Monday, May 16, 2022

This and That

 

A couple of weeks ago I was at one of the mark-down home stuff stores and I saw these round orange pillows that looked like flowers. They were for outside, but I thought they were cute as hell, and besides I have a chair in my living room the same color. So they came home with me.

 I arranged the Whirlygig quilt on the back of my couch, and put the two flowered pillows on either side. Looks good! Whirlygig is a Scap Slab quilt. You can see a picture of the full thing here. (scroll down a bit.) 

I like the blue in the quilt and wanted to carry the color idea over to the red-orange chair, so I poked around in my stash, found some fabric that shared the colors of the quilt and whipped up this pillow cover. Now the room looks fresh for the summer and Julie's visit.
 

I rearranged the birds so they are all right side up. I don't know how I am going to arrange them, but at least this way they look like birds and we can see they are individuals. The other way the legs grabbed the viewer's attention, and that didn't make any sense. They stopped looking like birds, which is NOT what I want. I will figure it out.

You don't always know what you need until you need something. I've got an overstuffed freezer, and I'm trying to work my way through all the stuff I've got in there. I thought I'd made some pulled chicken tacos for dinner. It was 90F and I certainly didn't want to be cooking. I pulled one chicken breast out of the freezer. Perfect. I could easily make the pulled chicken in the crock pot. Only problem is the crock pot I have is one of those enormous six quart ones. Great if you are feeding a crowd. Not me. It's also good if you like leftovers (not me either, I already have too much stuff in my freezer.) I knew cooking ONE chicken breast in that big crock pot would not work. So I wondered if I could get a TINY crock pot. Sure enough, on Amazon (where else?) I could get an one quart crock pot for less than 12 bucks. And if I ordered it "in the next 57 minutes" I could have it at my house the next day. Oh glory be. Worked like a charm. The big crock pot will very likely be going in the yard sale at the end of the month.

My granddaughter and I made some Caramel Delight Energy Balls via FaceTime. She got to use her new mixer. My son had specifically asked for these. My DIL said she'd need to go to the grocery store as she didn't have all the ingredients. We'd made them once before, but they hadn't had the coconut, so they substituted chopped pistashios. This time I suggested she get some mini M&Ms to use in addition to the mini chocolate chips the recipe asks for. "They look cute and I think DGD will like them." Ok, mission accomplished.

DS helped DGD toast the coconut, then left her to shape the balls and roll them in the toasted coconut. After she'd done about half of them, my son came by and asked if he could try one. DGD proudly handed him the biggest one. "OH HOLY HELL," I heard my son proclaim, "these are GOOD!" My DGD grinned. "These won't last."

How good were they? Two thumbs, and toes, up! 

Many years ago my son's pediatrician commented about him, "There's a lotta ham in this kid." Well, I think it rubbed off.

 




Saturday, May 14, 2022

Round and Round

 

I thought I'd have the birds going around in circles- sort of like concentric circles, with birds in each "row" facing away from the other.

Then I rearranged them so they were all standing up. This didn't sing for me either.

What I'm trying to do is two interlocking coils where one set of birds faces one way and the other set of birds face the other way. This isn't working either.

I finally had to get out my sketchbook. Each square represents one bird block. If I did this, I'd need 70 blocks - a lot more than I have right now, so no matter what happens, I need to make more blocks.

I've laid out the bird like the plan above, but you can hardly tell the birds are arranged in any particular way at all. 

Here when a bird turned a corner, I rotated him. It's mildly interesting, but doesn't really convey the idea.

So I will make more blocks. If you want to join me you can get my tutorial here, at my Etsy shop.

 

You may be wondering where I was all last week. I was home. I've been busy. I've been making decisions; choosing lighting fixtures (I've decided to replace them in both bathrooms), searching and getting quotes for a mirror for the new bathroom, and making other decisions for what's going in there. I also chose a new ceiling fan for my living room. The guy that has been doing the work on my guest bathroom injured his back, throwing my schedule right to hell. 

