Wednesday, June 29, 2011

New Quilt Start and Hoya blooms!

Even though I haven't finished the last two quilts I've started, I've started another!  This one is an I Spy for Jan MacFayden over at Oz Comfort Quilts.  She is making quilts for the homeless, etc. in Christchurch and Queensland Australia. (Really an amazing blog written by an amazing woman - in my book.  She finishes an amazing number of quilts to donate.  Stop by and see the quilts.)  She needs 35 children's quilts within the next month, and I had these blocks for a while... I want to share them.

Here's how many I've got done so far

The blocks are 7.5" square, and I'm getting that tilted effect by paper piecing the borders onto the selected fabric. It requires that you leave the first seam undone, and then finish up after the others are all sewn. I love the pattern!

And what post would be complete without a picture or two of something from my garden.  These are the blossoms now opening on my Hoya.  It was a plant that we first got from my Mom after my Grandma passed.  The vine was in a tiny planter and then in an open-type basket.  I got a slip and have been making more plants right along these last 37 years. The blooms are very juicy  and velvety. They only scent at night! The scent is amazingly strong.  I think they are pollinated by bats.  We have never gotten seeds, so I'd guess we have never been visited by bats.

 These are unopened at the moment.

This one is opened. (Sorry not a very good picture.  Did you ever notice that pictures taken in the shade but facing out to the sun do not work out very well.?)

This one was intended to show you the glistening drips of nectar - you might need to click on the picture to see that.  It might also help you to see that the petals are velvety.  I have 2 big plants on our patio that weather the winter, and one little start for the Halloween trade that is indoors.  It just got a new leaf!!!!!!!!!! so I know that it is rooted and will be a good plant for some one of the trick or treaters.

Well, I'd best get this done as it is supper cooking time!  I'm going to try to get the quilt onto two linky parties - one at The Creative Itch Boutique, and another at Freshly Pieced.  I've been trying new things on the blog recently, and linking to linky parties is part of my learning curve.
Wish me luck!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Some fabric, some berries...

An odd assortment of things today....

(Even though I haven't finished the XXXs and OOOs yet) I started an I Spy yesterday with the fabric  from the swap.  I'm going to "frame" each of the 5" blocks with a 1.5" border of tone on tone jewel tone fabrics.  Here are some that will have different reds as borders. The red square will have an orange border because of the one orange chair. I try to use either a color from the fabric, or a complimentary color.
 Boysenberries I picked in my yard this morning.  They were great with our cereal.
 Here is the promised peek at my little log cabin block. It might look big here, but it measures only 2 1/4 inches now, and will be trimmed 1/4" on all 4 sides and embedded in the "mold to be" that hangs above it.  I found the "mold" yesterday while prowling JoAnn's Craft Store. It is a cutter for fondant that I found in the cake decorating aisle.   The end result may be a pin.  My mind has been going towards jewelry lately, and I think this will be immersed in resin.  We will see. I've never used resin, and it scares me...

How do you like these fabrics that I couldn't do without while shopping yesterday. Pretty, huh?  I've been coveting a couple of them for a long time now, and just let myself get a quarter yard yesterday. I see a quilt there, but what pattern, I don't have a clue.  Got a suggestion?

So that does it for me, for today anyway. I started out early though, and you never know what excitement may present itself.  I may have something wonderful to share.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Beware! another ginkgo brag with pictures to boot!

Don't look now, Dear Friends,  but I have 2 more new ginkgoes! (In case you are new to this blog, the big deal is that I've always admired the ginkgo tree since I first learned about them in first year high school. They are one of the oldest remaining plants on earth... around before the dinosaurs!!! I was thrilled to see one on the U of WI Madison campus the next year, and I've always loved their little fan shaped leaves.  There are male and female trees, and the females are really rare because the fruit they produce is smelly and that gets them cut down usually. But this spring we were hunting elm tree seeds (old people fun)  and luckily came across a female with fruit  and pits all around the base.  Like the promised land  to me. It doesn't take much to make me happy.)  Anyway, I had despaired of the few seeds in dirt that haven't yet come up yet, but here now that it's gotten really hot some more have popped up.  Puts a shamefully proud grin in this old face.

