buriedinscraps

Decide what to be and go be it.

Hippie

peaceEvery once in a while you have to step outside of your comfort zone.  Not saying you have to take a giant leap…but every once in a while you have to tip-toe away from what’s comfortable.  So, I walked away from my reproduction prints for a project.

Mickey Depre (of Pieced Hexie fame!) was at our guild meeting.  She shared some of her bright, fun quilts.  I thought…Hey! I could do that.  Yeah…but did I want to.  The next day at work, I kept doodling this little wall hanging idea.  Hmmm….it needed brights.  Civil War prints are anything but bright.  My considerable stash wasn’t going to be very helpful.  So I knew I had to beg, borrow and steal from my sister and MiniQuilter.  I knew if I asked MQ she’d let me shop in her stash.  But if she said no, I guess I’d just steal when  she wasn’t looking. ;-)  Even though it wasn’t really my style, I drew up the design and started to cut shapes.  Here’s what I came up with:

hippieCan you tell I channelled my inner hippie with this one?  Definitely not my usual stuff.  Bright colors and applique no less!

Got it all pieced together and started to cut away some of the background and guess what!

hippie2I cut away a little bit too much!!  Enlarge the photo and see what I mean.

I laid the quilt on the floor to take these photos and something just doesn’t look right. Like a bolt out of the blue I see it!  The darn “a” is backwards.  My husband says “Change it.”  I say “Peace out, man.  It’s just doin’ it’s own thing.”

hippie3

I’m thinking about maybe adding some crystals in the upper left.

Now, here’s my question….do you think it needs another small border?  Maybe something a little less busy?

Catching up….

When last we spoke, I was bemoaning the fact that my creative muse up and hit the road!  I believe she has found her way back to me.  Welcome back, little muse!

It’s funny how things can make you think of quilts.  I was driving home from work a few weeks back and heard “Sweet Baby James” by James Taylor on the radio.  It made me think of a quilt I made a while back.  It was back in the day when I (and many others) was enamoured by the Jane Stickell quilt.  I was determined that I was going to make one for myself…all 200 plus tiny blocks.  How hard could it be?  Pretty hard actually.   At least pretty time-consuming.  Then I saw where others were making smaller versions….Baby Janes.  I could do that!  And I did.  The song kept going through my head ….. “deep greens and blues are the colors you choose”.  So I chose deep greens and blues and made my own little Baby Jane.  Here’s my Sweet Baby Jane.

baby_jamesLast summer, my sister and I made another quilt for the veteran’s home.   It was my job to quilt it.  I was going to fmq on my Bernina but I was talked into using my Juki on the frame.  I’ve discussed my Juki/frame here before…when it works, it’s wonderful!  When it doesn’t, I make up swear words.  Let me tell you, I made up some doozies!  It began by lulling me into a false sense of security…things went rather smoothly for a while.  I was flying!  Then the thread started to break.  I’m OK with a little thread breakage…not every six inches.  Then the machine started to drag.  It was hanging up on the frame somehow.  Couldn’t figure it out.  The answer soon emerged when the crazy carriage fell off the rails.  Think that was what was dragging? :-)  It took my husband and I a half an hour to get it back on track.  Started to stitch again and got the mother of all thread nests.  It was a nest for an ostrich!  Walked away from it for a week.  Came back and tried to remove the nest.  I had to cut it from the quilt and then take the  machine apart to remove all of the thread.  Cleaned it, oiled it and guess what!  It stitched really pretty after that.  We have a love/hate relationship!

charityHere’s the quilt.  I’m sure that all of my aggravation will be appreciated.

bookAnd last, but not least, I’ve jumped on the hexie bandwagon.  Given my aversion to hand sewing I was sure this parade would pass me by.  Then Mickey Depre came to our guild meeting.  If you haven’t seen her Pieced Hexie book click here and take a peek!  I stitched these all the way to Fort Lauderdale and back last week.  They really are fun….and addictive.  Begin at your own risk!!

hexiesAny other late-comers want to join me on the hexie bandwagon?

