Pet Mosaic and Paper crafting

I have spent 2 months trying to “clear the backlog” of projects so I could get my pet mosaic “back up on the design wall”.  Back story in case you are new —  My sister-in-law, Carolyn (aka – One Block Wonder Woman ) flew in from California in May, and she and I went to a retreat hosted by Cheryl Lynch  ( Cheryl’s blog ) . We signed up in JUNE 2015 for the May 2016 retreat. The project was a Pet Mosaic; finishing around 54″ x 54″.   (What a great retreat by the way, in the Pocono Mountains, on a lake, with wonderful food and great instruction and inspiration.)  (After you read my post, go check out Carolyn’s post about her project –Creating a dog from scratch can be Ruff .  If this type of project interests you, Cheryl Lynch is a GREAT teacher.

Flash forward to July and Carolyn’s project is finished! Quilted and bound, and making the circuit to quilt guild meetings, hanging at her local quilt show next month etc.

Meanwhile….mine has been languishing in a plastic bin on the shelf….waiting……waiting….waiting….so patiently (unlike the real live pet)….

When I packed up to leave the retreat, this is how far I had gotten – two sections “stitched together”, and two more ready to stitch, plus 2 transition rows.

the ear

              MAY 2016

Well, now that my many projects from the spring & summer are complete – I had a clear design wall and Mittens the cat is back up on my wall at home.  Since my last post 9 days ago, I have been working at a turtle pace on this project.  I keep telling myself I am moving forward.  Carolyn worked on hers from Memorial Day until the end of July, so I am pacing myself!  (She reports dreaming about her project….)

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August 17, 2016

So, here we are back on the wall at home, and I have joined the blocks for the first 9 rows.  We are working in 9×9 sections for stitching, and much bigger area for design purpose.  I’ve been thankful for the extra grey and black fabric that Carolyn mailed to me; which helps give more variety and texture.  (did you notice all those pins on the right side…..convenience factor…they are all used….no wonder Cheryl said 500 pins on the supply list!)  Even though I am working on a felt board, with the air conditioner, and the ceiling fan, I want my pieces “secure”.

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August 18, 2016

These are 2 ” squares, and in order to make the shape transitions, I am doing some minor “piecing” within the 2″ square.  Sometimes I make a piece 2-3-4-5 times before I feel like I have caught the shape.  And of course, I have to remember what will happen when the seam allowance comes into play.

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I am headed towards his eye and am trying to capture the shape and the changes of color in his eye, along with the light sparkle.

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August 20, 2016

So, you can see, I am using lots of methods to keep track of where I am.  On the board I used row marking pins, then slips of paper to mark the columns and rows; and then I went with blue painters tape to define my field, numbering along the side and bottom.  The photo I am working with is on the right in this picture, and I have blocked off (with post-it notes) everything except my area of focus. That helps.  I was only going to work down 11 rows in this section, but I really needed to capture the shape of his eye, so I moved my tape down and will continue that area.  And you can see those blocks that are just “hanging around” on the side of the board near the photo…well those are my “OOPS…not quite what I intended” pieces.  Who knows, I may find a way for them to fit elsewhere.

I feel pretty good about how Mittens the Cat is progressing in this project. Below is what he really looks like….hanging out. In this picture the lighting isn’t great and he looks like he has a brown cast; but he is grey, black and white.  It is his pink nose that I love. And those little tufts at the top of his ears!  He has such great markings, and I am hoping once I move on to the right side of the project, that they will start to show better in the fabric placement.

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So, this will be a long process; and I am going to work at it as much as I am able.  I have my little interruptions – quilt bees, quilt show meetings; more quilt bees, more quilt guild meetings; etc.  I am not going to rush it.  I have been “standing back and looking” and find pieces I want to change, so I do.

I wanted to share with you the fun stuff I made for one of the grandchildren’s birthdays in August.  She wanted a “HORSE” birthday party…and Grandma got commissioned to use her Brother Scan’N’Cut machine again…..  I cut out 2 different sized silhouettes that my daughter used for various purposes on the day of the party.

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Then I cut out some BOWS for the “pin the bow on the pony” game.

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And finally – I decided I would make her a “custom” card to fit the theme.  (I am a novice card maker, so be kind!)

