Tuesday, April 30, 2013

You Learn Something New Every Day . . .

Do you know what a hat trick is?  Most commonly, when a single player scores three times (or more) in a single game of sport, such as hockey, it's called a hat trick.  Do you know what the origin of "hat trick" is?  Ah, here's that new thing I mentioned in the title of this post!  I picked this up from Wikipedia: 

According to the Extended Oxford English Dictionary 1999 Edition, the term "came into use after HH Stephenson took three wickets in three balls for the all-England eleven against the twenty-two of Hallam at the Hyde Park ground, Sheffield in 1858. A collection was held for Stephenson (as was customary for outstanding feats by professionals) and he was presented with a cap or hat bought with the proceeds."

That sport was, of course, cricket.  I'm more familiar with hat tricks in soccer because we're a soccer family.  But hat tricks occur in many sports.  But here's the real question:  Why is a Schnibbles quilt that's composed of 9-patch blocks called Hat Trick?  Ah, good question, Kim!

Carrie Nelson of Miss Rosie's Quilt Company always includes in her patterns a little introduction about how the quilt got its name.  For the Hat Trick pattern, she explains that when someone (Moda Lissa, is my guess) suggested she rework some of her previous quilt patterns so they were charm-pack friendly, one of the first quilts she thought of reworking was her quilt pattern called Wayne & Gordie (named for hockey greats Wayne Gretzky and Gordie Howe).  Because both Gretzky and Howe had lots of hat tricks during their careers, the name for the Schnibbles quilt was born.  Here's what the "original" Wayne & Gordie pattern looks like:

And the Schnibbles quilt version looks like four of those 9-patch crosses.  Want to see mine?

Remember those 9-patch blocks I was working on?  The difference between my quilt and Hat Trick is that Hat Trick has only a top and bottom border and it's pieced--maybe it's supposed to look like the two goal areas in a hockey game?  Or maybe it's just borders.  Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.  In any event, I like square quilts, so I used a different border treatment.

I still have a question though:  Why is a quilt that is composed of groups of five 9-patch blocks set in "X" formations named after two hockey players?  I may just have to buy the Wayne and Gordie pattern to find out!

Monday, April 29, 2013

A Day With Perry

As I spent Sunday working on my scrap blocks and another project or two, I came across a Perry Mason marathon on the Hallmark channel--at least I think that's the channel it was on.  Every now and then, I'll catch an old, old episode from the 60s, but the episodes I watched today were from a later period--probably from the 80s would be my guess based on the clothing.  And they may well have been TV movies when they first aired, because each was two hours long.

I love Perry Mason.  Working in a "real" law firm isn't at all like it is on Perry Mason of course, but that's where my interest in working for a law firm started.  When I was a kid, Perry Mason was one of my favorite shows, and my mom cultivated my interest, suggesting I could be just like Perry's secretary, Della Street.  I've mentioned it before here--I wish she'd told me I could be just like Perry Mason; maybe I'd be an attorney now instead of a secretary.  But back in those days, although there were a few female attorneys, they weren't very common and I don't think it occurred to my mom or to me that I could be an attorney.

As I watched Perry Mason today, though, I realized Della wasn't just any ordinary legal secretary.  She was smart, loyal, dependable and well respected by everyone who worked with her.  Not a bad role model, really--and not just for legal secretaries, but for all of us.

I guess we can't all be the center of attention, like Perry Mason.  Maybe being Della Street isn't so bad after all.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

What's Not Stuffed Up . . .

Itches.  Yes, it's definitely allergy season.  Have you been suffering?  It's extremely unfair that the weather is so beautiful and allergies are so terrible!

It's Scrap Basket Sunday, so let me show you the blocks I made:

Luana, who doesn't have a blog, sent me a photo of the scrap quilt she made--she mentioned it was the quilt pattern on the cover of the December 2012 American Patchwork & Quilting magazine.  Cute idea for all those smaller scraps that seem to pile up.

I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone else is working on.  Don't forget to add your name to Mister Linky when you post your scrap project so we can all come by and visit.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Can You Play With Us?

Just grab your scraps and we'll have a great time!  Sign ups are now open for Scrap Basket Sunday!

A blog friend asked what was considered a "scrap."  I told her that to me, scraps are leftovers from other projects that are around 1/8th yard or less--too small to put back in my regular fabric stash.  She makes a lot of quilts with pieces of this and that, so her definition of "scrap" was something much smaller; I think she was happy to know we didn't expect her to make a postage stamp quilt with 1" squares for Scrap Basket Sunday.  Her question started me thinking, though--what do each of us consider "scraps"?  I went looking for a quilter's definition of scraps and found this blog post and comments--click HERE.  So here's my question:  What constitutes a scrap to you?  And don't forget to sign up on Mister Linky if you're planning to post a photo of your scrap project on Sunday!

