Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Just under the wire - a March finish!

I was cutting it close to get a March finish in.  Today I finally put the last stitches in the binding of Tequila Sunrise.  I started sewing the binding down during the Olympics.  This is a small quilt, so that is a long time to take to finish the binding, but I had gotten pretty sick of binding during the Olympics, so I only picked it up again just recently to finally get it done.

Here is a picture of the finished quilt:

And here is the back.  I had no idea what I was going to do with this fabric when I got it, but it ended up being perfect for the back of this quilt.

I do have some new kitty pictures to post as well, but they will have to wait until another post as I am about to fall asleep while I am typing this.  To tide you over, here's a picture of Otis, the kitten that adopted my friend Dawn in December by showing up at her back door.  He's a little doll baby and always provides us with moral support on our quilting days.  This was him showing his support at our February quilting day.  Enjoy.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

A Little Quilting and a Lotta Furbaby Pics

It was another very long week for work, so not much quilting got done, but I did knock off at 5 p.m. on Friday in order to go to the first annual Moonlight Madness gathering at the new shop I mentioned a few posts ago, In Stitches Fabric.  I hadn't seen or talked to Dawn for a couple of weeks so it was nice to catch up with her, as well as another quilting friend Barb, whom I hadn't seen since our former quilt shop closed down, and along with it the Friday night Quilt Ins we all used to attend. 

I worked on the binding for the Tequila Sunrise quilt that I blogged about in the last part of this post.  In theory I should have been able to complete the sewing down of the binding, but with all of the gabbing going on, I didn't get much further than where I had been when I got there. I'm hoping to finish it up tonight so I can actually log a March finish.  The binding is the same as the border fabric so the picture in the other post is pretty much what it's going to look like when it's done.

And of course I bought a few things while I was there.  Jan, the owner, offered us 20% off our purchases for the night, and they had some new batiks that had just come, so I picked up a 1/2 yard of the light one and 1/3 yard cuts of the others.  I also bought a couple of 1/3 yard cuts of "modern" fabrics, which seems to be my latest obsession.

Ok, enough about quilting and on to the furbabies. I know that's why some of you are here LOL.  First up we have this cute picture of Sassy.  She likes to sleep in my sewing chair, when she's not stealing things from the room, and this is how she was sleeping one day this past week.  If my head ever ends up in that type of position, you can probably assume that I've hurt something really badly.

While we are on the subject of Sassy, let's move on to the bad thing she did.  You had to know that she had done at least one bad thing, didn't you?  She's actually done more than one, but only one was picture worthy, and I didn't get the best picture because I didn't have the camera in hand when she started the activity.  

Here's part 1 of the story:

Obviously you can tell she is intently staring at something. That something was these mosquito on steriod sort of bugs we get that fly around.  When she got bored with the staring, this happened:

She leaped straight up and grabbed the curtains with her front paws and braced herself with her back paw on the door.  You can see how high she is by the door handle.  The picture I didn't get was her climbing the curtains on the other side like she was climbing a rope. She was clearly quite skilled at the exercise, but given that my blood, sweat and tears went into making those curtains, she was immediately removed before I could even think about grabbing the camera.  But, Sassy being Sassy, we just knew it was only a matter of time (minutes, actually) before she would be back at it, so I grabbed the camera and waited.  I didn't have to wait long.

Finally, I caught Sassy laying in the sun today, so I snapped a quick picture.  The sun was hitting her perfectly to show off her gorgeous coloring.

Ok,enough about Sassy. Poor Echo needs some blog time too.  And, as luck would have it, Koda and Echo were hanging out together by the back door today, so I got a couple of pictures of Koda too. Someone, who shall remain nameless (Thelma), has been hasseling me about the lack of dog photos on the blog, so hopefully this will suffice for now. 

While Echo routinely sits and stares out the back door, Koda does not, because he can simply go outside to enjoy the scenery.  He is a dog, after all, so he doesn't have to stay in the house.  However, today the dogs were given soup bones as a treat and they aren't allowed to bring them in the house, for obvious reasons.  Koda brings his all the way to the door and tries to cajole us into letting him come in the house with it, but finally gives up and comes in without it. 

And then he proceeds to guard it from the other side of the door. 

