Monday, May 30, 2011

A New You, Part Two

Now that the big dinner party is done, and the house is back to normal, I was itching to get sewing. The black rules letters are on the design wall, directly opposite the finished white rules quilt.Since I did a new "YOU" in the white rules quilt, I needed a new version for the black one. I started to make a Y with the same fabrics and colors as in the White version, but as soon as I put it up on the wall the "Rules-y-ness" of it got me. Nope.

I didn't want to slavishly copy the fabrics and colors in the White version. I -had- to tweak it a bit and make it somewhat different. So I thought about it a bit, and decided I would make the word in different colors, but maintain the feeling of the fabrics in the white version. So, wider scale prints in the large areas of the Y and U, and prints with a circular theme in the O, and a fun cat in the dot underneath.

I'll trim the letters a bit in the final layout, but for now I am happy. Next up, a transformation of the "all the" that flow from yellow green to red-violet.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Dinner for Eighteen

So how do you give a dinner for eighteen people (with a long list of dietary restrictions) on a holiday weekend when you don't have an outside barbecue? With careful planning and a lot of advance preparation.
Twelve years ago I cut this article out of the Boston Globe. (You can click the photo to enlarge, and then click it again for all the details and the recipes.) Every item on this menu serves 20 people, and is designed to be prepared in advance. I knew it would be perfect... except for one thing... I don't have an outside grill. What to do? I bought five rotisserie chickens from the grocery store, and then continued with the recipe as written.

I also made a big checklist, so I wouldn't get overtired getting ready for this big party. I did a little bit every day. One big decision: turn the dinner into a buffet, since I do not have enough room to seat 18 people around my dining room table.
I organized all my serving dishes, so I knew what was going to be used for what. It made party day a lot easier, since I could work out in advance the flow of how guests would move around the table serving themselves.
On Thursday night, I arranged all the ingredients and tools for the desserts before I went to bed (no, I didn't leave the egg out overnight.) Friday morning I got up, baked the brownies, "blondies" and the onion squares before the day got too hot.
Although paper plates and napkins aren't very "green", I knew cleanup would be a lot easier with them.
At party time, I put everything on the table, and the guests helped themselves.

The party was a great success, the food was delicious, cleanup was a breeze, and we all had a grand time. Especially me, because I wasn't stuck in the kitchen.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Scrappy Flimsy

Here's the scrappy block flimsy. I like it.

I've got 18 people coming over on Saturday for a celebration dinner, so I'm not doing much sewing.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Scrappy G-block Quilt

I'm always pleasantly surprised when I arrange a whole series of scrappy blocks and they all look good together. I made 30 12" x 12" blocks from some of my big pile of precut "chunks" leftover from all the cat quilts I made (affectionately called Gizzy quilts). I laid them out on the floor, moving them around a bit.

They looked pretty good together, and I liked the way the colors flowed around, so I sewed them together into a 60" x 72" flimsy.

It's raining out, so I can't take a picture of the whole thing, but it looks good. Now I'm working on the backing.

I still have a gigantic pile of stuff left over!

PS: Go check out Steffi's blog. She asked if I would mind if she made a Rules quilt of her own. I told her to go right ahead. She's almost there, and she's doing a great job!

Monday, May 23, 2011


My son and I visited the Chihuly exhibit at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts yesterday. Dale Chihuly is a glass artist.

(yeah, this lime green "Icicle Tower" is all glass.)(Mind-blowing!)

The show was amazing. The galleries were packed with visitors, and we were all in awe. Fortunately, viewers were not discouraged from taking photographs, so we all snapped away.These were inspired by Native American baskets. It was amazing to see several nested pieces inside larger pieces. In this photo (below) five smaller pieces are nested inside a large bowl.Every room in the exhibit was amazing, but this room, with the pieces resting on a glass ceiling, lit from above, was a huge favorite. There were so many things to find... starfish, cherubs... it was fabulous.This was the bottom of a stunning limey-green "chandelier"I thought it was just fabulous. My son took this photo of me standing in front of it.
After spending a couple of hours looking at everything, our brains were overstuffed (Artists call it "museum head"), and we found a beautiful, quiet, comfortable place to sit down and relax.
Those are my sneakers. After walking around for a while, I like to take my shoes off and wiggle my toes. After a rest (and after I put my shoes back on), we went back through the Chihuly exhibit a second time.We had a wonderful day.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Gizzy Blocks

I've decided to try to make at least five "Gizzy" blocks every day. That way I can get a enough blocks for a lap quilt in a week. I figure 60" x 72" is a great size for napping or to keep away the chill on a cool night. That means 30 12-inch blocks in five rows of six blocks. I've now made 18 blocks, and here are six of the most recent.
The first recipient is an older gentleman who recently had to put his wife in a home because she has Alzheimer's. He'd been caring for her all by himself, so this is a tough time for him. I thought a quilt would make him smile.