Friday, April 26, 2013

The 9-Patch Factory Showroom

Hat Trick . . . the beginning.  Or maybe it's the first quarter.

The cutting has been done for the 9-patch blocks, and about half of them are sewn together and pressed.  I don't know why, but I was thinking they'd go together quicker for some reason.  After all, 9-patches!  How hard could they be?  We've all made a million of them, right?

Still, it's kind of fun to work with these conversation prints.  They remind me of the I Spy quilts--did you ever make any of those?  I haven't yet, but I'm sure there will be some in my future just as soon as a grandchild or two comes along.

In any event, these babies will be rolling off the block assembly line for the next day or so.  Don't you just love that new block smell?

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Bits and Pieces

Last summer when a few of my friends and I stayed in Pismo Beach, we went to a quilt shop in nearby Morro Bay called the Cotton Ball.  There I found some small bundles of fabric, around 12 pieces to a bundle and each piece measured roughly 6" x 10-1/2".  The bundles were priced, I think, at $5 each--kind of like a quilter's version of penny candy!  I picked out one bundle that was red and white and another that was black and white.  I've had them tucked away in the Sweat Shop since August, waiting for just the right project, and I think the Schnibbles Hat Trick pattern is it.

I've paired up these little pieces--the three rows at the front in the above photo--with some red, black, and white coffee cup fabric that I'm thinking about using too.  Tonight I cut the (mostly) white row of fabrics into 2" squares for the 9-patch blocks.  Do you remember what Hat Trick looks like?

The 9-patch blocks will be made using either red and white or black and white fabrics and I might use the coffee cup fabric for the unpieced setting squares and triangles.  Or I might do something different and more surprising--we'll all have to wait and see what happens when I've made the 9-patch blocks and see how they look.

In the meantime, I have to tell you that my scraps have scraps--in other words, my larger scraps from my scrap basket, when used for the Pie in the Sky project, are leaving behind another pile of smaller scraps.

Now what am I going to do with these?  I probably should have used them for Hat Trick, but I didn't want to end up with another scrappy quilt using all of the same fabrics.  Maybe I can use these scraps to make pillow shams or throw pillows to go with the Pie in the Sky quilt.  Do you have any other suggestions?  What do you do with your small scraps that are too large to throw away?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

By George, I Think She's Got It!

Sometimes I think writing blog titles can be the most fun because they can get a little silly.  Maybe you're wondering what this one means, right?  Well, I finally, FINALLY, finished the Schnibbles quilt called George.

Since my version is so colorful, though, I'm thinking about naming it Boy George.

Yeah, kinda like that.  Remember him?  He's the only other George I can think of that's as bright and feminine as my Schnibbles quilt.

Quilting this one seemed to take forever.  First of all, I decided to do some fairly heavy quilting--it's been awhile since I used so much meandering, but I DO love all that texture.  One of my former quilting teachers/shop owners always said quilts with heavy quilting don't keep you as warm because there aren't the larger pockets of air, but I've never been quite convinced of that.  I have quite a few quilts I've done some pretty heavy quilting on that seem to keep me just as warm as any others, and the heavy quilting makes them feel softer and more cuddly.  But we all have our own preferences.  Still, all that quilting took awhile.  The other reason this seemed to take so long was because I took a break of several days about half way through to do some other things.  I'm pleased with the result though.

Next up?  I think I've got to get serious about piecing this month's vintage Schnibbles pattern, Hat Trick.  Are you joining Sinta and Sherri for another year of Schnibbles?  I can hardly wait to see the May parade . . . but it would probably be a good idea to get mine done before the parade.  Just as soon as I can decide on the fabrics I want to use . . . .

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

I'm a Lucky Girl!

I have a few reasons to say that . . . most of us do when we think about it, right?  But I'm feeling particularly lucky this evening.  No, I didn't win a contest--it's even better than that!

Do you remember about a month ago I told you an eBay seller, Stan of Ideas Unlimited, had sent me a machine embroidery magazine along with my fabric order?  And then I hosted a giveaway of the magazine since I don't have an embroidery machine?  Well Shelley won the magazine and when we exchanged emails, she generously offered to make a few embroidery blocks for me.

Shelley mentioned she'd made some bluework snowmen blocks for someone else, and that started me thinking about the quilt guild group I'd joined to swap winter quilt blocks in blue and white--I had several blocks from that swap, but I didn't know what I'd do with them.  (Click HERE to see that post and photo.)  So I told Shelley I'd love a few bluework snowmen blocks to mix in with those pieced swap blocks.  And look what arrived today!

