Cat bites the hand that fed it… and Secret projects

I have been very quiet on my blog lately, because it is time for SECRET PROJECTS!!   I am writing this on Thanksgiving morning (Nov 22, 2018) in the USA, but will schedule it to post for “after dinner”.  Thanksgiving Day feasting will take place at my daughter’s home and we have a bit of a drive to get there today.  My SECRET PROJECTS are being delivered there today, which is why the delay in the post going live.  I like to gift before I show them on the blog!

I’ve been playing with my embroidery machine a lot lately.  It seems that I can manage the embroidery machine and changing threads pretty well, 6 weeks post-op. My fingers are still pretty stiff, but moveable, and the surgery site is now healed nicely.

I have done some sewing, webbing together the quilt top for the My Carolina Home Hurricane Quilt Drive. Now I need to clean up the embroidery supplies, pack away the box of stabilizers and make room at my sewing machine to get the rows on that webbed top stitched.  My motivation will be delivering it with the backing fabric and the batting at my Queen Bees gathering on Tuesday!

Before I show you my SECRET PROJECTS, I want to share another story.

 We have 3 cats, one outside and 2 inside.  If you have read my blog for any length of time, you know about my cat Mittens….of the pet mosaic quilt.

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                           Sweet face Mittens

That sweet innocent face inspired the quilt below –

 (If you do a search on my blog you will find many posts about that project.  Here is just one –  Pet Mosaic piecing complete  )  

Mittens wins Viewer's Choice at Ocean Waves Quilt Guild Show

Mittens has chosen my husband to be “his person”, while Smokey has chosen me to be “his person”.  Our outdoor cat is their mother, and she has chosen us both.  She really like my husband “better” than me.  

 Anyway, here is the story.  Hubby does floor exercises daily for his back, and Mittens likes to help him.  While he is on the floor stretching, Mittens loves to chase his shadow, get petted etc.  

Well, one day a little over 2 weeks ago, hubby stopped petting Mittens while he stretched, and had his head turned away. Mittens decided he wanted more attention and pounced, as cats will do.  Along with the pounce came a “love bite”…only this time, it was a BITE that broke the skin and punctured into his hand,  4 canines! Got the hubby’s attention, got Mittens some negative attention as a result! Hubby washed it off, and didn’t think much about it until 72 hours later when his hand got swollen, and red marks appeared.

 A trip to the doctor was already on the calendar, so he showed it to the doc at the appointment and was immediately put on antibiotics, and scheduled to return the following day.  By the next day, the swelling was worse, a red streak up the arm and the doctor took one look at it and sent him to the Emergency room for IV antibiotics.  Long story short, he spent 3 nights in the hospital, with IV antibiotics, the surgeon checking periodically to see if he might have to do his bit to clean out the hand etc. The hospital stay was followed by another 15 days of antibiotics.  Fortunately, he did not need the surgeon, and is on the mend!

 Moral of the story according to our family doctor – a cat bite is the WORST bite you can get.  He told us that we must come in to see him if it ever happens again, and get on antibiotics immediately!  Turns out, cats have bacteria on their teeth that gets “sealed in under the skin” when the teeth retract from the bite. The wound is considered a puncture wound, and no amount of washing & application of antibacterial cream will reach the bacteria.  Web MD has some really good information.  I read that before the visit to the doctor the first time, so I knew what was coming. 

So between recovery from my own surgery and dealing with hospitals for hubby, I have been able to spend time in my sewing room.  I do feel like I have given the embroidery machine a good workout.  Some secret projects will wait for after Christmas for the reveal, but others, you can see now.

I am enjoying what they call “in the hoop” projects.  With my little Brother PE500 and it’s maximum 4″x 4″ design space, I have found countless designs to stitch!  I love these little Gingerbread boys and girls –

Ginger boy and girl

I stitched them out on vinyl that I picked up on Sunday.  I also stitched out some on craft felt and I like them too! They were so much fun to stitch, and I thought they would be fun Christmas ornaments for this year for each of the grandkids.

A collection

I also had some fun stitching out other ornaments on white vinyl –

Ornaments on White

This is a first working with vinyl on the embroidery machine, and each time I played a bit with the stabilizers, toppers etc.  Overall, I had fun and I am pleased with the outcome.

I also thought I would take the Thanksgiving host a few dishtowels.

Enjoy life one slice at a time

Save room for Dessert

Bake the world a better place

These terry towels I picked up last winter, and have been “waiting” for the right time.  I have now run through about half of my supply, but have a few left waiting to be used for other projects.

Thanks for taking the time to read my posts and for taking the time to comment.

I hope you have a lovely holiday weekend!

