Sunday, May 30, 2010

Dishcloth Mania

My preferred handwork for the drive to and from Texas is either crocheting dishcloths or binding small quilts. Since I didn’t have the binding attached to the quilts for the drive out, I started working on some dishcloths. That got the crochet urge going again after being dormant for several months, so I’ve gotten more dishcloths done while we’ve been here.

Here are the ones I’ve finished so far. These will most likely end up as gifts or for charity. Either way I just enjoy making them and using up some of my dishcloth yarn stash.  I still need to finish off the ends, but I'll do that step for all of them in one sitting.  It's not my favorite thing to do, so I'll wait until I am watching a good movie to make it tolerable.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Clearing Cedar is Hard Work

First of all, I'd like to thank everyone who left comments re: the anonymous comment I received the other day regarding my husband's hunting activities.  While I haven't had enough time at McDonald's to both respond to comments and get my posts loaded, I have read them all and appreciate both your thoughts and your visiting my blog.  Also, as soon as I saw that comment, I changed the settings on my blog so anonymous comments are no longer allowed.  I figured I'd allow them until there was a problem and that time as now come.

And now on to current events.  The deer DH got his first morning of hunting pretty much gave us all of the meat we need right now (94 pounds total once the pork was added for the sausage!!!), so we have been working on little projects at the house since then. Yesterday we decided to head out to the ranch to clear cedar that has grown up in areas where we don't want it. That is some seriously hard work for this desk jockey. To add insult to injury, it was hot and there was no breeze, which is rare at the ranch. But we did get a lot done and also had a nice visit with our neighbor. He gave us a tour of their new house that should be finished in 8-10 weeks. It’s gorgeous and they have what I consider the best hilltop at the ranch on which they built their house. Consequently, they have stunning views. They plan to live there for at least the next 20 years, so it’s a worthwhile investment for them. We don’t plan to build on our property at the ranch as I don’t want to live that far from town. So we will save our pennies for our dream house closer to town.

As we were clearing the cedar, we had a couple of visitors. I was busy cutting and heard a noise behind me. I turned around to see a snake about 8 feet from me and raised about a foot off the ground. As soon as I turned around, it lowered itself and went back into the bush from which it came. We have only seen one other snake at the ranch, just like this one, which was a cream color with a small head and pointy tail, although the other owners have seen rattlesnakes, copperheads, and coral snakes. While this snake was kind of intimidating at over 3 feet in length, I was pretty certain that it was a harmless variety. Nevertheless, I kept an eye out for it. It did pop out again a bit later, but went right back in the bush.

I moved on to another tree nearby and noticed that it was hollow at the base with a large opening that would be perfect for something to inhabit, so I was being extra careful. Sure enough, here comes our friend again, or one just like it around the other side of the tree. We had to wait and watch it while it went through our entire work area, pass by my water bottle and then go back the direction from which it had come and then finally it left.  That was the last we saw of it for the rest of the day. If that snake was the original one I saw, it had already circled around behind us once. This one completely ignored us and just went about it’s tour of the area. Surprisingly, I didn’t panic during either sighting and didn’t even come close to screaming either time. I just calmly alerted DH to the presence of a snake. Had it been a rattlesnake, I most likely would have had a different reaction!! I’m thinking that it/them came out thinking there might be prey in the area after feeling the ground vibrations from us tossing the cut branches and limbs on the ground. I was armed with my large cutters so I wasn’t completely defenseless had it gotten aggressive, and DH was working with a machete so we probably could have handled it, although Steve Irwin we are not! As long as they leave me alone, I will leave them alone. 

I did a quick internet check of Texas snakes after we got back to town and we have concluded that the snake(s) we saw were definitely Eastern Yellow-Bellied Racers, which are indeed non-venomous.  I will spare you a picture from the internet, but please feel free to google for one on your own :-).

My next project is to water seal the back deck and DH is finishing putting rocks around the foundation. We may go back to the ranch tomorrow for more clearing, depending on if we think our muscles can handle it.