Aren't they great?!  Shelley told me her friend, Lynda Howell of the Stitch Connection, designed the snowmen patterns.  I think this will make a really cute quilt and I'm anxious to work on it, although I know I have several other projects to finish before I can start another.  I think it will be fun, though, to see what I can come up with.  Thank you Shelley for your generosity!

Monday, April 22, 2013

An Odds and Ends Sort of Day

Sunday was spent mostly in the Sweat Shop and mostly doing a bit of this and a bit of that.  Of course there was some playing around with scraps, and I'll show you those blocks next weekend.  I also played around with the Country Cottages quilt, working on the sashing and adding a little more to the December block.  Remember that all of these blocks will also get button and bead embellishments eventually, but those will need to wait until the quilting is done.

Cuter now with the snow and the smoke, isn't it?  It also repeats design elements from the first (January) block.

The final project I tackled was quilting the George Schnibbles--I hope to be able to show that one a little later this week.  It's funny but I realized it's much better to cut fabric while watching the Sunday night programing on PBS than to run the machine at 100 mph working on quilting.  I kept stopping to listen to the dialogue, so I don't think I got much done.  By the way, did you watch the first episode of the Bletchley Circle?  I'm not sure how I'll manage to wait until next week to see the second episode.  I love the idea of these four women working to solve a crime--not an unusual premise for a TV show, but since it's set in the 1950s and the women are former WWII code breakers, there's a little bit of a twist.

Remember my fabric scraps/food comparison from yesterday's post?  I also worked from my "food scraps" today to make what turned out to be a pretty good dessert.  I've posted a recipe before for a simple cake I sometimes make with a chocolate cake mix and a can of cherry pie filling; I've always wondered what it would turn out like if I changed up the cake mix and pie filling flavors.  Well, I had some kind of yellow cake mix in the cupboard along with a can of apple pie filling--both had been there so long I was afraid to look at the "best by" dates but I thought it was worth a risk.

The recipe?  Grease or spray and flour a 9" x 13" pan and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Mix together a dry cake mix, 3 eggs, and a 21 ounce can of pie filling.  Bake for about 40 minutes.  Easy, right?

The only thing I would have changed is to add some cinnamon to the mix.  Since it's an unfrosted cake, I served it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream; whipped cream would have been lovely too--maybe a cinnamon whipped cream, in fact.

The weekend is over and it's back to work in the morning.  Time to go find my bed.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Using What We Have

I was up relatively early on Saturday morning--"relatively" because what's early for me is sleeping in to other people.  Nevertheless, I headed out to a local farmers' market and arrived around 9 a.m.--my first trip of the year.

Perhaps most people thought, as I did, that there wouldn't be very much fresh produce available in mid-April because the market wasn't very busy.  Why did I go if I didn't expect to find much there?  Well, I'd been dreaming about the lemon ricotta raviolis made by the Pasta Queen and decided picking up a couple packages was worth getting up early for--and I knew the pasta would be there, even if not much else was.  But look at all this good stuff--I was surprised!

On Friday night, I'd looked at the farmers' market cook book I bought last year--it's arranged week by week based on what's fresh and available in our region.  I was surprised to see that strawberries were already in season, but look at the table full of them--and yes, I purchased some.

But one of the other things I bought was several pounds of too-soft tomatoes.  Last year I found that the over-ripe tomatoes nobody else wanted made some really nice spaghetti sauce, and it was inexpensive too.  Even better, the tomatoes I picked up at the farmers' market paired well with some of the leftovers in my refrigerator, like the small bunch of basil and the peeled garlic.  Soon they were all bubbling away together, roasting in the oven, and the house was starting to smell quite delicious.

I started thinking, as I was cooking the spaghetti sauce, that this was a little bit like working with fabric scraps.  I was using the leftover scraps of fabric from other projects; scraps that wouldn't otherwise be used.  And in the end, I'll have at least one beautiful new quilt--and probably more if I keep going.

Last Sunday, I made four more blocks.  I'm using the Pie in the Sky pattern by Kim Diehl in her book Simple Graces.

Then I thought I'd make a fifth block.

I realized I had 16 blocks made--a quarter of the blocks needed for the quilt--and I wanted a couple extras in case some blocks didn't play well together when I'm ready to set them, hence the fifth block.  Here are 16 of the 17 blocks I've made so far:

This weekend, I'll make four more blocks and enjoy some excellent spaghetti sauce for dinner.  Not a bad way to spend the weekend using up leftovers!

Saturday, April 20, 2013


Is too much of a good thing just too much?

At last week's stitchery gathering, we started talking about scraps and I learned two of my friends wanted to get the Scrap Basket Sensations book, so I offered to put in an order with Amazon for all three of us.  I like this book a lot!  What's your favorite book for scrappy quilt patterns?

