Sunday, August 19, 2012

Yesterday Was A Good Day!

The blue looks so dark - almost black in this photo.
Look at the progress I have made on my Stars & Nines quilt - I am very happy! I made the 9 patches earlier in the day yesterday and in the evening I joined up with Bonnie Hunter and her quilt cam, along with many other quilters, and while I watched and listened I made some star blocks. I do like it so far, even though the blocks look quite big to my eye. I designed this quilt with plain borders but that may change as I get closer to seeing the blocks all finished and sewn together. It may or may not call out to me for a different border treatment - we will see how that goes.

It was a lot of fun sewing along with Bonnie, but I fear that she will not get very much done during her broadcasts and her productivity will go kaput. She has so many people joining in that it really is a huge quilting bee. Thank you Bonnie - it is so much fun!!

Sunday's are usually one of my busiest days for getting stuff done around the house in anticipation of the new work week. I usually bake a loaf bread, get laundry done, and take care of as many things as I can to lessen the burden during the week., I think I will just take another day off and just do the minimum that I can get away with. I plan to go back into my sewing room and have another relaxing day to myself, well as much to myself as possible while still house-training a sweet but saucy little puppy!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Red Crumb Blocks

My red crumb blocks are coming along nicely. I started working on them yesterday and I finished making this batch of 41 today. That means only 27 left to make for the 9 patches that go into my Stars & Nines quilt.  I don't think I will make any more crumb blocks today but I will make 9 patch blocks out of these. Maybe, I will get some star blocks made too. I plan on having an easy day with lots of down time to spend sewing and maybe even a nap! I am not going to cook today....we will have hot dogs and leftover pasta salad for supper. The past couple weeks have been quite hectic - with working, processing and freezing the abundance of beans and tomatoes from the garden, looking after the new puppy and just taking care of the all stuff that needs to be done. Add in the fact that I added one whole year to my age all in one day last week has me feeling a bit drained to say the least.

On Thursday night, I was able to watch Bonnie Hunter on her quilt cam and it kept me entertained while I made a pasta salad (I made extra for us while I was at it - I adjust the vegetables based on what I have available) for my husband to take to work for a pot-luck lunch on Friday. I had completely forgotten that I had committed to making it for him and late in the evening my husband asked me if it was ready. Yikes!

When I saw Bonnie's post that she was going 'on air' again last night I was so going to sew along but a couple gin & tonics got in the way. My husband and I were working together in the kitchen making a big batch of breaded pork chops for dinner and for freezing and he made me a couple drinks to sip on while we cooked and hung out together. I completely forgot that I wanted to sew along with her but I am sure there will be many more opportunities later.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tiny Tuesday

Look how misaligned everything is!
I started working on this block last week and I just didn't get it finished. It wasn't for a lack of trying that is for sure. I have had so much trouble with this $$#@#$$$ block. I have taken the pieces apart a couple times and sewn them back together and I still cannot make it fit like it should. I did try to add on the background squares and triangles a couple times both by machine and by hand and I just cannot do it!

Even adding the triangles was near impossible!
I am pretty sure I am having so much trouble because this Midget Block (#62) is called Liberty Star and I am not making it in the traditional colours of red/white/blue so it is staging a rebellion! I do like the fabrics I have chosen and I will use them for the next version as well.

I will remake it sometime this week but I will just hand-piece the whole thing and forget about the paper-piecing portion completely.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Stars & Nines Bits of Progress

Yesterday I did manage to get a little bit done on these quilt blocks. Certainly not as much as I had hoped but I keep telling myself at least I did something. I hope to cut some of the dark blue border triangles tonight so I can see how it will look once I add more of the dark blue fabric and I need to get at making the crumb blocks because this is all I have available.

The reason I didn't make much progress on the quilt blocks is this.

Ignore the mud - it has been raining and it is mucky everywhere!
I thought I was finished in the kitchen when my husband brought in the tomatoes and beans - yikes - more to do. I didn't touch the beans but I did start working on the tomatoes. Amy from Amy's Passions had put a call out for tomato recipes and Amanda from Amanda's Musings offered up the recipe for Nigella Lawson's  Moon Blush Tomatoes. It sounded so good and easy to me so I thought I would try it out. I changed things up a bit by adding other seasonings but basically I followed the recipe.
Do you see my h-u-g-e mistake?
Everything was fine but my oven did cool after only a few hours so I reheated to 425 F and once it reached the temperature again, I turned it off and turned on the oven light. When I got up this morning at 5 am everything looked and smelled great and the oven had retained the heat. I thought I would get going on the next step before I went to work so I put the tomatoes in the blender to chop them up into a sauce and that was when I realized my mistake and it was a huge one. I used aluminum baking sheets for the tomatoes! I know that you are not supposed to use aluminum with acids but I just wasn't thinking. I ended up throwing it all away because it was all contaminated! I guess one good side affect of my mistake is that the baking sheets look a lot cleaner...grrr.