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The fence and the grass were built into the machine designs, the horse head I found on-line and imported.

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I invested last spring in “birthday stamps” so I used them on the inside….and I added the horse & grass inside too.  I still need to work on placement and “order” as I do these things, but I had fun making the card.  It is a learning process too.  (I have been watching video’s from Dawn’s Stamping Thoughts .net , and have determined that the card making hobby is “very extensive” and I have a lot to learn about the tools, punches, stamps, etc…..)

I’m not sure that I will do a lot of “stamping” and “card making” , but the little bit I have done I have enjoyed, and my ScanNCut machine makes it fun! I have to report that I finally learned about the “pressure” setting after destroying one mat this spring.  I have purchased a new mat and when I did this cutting, I had no problem.  At a recent quilt show, I talked to the Brother dealer who was doing demo’s on the machine, and she gave me a worksheet that had listings of settings for different materials. That was very helpful too.    I do need to get a bit more variety of papers, as PINK was a requested color and I used it all up this spring with the BARBIE stuff I cut for a 6 year old’s party.  I invested in envelopes (50 pack); so now I need to focus on cards that are the “right” size for the envelopes I have. Last spring at the card making class I went to, we saw a demo on how to make our own, but I didn’t “LEARN” well enough…….  I will keep watching the video’s and try to learn a bit more.  It is dangerous now for me to go into Michael’s  Craft Store or Hobby Lobby or A.C. Moore.  Good thing there is not one in town!

Hope your sewing & crafting adventures are bringing you joy!

 

 

Two Scrappy Quilts completed

I have been in my scrappy element the last several weeks working on a variety of projects. I have been “hurrying” to get some of these projects finished, so I could move back to my Pet Mosaic project.  Ever since I saw how Carolyn’s rottweiler, Fannie-Mae turned out, I have been motivated to get back to my cat Mittens. If you haven’t seen her yet, go check her out~  Creating a dog from scratch can be Ruff

I unrolled the “portable felt design wall” and have it pinned now to my big design wall and have started numbering rows and sorting out my bins of 2″ squares in various greens, grey, black, tan, brown and white. Carolyn sent me more grey’s and blacks to use, and I went through my 2″ squares that I have “in Scrap Storage ” and pulled more there too, along with some more green.

Before I could get to this, I had to finish up Addison’s quilt; and the 2 other small quilts I have been working on.  Addison’s was finished last week – Addison’s Finished Quilt .  So this last week I finished up the Scrappy Stars Quilt.  It will be going to a Benefit Auction at the end of the week.

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It finished out at a nice 52″x 52″.  I hope it brings a nice auction price to benefit our friends.

Today I wrapped up my Happy Scrappy Courthouse Steps Log Cabin Quilt.  This was a Pat Sloan Scrap Challenge. Check out her challenge here!

It is made of 1.5″ strips, except that final round on the block where I bumped it up enough to square things up.  And it is bound with scrappy binding. (Susie’s Magic Binding of course).   I always save those extra bits of binding that are leftover from my projects. I think it is a fun way to bind a scrappy project.

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There is “cork” binding from Ronnie & Terry’s Wedding Wine Quilt; grey and coral from Addison’s quilt, polka dot green with purple from the Scrappy Stars quilt, a grey with burgundy from the cross banner. The only challenge is joining all those pieces and setting them out to make sure you don’t have a join at a corner!

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The only “non scrappy” part of this quilt is the bird fabric on the back!  I got it on a whim when I was buying grey fabrics for Addison’s quilt, but the yellow was too much for that project, and I set it aside.  When I had the log cabin up on the design wall, those little birds called to me!

It finished out at 45×45, just perfect size for when a grandchild comes to visit!  If you click on the photo, you will see it is full of fun fabrics!

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I still need to hand stitch the labels, but I declare these two “done”, and it is time to move on with the Mosaic!  That means it may be a good while before you see another “finish” post from me….

Hope you are having a great summer and staying cool where ever you are!