 And two in one pot!  They both came up at the same time and really surprised me this week.  There is another that we are being really guarded about - might not make it... looks like snails may have eaten off the top, or it got too dry one day.  We will keep our fingers crossed for that one.
Here's a comparison shot of the first one up, and these new two.  The first one needs a new bigger pot.
Have you ever started a tree from a pit?  I have 2 apricot from pits, and they have been giving fruit for years now.  That reminds me - gotta go pick fruit!
Thank you all for putting up with my brags... plants are my babies now... none of my kids live close enough to coddle, and wouldn't like it anyway.  Even the grandkids are getting old... Isn't it funny how old they get, so fast, and how young their grammies are?  I just keep getting younger and younger. (This grammy is giddy just ignoring spell check!)
Love you all!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

New shirt for the 4th

Dear Friends,
I've decorated a shirt for the 4th - it's one of those shirts from Michael's or JoAnn's that I paid either $2 or $2.50.  Big spender....
The pattern is from All Things Belle. It's paper pieced, and I changed a few of the colorings so there would be red on top and bottom.  Well, here it is

I sewed it on with 6 stitches to the inch and that way after the Fourth I can take it off and replace it with another design.  Maybe I'll get more use out of that expensive shirt. 
Here is a close up of the free pattern - made my way.  Go over to All Things Belle and see if she is still offering the free pattern.... It is an easy one! She's announcing her pattern line with this one.

I didn't want to fold over the edge cause I never get it right, so it is raw edge with Fray Check dabbed on it.  It dries clear.   Anyway, I'm going to link to A Creative Princess with this.  I'm sorry I haven't got her button on my blog, but she's the first in my blog list if you want to go over and see what else is there.
Thanks for stopping by. Happy Weekend! 

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Tutorial, and generational picture

Hi Friends,
Today a tutorial - I've discovered a way to write on your quilts... I've used this method before, to quilt words onto my quilt.  This can be used to put words onto the label that identifies your quilt. I'm using it as a Thank You Mug Rug.   Go to the pictures....

First I picked a simple cursive style and printed it in 100 sized caps and 72 sized lower case. Bold your words so there is a thick enough line to sew around. When the caps were so far away from the lowers I cut and pasted (the old fashioned way - shown here) to move the h under the top of the T and the o closer to the Y, otherwise it looks like they don't belong to the same word.  Then I made a new copy and was ready to sew.

I sewed around each of the letters with a small stitch... I used 15 stitches to the inch. That's how things are calibrated on my old Singer. I don't know what that equates to on your newer machines. You are on your own there.      Sew slowly. When you need to pivot to round the ends make a full stitch, then put the needle back into the stitch you just made, and lift the foot with the needle in the paper, turn to where the next stitch should go., and proceed.  When you are finished sewing, pull the strings to the back and tie the closest ones together. It'll make ripping the paper off much easier.

Next we rip off the paper. Take off the white before trying to get off the black parts... and pull gently holding onto the stitches as much as you can.  It really isn't that difficult.  If you've removed the paper from paper pieced patterns before, you will do fine at this. Tweezers and seam ripper helped a lot.  (I didn't bring the strings to the back here, and that's why I told you to do it above.  It'd work easier that way.)

See it is quite easy - the Y came out in one piece... It was a lot easier than I thought.

Here is how it looked when I finished the sewing and ripping and tying the strings in the back.  I used regular sewing thread in a red purple color. If you use white thread, consider using a lighter color to print on the paper. Black comes off and while you are ripping paper the thread might get dirty.
Anyway, that is my genius idea for the day.  I also wanted to show you my favorite sewing room accessory...(below)  It's a magnet with a handle.  If I drop a pin or needle, like I did today when I was barefoot... well, just wave your magic wand and it will find the derelict sharp right away.

These two are the parents of the Silk Oak  I started from a seed.  They are the taller ones behind the evergreen oak. They're all decked out in their bloomin' fineness.  You are going to want to see this close up.  (Just click on the picture.) The flowers are  most unusual - especially for a tree.  I figure they are making the next generation and need to look good while doing it. I am going to be monitoring the seed making progress.  See if I can snag a few thousand. Wish me luck!

I decided to go out again and get a picture of the flowers... they are amazing.  See for yourself.

They are like an orange comb that is dripping with nectar.  Pretty, huh!

And so ends our adventures today.   Hope you are having a fun and warm summer.


Thursday, June 9, 2011

What inspiring things hang in your sewing room?

I haven't finished the XXXs and OOOs yet, so I'll show some of the things I have hanging in my sewing room that inspire me.

Here's one that you will want to make larger... Just click on the picture. I imagine it as a quilt... all those colors as fabric.  I have seen some quilts made like this in a magazine...   I know, I'm crazy.   (Sorry about the glare.)

Okay, don't look at the clutter on the bulletin board, but the quote itself. It reminds me that "a beautiful thing is never perfect."  I'm hoping I can make some beautiful things. 