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BOMBOGENESIS and Grandma’s Kitchen Blocks 18-22

I did some “power sewing” yesterday ahead of the snow – or as the Weather Channel calls it the Winter Storm Grayson to Undergo Bombogenesis 

I was not sure what was going to happen overnight, as they have been hyping the storm all day on Wednesday. Honestly, the effort to “scare you to death” is something. Anything to make noise….I mean news.  I just know I am glad I am retired, and not making the 40+ mile commute to work!  Not to bore you with snow photo’s but thought you might appreciate a bit of my morning.

It snowed all night, and the cats were not sure about what was happening as they looked out their window perch. It was pretty early and so I had to use a flash….and got the eerie photo of Smokey with the glowing eyes…..Mittens is busy looking at the birds that are hanging out under the house eaves.  (This is the 1st time I have seen him up that high on the climber!!)

While the were peering out the window, I had to see what was up, and caught site of the oil tank which is only 1/4 full.  (I have “auto-delivery”, and did not like to see it that low with the days of extreme cold that are forecast between now and next week! Our low today is 12, and for Friday it will be 7 with a high of 17 both Friday and Saturday!)  A quick call to the oil company and they put me on the schedule for tomorrow!  (Keeping my fingers crossed….at least they “JUST” filled the propane for the heater in the garage……)

CHUCKY CAT!

There didn’t seem to be much snow piling up out front, and I noticed the winds were whipping from North to South…so I went out to the laundry room for a peak out back.

A little snow

I think that is about 6″ of snow in the foreground on top of the hot tub.  The roof of the porch along the garage has some interesting swirling snow. Note….my sewing room is “out there” on the 2nd floor of the detached garage….I think I am staying in today!

Needless to say, I am VERY glad I power sewed last night!  Since I had ALL the fabric out in stacks on the work table for Grandma’s Kitchen (pattern by Pat Sloan), I dug in and worked on blocks 18 – 22. Hubby went to the train club yesterday afternoon and I sewed from 4 pm until after 11pm when he got back home!  It was funny when he came upstairs in the garage all covered with snow, and asked me if I realized how much had already fallen.  I didn’t have a clue.  I couldn’t really “see out” the window with all the sewing room lights on, but we had already gotten about 3 “.  I’d skipped supper and was oblivious to the weather.  (At least until one daughter decided to send me severe weather warnings!)

I set aside the fabric for Block 18 the last time I was out working in my sewing room.  I knew exactly what I wanted to do for this block with 4.5” corner squares.

Block 18 Pattern by Pat Sloan Grandmas Kitchen

I had fun with block 18, fussy cutting the yellow fabric.  I have used the pink and the yellow in other blocks previously.

I knew I wanted a stripe with block 19 –

Block 19 Grandma's Kitchen

Block 20 just had to be made with reds!

Block 20 Grandma's Kitchen

For Block 21, I dug in to a bag of scraps for the gray fabric, and actually in the leftovers from Addison’s quilt for the biggest part of the phone.  (Ok, so they are not 30’s reproduction fabrics, but I needed gray!) The dial circles were cut from a piece of “very modern” dot fabric.  Those dots were hard to applique stitch down.

Block 21 Grandma's kitchen

Block 22 wasn’t one that I felt excited about until I pulled the fabric.  Now I am rather pleased.

Block 22 Grandma's Kitchen

Just 3 more “feature blocks” and TONS of filler blocks to make.  A fun project.  I feel like I am catching up a little!  More color balancing to do as I proceed.

Are you on the East Coast of the USA getting hit with the storm?  Don’t you think these silly names they give the storms “over hype” what is just a snow storm???

Working on anything fun today?

edit – note – pattern for Grandma’s Kitchen is by Pat Sloan, and can be found at Grandma’s Kitchen Sew Along

Some Assembly Required

Thank goodness for great heaters! Our lows are in the teens and highs in the mid 20’s for the next few days and the last few days. (Some weather person fibbed about it getting into the 30’s yesterday….NEVER happened!) (In case you are a new reader, my sewing space is above our detached garage. I share the space with my husband and his model train workshop area). Hubby has a massive propane heater downstairs and I cranked it up to 60 yesterday for a few hours just after lunch, and it really heated up the “floor” upstairs.

While the hobby space warmed up we had a little “project” to assemble in the house.  Fed Ex delivered the present I got our cats….and hubby had to figure out which part went where!

Some assembly required

At some point, our cat inspector Smokey got involved in the activity –

Cat Inspector at work

He is the most curious cat of all and wants to be “in the middle” of anything you are doing! (He thinks he is helpful when I am trying to decorate the Christmas tree or dust the shelves).  Once the assembly was complete…I spritzed a little catnip spray on the new cat climber, and both cats were quick to climb around….and roll around…and like the fuzzy fabric….