A Whole Pile of Quilts Ready for Binding

I got a bunch of small quilts quilted before leaving for Texas and I brought them and the bindings I had made, as well as fabric for a couple more bindings, with me to finish here. I’ve now got the rest of the bindings made and all have been attached. I finally came up with a way of finishing the binding with a final seam at the end without involving any rulers or drawing of lines on the fabric.

Here’s the pile of little quilts all ready for the hand sewing down of the binding. There are 6 quilts in the pile – my two little quilts from the Moda Blush charm pack (pieced in 2010), Sweet Sixteen (pieced in 2010), Halloween Cat quilt (UFO), Bargello quilt (UFO), and Playtime (pieced in 2010).

We’ve been having nightly visitors in our yard again this year. We have two white tail does that have come by each night. They show up when it’s almost dark, so this picture isn’t the best, but you can see them in the side of the yard.

DH also found this beautiful caterpillar while working in the yard. The white parts in the picture were actually lime green so it was very colorful.

He was also surprised by a black scorpion on one of the rocks he picked up.  He thought it was dirt initially.  Don't worry, he didn't get stung.  We know they have scorpions here, so we keep an eye out, just like at home, but we didn't realize that they had black scorpions as we've never seen one that color.  I took a couple of pictures of him/her on the rock, but I'll spare you those. 

For those of you needing a Sassy fix, here’s a picture of her examining the watermelon I bought to bring on the trip.  She's such a nosey nelly.  Always has to take part in everything.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Stash from Creations Quilt Shop

The stash enhancement is complete for this trip as I have maxed out my budget, but I got everything I wanted so I don’t feel that I missed out on anything. Creations has one of the best batik selections that I’ve ever seen, but I actually passed them up and barely glanced at them. Instead, I was focused on their Kaffe Fassett and dot fabrics. I managed to find some of both in the sale section so that was an extra bonus. Here’s my haul for the trip.

Kaffe Fassett fabrics with a few other Westminster designers thrown own, but mostly Kaffe:

Dot fabrics, some of which are also Kaffe Fassett, but I don’t plan to use them with the other Kaffe fabrics:

Bright fabrics and a cat pillow case kit that I couldn’t resist after seeing the sample.  Like you're surprised I bought something with cats!

Flannel fat quarters from the sale section. I have a specific plan for these, so hopefully they will get used soon.

Miscellaneous other fabrics. These were all from the sale section, even the batik.

We are heading out to the ranch right now to do some clearing of the growth that has occurred since we were here last year.  Nothing like some manual labor to get the blood pumping!!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Well It Took Five Months...

Having seen it happen to other bloggers, I figured it was only a matter of time before I received an Anonymous comment attacking me or the content of my blog. I have been blogging for nearly five months and had been safe from such comments until today. I told my husband when I initially posted about him being a hunter that I could possibly offend some people or lose some readers who were against hunting. If that applies to you, I respect your views, but I would ask that you also respect that my blog is not only about my quilting, but about my life, of which my hunter husband is obviously a big part.

“Anonymous” commented today on my post about my husband’s deer he got on Tuesday and suggested that not only I refrain from posting pictures of dead animals, which by the way I did not, nor did I ever intend to do, but to also limit my blog content to my quilting and homemaking activities. Seeing as they left the comment anonymously, I cannot respond to the poster personally, but would probably want to address this issue publically anyway since the comment was displayed publically.

My husband doesn’t kill wild game animals for sport. He’s a meat hunter and he does it to keep our freezers full. We consider it one of the ways we can eat more natural, organic food. I will assume that “Anonymous” must be a vegan that doesn’t eat any of “God’s creatures”, as she referred to them, because if she buys any meat at all, including tuna in a can, that simply means that someone else killed and packaged God’s creatures for her. I don’t mean to sound harsh, but those are the facts. The animals didn’t get into those packages on their own.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Hubby Had Competition for Bringing His Deer Home Today

Well, it appears that we have another new addition to the ranch and this time it’s not of the friendly sort. The good news is that DH went out at zero dark thirty this morning for his first morning of hunting and less than an hour into it he had dropped a Sika buck. This was the animal at the top of our list to get this year, so he was pretty happy until he tried to retrieve it and was chased away by bees. Turns out the deer dropped at the base of a tree inhabited by Africanized Bees. This is not something we’ve ever had at the ranch before and we certainly hope they are temporary residents that will be moving on soon.