Addison’s Quilt is finished

August is shaping up to be a month where things are finally getting finished.  A friend of mine asked me the other night “How many quilts are you working on at once? ”   Well, the answer really is I can only work on one at a time, but I have many in various stages of completion.  Today was a great day with the finish on Addison’s Quilt.  I was able to get it trimmed and bound this afternoon/evening and am ready to pop it in the washer with 3 or 4 color catchers.  I did “pre wash” but I want to be sure there are NO surprises, and I love the way a quilt “crinkles” after it is washed and dried the first time.  Besides, I have been handling it alot and I want it to be nice & clean when I give it to her.  (Do you suppose I can wait until I get to show it off at the next guild meeting????)

If you have been following along, I started this project in late March when my daughter selected the pattern.  I had made a  baby quilt Pinterest board and “pinned” quilt patterns that I was willing to make.  The pattern she selected was one that was called “A Halloween Quilt by Simple Simon and Company.  I used it as a launching point, and I added in a third color. I do want to give credit for the inspiration to Elizabeth and her design at Simple Simon and Co  The addition of the aqua was my choice, and I think it adds a little “zing” to the project.  I used 5″ half square triangles (HST) for Addison’s quilt and a 6 1/2″ wide finished border.  I wasn’t sure how many HST I was going to need, so I made LOTS ! !  In fact, I made so many that I added them to the pieced back that I made.

So, here is an overview with the finish pictures at the end –

Half Square Triangles

I made LOTS of half square triangles

More Half Square triangles

I had about 222 LEFT OVER so I used a few in the backing with these great “wagon wheel blocks”. I love a “pieced back” and like bringing the fabric from the quilt top to the back of the quilt.

Addison's Quilt back

I made LOTS of binding….using the Susie’s Magic Binding technique from 52 Quilts in 52 Weeks blog.

Binding for Addison's quilt

I quilted with my walking foot in a diagonal in the white only.

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Made the label on my embroidery machine and stitched it on so the very top is “under the binding”.

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Feels great to have another finish! Just think – she will be 5 months old tomorrow! Not bad! This is a double bed sized quilt finishing at 80″x88″, so she can “grow into it!”.

Oh; I forgot to share this picture – I delivered June’s quilt to her on Monday….I think she was happy!

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I might have mentioned last week that I was going to pin baste 2 smaller quilts…Well, I got to my SitNSew group at church last Wednesday with 2 quilt tops, and the fabric to build the backings. Got the backings all built, dug out the safety pins and realized I had come without the batting!  So, I hung everything back on hangers, and brought it all back home. This morning bright and early I re-measured and cut batting for both my Scrappy Stars and my Courthouse steps.  So they are now “pin basted” and ready to quilt. My goal is to get the Scrappy Stars done in the next few days, as it is going to a Benefit Auction at the end of the month.  When it is done, my Pet Mosaic moves up to #1…….Not sure where Courthouse Steps will land in the priority list, but it is not at the top! I looked at all the quilt tops on hangers and have been thinking I need to work on some more “finishes”….I am on a roll…..

It’s been a good day!

Scrap Dance Tango Pattern is published

Do you remember my “Scrap Dance Tango Mystery Quilt”?? My last post about it was Sticking to a project .

Here is a picture to remind you of the project.

Scrap Dance Tango is Assembled

Well, Carole at From My Carolina Home on WordPress has PUBLISHED the pattern!!  Go check out her blog!!!!  From My Carolina Home

Details in her blog post today about purchasing the pattern.  And remember, just because I made it king sized, doesn’t mean you have to.  The directions were great, everything from a table topper on up to king!  She writes great instructions and she helps you take on a big project by breaking it down into manageable bites.  This is the 3rd pattern I have done with Carole’s great  patterns and I can tell you they are EASY to follow!

Enjoy and check out the great stuff going on over at Carole’s page.

June’s Quilt – FINISHED

It feels like a big relief to say I have “FINISHED” June’s quilt. If you have been following my blog for any length of time, you know that I was asked to finish this quilt last fall for my friend, June. There is a long story behind this project, and the label hopefully captures it.  I worked on it Friday and Saturday and got it trimmed, labeled and bound.  I will “deliver” on Monday afternoon.  Many thanks to my sister in law – Carolyn – for her lovely long arm quilting.  She was so generous!