I still had lots of tomatoes left so tonight after supper I tried again. My husband searched high and low in the basement (it is under renovation so it is really difficult to find anything you are looking for) and he did manage to find my glass bake ware. I checked the actual recipe on-line and it looks like she used cherry tomatoes but I included a variety of tomatoes in mine. I also included smashed garlic and bay leaves (I will remove the leaves before chopping in the blender). Tomorrow after work I will look after the beans and do another batch of the tomatoes. My kitchen smells so good!

For now though, my sewing room is beckoning and I just want to get in there and sew!!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Just Another Sunday

The zucchini loaves (3) are in the oven baking, the bread is rising, the dishwasher is humming, the laundry has been started. I have washed a batch of blueberries and have spread them out onto a cookie sheet for freezing and I have begun prepping green beans for blanching and freezing. Dishes are all washed and ready for the next onslaught of dirty stuff that doesn't go in the dishwasher. Grrrr...I wish my son Eric would figure out how to bring dishes down from his room. He is very good at taking them up!! Once I get all of the kitchen work and minor chores taken care of I plan on getting into my sewing room again to work on something....anything that is not housework related!

The pups are getting along fairly well. Miss Peanut is starting to feel quite comfortable now. She is really trying Molly's patience and Molly is very busy trying to make sure that Peanut doesn't have too much fun with the toys. They have little battles over toys and I caught some pictures of this one. It was really quite funny to see that little Peanut stand right up to sweet Molly and she actually won this battle.
Molly gave up and walked away

I found one puddle on the kitchen floor at the patio door at 6 am this morning. Peanut started whining at around 3 am and I got up to take both dogs out. I didn't realize it but I did make a mistake because I got Peanut into her harness and leash and I put her down on the floor to put Molly's collar on. She must have made the mess while I was busy with Molly. I can't really blame her because she probably just couldn't hold it any longer. The last time she had been out was at around 9:30 pm so that is more than 5 hours - I think a long time for only 11 wks old.

Dear Jane - Pebble's Protest (A-11)

This is such a cute little block. I started working on it last week but didn't get it finished until yesterday. I worked on it while I was watching the Olympics. Like many others, I have found the Olympics a perfect reason to spend some time in front of the television with a bit of hand-work. If only I had a bit of  hand-work in my hand for all of the time that I spent watching the Olympics! The fabric I used is soft green and I think it has a very nice pattern. I took the picture last night so the colour may be off a bit. It is amazing to me how many little pieces are in these 4.5" blocks - 37 in this one! Only two more blocks and I will have finished the first row. I am linking up with Kathy's Quilts for Slow Sunday Stitching.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

A Dreary, Rainy Saturday

I shouldn't really complain because it has been so dry but my back yard is turning into a bog and that does not help when I am training a little fluffy, white puppy! I need to get out there and pick more beans but it is just too wet in the garden. I didn't do any garden work so that means I got to have some play time - I think I will be forgiven that I didn't do any chores around the house yet. There are a few things that I will have to take care of today but I am in no rush.

I have made three more blocks for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge but that is just about all that I have done with my scraps from my 2.5" bin. That leaves me with 8 blocks from the aqua/teal family - this batch is a bit lighter than the ones I made last week.

A while ago, I had made a couple quilt designs in EQ7 and I have been working on one of them today. I had started making some red crumb blocks a week or two ago and I thought I would use them as the center square for the stars on this quilt but after trying a block I have decided that I will use them for the 9 patches instead.

I made 4 blocks but I don't know how much it looks like the mock-up from EQ7. I think once I make a few more blocks I will have a better idea of how it will look. As I have said before, I really cannot envision how something will look until I actually make it. I had been going back and forth about using a solid red for all of the red patches except the crumb blocks, so that is still an option. The 9-patches do look dark in the photos but maybe that will work out okay in the end. I think this quilt will be going to one of my nephews so it probably would be better to be on the darker side. I don't know, maybe it is the dark blue that is putting me off because it does not tie in with anything until the border is added. I think another thing that I am having trouble with is that these 3.5" block components are big relative to the pieces that I normally use and they look...well...big to me.