I called our neighbor for help so there was at least a chance that someone could call 911 if they were swarmed. Long story short, it took them an hour, but the neighbor was finally able to get close enough to get a rope around the antlers. The guys then pulled the deer out with 50 feet of rope with the bees still following the deer for about 20-30 of those feet. DH got stung three times on the ear and neck, the only areas exposed on him, and the neighbor, dressed in shorts and a t-shirt didn’t get stung at all. Given how many times the two of them were run off by the bees, it’s a small miracle that they weren’t stung more times. I’m allergic to insect stings so I wouldn’t have been able to help even if I’d been there. Same goes for the neighbor’s wife. She’s more allergic than I am so she stayed far away.

Normally we take pictures of each animal, but by the time they got the deer out, it had been down for 2 hours and DH still had an hour drive to get it to town to the processor so they just loaded it up and he took off, so I never got to see what the deer even looked like.  As we are sitting here at McDonald’s where I’m posting this from, he tells me that when he walked up our road to get the van prior to retrieving the deer, he ran into the donkeys and they thought he was chasing them. He said the bigger one would turn around and scold him every once in awhile. The poor guy just couldn’t get a break today out at the ranch!

I did get pictures of the donkeys when we made a quick drive through the ranch on Monday. Unlike the bees, they are sort of friendly. They came walking towards the van, but then walked away when I got out to take pictures. We asked the neighbor and he said the donkeys and the llamas showed up a couple of months ago about the same time and no one seems to know where they came from.

When we encountered the donkeys and the llamas the first night, DH joked, “What’s next, a zebra?”

Well guess what? As we were leaving the ranch on Monday, sure enough, we saw a zebra! The ranch across the road from ours apparently has one. It was running with some Blackbuck Antelope. I managed to get one quick picture through the van windshield before they headed off behind the trees. Zoom in for a better look.

Oh, and I got my sewing space set up here and it’s even better than the setup I have at home. I must have expressed my excitement over this a few too many times as an hour or so after I got it all set up, DH stands in the doorway to the room and says “Baby, when I look in this room, it just takes my breath away.” Smart alec.

I do like it though. At home I am only able to set up my sewing machine in my sewing room because it’s actually the guest bedroom. I have to set up the ironing board elsewhere and I have to do my cutting on the kitchen island. The table here is even the correct height. At home I have to stand on phone books and at Dawn’s I have to stand on a step to work on her cutting table. I didn’t even buy the table. It came with the house so bonus for me.

Here’s my setup here at the house in Kerrville:

Monday, May 24, 2010

Interesting First Visit to the Ranch

We arrived in the Texas Hill Country late yesterday afternoon, so we headed out to the ranch last night just to check things out and see how things looked this year.  As expected, there has been a lot of growth since last year due to all the rain this year.  The wildflowers were in bloom everywhere.  Most of the time we've owned the land, it's too dry for the flowers.  This is only the second time we've seen this many and seen the prickly pear cactus in bloom as well.

We saw the usual white tail deer that hang around our property.  As we were walking down our road, this whitetail doe started to come bounding out of the brush when she suddenly saw us and about fell over backward trying to go back the direction from which she had come.  It was so funny.  She clearly wasn't expecting to encounter people.

When we got to our back meadow we noticed something grazing.  Hmmmm, that doesn't look like anything we've ever seen on our property before.  The ranch is about 1600 acres total, made up of about 15 landowners.  There's no internal fencing allowed so all of the animals can roam.  The wild game in residence are White Tail deer, Axis deer, Sika deer, Fallow deer, Blackbuck antelope, and Auodad sheep.  As of last year there were also a few long horn cattle.  But donkeys?  Not so much.  Yes, we found two donkeys grazing in our meadow so someone must of released them on the ranch.  We weren't told about it, so we'll have to ask our neighbor if he knows anything.