Apparently he doesn't view Echo as a threat to the bone as he let Echo come up and sit right beside him and stare out the door with him. I had hoped to get a picture of the two of them looking out the back door, but as I walked up with the camera, Echo turned around to walk towards me.  He did lay back down though, so I got some nice pictures of him and Koda together and some good ones of just Echo.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I sewed!

After work on Saturday and Sunday I actually got a bit of sewing time in and I finished sewing the 3 inch nine patch blocks.  Next up is the trimming.  There are 100 of these little cuties in this bin.  They will finish at 4 and a half inches when done.

I was powering them through the machine on Saturday and snapped this picture for what was supposed to be a progress post that never happened, obviously.  As I picked up the pile to start sewing down the other side, I realized that the last 7 blocks hadn't even been sewn.  Somehow my thread had broken and I didn't even know it.  It was a clean break, so I don't know what happened - no sounds from the machine, no needle problems, nothing amiss at all.  Very weird.  I rethreaded the machine and kept on sewing with no further problems.

And of course a post wouldn't be complete without some kitty pics.  I caught Echo in full layout mode on that exercise equipment that I talked about in my last post, so I snapped a picture.  Cats certainly know how to relax, don't they?

He has also taken up residence on some rugs that I washed and threw on top of Koda's pen to be put away.  They've been there for 3 days now because it seems that he is always sleeping on them.  My husband suggested just leaving them there since he likes them so much.  Sassy joined him up there on Sunday, so I snapped a quick picture of the two of them.

And on that note, I am off to another day of tax return preparation, but we are in the home stretch - woo hoo!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Work is kicking my butt this week

I just finished my time input for the day and I'm at 57 hours so far for the week.  As a result, there has been virtually no quilting going on and certainly nothing that is photo worthy.  So, I will post a couple of kitty pictures instead.  The first is Tyrone and Sassy watching birds one morning.  We feed the birds, so we have quite a nice collection of quail and morning doves that visit each morning and evening. 

And here's Echo sleeping in one of his favorite spots, which is sprawled over the top of a piece of exercise equipment, the handles of which are now covered with socks because he was chewing on them.  I don't know how this position is comfortable, but it must be because he goes to sleep with his head and front legs hanging off the front and his back legs hanging over the sides in the back.  Whatever floats his boat I guess.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Sassy, Sassy, Sassy

Take a good look at this face.

It looks pretty innocent, doesn't it? 

Don't buy it.  Reason #1...because the picture is taken with her hanging over the edge of the 8 foot plant shelf.  The plant shelf from which we've had to remove the remainder of our clay pots.  The key word in that sentence is "remainder".  One of the pots has already succombed to a fall to the ceramic tile, at 2 a.m. no less, after being knocked over by Sassy.

Reason #2 is the reason for this post.  She's a thief.  No reason to suger coat it.  I believe in calling it like I see it and she's a flat out thief.  I finally re-opened my sewing room last week after closing it off for several weeks because I kept finding things like my seam ripper, spools of thread, tape measures, Q tips, and my cleaning brush spread from one end of the house to the other. 

I tried covering the tray that held those items and weighing down the cover and she would still get them, so I finally put them all in a ziploc bag and stashed that away.  After sewing this weekend, I left the closed bag sitting in the tray thinking surely that a small kitten Sassy's size couldn't possibly drag the bag out of the tray. 

Wrong again.  I heard a strange sound this morning and when I went to investigate, she not only had the bag, but had gotten out of the sewing room, down the hallway that joins the sewing room and my office, and had it all the way out to the dining room and was working diligently on freeing the contents.  Sigh.  So now the bag is stashed away once again.

Then, if that wasn't enough, I caught her eating something off of the kitchen floor today.  This is not a strange occurance for Sassy as she tries to steal food all the time and will eat anything.  She's a thief, remember?  The problem this time was when she spit the item back out after chewing a couple of times, I was horrified to realize it was a piece of broken glass!  We checked her mouth really well and she didn't have any cuts that we could see, but seriously, what would possess a cat to even put a piece of glass in their mouth???  Oy vey. 

If Sassy were a child, she would most certainly be the one that caused her parents many sleepless nights.  I guess she lives up to her name, although she didn't act sassy at all at the shelter, or even for the first week we had her home.  Guess she figured she'd wait until she had us wrapped around her little paw before she showed her true colors LOL. 