And who's in for this week's Scrap Basket Sunday?  If you have blocks to show us on your Sunday blog post, add your name to Mister Linky.  I'm really loving this--setting aside time each week to make blocks from scraps--and I hope you are too!

Friday, April 19, 2013

My Balancing Act

You've seen Soccer Son's balancing act; now here's mine!  I've managed to balance work, chores, family, and friends and still kept a quilt project going.  Woo-hoo!

What am I talking about?  The December block for the Country Cottages BOM is now done:

I DO think I might want to add some snow on the roof and smoke coming from the chimney, a little bit like the January block that came first.  Here's a look at all 12 months' blocks up on my design wall.

Of course, I still need to add sashing and borders, but it's coming along and I like it alot.  I have all kinds of buttons to add as embellishments, but those will have to wait until it's quilted.

This has been such a fun free pattern from Shabby Fabrics--my thanks to Jennifer!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Balancing Act

Soccer Son reminded me the other day that I hadn't shown you the photo of him balancing Easter eggs.  Well, it's a slow day here in Blogland, so I figured it was about time to treat you to some amazing photos.

This photo is kind of grainy because it was taken on a cell phone, uploaded to Facebook, and copied back down for your entertainment.  Talented kid, isn't he?  I guess if you can juggle a soccer ball the way he does, eggs are no problem!

And here's a photo of him balancing almonds.

His friends on Facebook say he obviously has too much time on his hands.  Too bad the pay scale for almond jugglers isn't higher.

The real trick though?

His ability to balance just his head on the body of his dog Izzy.  And, by the way, Izzy is a girl dog. so even if it wasn't already odd enough, well . . . .

Anyway, in case you didn't already know or guess, there's an app for that.  What is it?  No idea, but it works on cell phones to allow a person to somehow compile slices of different photos.  What WILL they think of next?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Can You Feel the November Chill?

No?  Well, it HAS been pretty windy in Sacramento lately, but the wind is doing more pollen blowing than leaf blowing.  Nevertheless, I thought it was about time to make the Country Cottages November block with its acorns and blowing leaves.

Finishing this block means I'm getting closer!  I just have December's block to complete . . . and all of the sashing and borders too, of course.  So I guess I'm not quite as close to done as I'd like to think, but progress is definitely a good thing!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

I Don't Like Mondays

Tax Day AND Monday.  Did you get your tax returns in the mail?  We had to pay federal taxes this year.  I'm not sure why we do it, but I think we elect to pay extra to file our taxes electronically every year.  That seems like a good idea when we're getting money back, but if we have to mail in our tax payment anyway, what's the point of filing electronically?  But who am I to question it?  Hubby's the one who takes care of meeting with the tax people and providing them whatever they need, so although I might wonder about the arrangements, I just leave it all up to him.  I'm sure he must have a reason.

Here's the thing that bothers me though--and it's nothing Hubby has any control over.  Not only does the government want my money, but they seem to want to make it easy for other people to get my money too.  If you've had to pay taxes, perhaps you know the government requires us to put our Social Security number on our check and then mail it to a post office box where all the other payments go.  If you were the kind of person who makes a living stealing other people's identities, how easy would it be for you to intercept tax payments and obtain all kinds of bank information and Social Security numbers?  I always kind of worry about that.

And as if tax day wasn't bad enough all by itself, the bombing at the Boston Marathon made it ten times worse, didn't it?  For some reason, I didn't immediately think "terrorist attack" when I heard the news.  I figured it was just some nut job with a bomb in a backpack who wanted attention.  Maybe someone else who was pissed off about having to pay taxes.  At this point, nothing has been made public about who or what may be behind the bombing, but I suspect it's more likely to be a terrorist attack now that I've seen some of the video.  At least we can be grateful more lives weren't lost, although there were a lot of injuries.

The good news?  By the time you read this, Monday will be over, tax day will be done for another year, and hopefully there won't be any more bombings in the US for a long time.

Monday, April 15, 2013

And the Weekend Comes to an End . . .

Yesterday I mentioned I'd spent Saturday with my stitchery friends and I had completed something to show you.  Here it is--the latest sheep blanket (I think it's the April blanket).

This is the project I kit up for my friends each month, so the pressure's on me to lead by example and finish each month's blanket.  Otherwise, I'm not sure that I would!

Do you think it might be possible to drown in unfinished projects?  Probably not, right?  Good thing for me, because otherwise I'd surely be a gonner!  I feel like I have several different projects started, and I want to work on all of them at once--I hardly know which to work on next!  But here's the Country Cottages project I also mentioned the other day--I got the blocks out and put them up on the design wall again to see where I was on this one, because it's been a few months since I worked on it.

And on Sunday, besides playing in my scraps (and I'll show you those blocks next weekend), I prepped the applique for the last two blocks of the Country Cottages BOM.