Speaking of the neighbor, we decided to go say hello after seeing the donkeys so we headed up their hill.  They weren't at their trailer so we decided to go check and see if they were in the house they are building, which is new since we were out last year.  What the heck????   There's a Llama in their yard!!!  Then we look down their hill and there's two more Llamas down there.  Just for the record, we don't have Llamas at the ranch either.  At this point we are about on the ground laughing.  We've got a Llama to our left and the donkeys have strolled up and they are to our right.  We never did find the neighbors to ask them about these new additions.  Who knows what else is new that we didn't encounter yet.  It's still dark when my husband goes out hunting in the morning.  Can you imagine if he'd enountered these in the dark.  He knows what to expect from the other animals on the ranch, but a Llama charging out of the bush at 6 a.m. could be quite a surprise. 

Saturday, May 22, 2010

I'm Leeeeeaaving on a Jet Plane

Don't know when I'll be back again.  Remember that song by John Denver?  I think I still have the album.  Yes, I said album.  I don't have anything to play it on, but why would that be a reason not to keep it? 

That's what I thought.

Anyway, I really am leaving, but that first part is a lie.  I'm not leaving on a jet plane.  I'm leaving in a mini van, but that doesn't sound nearly as glamorous, does it?   I didn't think so.  I mean, have you ever heard a song about leaving in a mini van?

And well, the second part is a lie too because I do know when I'll be back, or at least when we hope to be back, but I'll just surprise you with an announcement when that happens.

You see, we are heading out for our annual trip to our properties in Texas.  We have 60 acres of hunting property on a game ranch in the Texas Hill Country and my husband is going to do his hunting thing and hopefully fill the freezer for another year.  We have some really cool deer species and other animals on our property, so with luck I will have some good pictures to show you.  If not, I'll show prior years pictures.  We also purchased a little house in 2008 in Kerrville, the town we hope to retire to someday.  Kerrville is an hour from the ranch so I don't get to spend as much time at the ranch these days, but the house is only 15 minutes from Creations, one of the best quilt shops I've ever been to.  So, the vacation is a win-win for both DH and I, although I do miss staying on the ranch.  Until late 2008, we were able to rent a two bedroom house on the ranch and within walking distance of our property, but the owners sold it in 2008 so it's no longer available.  The amount of wildlife that I got to see on a daily basis out at the ranch was amazing, but we do still see some white tail deer in the yard at the house in town, so I'll take it.  It's better than nothing.

The last year that we were able to stay at the ranch there was a group of three young Sika deer that we saw frequently.  We figured they were siblings.  As we drove the ranch road before leaving the last morning, they were up near the road and I got some great pictures.  The young little buck was so curious and came even closer to the van when we stopped.  While the ranch is a hunting ranch, you aren't supposed to shoot from the road, so some of the deer don't tend to be as afraid of vehicles driving by slowly or stopping.  Even if they run, many times they stop and look back so it makes for some great animal watching. 

Here are some pictures from that morning.  You may not be able to tell, but one of the females is the dark chocolate color, one is the reddish color with light spots, and the male is obviously the reddish color with lot of spots.  The spots are one of the coat colors for this species.  You can see that the male is not a fawn.  He's got little antlers starting.

And here's a picture of them earlier that trip with what we assume is their mother, the larger chocolate female in the picture.

I am hoping to be able to blog some from Texas even if it means a trip to McDonald's to use the wi-fi.  Last year we got lucky and our neighbor didn't have his wireless network secure so we were able to use it.  If he hasn't changed the settings, we will ask him again this year if he minds us hopping on from time to time.

I got all of those little quilts quilted so I'm hoping to get them bound while we are in Texas, along with working on a few other projects.  I get a lot of hand work done in the car while DH is driving so binding little quilts or crocheting are usually my projects of choice for the drive.  If I can't post pictures while we are gone I should have bunches to show when we get back!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Long Tall "Bleeding" Clarification

While I was certainly perplexed by the amount of color in the color catcher sheets when I washed my Long Tall quilt, I want to clarify that there was NO actual bleeding in the quilt.  I think Wanda's comment today explained how that could be, so thank you to her for clearing up some of the confusion.