I've been reading. I just finished A Gentleman in Moscow, which I enjoyed very much. I've also been watching Top Chef (Season 19!!).

I've been continuing to go through drawers and cabinets and closets going through my excess "stuff" so I can sell it at the community yard sale at the end of June. I've also made the annual trip to the garden center for the herb garden I grow each year. I have Parsley, Basil, Thyme, Rosemary, Oregano, Chives, Mint and Sage.

Anyway.

Monday, May 9, 2022

The Hummingbird

 

The world is a funny place.After I work on legs for over a dozen birds, what did I make next? A bird that didn't need any - a hummingbird.

Later I made a tall bird, using the light legs. I'm beginning to have ideas of how I might arrange these pink birds, but I need more of them!


If you want to make birds - and you really do - you can get the tutorial here, at my Etsy shop. It's an instant download so you can get started right away. You probably already have all the tools you need, and you can make them from your scraps (I do!)



Saturday, May 7, 2022

Got Legs!

 

I really liked the light legs on this bird. Usually I make the legs dark, so I decided to change it up.

Here are the fabrics I chose. The one on the far left is the fabric I used for the legs in the bird above.

This gold fabric is used on a fabric with a very slight print, so it isn't a WOW.


As you can see, these legs are a lot lighter than the fabrics I traditionally use. But here is a surprise...

Hmmm.., Wonder what it is?

I think it's supposed to be dragonfly wings. Just goes to show you how there is more to your fabric than you think.
Here are my completed leg panels.


If you want to make birds, you can get my tutorial here.

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

The Wallflower

 

This is the Wallflower. We who were wallflowers know exactly why I named her so. We all have a set of rules we carry around in our heads that we use when we make quilts. Sometimes we are aware of them, sometimes not. 

I've been making birds for a long time. I always take advantage of the prints and try to make the wings look "wing-y." When I started teaching birds I tried to explain this to my students. Fortunately for me (and them) they ignored me. So now I tell students, "Do whatever you want with the wing, because it will probably turn out fine." I have learned that stripes work well, and in any direction. (I'm telling you! ANY direction.) I've seen plaids and all kinds of stuff. It's been a real education (for me.)

So with this bird, I wanted to try NOT to make the wing so blatantly wing-y. For this bird, I really wanted to avoid the large white flowers that dotted the fabric. 

Big reason why: If you have a motif (a shape of something, a flower, for example) that is the same color as your background, your eye will connect it to your background and your "thing" (in this case, the bird's wing) will "read" to the viewer as having a hole in it.

This was not as successful as I had hoped. There is too much blah, and not enough of something interesting to hold the viewer's attention. It's okay. (Now I hear The Selvage Fairy telling me once: "It's interesting to me that for you the worst something can be is 'nice.'")

But I also have to remember that we do things (we follow those "rules") because they reflect ourselves.  I love the prints and patterns in the fabric I use. I like to use them to move your eye around. Yes, I am manipulating you. But I also just happen to really like birds with really "wing-y" wings.

And then there's the fabric that screams BUY ME! USE ME! I'M WING-Y!!!!

Yes dear.


(And did I fussy cut that wing so I would have every bit of those leaves in there? Damn right I did.)


If you want to make birds, you can get my tutorial here.)

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Pink Birds

 

I am having a lot of fun making Pink birds. This bird's wing is from fabric I bought when Julie sent me to QT a few weeks ago to get out of my funk.

Same thing with this bird's wing. I made this bird with the umbrella fabric background. I don't want all the birds to have WOWs backgrounds. 

Pretty sure I'm gonna have a pair of snub-nosed birds here. 


Oh well!


Happy Anniversary to Julie & Larry, and my DS and DIL share the anniversary as well!



If you want to make birds, you can get my tutorial here!


Monday, May 2, 2022

It's Not a Bird...