Of course, I also still have the George Schibbles I'm quilting.  I think I have a clear case of quilting ADHD, don't you?!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

It's Scrap Basket Sunday

That means it's time to use your scraps and/or visit other quilters who are working from their scraps to make deliciously lovely quilts.  As I'm writing this late Saturday night, there are ten of us, including me, who have signed up and are planning to post their blocks today; I suspect more of us will join in as the day goes on.  I'm certainly planning to visit everyone, and I hope you will too.

It's funny to think I'm now concerned about not having enough scraps but that's actually the case.  So on Saturday night, I pulled out the Country Cottages project--I still have two blocks left to make--and set aside the fabrics I still need to complete it, folded up the pieces of fabric that are large enough to go back on the fabric shelves, and added the remaining scraps to my basket.  And while I was doing that, I cut 186 2-1/2" squares for sashing the Country Cottages blocks--I still need to cut another 20 squares for that project.  Maybe I'll find some fabrics in my scraps for those 20 squares and mix things up a little bit that way.  I decided that pulling out the Country Cottages project tonight was a win-win situation--now I have a few more scraps for variety AND I've moved a little further on a project that hadn't seen the light of day in a few months.  I plan to get that one finished before too much longer too.

So, let me show you the blocks I made last week:

I've been using a lot of geometric scraps with stripes and dots and I like the way they all look together.  This Sunday, I'll make at least four more, and that will give me a total of 16--about a quarter of the blocks I need for the quilt.  Not too bad!

Also on Saturday, I ordered the pattern for this quilt from Primitive Gatherings, Pinwheel Garden.  I was going to wait until I went back to the local quilt shop to get the pattern, because I believe in supporting our local shops, but I don't expect I'll make it back by there in the next few weeks.  I wish I'd taken the time to look for it when I was there the other night.

Something else I wish I'd done the other night--I wish I'd taken a photo of a quilt shown by one of the Thimbleberries ladies, Wilma, that was from a pattern in the Scrap Basket Sensations book.  If you're familiar with the book, it's one that looks like connecting green circles, except Wilma added purple into hers and it was awesome!  The darker scraps made the pattern pop.  It was only later that night that I realized I'd missed an opportunity to share a really excellent quilt with you.  I don't know where my brain was!

I spent the day Saturday with my stitchery friends and I have a little project I worked on to show you, but I'll wait until tomorrow to share.  Now I'm anxious to get to bed so I can wake up Sunday morning and play with some scraps.  Happy scrapping to you!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Scrap Basket Sunday Sign-Ups

Got scraps?  Make blocks!  And then show us on your blog, because we'd all love to see what you're working on and pick up a few ideas and inspiration too.  Ideally, play in your scrap basket on Sunday and write a blog post the same day.  But if Sunday isn't a good day for you to sew, pick another day during the week and post photos of your results on Sundays.  Just as soon as you're ready to show us what you've been doing, please add your name to Mr. Linky below.  Where it wants your URL, copy and paste either your main blog site address or the address for the specific post where you show us your blocks.

Mr. Linky suggests you leave me a comment, but it's not necessary if you really don't feel like it.  Still, I DO love to hear from you, so I'm not trying to discourage comments!  Have fun and I'll see you tomorrow with my blocks.

Friday, April 12, 2013

I Guess It's Later Now

Yesterday I said I'd show you a photo of a cool scrappy quilt a little later in the week; then I realized this is just about as "later" as it gets, since tomorrow night I'll just post Mr. Linky for the Scrap Basket Sunday group and then the weekend will be here.  So let's talk scraps.  I hope you're not sick of the subject yet.

First of all, hi Liz!  Welcome!  My friend Liz, who had always been one of the Sacramento Thimbleberries ladies until she moved to Colorado a couple years ago, got a message to me that she was participating in Scrap Basket Sunday even though she doesn't have a blog to share her progress on.  And I suspect there are a few other quilters out there doing the same thing.  I'd be happy to set up a Flickr group if you want to share photos--just let me know if there's an interest.  Or, it's very simple to set up a blog through Blogger--just go to Blogger and follow the directions.  You can just use your blog to show your scrappy block photos and not be obligated to blog at any other time.

Now, here's a photo of part of the great scrappy quilt--actually I should say "quilts"--I mentioned:

There's a small quilt and a larger one hanging on the wall there.  I asked one of the shop owners about the pattern--they had the two quilts hanging as advertising for a class--and she said it was a Primitive Gatherings pattern.  At the time, I didn't check for the pattern in the shop, but I did find it online HERE.  Note Primitive Gatherings has ordering options for a kit and a pattern, but the kit doesn't use the same fabrics as those in the photo above.  There's a similar pattern HERE, but the blocks are set differently--it's nice to see a couple different options.