Like Wanda, I have never had a batik actually bleed.  In fact, I have a Jewel Box batik quilt on our bed that has been washed a number of times.  The background on the top is white with numerous dark batiks and there is not one spec of bleeding in that quilt, but the backing batik fabrics seem to release dye onto the color catcher sheets when washed, much like Long Tall did.  I thought that quilt was a fluke until the same thing happened with Long Tall.

So, the bottom line is don't be afraid to use those batiks! 

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Long Tall quilt is DONE!

I put the last stitches in my Long Tall quilt last night while watching The Good Wife.  Is that a great show or what?  DH and I both love it.

But I digress.  My quilt was made from this pattern.  It was a monthly strip club offering at a local shop.  Rather than use the jelly roll they offered, I used turquoise and purple batik strips from my 2 1/2 inch batik strip bin.  The background is a Hoffman 1895 batik - color Hyacinth and the border is Hoffman 1895 Agate.

Here's the back:

Check these out.  These are the two color catchers that I threw in just for extra insurance when I washed the quilt this afternoon.  Every fabric in this quilt was prewashed with Retaine and I washed the finished quilt in cold water with a cold rinse.  And I still got this:

I can't imagine what they would have looked like if I hadn't prewashed.  YIKES.  I know batiks have excess dye, but you would think that after prewashing, as well as rinsing, nothing should be left.  The interesting thing is that I always check the water when I prewash to make sure that it's clear before I dry and use the fabrics so I thought I was safe.  As long as I use Retaine, it always seems to be clear, so I'm not sure where all of the extra purple came from during this wash cycle.  Oh well.  Thank goodness for the color catchers.

On an unrelated note, do you see anything wrong with this picture?

One of Sassy's other new tricks is to jump onto the top of that big pot next to the baker's rack.  She does it so quietly that we don't know she's there until she starts messing with the sticks that are in the pot.  She's already broken one.  Sigh.  That pot is about 4 feet high and at least 10 years old and we've never had to worry about it until now.

But, she gets away with pretty much everything because many other times she looks like this and is so cute and entertaining.

I thought this little scene was interesting as well.  Echo apparently decided to do one of his snuggle fests with Sassy and ended up laying right on top of her.  What you can see from top to bottom is Echo's head, one of Echo's front legs, then one of Sassy's back legs, Echo's other front leg, Sassy's other back leg, Sassy's tail, and then finally one of Echo's back legs.  I thought it was pretty funny how they alternated.  While they were laying there, Echo was very nicely washing Sassy's feet and tail for her.  I did check to ensure she was breathing since he does weigh more than double what she does.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Pet Quilts/Pillows

Visit me today at Stash Manicure to check out some of the pet pillows and quilts that I've made for the animal shelters, in addition to the ones I finished recently.  Hope to see you there!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Quilting Thread Stash/Thread Review

I spent last weekend preparing quilts for quilting.  In addition to finishing UFO's, I'm trying to prevent any new quilt tops I make from becoming UFO's waiting for the quilting and binding.  Over the last couple of years I've really built up my quilting thread stash so when I have a batch of quilt tops ready for quilting I break out my thread stash and start auditioning.  While I had everything out for this last batch, I thought it would be fun to share my thread stash with you.

First up is my Essentials thread stash, with a few others thrown in this box.  My entire Essentials thread collection was my Christmas gift from my sister last year.  The colors are just yummy and the threads I've used so far have been wonderful.  You can check them out here.  They run sales on their thread, so keep an eye out.  My sister picked up all of the sets I requested at 30% off last November and that sale ran through January I believe.  Also in this box are a few Valdani threads that I haven't used yet, overflow of my piecing thread that didn't fit in it's assigned container, and five spools of YLI thread that didn't fit in their box.