Musings….

My creative muse disappeared.  She skyed up, walked out, took a hike, flew the coop.  Like Elvis, she left the building….and headed for parts unknown leaving me with piles and stacks of projects.  I tried looking for her but I couldn’t find her.  I think she was on that ill-fated cruise ship that had to be towed into Alabama where she had a case of the vapors and took to her bed.  But I think it’s time she came home.

I know I took her for granted–started project after project–finishing few of them.  No wonder she left!  I wore her out.  I picked through my mountain of projects in various stages of completion hoping one would talk to me.  But none appealed to me and I couldn’t start a new one without her.

So I picked up my camera and began to photograph anything and everything.  Everything except quilts. Here are some of those photos.

As much as I love photography–freezing that split second in time forever–I love quilts just as much.

So, I’ve been venturing downstairs once again, looking at the piles of projects and trying to decide in which order to finish them.  Maybe, then, without the distraction of unfinished business, my muse will return.

Wait a minute!  I hear someone at the door!

I feel crummy today…

My sister started it.  She started making crumb blocks.  And, like the lemming I am, I jumped right in after her.  I’ll admit that I was resistant at first.  Why would I want to sew little scraps together all willy-nilly?  I’m a symmetrical person fo cryin’ out loud!  I love need balance.  (my nine-year old grandson asked me Saturday if I knew what symmetry was.  Unfortunately, at times, I know all too well!)  So, the thought of grabbing a couple of scrap pieces out of a basket and making them fit gave me fits.  And what if one of the scraps was, say, a Christmas fabric…in a non-holiday themed quilt.  My quilting OCD wouldn’t let me do that.  Oh dear!  I told myself this would drive me batty(er) and I don’t need the stress.

And my sister kept talking about her crumb blocks.  How much fun they were.  How cool they were. How many quilt tops she made.  I tried to resist.  I really did.  But resistance was futile.  I jumped in.  At first I just sewed them as leaders and enders.  A snippet here….a square there.  A strip along the Flying Geese that didn’t fly right.  Uh oh….this was fun!

So I started to look forward to the crumb blocks more than the project blocks.  And then…(dramatic pause)…I put the project away and made crumb blocks.  Not a million, but quite a few.  I found myself going through my large scrap baskets and cutting smaller pieces and locating all of those orphan half square triangles.

crumb_pileI think this is what we all need at times…some mindless sewing.  The kind that’s very forgiving.  The kind that doesn’t count mistakes.  The kind where mistakes like my wonky Flying Geese can find a home.  We all need crumb blocks.

blocksWant to see how to make them?  Click here to visit Bonnie Hunter’s blog.

Let me introduce you….

….to my new grandson, Danny O’Day.  Isn’t he cute?  Yeah, I know….

dannyAs much as my grandson, MarioFan loves Mario, he loves ventriloquism more.  I’m not sure where this comes from…we never dropped him on his head.  Maybe from the other side of his family. ;-)  Anyway, all he wanted for Christmas was a ventriloquist dummy…with an upgrade.  I have no idea what that upgrade was, but I guess Santa did because this was under the tree.  We’ve been tortured lucky enough to have seen several shows and now he’s taking his show on the road..to the other grandma’s house.

His dad decided that Danny needed a travel upgrade also.  Instead of traveling in a grocery bag, my son (Would that make him Danny’s grandfather?)  thought Danny needed a case.  He searched for directions to make one to no avail.  Buying one would be very expensive.  So, who’s the dummy?  The one inside the case or the one buying it?  He settled on a suitcase he bought at the thrift shop.  It was in great shape…but it was moss green.  So, he spray painted it black.  Next issue was how to secure Danny in the case…don’t want my newest grandson to be injured!  Here’s where I come in.  I made pillows for either side and one for his sweet, plastic head.  Then I stapled some Velcro to the ribbon straps inside so they could be pulled tight across his body.  All that’s left to do is to make some travel stickers for the case and we’ll be cookin’ with gas!

caseThat is the extent of my sewing lately.