So many of you are working on such fun projects, it's hard for me to decide what I want to do next, although it will be a couple months before I'm done with the blocks I need for my current project.  Still, by then I'll have decided I want to make at least eight more quilts just from seeing your projects.  I also wanted to mention that Donna had the idea of making her scraps do double duty by making this month's Schnibbles project, Hat Trick, using her scraps.  How smart is she?!  If that idea interests you and you haven't signed up for the Schnibbles group, go visit Sinta and let her know.  Just click HERE.

Even if you're not making scrappy blocks right now, take a few minutes each week to visit the ladies who are linking up to show us what beautiful things they're working on--I bet you'll be inspired.  And if you're making blocks and sharing photos, be sure to include in your blog posts what pattern you're using and what book it can be found in--if it's from a book.  Because you know we're all going to want to make the same thing, right?

Thursday, April 11, 2013

What a Day!

Before work, I noticed the clematis on the patio was starting to bloom, so I grabbed the camera and caught a photo.  I love these plants and I wish I had several varieties--maybe I'll look for another one this year.  Some are hardier than others though, and I definitely need one that's going to grow even under abusive circumstances--I tend to ignore the garden for the most part and Hubby tends to cut everything back whenever he can.

Until I plugged the camera into my computer to upload some photos, I'd totally forgotten the day also started off with me stuck in mostly stopped traffic for an extra 45 minutes on my drive to work.  This is the second time in two weeks something like this has happened--last week there was a fatality on the freeway and every route in either direction was stopped--and not just the freeways.  I know this because I tried several alternate routes, and it didn't make any difference.  Today I just waited it out because I had no idea what was causing the slow down.  It's usually very rare that I'd be anything like this late to work.

As it turned out, when I took this photo, I was finally nearing the problem.

See that overpass ahead and the crane?  That's a freeway up there and traffic was stopped or slow on that road too.  They've been doing construction on the overpass to widen it or reinforce it or something--I'm really not sure--but this is the first time it's affected traffic to this degree.  For most of the route, the road is two lanes in either direction and travels at 50 mph, although at this point, it narrows to one lane.  It was backed up for miles while they moved heavy equipment from under the overpass and did whatever these guys do.  Crazy.

Then at work we had a little bit of an incident.  You know I work for a law firm, right?  I really can't say anything specific because of confidentiality concerns, but a woman was in our office giving a deposition and she had some kind of a problem--whether it was a panic attack or medical or what, I'm not sure.  We had to call emergency services to take her to the hospital.  Definitely NOT something that happens every day!

I think I said I'd try to remember to take my camera to the Thimbleberries Club meeting and I did, but I sort of forgot to take photos during show and tell until this quilt was being shown.  The quilt itself was made by an almost-90 year old woman and it's probably the last quilt she'll ever make because she was struggling to remember how to do the binding.  The woman who is holding the quilt offered to do the binding for the elderly quilter.  Sweet, isn't it?  I hope someone will be that kind to me someday.

When I came home from Thimbleberries, I thought I'd make the next block for the block of the month.  And it's a basket for May!  I may applique a couple flowers in the basket but I'm not sure.

Here are all the blocks together so far:

I don't know if I'd mentioned it before, but I'm using scraps for this quilt too.  Well, I did mention I don't seem to have any problems using my Thimbleberries scraps and this is one example.  All of the backgrounds have been scrappy so far except for this month's block.  Unless I changed the block construction, I would have had to make those two large upper corners out of one fabric and I thought that making the rest of several different creams would have looked even funnier.

I saw a wonderfully scrappy quilt at the quilt shop and I took a photo, but I'm going to save that to show you a little later in the week.  It's time now for me to make my way toward bed because this crazy day is finally coming to an end.  "See" you tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

At Least That's Done

Moving on with my miscellaneous week, I finished the fourth scrappy block tonight.  Of course, I can't show you my blocks until Sunday, but it's nice to have them done so I can see how all four look together.  I'd really like to get them done ON Sunday next weekend instead of stringing them out for three days though!

Also tonight, I dug out the April sheep blanket pattern and pulled the wools I needed to kit up for my friends.  And when I do that, I prepare my pieces and get everything laid out and glued down, ready to stitch--that way, not only am I ready, but I know how the whole thing will look, and I know how big the wool pieces need to be for my friends' kits.  Want to see it so far?

I think I'll like this one too.  I've matched embroidery thread and packed everything up in a tote box to take with me on Saturday.  I was thinking on my drive home tonight that it would be nice to get the Schnibbles quilt done before then so I could work on the binding on Saturday, but I'm not sure that's possible.