And it's moments like these that keep her wrapped around that paw.  Isn't she just so cute in her little house?

On an unrelated note, I just realized that this is my 50th post.  I guess I've had a lot to say in the few short months that I've had my blog LOL.  No one has ever accused me of being the quiet one, that's for sure!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Work & Scraps & Nine Patches, oh my!

Work kept me pretty busy this past week as well as this weekend, but I did manage to squeeze in a bit of quilting time.  For a few of the evenings after work, I sketched out a quilt I want to make while watching TV.  The rest of the evenings were spent prepping my little 3 inch 9 patches for sewing into square in square units.  Echo closely supervised me while I was cutting the squares in half to make the triangles for the units. 

I don't mind Echo supervising because he's usually a hands off sort of supervisor.  He watches every movement very intently, but doesn't touch anything.  DH says he's "writing to the hard drive".  Sassy, on the other hand, is a micro manager, so she's not usually allowed to participate.

Here's what we had done after we finished the work pictured above...a box full of units waiting to be sewn.

And sew I did today.  In just a couple of hours, I was able to power all of the pinned units through the machine going first down one side, flipping the entire chain around, and then sewing down the other side and pressing both sides once the entire chain was sewn.  Most of the blocks were getting the first two sides sewn on, but a small stack had been ready for the second side.  This is where the project stands now.


You can see that the stack with the triangles on both sides has uneven edges.  This is on purpose.  The nine patch units are made from the leftover strips from a scrap club exchange back in 2003.  They were 1 1/2 inch strips, or they were supposed to be.  Some were actually a quarter inch too small, so the edges of some of the little 9 patches are very uneven.  There's not much room for fudge factor when they finish at 3 inches.  To resolve the discrepancies in size, I cut oversized squares in half from the stash of pre-cut squares.  That way I can trim the finished square in square units down to 5 inches.  As an added bonus, the finished blocks end up looking like the 9 patches are floating, which looks pretty cool.  This is an old UFO so I'm hoping to get the blocks done in the next week or so and then start laying out the top.

You might think that the "scraps" referenced in the post title refers to the scraps I used in the blocks above.  It does, but it also references these:

A fellow blogger was selling some of her scraps, which were mostly Free Spirit and Michael Miller fabrics.  My stash is severely lacking in large scale and modern prints, so these scraps are a nice addition to my stash.

And finally, Sassy started complaining when she saw that Echo got to be in the post, in the first picture no less, so I told her I would put in a picture of her as well.  God knows we have plenty of them.  Here's her supervising my work this week.  Actually, it looks like she's gone to sleep on the job.  Slacker.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Awesome day yesterday!

As planned, I did spend the day at Dawn's sewing and it was quite the productive day.  At the top of my list was to finish the color catcher string block top that I posted about here.  I finally decided on a layout, but needed 4 more blocks first.  I happened to have exactly 4 more color catcher foundations on hand from washing my aunt's quilt.  I pieced those first using the strings from the scrap bag I just finished cutting up to add variety to the strings I had already used.  Actually, I found out that I must have previously cut up some amount from that bag as some of the fabrics had already been used, so I think I got even more from the bag then I thought.

Here is the almost finished top.  I say almost finished because Dawn and I concluded that the yellow squares need some sort of applique in them as they are so large.  First we were thinking hearts, but those don't really go with the overall look or name of the quilt, which we are calling All That Jazz because it reminded her husband of New Orleans and Mardi Gras.  I already have a quilt named Mardi Gras so that name was out.  Then I thought of purple flowers with a yellow center, but that doesn't really go either, so now I'm thinking a square of the purple border fabric placed askew in each of the yellow squares.  What do you all think?  Any and all ideas are welcome.  Leave me a comment or send me an email with your opinions, please.

We took a break to go get lunch and while we were at it, we checked out a new quilt shop in our area.  It's really nice and we will definitely be back.  I picked up a few pieces to come home with me.  The pink was on sale for $6/yard, so great deal on that one and I definitely couldn't pass up lime with dots, or the geometric bright pattern.