As for any other sewing, still in a bit of a funk.  I did pull some fabrics for a New York Beauty block but that’s as far as I got.  I keep looking at them.  And with my best Scarlett O’Hara voice, I say “I won’t think about that today.  I’ll think about that tomorrow.”  Sometimes I love how Scarlett thinks!

In a funk…

I’m in a funk.  I hate funks!  But I’m in a funk. 

lackadaisical-184714I had every intention of telling you about my third grandchild.  I was going to show you the crumb blocks that my sister made me make.  I was going to show you New York Beauty blocks that I completed.  But I didn’t do any of that.  Because I feel like that little turtle.  I’m on my back and no matter how hard I roll around I can’t seem to get upright.  I spin to the right and I spin to the left and nothing happens.  (Insert deep sigh here)   I believe that it happens to everyone once in a while and we help each other out of it.  It’s just no fun when it’s you!!  It appears that my creativity is on hiatus.   My imagination is on vacation.  And here I sit, waiting for it to come home. :-(

Anyone out there have a stimulus?  A kick in the pants? A smack upside the head?

Look here!!

Look what I got for $6 a bag!!

fabricLast week I saw a post at Inspired by Antique Quilts about scrap bags.  I had to check it out.  I couldn’t get to the site fast enough!  The last thing I need is more fabric, right?  Don’t judge me…you know you do the same thing! :-)  But I’m a sucker for scrap bags.  I love the mystery.  Crazy, huh?  I feel like a kid when I open them up…Whadyaget? Whadyaget?  These are particularly wonderful because I could choose repro fabrics as opposed to an eclectic mix that I probably wouldn’t use.  Opening the bag and seeing all the little snippets of textile joy brought a smile to  my face.  Big pieces, little pieces, strips and squares all waiting for a spot in some wonderful quilt!  (Of course, knowing me, they have a little bit of a wait.  Maybe they have brought their knitting!)  I take them all out and fold and refold them and envision them in projects.  (I’ve already designated a few for my MarioFan’s quilt.)  And what trip to a quilt shop (online or brick and mortar) would be complete without a trip to the clearance area.  Many a backing is found here!  And I didn’t disappoint.  Found a few things I liked there also!  If you love scrap bags as much as I do, click over to Homestead Hearth and have a look.

Oh yeah!  And look what I found on my porch Friday!

canonAnother learning curve!!!

Alas Zippy…we knew you well.

This is all that remains of the second incarnation of Zippy the Monkey.

zippyYeah, I know…he scares me, too!  Zippy belongs to my boss (Hi, Beth!) who has had him for 59 years.  Over those 59 years, he’s lost an ear and a nose and a hand.  Apparently, as a child, whenever she was upset with her mother, she would chew on Zippy.  I suppose it was cheaper than therapy!  Zippy appeared on my desk last week.  In a moment of weakness or insanity, I said I would try to fix him.  I promise you that I do not partake of the grape before leaving for work…although it’s the only real reason I can think of for the offer. :-)  So, I’m looking at poor, little Zippy and trying to figure out where to start.  Perhaps a match? ;-)

origina;For those of you, who are too young to remember Zippy, this is what he should look like!  We’ll see what we end up with!

nybAnd for my friend and partner in crime, here’s the latest of my New York Beauty blocks.  I only have four completed and many more to go.  But now, with the holidays behind me, I can get back to my machine.  Oh how I wish I could train my husband to remove the paper from the back.  Suppose I could get someone who needs community service?

I’ve been working on the quilt for MarioFan.  I’m really enjoying this one.  I believe I need twenty blocks and I have four finished.  They go together nicely.  After the Grandma nightmare, it’s refreshing to enjoy piecing once again!  Now to get back to free motion quilting.  I’m afraid you’ve all left me in the dust!