Next up is my King Tut thread stash.  With the exception of 8 spools that I purchased in February during a 30% off sale and a couple of random spools purchased separately, the rest of this thread was purchased for either 50 or 70% off during a quilt shop closing in late 2008.  At those prices it was definitely worth building up a stash.  The colors are gorgeous and this thread quilts up great.  If you want to check out this thread, go here.

Next up we have my Sulky rayon, Gutermann cotton, and DMC embroidery threads.  These were the first machine quilting threads I bought before I really knew what I was going to do with them.  I bought them during great sales at Joann's and thought it would be great to have a lot of colors.  I have used some of the rayons for machine quilting and they are wonderful.  The DMC embroidery thread did well for quilting as well, although I probably wouldn't buy it again for that purpose as it's pretty thin, but it works well for small quilts that won't get a lot of abuse.  I'm currently using the rayons and the Gutermann for machine applique and they are working great for that purpose as well.

The next picture shows my Robinson Anton 50 wt Cotton collection.  When I bought my first Janome MC6600 the dealer threw in this box of thread.  It's a nice thin 50 wt cotton thread.  I used this thread for the first time in December and it quilted beautifully.  Of course, every thread I've tried in my machine has worked beautifully.  That's one of the things I absolutely love about my machine.  It pieces and quilts with any thread I want to use and I never have tension problems.  Also in this drawer is a large spool of Coats & Clark variegated that I bought at Joann's for a specific quilt.  I had no trouble with that thread either and I used it on both the top and in the bobbin. 

This next box contains my YLI thread stash, all variegated colors.  This is a 40 wt machine quilting thread.  The colors are YUMMY and it quilts up just great.  It's a bit thicker than the King Tut, but it's not bulky at all.  With the exception of the 10 spools I just got on sale, and a few others I purchased separately, most of these threads were again a gift from my sister for Christmas a couple of years ago.  A good source for these threads is Red Rock Threads.  I've ordered from them and my sister also got my YLI gift threads from them.  The prices are good and their service is great, although I noticed when pulling the link that the price of these threads has gone from $4.99 to $5.75.  Hmmm, I wonder why.  Their King Tut price is still the same, so the manufacturer must have raised prices for the YLI.  Anyway, they have a great thread selection overall and reasonable shipping costs.  Many of the random threads that I have, like the Valdani and Presencia, were ordered from them so I could try out a number of different threads without having to order from multiple places.

This last container is what I originally bought to store my thread stash.  Clearly I have outgrown it LOL.  This container now holds my hand quilting thread, my invisible thread, my Coats & Clark variegated collection from Joann's, which quilts very nicely I might add and is very reasonably priced, as well as other random threads.

And finally, I wanted to show you the containers I purchased last December after receiving all of those Essentials threads and having no where to store them.  I found these cardboard boxes at Hobby Lobby for 50% off during the Christmas season.  They are perfect for storing my threads and they are decorative too.  I only see the sides when they are stored, so I don't care that they have Christmas tops.  Actually, I wouldn't care anyway :-).  One is a bit shallower than the other and was just the right depth for the YLI collection.  The taller one is just the right depth for the Essentials and Coats & Clark piecing thread spools which are taller.  They have lids that go all the way down the sides so they are pretty sturdy.  If you go back to the first picture in my post you can see one of the lids in the background laying on it's side.


So that's the tour of my thread stash. Hope you enjoyed it and maybe found some new threads to try in your quilting.  Oh, and keep an eye out for some finishes soon.  I have been a busy little beaver in my sewing room and should have something to show for it soon.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Pet Quilts Finished and Ready to Donate

One of my 2010 goals was to finish the pet quilts I had in progress.  I accomplished that recently.  These aren't the best ones I've done because I didn't think through the edging.  I didn't want to spend the time doing traditional binding for quilts that are going to the animal shelter so I ended up just zigzagging twice around the edge.  I'm not sure how that will hold up, but if they get even some use out of them, I'll be happy. 

