's the way it's got to be right now.  Priorities you know.

While I've been watching the evening festivities, I have been binding the quilts that I quilted in December.  I finished two so far this week and have another in process.  Here's the second 4 Block Christmas Quilt.  You can read about the background of the two quilts here

And here's the Fish quilt.  The history of the fish quilt is here.

I've also been cutting some scrap strips of fabric and I purchased some Sandy Gervais Moda pre-cuts last Sunday which arrived on Thursday.  I got one layer cake of Gobble Gobble as well as a dessert roll from that line, and two layer cakes of Frolic.  I've already got a pattern figured out for the Frolic fabric, but the Gobble Gobble was bought just to add to my autumn collection, much of which already consists of Sandy Gervais autumn fabrics.

And finally, I have to ask, does this look comfortable to you?  Echo went to sleep on top of Koda's pen.  All of the magazines, etc. on top are for reading on the treadmill, which is right next to the pen.  It's quite handy as it's just the right height, but does get a bit messy looking, especially after Echo's been through the piles.

Oh, and I had to go back and edit this to show this gorgeous rainbow that showed up outside my window as I was working this evening about 30 minutes before the sun went down.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Quilt from Mereth

After seeing Mereth's post today, I realized that I totally forgot to post about the gorgeous quilt that I bought from her.  It literally arrived within an hour of me hearing of my uncle's death so I quickly took a picture for a blog post and then put it away for safe keeping, and then promptly forgot about the blog post. 

The second I first saw the quilt on her blog, I fell in love with it and it is even more gorgeous in person.  The workmanship is perfect, of course, and the colors are so me.  The borders are really me...purple with dots, and the back is the same fabric as the inner border, so more purple with dots.  Does it get any better than that?  LOL  I recognized some of the fabrics as those in my own stash, so even more confirmation that this should be my quilt.  Mereth commented that I received the quilt within a week, all the way from Australia to the U.S., but actually I received it in 5 days, including Sunday.  I've had a Priority mail package take two business days to get across town here in Phoenix, and a check take 9 days, yet a package can make it all the way from Australia to the U.S. in 4 business days.  Go figure.  But enough about my sometime dissatisfaction with our postal system.  Mereth has a wonderful picture of the whole quilt on her blog post that I linked to above (scroll to the end of the post), and here's a close-up that I took.

And here's the cover of this awesome Australian calendar she sent along with the quilt.  I just love some of the native animal species of Australia, which Mereth didn't even know, so the calendar was a real treat.

Thank you Mereth for the gorgeous quilt!  I just love it!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Scrap Club Floral Quilt Done!

Today I put the last stitches in the binding of the comfort quilt I am sending to my aunt.  I call it the Scrap Club Floral Quilt because it came about from a Scrap Club I was in through a quilt shop in 2003.  It is a very old UFO, so I'm happy to have it done for many reasons.  Here's the finished quilt pre-washing.

And here's the back.  You can see why this quilt needed reversable binding.  The front binding would have looked horrible on the back.  I pieced the back using 10 1/2 squares ala Bonnie Hunter.  I completely used up all of the fabrics except for scraps.  I also took a close-up picture of the back.

Finally, here's a couple of pictures of the reversable binding.

The binding was an interesting technique to learn.  I would use it again if necessary, but wouldn't consider making it my normal binding method as it takes a lot more time to make the binding and I didn't get as snug of a fit as I normally prefer since the seam had to line up on the edge of the quilt.  One bonus is the fact that the front color takes a much narrower strip than normal, so in the case of this quilt, I was able to match the binding to the inner border.  I only had some strips left of that fabric and they were too narrow to cut enough of my normal 2 or 2 1/4 inch binding strips, but there was plenty for the 1 1/8 inch strips needed for this method.

All in all, I'm pleased with the finished quilt.  It is all nice and soft and crinkly after washing.  I hope my aunt likes it.  She doesn't know it's coming, so I'm sure she will be confused by the large box that arrives.  I also found the perfect card today to send with it.

On a humerous note, since it is Valentine's Day, I got up to a lovely card from my DH.  As I began to read the verse on the front, certain parts were sounding eerily familiar.  Yep, you guessed it, he bought the identical card last year, and it was 25 cents cheaper to boot :-).  It's a great card so I can see why he bought it again.  He was mortified when I showed him the two cards, but it really doesn't bother me at all.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Happy 7th Birthday to Koda!

Today is Koda's 7th birthday.  He was born February 11, 2003 in Estonia and traveled for 2 days and on 3 planes to get here on May 1, 2003.  He is a pain in the butt sometimes with his excessive barking, but we love him nevertheless.  Here's a picture of Koda and Maya.  Koda is the one in the front.  He is actually about 20 pounds smaller than Maya.  He on the small side for male Tibetan Mastiffs and Maya is on the large side for a female.

Just like for Maya's birthday in January, the humans are having ribeye steaks on the grill to celebrate :-).  And now I am off to a long day of preparing tax returns.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Forgotten Finish & Weekend Activities

With the events of last week and the horrible cold that hit me on Friday night and which still continues, I forgot that I hadn't posted about a small finish I had last week.  I got the binding sewn down on this little quilt during the many phone calls about my uncle.  It's my second UFO finish for the year.