I told Hubby several of you had complimented him on his caterpillar yard art and he was pleased, although I don't think he's read your comments yet.  He doesn't read my blog, you know.  But maybe he'll be curious to see what you said.  I know he appreciates it when people enjoy the things he creates.

Tomorrow night is my monthly Thimbleberries Club meeting--and I still haven't packed up what I want to take, but I'll do that in the morning.  And if I remember to bring my camera, maybe I'll have something to show you afterward.  "See" you then!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


I can already tell this is going to be a miscellaneous sort of week in many ways.  Thimbleberries Club on Wednesday night means not much sewing going on that night and I'll be spending some time on Tuesday night assembling show and tell and a few other things to bring to the meeting.  And the monthly gathering of my stitchery group on Saturday means time spent this week preparing sheep blanket kits for my friends AND getting my own sheep blanket ready to stitch while we're together.  I'm not complaining--I love my groups and friends.  But it means I can't come home from work every night and play in the Sweat Shop as I usually would.

And then there are the projects I'm working on--miscellaneous stuff.  I'm about half finished quilting George, the Schnibbles quilt.  And let's not forget those scrap blocks:  I only had time to select fabrics and cut four blocks on Sunday, so tonight I pieced three of them, and I have one more to piece.  Then there was  QADD:  Quilter's Attention Deficit Disorder.  I'm pretty sure that's what made me set aside piecing the scrap blocks for awhile tonight to piece, quilt, and bind a little mug mat.

Perhaps you recall that earlier in the year, I wanted to make a mug mat for my desk at work every month or every holiday.  I think the last one I made was for St. Patrick's Day, so it was about time to make another, and I'd been setting aside random leftover pieces of the spring time fabrics I'd used in the two Easter projects I recently finished.  I guess maybe I got tired of moving aside my little pile of scraps for this project, because tonight I finally made that mug mat.

But maybe it wasn't QADD that caused me to be a little more scattered and less focused on my scrap blocks.  Maybe it was the crazy wind we've had.  Some of you mentioned it's too early for you to plant tomatoes where you live, but our temps here are expected to be in the 70s and maybe into the 80s for the next couple weeks.  Even if they dip, we're pretty unlikely to get a freeze at this time of year, but we may still get rain and winds.  The wind seems to cause strange things sometimes, and today's wind gusts got up to 45 miles per hour.  This morning I was out on the front yard patio--where our raised planter is--in my nightgown "staking" up my new tomato plants with bamboo shish kabob skewers and light kite string.  The plants are fairly well protected by the edges of the raised box, but this wind seemed like it could be stronger than my new babies could take.  I'm pleased to say that when I came home from work tonight, they all looked just fine.

And speaking of gardens, I wanted to show you Hubby's latest yard art creation.  Remember the caterpillar from Alice in Wonderland?

He's been working on this one off and on for some months now, searching thrift stores for things like the teacup and saucer.  I think he's had a lot of fun making it.  The hookah lights up; I think the caterpillar does too.   Right now, this guy is living on our back patio--too bad we can't put it and some of Hubby's other creations in the front yard where they can be enjoyed by the neighbors, but Hubby's afraid they'll be stolen.  I'm glad, though, that he has a hobby he enjoys as much as I enjoy playing with fabric.

Thanks for visiting!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Fast Forward

I want to say I'm anxious for spring, but that's not quite right:  I know technically spring IS here.  It's just that I'm anxious to get a little further into spring, to the time when fresh fruits and veggies are available and I can get back into the farmer's market routine.  I know it won't be long, but I'm ready NOW.

On Saturday, a friend and I took a little road trip.  The idea began when I started dreaming of fresh tomatoes and it grew into a combination birthday celebration and miscellaneous shopping trip--my friend's birthday is coming up a little later this month.  So we had lunch out, went to a quilt shop, visited the nursery for tomato plants, and then hit six or eight vintage/antique/thrift shops in the foothill towns of Loomis and Newcastle.  Oh, and we visited a produce store called Newcastle Produce.   The shop is owned by a local farming family who also has a booth on Saturdays at a nearby farmer's market.  They carry all sorts of fresh produce, packaged specialty items, spices, etc.  They even have cooking classes.  I love that place!

During our trip, I found this pretty blue bowl at one of the vintage/antique shops, but even more special, perhaps, was this beautiful book called Farm-Fresh Recipes by Heather Cameron of Missing Goat Farm.  Heather's farm is in British Columbia and she has a blog called A Day in the Country where you can see some of her beautiful photography and her wonderful recipes.  Here are a couple pages from the book--the beginning of the spring section -- 

and the start of summer--

I found the book at Newcastle Produce.  It's such a beautiful book, I just couldn't resist buying it.