 Seven years ago I made a Welcome quilt for my side door.

This was it before it was quilted. The door faces North, so it wasn't going to get direct sunlight, but it does get a lot of reflected light. I knew it would fade eventually.

This is it now, seven years later. Eventually has arrived. I don't want to  make the same quilt again. The pink letters became brittle and broke, so they aren't on the wall on the front porch any longer, and of course, Millie has gone to the Rainbow Bridge. I want to make another quilt for the door, but what?


I made flowers like this for Violette's quilt, back in 2008.

OF COURSE they will be PINK! I'm not quite sure about a final design, so I will keep playing around.


I got my second booster shot over the weekend, and cleared through some of the paper junk in the office and brought it to the town's Shred & Drug Takeback event. Always nice to dispose of that stuff safely (and for free.)

I was cleaning the bathroom and looked over at where I store my earrings. I stopped wearing earrings when I worked from home from April 2020 to the summer of 2021, and haven't resumed wearing them because the holes in my ears closed up. WELL... What am I keeping them for?

I got rid of MOST of them, and kept the ones I really liked. I also cleaned out some of the necklaces. My neighborhood has a big yard sale every year, so I bagged the stuff I will try to sell and set it aside. It's a good motivation to go through my extra stuff.

Saturday, April 30, 2022

Insomnia & 20 More

 

"They" say that when you can't sleep you should get up and do something instead of lying in bed tossing and turning. So the other night, about 1:30 AM, I got up out of bed, put a sweater over my nightgown and headed into the studio. I made this bird, above, and she may be nicknamed "Insomnia."

Sigh.

I got home from work earlier that night and wound 20 bobbins for my own sewing machine. Yeah, I know, really boring to do, but there is nothing like being able to grab a bobbin and pop it in your machine when you have run one out. It's such a luxury to just reach over and grab a full one, pop it in the machine and then just GO!

BTW, the grey thread I use is Presencia 60 wt cotton thread, color # 352. It is a 3 ply 100% mercerized Egyptian cotton. I buy a cone of 4882 yards. And even though it might take me a few months to go through one, I ALWAYS have a spare. Because running out is such a PITA. Right now the spare one is on my Bernina, which Julie will use. When we visit QT when she visits I will buy another one to have as a "spare."

Friday, April 29, 2022

Steve's Blue Slashed Squares

 

I "met" Steve because he commented on a blog post I wrote some years ago. Steve lives in Alaska. We've talked several times on the phone since them. Sometime last year he asked me if I had a suggestion to make a fairly quick quilt (I think). Immediately I suggested my Slashed Squares. It's a quilt that has a lot of possibilities and goes together really quick.

Steve made the quilt for a friend who was about to retire, and move across the country to warmer climes. The fabrics include many with references to cold, snow and Alaska.

"It's funny," he said to me the last time we talked, "two fabrics you think are of a different value when you look at them, suddenly look almost the same when you look at a photograph of them. And then when you at the real thing again, you SEE that difference."

"Yeah," I sighed. "It's weird how that works. I'll think I have a layout PERFECT, and then I'll take a picture, and as I walk out of the studio, I look at the picture I just took and realize there is more work in front of me. 

"It happens to all of us."

Remember though, all of you who are reading, that the recipient of a gift does not care about things like that, because as we all know, there is no better gift that a quilt that represents your love.

I think the quilt is BEAUTIFUL! Well done, Steve!

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

20 Bobbins

 

In this little bin are 20 bobbins filled with gray thread, ready for my pal Julie's visit in June. I usually hate sitting there winding bobbins, but the Bernina 1250 that Julie will be using winds them like a dream, and it isn't even noisy.

Julie will be bringing some of her own tools, like her pincushions and pins and rotary cutter. She's going to ship them to me beforehand so she doesn't have to worry about getting them through airport security. The last time she visited me in NH I gave her a quilt top - I had started it, and we finished it together. It became MHT2MEM (Manchester to Memphis). She actually shipped some of her clothes home so she could bring the quilt top with her. Yeah, we are kinda crazy like that.