This it the wonderful item next to the pink sewing piece from Em, as mentioned yesterday.  My DD made it for me 30 years ago.  It says "Moms the Greatest!". I love that piece!

And lastly a church program that's about 33 years old... I was asked to make a painting out of it... and did.  I love the sentiment.

So that's your mini tour  -  some of my favorite things.  What do you have hanging in your studio?
Love you all, especially the contributors to today's post.  Hope you all are feeling dandy!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

5 inchers arrived and quilt top almost complete

First I'd like to welcome a new follower!  Thanks for coming along Lizard Breath!

A while ago I sent in 20 - 5" I Spy squares for an exchange at  Lollyquiltz- which I forgot to photograph!  Natch! but I did take pics of the ones that arrived from the exchange. (It just occured to me that I should have blogged about the exchange.  I'm sorry I left you out of the loop. It is over now.) Here's the pics

I hope you can see them all. You can click on the picture for a closer look.

This one is my favorite....

 And the XXXs and OOOs is in the machine now.  This is the second to last row. I will have the top completed by this evening.  See the pink fabric hanging behind the sewing machine?  That is my granddaughter, Em's first attempt at sewing.  She gave it to me! I've always loved that piece.  It was so generous of her to give it to me.

Next time I'll show off the piece to the left of it.... a bit of mystery.
Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Shocker! A second post in the same day!

Are you shocked?  Don't be... I posted my quilt separately so I could show it on A Creative Princess. She is having a linky party today.  You can click on the blue print to go there. I'm #82, I think.

So while I was taking pictures I took one of the bird nest that we never even saw the birds build.  Here is the picture. See the nice neat nest right above our patio light?  There are 2 little blue Thrush eggs in there... and we never saw them building the nest. I've been out there working on the little plants a few times this week!

This is a rose I started from cut flowers we bought years ago from Costco.  Look at your cut roses, sometimes there is a sprout on the stem...right where a leaf comes out from the stem... that's a sure sign that your stem wants to become a new rose bush in your garden!  I cut off at the bottom - up about an inch, dip  the cut end into Rooting Hormone (the secret to my success!) and then get it  into a pot of soil and water it.  (Don't try this in the spring or summer. It must be too hot here during those seasons to do this.  And if you try it during the winter -  a cool winter that is wet like in CA - keep your plant under  a covered patio. I've lost some in the garden to heavy frost.

My lily is blooming again, too.

 These next few pictures are of the pineapple guava blooms. It was a little plant that was in our yard when we moved here. My hobby wanted to kill it.  (What is it with men?) I liked it even before we saw it bloom - the foliage is so pretty. The leaves are lighter underneath, and in the wind it is lovely. But then it gets these blooms! Aren't they fascinating?  It also fruits late in the fall. Fruit isn't that great... probably not the right climate here for this fruit. I do love the flowers though.

And these are visitors from our neighbors. They bought the plant, water it, and it grows over the fence and blooms in my yard! Gotta love a neighbor like that!  These are Passionflower! (I guess they were named for that cross in the center - for the Passion of Jesus on the Cross.) Aren't they gorgeous?  They grow really fast, too.  The first couple of years they were pollinated by butterflies that are not native to CA.!We actually had Julia butterflies here... they are only found in TX and FL!!!! I think they were attached to the plant.  I think they have died out now, but maybe it is just too cold for them to come out this year.  Our son and family in Anchorage are having weather that is similar to ours here in CA!  We are way below our average temp of 85 for this time of year.

So I hope you've enjoyed the current flowers in our bloomin' yard. And if I don't post tomorrow, have a wonderful weekend. (Well, even if I do post tomorrow, have a WW.)

XXXs and OOOs so far!

Hello Dear Friends,
So I've been sewing and sewing and what started out as one ox...

Then progressed to lots of oxen...

Is now looking like this.  I'm wondering what you think.  Should I make another O or X for the corners, or should I use a plain navy blue square. I'm leaning towards continuing the Os and Xs. What do you think? 
Here's the disclaimer: All are still on their paper foundations, and not yet sewed together - that's why some look so far away from the next block, and some aren't straight. It's that late night pinning onto the design wall. (Center os and xes are all red - the dark ones too, just a darker red.)

(Edit: Come over and see me over on a linky party at Confessions of a Fabric Addict and A Creative Princess - you might have to page down to the party... I don't know how to get there otherwise... still new at this techno stuff.)

Leave me a comment and let me know what you think.
Tune in next time to see the flowers blooming in my yard this week.