UNCLE!!

That’s it!  I’m crying “Uncle!”.

hairI’m officially throwing in the towel on Grandmother’s Choice. I love my Grandma and I love all of the grandmas that fought so hard so I could vote and have equality.  But this grandmother is choosing to move on to another project.  I think I have sewn each block on this project at least twice.  And, no I’m not making two quilts.  I’m estimating that by the time I’ve cut and recut and sewn and “unsewn” that I’ve constructed each block at least twice….some of them more.  I don’t consider myself a quilting idiot but I just can’t get these blocks to turn out the correct size without stretching the bejesus out of them.  And then they’re all distorted.  I don’t know if it’s my measurements or if it’s her trying to fit a nine inch block into an eight inch square.  Don’t know.  I just know that I can’t be that bad every week.  I think I made the Capitol T block at least three times…literally.  The first one was not quite right so I tried it again.  The Flying Geese were flying out of formation!  Recut them…three times.  Resewed it and it was even smaller than the first.  I’m sooo tired of wasting good fabric.  So, I’m officially outta there!  Movin’ on up and all that good stuff…

If Barbara Brackman is reading this (and I’m pretty sure she isn’t. :-) ) I still love ya!  And I plan to sew along with the new Civil War block of the month tomorrow.  But quilting is supposed to be enjoyable and for me, this isn’t! :-(

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!  Yes, it’s that time again; where we look back and reflect on the good times as well as play woulda, coulda, shoulda.  Then we make our resolutions only to have them become a far away memory by February.  I don’t know about you but I’ve long since given up on New Year’s resolutions.  Who needs the pressure! :-) By the end of January I was beating myself up because I hadn’t done enough to change the world.  So I haven’t made one for many years.

But there’s something about this year that’s making me want to make a “strong suggestion” to myself this year.  You get to that point where you realize you have a whole lot more years behind you than you have in front of you.  And I want to spend those years healthier than I am now.  I have no real health issues and I want to keep it that way!  This is the year that I hope to lose those crummy 15 pounds I’ve been playing with the past few years, eat a healthier diet (bye-bye processed food…except wine :-)) and maybe actually exercise!   OMG…I said the “E” word!  I’m also looking into yoga.  Not promising anything.  Not “resolving” anything.  Just strongly suggesting to myself that this is the year I  take control of me.  Those in my house can come along for the ride if they dare!

We saw the movie “Lincoln” last night (short review–great movie..go see it!) and at one point toward the end, Abe turns to his wife and says “We need to try to be happier.”  And that will be my mantra this year…I need to try to be happier.  I’m not terribly unhappy, but I could be happier.  And it’s my goal to do just that!  Fortunately, quilting makes me happy!

I’ve been working on a quilt for MiniQuilter for over two years.  Took me forever because it was hand-embroidered.  The top is finally put together and it’s awaiting quilting.

basket_blockShe loves the 30s fabrics and this quilt pattern was perfect for them.  I was originally going to send the quilt out to be quilted, but I think Grandma should quilt it.  So that is my goal.  And I DO resolve to finish this quilt!

basket_quiltI can’t give her this quilt until I make one for her brother.  (Good thing I only have two grandchildren!)  I’ve been looking for a pattern for a quilt for MarioFan without much luck.  I was in the grocery store with my husband and thumbed through McCall’s American Loves Scrap Quilts and there it was! Paper Chain!

paper_chainI think it’s a perfect pattern for a boy’s quilt.  The picture of the finished quilt is a page from the magazine and the block is my test block.  It went together really well and pretty quickly.  I’m thinking I want to make it basically in blues and browns with a little bit of green and/or red.  I’m kind of excited!  The new year needs a new project!  And I resolve to finish this one also!

chain_blockWhat are your quilting resolutions….or “strong suggestions”?

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