Did I tell you that Julie has crafted a detailed itinerary of the things we plan to do during her stay? The itinerary includes links of all the places we want to visit. Julie has even checked out the hours the places are open so we are sure to be able to get to see the things we want to see. It's really quite amazing.

What's even more amazing is that we are on Version 8. 

Here is today's bird. The wing fabric is some pink orchids I bought oh, geez, maybe 15 years ago?

Monday, April 25, 2022

Getting Ready

 

I've been working to get the studio ready for Julie's visit in June. We talked about how I should arrange her work area. It meant I had to rearrange my studio.

I've set up a workspace for Julie at the end of the studio. We want to keep the recliner in the room so we will have a comfy place to sit and chat, so I had swapped it's place with my small work table.

In the far corner of the studio I have placed my small work table, raised so Julie can work standing up.

I set up my Bernina on the portable table against the far window. I will move my office chair for Julie to use while sewing. You can see Julie's bin under the worktable.

So now the room is pretty much ready. We are planning on doing a lot of sewing, We're planning a lot of stuff, including a trip to the Seacoast, and into Maine, since Julie has never been.

 

Saturday, April 23, 2022

The Captain!

 

Last weekend, as I watched my five and a half year old granddaughter struggle to make cupcake batter with a hand mixer and not quite soft enough butter, I had a thought, so I did a little research. 

I thought about getting her a KitchenAid stand mixer. I've had one for years, and I adore it. I figured it would be an appropriate present when she was about 8 or so, given the cost, but as I watched she and her father try NOT to make a mess with the hand mixer, I rethought my idea.

It turns out that you can buy a refurbished, but fully warrantied KitchenAid mixer for about 40% less than MSRP. Since these mixers hover around the $500 range, that was a huge savings. I texted my DIL and asked if I'd be overstepping if I sent one of these to my California family now, and didn't wait two years. She said they would be fine with that. We discussed color options, since KA had 72 of them (Not all were available in the size option I had in mind however, and the pink was a wimpy pink anyway.)

So after our cupcake making adventure I went back online and pulled the trigger. A lovely Matcha Green 5 quart swing head stand mixer would be heading to DGD around June first.

Imagine my surprise when I received these photos yesterday. They are calling her "The Captain" because she has a Captain [dough] Hook.

Today is my son's birthday. Can you say BIRTHDAY CAKE?
 

Thursday, April 21, 2022

The Bee Bird

 

Ever since I found the "Happy B Day" card from my Dad I have wanted to make a Bee Bird. My pal Julie was kind enough to send me some Bee fabric which I used for the bird breast. Turns out I had the Beehive fabric (wing) in my stash. I had the yellow on cream background fabric in my stash already. (I find stuff like that really useful.) 

I gave this guy BOB (black on black) fabric for the legs and beak. Since this was a Bee bird I made his breast a bit fatter and gave him a sturdy, short beak.



Birds are fun to make and even more fun to customize. You can learn how to make them here, with my tutorial sold at my Etsy shop. It's an instant download, so you can get started right away

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

The Pink Flamingo!

 

Ever since Marky sent me her ostrich bird I have had an idea to make a pink flamingo. Well, a dozen birds into the pink bird challenge and I finally did it. 

 Note the size of this big bird. I put a ruler next to it. That's just over 23 inches tall!!

Of course it was not without side trips to Google Images to see pictures of REAL pink flamingos so I could get an idea of what they really looked like.

I used this fabric for the legs. Flamingo legs are mostly white, which doesn't work very well with WOW backgrounds, so I picked this from my stash of fabrics of colors on a white background.

Here's my flamingo with some of the other pinky birds, so you can get an idea of just how big this guy (or gal) really is!

Thanks Marky!