I made these quilts to use up some older fabric and to practice my machine quilting skills.  I accomplished both of those things, so if they are short lived so be it.  They are nothing special, but here they are.  We are going on vacation in less than to weeks, so I will give them to our cat sitter for drop off at the Arizona Humane Society.  She volunteers there on practically a daily basis, so I know they will make it there.

And speaking of the pets, I have been taking lots of pictures lately and then haven't gotten around to blogging about any of them, so I'll throw a couple in here.

First up is a picture of Koda and Echo hanging out.  I don't know which one was there first, but it's not unusual for them to lay near each other.  They've always been good buddies.  Koda has always been fascinated with Echo, and Echo doesn't mind the dogs at all, maybe because they were his first friends here.  Both he and Sassy had to be quarantined from the other cats for two weeks due to kitty colds, but the vet said they could interact with the dogs so we introduced the dogs while they were in quarantine.  A few days ago, Koda even allowed Echo to not only lay by him while he was chewing a bone, but then lay on the bone so Koda couldn't get to it.  Koda tries to play with Echo sometimes, like he's another dog, and Echo just bats at him like he would a cat and they both get a little confused by the other's behaviour and finally give up.

And here's Sassy curled up sleeping, or at least that's what she appears to be doing.  She's probably just figuring out what to get into next.  She's learned a few new tricks lately that aren't good.  I have been meaning to write about them, but have been so busy lately that I haven't gotten as much blogging done as I would have liked.  But, I have been getting lots of quilting and household projects done, as well as work stuff, so it's definitely been productive around here.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Stash Enhancement

I've done a lot of stash enhancement the past couple of weeks so thought I'd share my booty with all of you.  I didn't plan to get all of these things at once.  It just sort of happened to work out that way.  Really!

A couple of days before my last quilting day at Dawn's I finally received my Schnibbles times two book that I had pre-ordered from Amazon.  When I got home that day I found not one, but two more packages waiting for me.  One of the packages held the other Miss Rosie book I'd pre-ordered, Spice of Life Quilts.  I've read the Schnibbles book cover to cover and it's excellent.  I've flipped through the Spice of Life book and it looks good too.  The Schnibbles book has much more of a "Carrie Nelson" feel than the other, but I think that's typical of books published by Leisure Arts.  They seem to be more standardized and don't have as much room devoted to narrative by the designers.  But, the quilts are still great in that book as well.

The second package contained the beautiful fat quarters that I purchased from Linda.  They are absolutely wonderful and check out the great quilty card she sent with them.

You may also recall that I mentioned in my Binding Party post that Dawn and I had made a quilt shop run that day.  I hadn't intended to purchase anything, but I found some great bargains and then drew an additional 15% discount at the register.  They were having a celebration for the new Janome sewing machine that came out so each customer got to draw for an additional 5 - 15% discount at the register.  And no, I wasn't even tempted by the new machine!!!  The additional features that the new machine has that my machines don't aren't important to me and certainly aren't worth double the cost. 

But I digress.  My point was to show you the bargains that I got that day.  I got these 10 fat quarters for $1.25 each, before the additional 15%, and the thread was marked down to $3.50/spool because they are closing out their YLI thread inventory.  I got two remnants, but only have the wrapper left for one of them because I had already cut it up for a binding, which I've actually changed my mind about, but that's a story for another day.  They even took the 15% off of the sales tax, so all of this was less than $20, including tax.  Can't beat that.

And now for the very best part - free stash!  As part of the celebration, the shop had a jar of bobbins and each customer could put in a guess as to how many were in the jar.  I filled out my little paper, dropped it in, and promptly forgot all about it.  Which was why I was completely lost when the shop called several days later to tell me that I had won the bobbin contest.  I'm thinking "what bobbin contest?"  I finally got with the program and got up to speed in time to find out that I had won a $25 Gift Certificate for guessing the closest.  I almost guessed exactly.  How cool is that.  The actual total was 225 and I guessed 228. 