Saturday night, I did some grocery shopping and cleaned out the refrigerator a little.  I had a package of blackberries that needed to be used soon, so I made a simple blackberry sauce and served it on vanilla ice cream for dessert.  For breakfast on Sunday, though, I thought pecan waffles would be a perfect way to use the rest of the sauce--and they were! 

And those tomato plants I told you I was so anxious to buy?  I planted them in a raised bed.  It's probably not surprising that all three of these varieties I picked out are early season tomatoes!  (As an after thought, I also grabbed a yellow cherry tomato variety, but that's potted separately--not enough room in this space!)

There's a lot I like about fall and winter in Northern California, but I sure do miss the variety of locally grown fruits and veggies we have available to us in the spring and summer.  I suspect spring produce will start filling the farmer's markets sometime in the next month or so.  In the meantime, I'll just have to be patient and watch my tomatoes grow.

I'm glad you could stop by for a visit!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

If You Show Me Yours, I'll Show You Mine

Welcome to all of you who have made the journey into your scrap pile, drawer, or basket and pulled out the makings of a block--or many blocks!  And welcome to those of you who are simply browsing for now, looking for a little inspiration.  Yesterday's Mr. Linky list will lead you on a little adventure to Scrap Land--just click your heels together three times and repeat after me:  There's nothing as fun and creative as using scraps to make something new and wonderful!  Then click your mouse on the names listed in the Linky list and see what everyone's working on.  Because this is, of course, Scrap Basket Sunday.  And these are my blocks for this week:

In case you're just joining us and wondering what pattern I'm using or have any other questions about what WE'RE doing for Scrap Basket Sunday, just click HERE--last week's post.

I thought I'd also show you how I'm keeping my blocks--at least for now.  I know many of you have some sort of storage idea you like to use, but here's another possibility to consider:  Wrap the blocks around a batting covered heavy duty cardboard roll and tie them with a ribbon.

Then store the rolls in a bin, on a shelf, or wherever you have some space.  I had a post about a year ago where I demonstrated how to make these and how I use and store them--HERE.

If you haven't already, I hope you'll join us in setting aside a little time each week to make blocks using your scraps.  There are tons of patterns and ideas out there--and you might just be able to find one you love by visiting the other quilters who have linked up to yesterday's post.  Scrap on!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Scrap Basket Sunday Sign Ups!

Will you be ready to show us what you're doing with your fabric scraps on Sunday?  If you'd like to invite us over for a little show and tell, and maybe a little brunch or dessert, please add your name to the list and we'll stop by:

Friday, April 5, 2013

Ladies, Start Your (Sewing Machine) Engines!

I've decided it's time for me to get a little quilting done.  Remember that basket of unfinished quilt tops I mentioned yesterday?  Well, no, perhaps I won't get all of those done, but I'm at least going to make a start on a few.  In particular, I've had two Schnibbles quilts pin basted for a long, LONG time now--probably over a year.  And I thought that before I started yet another Schnibbles quilt top, I'd get those two quilted.  Here's the first one:

The pattern is called George:

I made George back in July 2011--almost two years ago!  If you click HERE, you can see that post with the quilt top up on the design wall.  You may recall, if you've been reading that long, that I posted a poll to help me decide which fabric to use as a border--the border was in addition to the pattern as shown above.  There was a yellow and white wide stripe and a red and white narrower stripe; the red and white stripe won.

Tonight I stenciled and quilted a design into the centers of the 16 churn dash blocks (if you click on my photo to enlarge it, you might be able to see the pattern) but I'm not sure what I'll do with the rest.  I was thinking about a secondary stenciled pattern where the block corners come together, but there's sashing between some of the blocks that breaks up that area--and it probably wouldn't really enhance the quilt pattern itself anyway.  I think I'll stitch around the churn dash shapes and then think of something I can use to fill in the rest of the open space.  And I have no idea what I'll do in the outer striped border--any suggestions for quilting a stripe like that?  (Click the link above to see the border better.)  Just quilt following the stripes?

You know I haven't been posting a Saturday blog on Friday nights, but I will post a Mr. Linky list for those of you who have scrap blocks to show on your blogs on Scrap Basket Sunday, so please come back and add your name if you're ready to share them.

Finally, I've been meaning to tell you that last weekend Hubby and I went with our friends to see the movie The Call with Hallie Berry.  Before going, I read some reviews that said the movie was completely predictable.  Seriously, I read a lot of similar stuff and I didn't know what was going to happen from moment to moment.  I also read several reviews that said it was the best suspense movie the reviewer had ever seen.  I think that might be a little bit of a stretch, but I enjoyed it.  In fact, I'd give it a B+.  I told my friend Lisa that we could go only go if she promised not to scream, but she broke her promise within the first half hour.  Still, the movie was good enough that I could overlook a random scream or two.  If you're looking for a movie to see this weekend and like suspense, check out The Call.