Smokey's turn

There are 4 of those dangling white mice hanging from the new unit on elastic cording. We are expecting them all to be pulled off in the next week or so.  So far, only Smokey has been brave enough to climb to one of the higher perches.

On his perch

Once the cats figured out the new gift was for them, then we both ventured out to the garage to play.  The temperature went from  55 degrees when I started the all the heaters,  and before I was finished sewing for the evening it was 73, and I took off my sweatshirt!  We hate to “stop” out in our hobby area once it warms up, so dinner was not until 8 pm last night. Hubby was working on a “turn table” for the model railroad at his train club, and I was having fun  assembling the blocks to send to Carole.

In my last post, California Thomas Fire Quilts Help Wanted  , I shared with you information about making blocks for the victims of the fires out in California.

I had 6 blocks finished in that post. I spent some “quality time” in my sewing room yesterday, and I now have 16 finished.

Blocks for Thomas Fire quilts

I will be getting those out in the mail on Tuesday to Carole – From My Carolina Home

All of the fabric came out of my scrap storage system. Many were already cut into 5″ squares.   I did have to dig in the scrap bin of blues for those wonderful batiks, and in my neutral scrap box for the creams and off whites. So, there was some cutting involved as I prepped these blocks.  Truth be told, I now have about 15 or 20 MORE batik and neutral half square triangles made, so I might see if I can put a few more together before these go out in the mail.  I have some pretty floral fabrics that were part of a 5″ square collection that I made those coasters out of in my last post.

What are your plans for “making” things this weekend?

A week away…………Ready for Santa!

We are just 1 week away from the celebration of Christmas.  I had a special project I have been working on.  Now that it has been delivered, I can tell you about it.

For years, my family has had lovely green velvet stockings. Years ago, my oldest sister made stockings for each of her sibling’s families; and as the family grew, she added stockings.   My children loved their  stockings made by their aunt, and when they started their own married lives, they took their stockings to their new homes. One daughter decided that the new brother-in-law law / husbands in the family deserved hand-made stockings.  She worked with her talented friends and made 3.  Then, the babies started to arrive; and I gifted my  Mom & Dad stockings to the first daughter,  and I have been making the stockings for the grandchildren as they come along. I didn’t put any names on those stockings when I made them, as I don’t hand embroider.   A couple of years ago, my daughter sent me the kids stockings back, and I was able to embroider their names on the stockings with my embroidery machine, and send them back in time for Christmas

This year, the newest granddaughter needed a stocking.   I decided on deep red velvet for the “cuffs” of the stocking and dug through my supplies of cording etc.  I matched my embroidery thread to the gold cording for the names.  

I had “just enough” of the dark green velvet to cut out 3 new stockings – so the NEW Mom & Dad are getting new stockings to match. 

stockings

 

I did a production line sewing marathon yesterday, stitching out the names on the red velvet; putting the cording in for the bottom of the cuff.  

I referred back to a blog post I had read recently about making a LINED stocking with a cuff, and “no raw edges  – tutorial for a stocking by Cluck Cluck Sew   (Gosh I love people who write great tutorials.)  My cuffs are a little different that the tutorial because of the cording and the name.  (Test fitted with pins, name was upside down…duh moment……)

Anyway, the tutorial worked out well.  I used muslin for the lining. Nothing fancy, but won’t be bothered if a little chocolate melts in them.  The lining can be pulled out far enough to spot wash if needed.  I made my own paper pattern years ago for the size/shape of the stocking boot.

I think these are the best of the stockings I have made over the years.  The new parents were surprised too!  Now, a week away from Santa doing his duty!  stockings-for-fitz

This is a fun family tradition, and I do have other green and gold velvet on hand.  Since I gave away my “MOM” stocking 8 years ago; maybe I should make a Grandma stocking ………  Wondering if Santa would start to stop by again and fill it?

What ever your projects are, I hope you are having a good time with making them. Merry Christmas!

MITTENS has 2 eyes!

Pet Mosaic Update — Mittens really does have 2 eyes!  My quilting sister-in-law asked at some point if he did, and now, I can show evidence!  I have worked on this project off and on this week; primarily on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. I fed my dear hubby dinner at 9 pm tonight because I was on such a roll!  Here is a look at him over the last few days.

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August 25 2016

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Aug 27 2016  Spent some time building in the right ear and side of his head

Mittens Aug 28, 2016

Aug 28 2016 – head taking shape

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Aug 31 2016 – Working on the left side of his face and the bridge of his nose.

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Sept 2, 2016 – And now he has a nose and I am starting on his left cheek!

Kind of like watching paint dry, but it is fairly exciting to see him coming together.  There are areas that I will probably rework a little bit around his nose, nostrils etc before I move on to his lips.  My next goal is to finish that left side of his face.