So of course I had to make another trip back to the shop to get my GC.  I went up last Friday and during that trip I picked up 8 more spools of the YLI thread and a couple of new batiks, which I don't think were even out the previous Saturday when we were there.  Oh, and the most important purchase - a pair of long tweezers.  I decided this was priority purchase #1 after deep cleaning my sewing machine the Sunday before without such a tool and realizing that it would have been quite handy. 

I was pretty darn happy to find these. 

Until I found an even longer pair on Saturday that I apparently already had, buried in a basket at home.  In my defense, I did not purchase the first pair, nor had I ever used them, or I would have remembered that I had them.  They came with the house we purchased in Texas a couple of years ago, which is a great story, but one that will have to wait for another time. 

Anyway, here is my loot from the second trip to the shop.  Oh, and the GC itself was in that turquoise envelope in the middle of the picture.  Isn't it great?

Oh, and for those of you with laptops and cats, please make a note that a cat laying behind the laptop is not necessarily a good thing.  As I was typing this post, the fan on the laptop suddenly started running so loudly that I could hear it above the TV.  As I picked up the laptop to investigate, I realized that Tyrone was not just laying behind the laptop.  He was laying flat against it and had been blocking the vents, which had become very, very hot.  Yikes.  Of course he slept through the entire thing and didn't even lift his head to see why his backrest had moved.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Another Small Finish

I finished sewing down the binding on this little quilt while watching TV on Tuesday night so I can check another UFO off the list.  This one is also fairly old.  My journal tells me that I made the top in January 2004.  It was the sample for a beginning paper piecing class that I was teaching.  I finally quilted it last December and now it is bound and ready to use.  It's about 28 x 28 in size.  The details of the quilting are in this post.

And here's the back.  The backing is the same blue fabric used on the front.  It's a fun little palm tree print.

I also got a couple more pet quilts quilted last night and have one left to finish.  I hope to do that today.  I use these little quilts to practice my free motion quilting skills and then I donate them to the animal shelters.  But first I have to go review the health and dental insurance info we received and complete new applications.  Can you say yuck?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A Small Finish

I put the final stitches in the binding of this little quilt last night.  The top has been finished since late 2006, but the history of the quilt goes back all the way to 2002.  I originally planned to make a mini jewel box quilt, but I wasn't pleased with how it was turning out, so the components of that quilt got set aside.  In 2005 I repurposed the four patch units into this little quilt and finally selected a border from my stash in late 2006.  Such a long time just to get this little quilt to flimsy stage!

I got it quilted in December 2009 during my quilting frenzy and now it's bound and ready to use.  It's a nice size for a small table topper or wallhanging. 

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Binding Making Party

I spent yesterday at Dawn's and my goal was to get binding made.  Which I did.  Miles and miles of binding. 

I got the binding made for Long Tall using the same fabric as the border fabric:

And for Strings from Stash.  I used the same light teal fabric as was used for the inner border.  I figured I would just link to this one since you've since this quilt a number of times recently.

Then I made the binding for this little top, now called Sweet 16, using the same fabric as the border fabric.

And finally, I made the binding for these little quilts:

I ended up using a brown civil war print for the binding that I got in the Fat Quarter Shop grab bag box rather than the pink dot shown above.

And finally, I was going to use that same brown print to bind these little coasters I am making from the leftovers from the two quilts above, but Dawn and I made a quilt shop run for some border fabric for her and I found a cute little remnant that was perfect, so I used that instead to make the binding for the coasters. 

Here's all my bindings ready to sew on the quilts.  The brown one in the middle is the remnant piece.  I also find it funny that the purple batik binding looks smaller than the teal binding when it's actually longer.  Batiks just press so much flatter.

The little quilts still need to be basted and quilted, but I'm hoping to get the binding machine stitched on the two large quilts today.  Right after I clean my sewing machine.  The tech told me it was really easy to take the bottom off and clean myself, so I'm going to give it a whirl.   

Oh, and here's a couple of kitty pics for those of you visit for those :-).  First we have the two boys enjoying the view from the front door yesterday morning. 

And Sassy relaxing on the kitty house.

And I actually got a good picture of Maya the other day with one of her bones so I'm sharing that too.