June built the 9 patches around the center panel and handed it all off to me last September.  I picked out the fuchsia and the green for the borders, and built the pieces in the side borders out of her leftover bits & pieces.  Carolyn volunteered in May when she visited to do the long arm quilting, so when the top was done, I put it in the mail, and shipped it out to California.  She had it back to me inside of 2 weeks. What a BLESSING!  While it was “out” I got the binding prepared,

Susie's Magic Binding for 2 quilts

(Susies’s Magic Binding prepped for 2 quilts)

I actually purchased 4 more yards of the green fabric when I tripped over it on a bus trip in July. June wants to “recover” her fabric headboard and make some chair cushions.   In order to work on the binding, I had to move my machine back over to my big table.  Isn’t the backing fabric pretty?

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I got the lilac in a wide (108″) backing from Marshall Dry Goods on line.  Great prices and fast shipping (Less than $10 per yard for 108″ wide !!!!)  I had to “stop” binding to get the label ready.  I like to make sure it is stitched under the binding, as well as fused on.  June will get to “hand stitch” the other 3 edges.

Label for June's quilt

You can see this project has been “in the works” for quite some time.

Binding and borders of Junes quilt

Carolyn did a lovely job with the quilting, using a loop-d-loop style of free motion quilting.  The green is part of the border, and that pop of fuschia comes from the flange you get when you make Susie’s Magic Binding. The lilac rose backing fabric was perfect for this project.

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June chose an creme colored thread, because she wanted it to “show” on the dark purple.

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Ready to pack up and deliver on Monday afternoon.  I hope she likes the finish!

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On a side note; while I was getting the specifics from June for the Rose Garden Quilt, June asked if I could prepare another label for a quilt she just finished repairing.  Sorry, no photo’s of her other quilt, but here is the label, ready for her to iron on and stitch down. (It has some wrinkles from the final preparation, but I can’t iron them out, as there is fusible on the back. (Note, I use Floriani Fusible No Show Mesh Stabilizer when I finish the label and turn it right side out. )

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As I was making both labels, I was wishing for a high end embroidery machine. My little Brother only has a 4×4 field, and I have to realign for each line of text. It is not always “even”, no matter how hard I tried! Best I could do, and done is better than perfect.

Time to get Addison’s quilt label made & quilt bound!

link to Susie’s Magic Binding Tutorial http://www.52quilts.com/2012/05/tuesday-tutorial-susies-magic-binding.html- Tell Marti I sent you if you pop in to view the tutorial!

Channeling the Passion

Yesterday I shared my sister-in-laws blog post Creating a dog from scratch can be Ruff and in her post she speaks passionately about the project.  During this same time period where she devoted 2 months to building this fabulous project, she and her husband were actively battling the permanent closure of their local recreation area.

My understanding was that the board of supervisors for the county was budget cutting, and they picked “Lake San Antonio” as a place to do their chopping.

When Carolyn was here visiting and quilting, we chatted about the power of the people.  On her return home, she found out there was a meeting coming up the following week, and Lake San Antonio was on the agenda, slated to be permanently closed.

I can imagine the phone calls and emails and text messages that flew around the county that weekend.   In no time flat they formed a group on Facebook – Friends of Lake San Antonio – with the following description – The mission of the Friends of Lake San Antonio is to preserve the legacy that was left to the residents of and visitors to Southern Monterrey County by the vision and hard work of others who came before. We also aim to do all in our power to keep this special area open to the public for the rich variety of recreational uses that fit in so well with this beautiful setting. In support of this mission, we have created this Facebook page to bring to the public’s attention what is available for their enjoyment and to help make our Lake San Antonio and Recreation a destination for people from all over the world who appreciate natural beauty and outdoor activities.

They have worked non-stop since June 5th to get the Monterrey County board of supervisors to “re-open” this lake to public recreation and outdoor activities.  They WON !  The lake re-opened this week, and the cars with kayaks, boats, etc were “lined up” to get in.  Go check out the page! Friends of Lake San Antonio Facebook page  .  Congratulate them on their victory!  This would never have happened if it had not been for a few passionate people who were willing to drive the 90 miles to Board of Supervisors meeting and “take on city hall” !!  Yes the small fish in the big pond can win when they get together and work together for a common purpose.

Oh, by the way – the lake opened on August 5th , and there ARE big fish in that lake!

Rich Lake San Antonio Aug 2016

Doesn’t my big brother look happy?  Congratulations on the great fish, and hoping your fishing will always yield a whopper! Congratulations on winning the fight for the right to use the public lake!