As you may know, if you've been reading Millie's blog, I've been cleaning my house like a madwoman. I'm getting rid of a lot of stuff, and I'm being pretty brutal about it.
These are wooden backed rubber stamps. They are high quality, and strong enough to emboss velvet. I don't need them, and I don't want to just throw them away. I'd be happy to give them away, but I would like them to be used. Leave a comment if you are interested, or email me.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Blogger's Spring Quilt Festival 2011

This is my quilt, The Quick Brown Fox, that I made in 2010. It started as just something to while away a few empty days, but grew and developed into a special quilt I love very much.

The phrase is an example of a pangram, a sentence that uses every letter in the alphabet at least once. It started as a way to use "orphan" letters I had made for another project, but grew when a blog reader wondered if I would add a jumping fox and a dog. To fill in the empty space, I added the flowers and the little bird.

I started the quilt in January of 2010, and finished the top in May. It went to the longarm quilter, Chris, in July, got back home in October and I finished it up in time for Thanksgiving. I love all my quilts, but this one is extra special. It's currently on display at Quilted Threads in Henniker NH.

It is completely original, designed by me. There were no patterns, I used no templates, and it is not paper pieced. The free pieced letters are inspired by Tonya Ricucci's Word Play Quilts. The quilt is 57" tall by 48.5" wide (145 x 123 cm).

See more quilts in the Spring 2011 Blogger's Quilt Festival.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


After much of this:
I have finished this:I will attempt to take some better photos outside, but the weather report shows rain for the next week. (blech!)

Anybody got any creative titles for this quilt? I still haven't found one I like. (And, yes, I will finish the black version.)

Friday, May 13, 2011

You Asked...

I generally pay absolutely no attention to who manufactured or designed the fabric I buy, but somebody asked about this fabric, so here it is.

Suggestions, anyone, for the title of my white Rules quilt? Julie has already suggested "Evolution."

you can click the photo to enlarge.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Ready to Go!

I have made the binding for the white Rules quilt, and I have made the hanging sleeve. The next step is trimming the quilt down to size, and adding the binding and the sleeve.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

All the Fun

The white rules quilt is back from Chris, who did her longarm quilting magic. But first, here's the fabric I selected for the backing:
I liked that it had all the colors, and was happy and bright. So here it is quilted:
Gorgeous, stunning, in an all-over celestial sun pattern. I love it.

Now, the question of binding. Sure, I can do a WOW. But it would be the fourth white quilt I made with a white binding, and I'm beginning to get that been-there-done-that feeling.
So I have been thinking... why not the same fabric as the backing?
I haven't decided quite yet.

Yes, yes, yes! I've decided to use that fabric as the binding! Thanks, ladies.

you can click the photos to enlarge.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Gizzy Blocks

After the Mother's Day festivities at my Mom's house, I got home, turned on a movie and started making 6" blocks from the leftover chunks from the Gizzy quilts. Putting them together as I go won't make much of a good looking quilt, so I decided to sew them into 4 x 4 blocks, and then work from there.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Me: 1, Studio: 0

Woo hoo! The sewing studio is CLEAN! I have reorganized my fabric stash and am very happy.

I had four big bins full of fabric less than a fat quarter in size, and those have all been sorted. I added those pieces to the bins that live under my ironing table, and rearranged the shelves in the bookcase to accommodate all the rest. I've added another bin for Selvages, one for Solids, and labeled all the others.
There were some casualties. I found several fat quarters I just hated, and a lot of fabrics folks have given me that I've had over the years and can't stand. I saved some larger more neutral pieces for foundations for a selvage quilt, but there was a lot that is go-go-going.

I have to sort through the stuff in the bureau, but that's another project. All I have to do now is vacuum, and the room will be finished and ready for the next project.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

"Gizzy" Quilt Blocks

Four years ago I started making and selling kitty quilts. They were 24" square, and custom designed for each cat. They sold well, and went all over the world - all over the US, to Great Britain, Germany, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

The quilts were all "modular" and essentially strip pieced. I made blocks as I have described here. I made the quilts for several years, and finally stopped. But I have a lot of the precut blocks left over. The "blocks" are 6-1/2" square; 6-1/2 x 4-1/2"; and 4-1/2" x 2-1/2".

How many do I have left over?
The ruler is resting up against a stack of 6-1/2" square blocks, and it's 11" high.

Think I have enough for a couple of quilts?

Me too.

What does this have to do with cleaning the sewing studio? Stay tuned.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Getting There

OK! I've got the fabric bits all sorted and I've picked up most of the stuff on the floor, and I've been doing some other organizing. My fabric stash needs straightening up, and the whole place needs to be dusted and vacuumed. One step at a time.

Chris has sent me a sneak peek of the quilting she did on my Rules quilt. It's pretty awesome, but I'm not going to post pictures until it is finished.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Critical Mess

I've had it. It's time to clean the sewing room. But first, I have to organize all the scraps of fabric by color.

Chris tells me the white Rules quilt is quilted and she thinks I'll love it. Woo Hoo! Can't wait to see what she's come up with. Next she'll work on Laughing Out Loud, and I am sure that is going to be quite the knockout!