Hope you enjoy the project process.  Thanks to Cheryl Lynch  ( Cheryl Lynch Quilts )for her wonderful instruction and to Carolyn Lingor (  One Block Wonder Woman) for her great advice too.      (My hubby has been kindly giving his artistic point of view on some of the pieces with transitions and it has really been helpful…right up to the point where he said “I never thought you would stick with this”; at which point I threw him out of my sewing space….)  (I did let him come back in to look at it today!)

This soft fuzzy thing is Smokey, the brother of Mittens.  He has much softer fur, and very soft stripes.  He looks dejected because he is not the star of my Pet Mosaic Project.  He claims ownership of me, as “HIS” human.  If I sit in a chair, he will instantly be in my lap!

Smokey

Mittens

Mittens was selected for the project because of his highly defined markings.  He looks a lot like his mother – Momma Cat; but she doesn’t have the pretty white above the sweet pink nose.

Momma Cat

Momma Cat is a cat with attitude.  She does like to talk alot, and is in mid conversation when I took this picture.  She lives “outside”; and likes to share her food with every stray that wanders in the yard.  (This is how we acquired these 3 cats…they moved in and took over).   She is all settled in to her nice little igloo, waiting on the coming storm.

As the Tropical Storm Hermine heads up the East Coast of the USA, I hope you are safe and sound where ever you are. Looks like we are going to get a big hit from the storm beginning Saturday morning, with 3 days of Tropical rains and winds as the storm is predicted to settle just off the coast of Delaware.  As my sewing room is “out over the garage” I may not be able to venture out to play with this project, so I will have to settle  and play with the real cats in the house!

 

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!

 

 

August already?

Thinking it is already August and I am still not finished with much!!  Then, of course, I commit myself to a quilt for a charity benefit auction that takes place at the end of the month.  No, I must not have enough to do, or in truth, there is nothing I personally can do for my friend, whose husband has a serious illness. So, I make a quilt.  What I should have done is make a list of all the projects I have looming, in various stages. UFO’s surround me, UFO’s are making me a little anxious and stressed….oh well…what’s another project…at least this one has a hard fast deadline!  I decided to stare at my design wall for a while….and then I stared at Facebook for a while, and then I found this pattern……The Star one…on the left….with the blue sashing.  SO….I got out a box of 2.5″ squares and made a few 4 patches, and some 3″ squares and made some half-square triangles, and then I got interrupted.

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I had that Queen Bees gathering last week, and had to get my stuff ready, and then I came home with yet another UFO….the folded Christmas Tree.  I was happy to spend my time helping a new person learn to safely use a rotary cutter. Wednesday was my “SitNSew” group at church and I made nearly 500″ of binding for June’s quilt.  Then I spent the entire day on Thursday sorting the “stuff” that people donated to the 2nd Time Around table at the quilt guild.  Kathy & I got it all “ready for re-sale” which was a huge undertaking, all in one day.  By Friday, I could finally get back to thinking about that “benefit auction quilt”.

I made some half-square triangles, only cutting into the stash for the white – and some 4 patches.  All were made using my “scrap storage system” for the 3″ squares I needed for the HST and the 2.5″ squares I had stored in a little bin.  I got busy trimming HST and building these blocks over the weekend –

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I printed out a picture from a group on Facebook that inspired my blocks –

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I got the last few constructed on Monday evening, and on Tuesday I set my goal of getting them sashed, and joined to form a quilt top.  What a difference the sashing made!

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SCRAPPY STARS – by Mary Deeter

My goal was to get it ready to “layer” at my Wednesday Sit N Sew at church.  I pulled the fabric for the backing last night – I picked this one because I had about 8 yards! And it didn’t fight too hard with the colors on the front of the quilt.

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I packed up, got to the church at 10 am, and proceeded to prep this fabric for the backing.  Once I got it pieced, and set out on the tables where we pin baste, I slapped my hand across my forehead and yelled at myself!  NO BATTING…..I had left it at home….duh…..So, I pressed it anyway, and folded it over a hanger and brought it back home.  I did however have a 2nd project, and that was the Courthouse steps log cabin that was in the first picture.  I needed to prep a back for it too.  I will share the great fabric I chose for it in another post.

Well dang, at least both quilt tops have backings and next Wednesday, I will layer and pin baste them. (If I remember to cut the batting and bring it!)

Until then, I can get back to some of these other projects cluttering up my big table.  I have it covered in scraps from the Quilt Guild donations; and JUNE’S QUILT is back; ready to trim and bind. (I made that binding last week in case you forgot).  Carolyn did a wonderful job long arm quilting June’s quilt; and I have labels to get ready for it and another one of Junes.   So; I am not without a project or 2 or 10.

Happy Stitching….and keep your fingers crossed, I might eventually get back to my Pet Mosaic.