And finally, if you are still reading, my DH called part way through the day and was confused that I had received a FedEx package.  He read me the return address and I knew it had to be the scraps that Thelma of Cupcakes 'n' Daisies had sent me.  We were chatting about scraps one day and I told Thelma that I would gladly take her scraps off her hands whenever she wanted.  Next thing I know she's offering me her bag of Faceted Jewels scraps.  Scraps that are Batiks to boot.  Of course I said yes immediately and the bag arrived yesterday.  I thought it was a quart size bag, but it was a GALLON ziploc and it was full.  And let me tell you folks, these are not scraps.  These are perfectly cut or pieced unit components that Thelma didn't use in her quilt, so the bag is actually more like a quilt kit then a bag of scraps.  THANK YOU THELMA!!!!  I already have 4-5 ideas swirling as to what to do with these pieces and once I decide, everything is ready to just sit down and sew.  Fun, fun.  I sorted all of the pieces and then put them back away in the bag while my ideas are marinating.  Here is what was in the bag.

Whew, what a great day yesterday, from start to finish.  I had planned to work today, but not sure how that's going to go.  I'm not motivated at all.  I have a massage later, which I desparately need, and I still have some household things to take care of before I can even get started on work, so there's not much of a window left at that point to get anything major done.  And the Oscars are tonight, so forget working after the massage.  So, I think maybe it will be a light day of work getting some billing done, always a good thing if I want to get paid, and maybe some "pre prep" work and corporate extensions.  Easy stuff.  And then back to the salt mines tomorrow.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Hit the wall yesterday/Echo's treadmill adventure

My last day off from work was February 6th and I finally hit the wall yesterday.  We are about half way through tax season and we have really been cranking the returns out, so I guess it was to be expected.  I had gotten back into my workout routine this week now that the Olympics are over, but I couldn't muster up the energy to do anything yesterday. 

I did get two good treadmill workouts in earlier in the week, and Echo even participated in one of them.  I read while I walk so I didn't even notice him until I felt something brush my leg as he went riding by.  Thankfully he was to my side or he probably would have caused both of us a serious amount of pain.  Then, in typical Echo fashion (more looks than brains), he tries to climb back on to the back of the treadmill...while it is still running .  Sigh.  Fortunately he didn't get hurt that time either and learned his lesson and moved a bit away to watch safely from a distance.

I did get a bit of sewing in earlier in the week on my Autumn Salsa blocks, but didn't take any pictures.  Today is quilting day at Dawn's and I am in the mood to sew, sew, sew, so I expect to have a full blog post tomorrow about my progress on various projects.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Happy 1st Birthday to Echo!

According to the Humane Society age estimate, Echo turns 1 year old today so this post is to wish him a Happy Birthday!  To celebrate, all of the other kitties got some of that stinky canned cat food they love so much.  Echo, on the other hand, completely turns his nose up at any canned food, so he got 3 nuggets of T/D, which is a prescription dental cat food that they only get as a treat since it is not only expensive, but very high in calories. 

Here's one of the best pictures of Echo we have gotten.  He's very hard to photograph with being all black.

Echo and Sassy have now been with us for 5 months, but it seems like much longer as they fit into the household as if they had always been here.  They both enjoy interacting with the dogs, something that none of the current or previous cats do or did much of. 

Echo is obsessed with playing with the dog food and was the first at the dishes this morning when they got filled.  He painstakenly selects just the right piece and then he's off and running with batting it across the floor, picking it up and moving it somewhere else, and then starting the process all over again. 

He's truly a joy to have around.  He gets along with all of the other animals and generally doesn't do anything he's not supposed to, other than laying on the TV receiver.  He's not much of a talker, but does protest loudly when you ask him to remove himself from the receiver.

He is my snuggler at night and gets as close as possible to me with his preferred position being snuggled up to my chest with his head tucked under my chin.  The only downside to his snuggling is that sometimes he takes a long time to decide on his perfect position and walks on my hair (thereby pulling it) and head while he's surveying the possibilities.  On occasion he actually chooses my head as the spot, at which time I am instantly awakened as I cannot breath through the weight and the fur.  So we renegotiate and he either finds a position that is acceptable to us both, or he leaves.  He is not a lap cat at all, but boy does he like his night snuggles and he starts purring LOUDLY the second his feet hit the bed and he continues purring until he's completely settled in and asleep.  He purrs so loud that you can actually hear him from across the room.

So Happy Birthday to Echo today.  I am so happy that he was at the Humane Society when we were looking for a new cat and that he selected us to be his family.  He is truly one of the best cats we've ever owned.