If I had stayed with my original plan I was only going to need 30 crumb blocks but now I need 80 and I have not made nearly enough yet. I will pick away at them over the next little while whenever I have the urge to make a big mess!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Found a Peanut!

I have been a little preoccupied the past couple days because of this!

She is sweet and cuddly and very feisty and saucy! I think she is going to be a bit of a challenge to train, but I know that she is a smart little girl and hopefully she will be obedient. She was a little nervous of Molly at first but now she is running up to her and taking toys right out of her mouth. Molly wants to know what happened - she's been such a good little girl and now we have forced this little Peanut on her. Molly is still trying to figure things out!

Peanut is 11 wks old and is mostly poodle - her dad was a white purebred 4 lb poodle and her mom is a 9 lb black 'mostly poodle' with a bit of schnauzer and I think shih tzu. My sister Christine owned Nino, the father, but sadly he has died, and my sister Glenda owns Pepper - the mother. They had 5 puppies and all the puppies have stayed within the family. Molly is my 16 lb mini schnauzer and she is just over 1-1/2 yrs old - still a puppy herself. She is way bigger than 3 lb Peanut and doesn't know her own strength. They do seem to be getting along, mostly okay, but I wouldn't dare leave them in a room alone together - just in case.

I can't believe it but Peanut has not had one accident on the floor yet...and she has been here a couple days. We do go outside quite often and, of course, it has been raining fairly steadily for the past 2 days - just figures. Peanut even went to the patio door herself at one point and when I took her out she did her business. I like to think that she was telling me she needed to go. Can it be as easy as that? It certainly wasn't when I was training Molly.

I am hoping that Molly and Peanut will become good friends. I have been feeling really bad lately about the amount of hours I have been working which is way more than I thought I would be. Molly does need some company while I am at work - I know that she really does miss me.

I don't work today, so I am hoping to get into my sewing room to work on some projects today and tonight. I have plenty to choose from but I am sort of itching to start a new one! I hope I can control myself but the urge can be very difficult to overcome.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Tiny Tuesday - Midget Block 59 - Chrysanthemum

I am really happy with the way this block turned out although it really was quite the challenge to get it finished. I am always surprised by how much fabric I use, and waste, when I am paper-piecing. I used fabric from my 1.5" strip bins to make this block. As usual, it took me a little while to decide which fabrics I wanted to use. Because I was using strips from my bins I needed make sure I had enough of the ones I wanted to use. Well, I started making this block at 3:15 am on a night when I absolutely could not fall asleep. I was really tired but the sleep thing wouldn't happen and I thought I would just go sew for a while.
After choosing my fabric, I used coloured pencils to mark the paper piecing pattern to remind me which colour I wanted to use in each location. I have been known to get that a little confused while sewing the segments! Once I did that, I thought I would have smooth sailing with putting this block together until I ran out of the fabric with the light background. I couldn't believe it - I searched every single scrap bin and I could not find any. All I needed was a small piece! Remember, this is in the wee hours of the morning.....I was tired and getting very grumpy. I was really getting desperate to find a small piece so that I could finish the block and after looking for a  v.e.r.y.  long time I found another the 1.5" bin. I couldn't believe it because I only looked in the bin in desperation. I thought I had already taken out all of the strips from that bin. Hand slap on forehead. Anyway, I got the block finished and I think it turned out pretty darn good. This block is called Chrysanthemum.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

It's Saturday!

This past week I have been feeling a bit under-the-weather but thankfully, I think I have turned the corner. That being said, I have had very little energy all week and I have not accomplished much other than going to work and doing the minimum that needed to be done around the house and garden. I don't normally work on Fridays so yesterday, instead of getting caught up on the list of things that needed to be done, I took most of the day to myself and spent some much needed quality time in my sewing room puttering around.  I now have some Midget Blocks and Dear Jane blocks prepped and ready to be put together. I am taking a page from Angela's book (click on the link to see all of the blocks she has made) and getting my little duckies in a row so that hopefully, I won't fall behind on my goal of making and posting one each of these little blocks per week. Even though the blocks are very small  they do require quite of bit of time to make - particularly the ones that are hand-pieced. I will be going to Toronto today to visit with my sister Cheryl, my Mom and sister Christine, and while I am there I hope to hand-piece a Dear Jane block while we are hanging around chatting.

I love this month's colour for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge and have made my 9 patch blocks for my Rainbow Quilt. Why not make something using your aqua scraps and then head on over to soscrappy's blog to link up!