This past Saturday Dawn and I had one of our quilting days.  First we hit the Super Bowl sale at our closest quilt shop and this is what I got - 10 spools of some of the new King Tut colors.  I got two spools of Wisteria plus 8 other colors.  Everything in the store was 30% off so it was a great sale.  I didn't even look at the fabric as I didn't need anything.  Please refer to the pictures under the Stash label and you will know why LOL.  I didn't need the thread either, other than it was colors I didn't have, but it's rare to find King Tut on sale, so I figured why not.  The total cost was only $60, including tax, for 10 spools.  Not bad.  And yes, that's Echo's paw in the upper right corner.  I was lucky to get this picture as he was trying desparately to play with the threads.

Speaking of Echo, here's him "helping" me work last Sunday.  I was only away from the computer for a minute and this is what I found when I got back.  Thankfully this time he only launched the task manager.  Earlier in the day he messed up the fonts so badly that we had to go back to a previous restore point to correct it.

After Dawn and I finished at the quilt shop, I got to work on making the binding for a quilt that I'm going to send to the aunt who lost her husband last week.  I made the top in 2003, had it quilted in 2008, I think, and it's sat in the closet ever since as I didn't have any real plans for it. Plus, it needed a reversable binding that I didn't know how to make.  Now that the quilt has a purpose, I want to get it to my aunt as soon as possible, so I figured out the binding, made it on Saturday, and got it sewn to the top today.  Hopefully I can get the handsewing done by the end of next weekend.  We'll see since I'm way behind at work and tax season is in full swing.

The top is made from large floral squares that were exchanged as part of a Scrap Club I was part of in 2003.  My aunt loves her flower garden, so I'm hoping she will like the quilt and that it will give her some comfort as she grieves her loss.  The quilt looks like it was set on point, but it was actually pieced in straight rows and then the quilt top was cut diagonally through specific points, the pieces flipped, and then sewn back together.  Close up you can see that the points are all cut off on the edges, enough so that it gives you a clue that it either wasn't set on point originally, or the maker was really bad at piecing and chopped all of the points off :-). 

That is all I've gotten done the past couple of weeks, other than tax returns and more tax returns, but it is that time of year.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Sad update to yesterday's post

It is with a heavy heart and sore eyes that I write that my uncle passed away this morning after a long and painful night for all involved.  It is a blessing that he is no longer in pain, but the real pain now begins for those he left behind.  He left us far too soon and will be dearly missed by all, but most of all by my aunt, his wife of nearly 52 years, and his two children and three grandchildren.  I'm certain that he was greeted by those that went before him who are now "showing him the ropes".  Our loss is most definitely heaven's gain and we take comfort that we will see him again someday. 

In the spirit of accuracy (that's the accountant in me coming out), I have to note that I found out today that my uncle's cancer was actually diagnosed in June 2006, not 2005 as I wrote yesterday.  Either way, he put up a valiant fight against a truly evil disease.  RIP Uncle Dean.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

I Hate Cancer

It took my mother from us 18 years ago at the age of 53 and now it's getting ready to take my uncle, the husband of one of my mom's 9 sisters.  He's been fighting it since 2005, and did pretty well for a long time, which is a miracle in and of itself when you are talking about liver cancer.  He was given 6 months about a month ago after an MRI revealed that the cancer had spread significantly and that there was nothing more they could do.  He took a drastic turn for the worse the past few days and the updates we received yesterday were bad and today's were even worse.  It now looks like he probably won't make it until the end of February.  I am 2000 miles away, so can't be there to support anyone in person, which is very frustrating, but I'm thankful for the technology that now exists that allows all of us to communicate easily and in a timely manner.  We have a very large extended family so making sure everyone gets updated on the current situation can be challenging to say the least.  My heart is breaking for his children, my cousins, as I know what they are going through and what they will continue to go through after he is gone.  One of my other aunts also lost her husband on December 17th, so it's been a rough couple of months for my mom's side of the family.  I have a trip home scheduled in late June/early July, and was hoping to see my uncle, but that is apparently not to be.  That may be a blessing as I can remember him how he was and the good times we had.  I just wish they could find a cure for this horrible disease.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Happy 1st Birthday to Sassy today!

According to the Humane Society age estimates, Sassy turns 1 year old today.  Little did we know when we named her that we were picking the perfect name.  Her name at the shelter was Cat-a-Lina and her previous owner paperwork said her name was Squeak, neither of which appealed to us.  I was reading a novel at the time that had a store named Sassy Lassy and I thought that was pretty cute, so we named her Sassy.  She was such a sweet little kitty while under quarantine for the first week we had her, but during the second week in quarantine she decided she'd had enough and wanted her freedom, so free she was.  That was the first sign of her true personality.  She does whatever she wants, whenever she wants, and if you scold her she talks back to you, literally.  She rarely does a full meow, but rather trills and squeaks as her primary form of communication, which is probably how she got her original name.  She's a lovey dovey purr machine when it's her idea and we love her to pieces, so we hope she is with us for many years to come.  Here's a picture from this past weekend. 

Happy Birthday Sassy Lassy!