Sunday, March 31, 2013

Let The Scrapping Begin!

First of all, I want to wish all of you a very happy Easter!  Second, today's the first Scrap Basket Sunday, and I want to welcome all of you who are joining in making scrap blocks or just looking for something to inspire you to use your own ever-growing scrap pile.

I have two large scrap bins--one full of Thimbleberries fabrics and one full of non-Thimbleberries fabrics.  I seem to use the Thimbleberries scraps now and then, but not so much the others.  I'm hoping to change that, starting now.

I've looked through several block sources:  Quilters Cache, magazines, and books.  I finally settled on this book by Kim Diehl and the quilt on the cover called Pie in the Sky.

The blocks finish at 8", and there's what looks like a 2" sashing between the blocks so I think I probably want to make somewhere between 49 and 64 blocks or more (more for a little more flexibility in positioning the blocks, even if I do end up with extras).  I thought if I make between two and six blocks a week, I'll have enough to make the quilt in a few months.

My plan is to work on my blocks on Sundays when I can, but if Sunday isn't possible due to other activities, then I'll make them during the week.  In any event, I'll post photos of what I've made on my Sunday post (which I write on Saturday nights).  Here are my first four blocks:

Of course, if you want to join in, you absolutely don't have to make the same blocks I'm making.  On her Pink Pincushion blog, Sinta said she was thinking about making a quilt from the Kim Brackett's book, Scrap Basket Beauties.   And you don't have to make your blocks on Sunday, either.  Whatever day of the week works for you is great!  But it would be wonderful if you would post photos of your blocks on Sundays and then add your name to the Mr. Linky list that I'll post on my blog every Saturday, so everyone can pop over and visit you to see what you're working on.  And please include the source for your blocks, so if others are inspired, they can find the pattern and make blocks too.

I found this past week that making these blocks are addicting--I really wanted to keep making more just to see how they'd turn out.  Potato chip blocks:  because you can't make just one!

If there's a lot of interest and participation in this Scrap Basket Sunday idea, I may organize a scrap swap in the next couple of months and there may be a few random prizes now and then.  We'll see how things develop.  But I hope you'll join in making scrap blocks or at least enjoy looking!

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P.S.:  I was thinking about how I use my Thimbleberries scraps, and I realized I often use them in smaller projects.  If you want to join us in making things from scraps, it doesn't HAVE to be blocks to make a larger quilt--please feel free to make something smaller from your scraps.  Just as long as you're playing with scraps, you're more than welcome to join in!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Getting Scrappy!

I know--you aren't used to seeing me on Saturdays anymore.  But since we're doing Scrap Basket Sunday, I thought I'd create a brief Saturday post each week for sign ups.

So far, it's been a crazy first experience for hosting something like this.  With the help of Crafty Carol, I think--I THINK--I may have come up with a blog button for Scrap Basket Sunday.  Please feel free to copy the button onto your blog--it's there in the sidebar.  And if it doesn't work?  Let me know and I'll start over.  One thing I DO know:  there's a very good reason why I don't mess around with writing computer code for a living.  Okay, make that TWO things:  I quilt better than I code.

I thought we'd try out a Mr. Linky link list that I'll post on Saturdays for sign ups and see how it works, because I know not all of you will have blocks to post every Sunday, and for those of you who want to see what others are doing, I don't want to waste your time hopping to blogs and looking for scrap blocks that aren't there.  So here it is--please add your blog if you'll be showing us your scrappy block goodness this week:

Friday, March 29, 2013

Into the Home Stretch!

Thank you all for the compliments and encouraging words.  I made more progress tonight--I have about half of that outside border left to quilt, so maybe about an hour worth of work and then the binding.

As I was quilting, I thought about my crazy design process and I wondered whether you enjoy seeing something like this develop.  You know, with this one, it all began with the idea for an egg.  I thought strips of fabric sewn together and then prepared for applique in the shape of an egg would make for a fun project.  Probably pretty fast too.

Then from there, after I appliqued the egg shapes onto background squares, I had to decide what to add and how to set them.  I've always liked the pieced tulip blocks so that was an idea.  And no Easter quilt is complete without carrots.

After that, the ribbon border came along and then I thought bunnies were needed, but I was running short on time.  So I prepared the applique pieces but instead of hand sewing them, I stitched them down by machine as I was quilting the piece.  Here you can see better how I did that.

With the quilting, I wanted to give the bunnies some defining lines but not flatten them too much--I'd decided to meander the background and I wanted the bunnies to be a bit dimensional and puff up.  I think the quilt lines on these guys make them look a little like Pacific Northwest Native American animals--I'm not sure why, but that's what they remind me of.

I think I was a little slower tonight than I would have liked, but I had Rehab Addict on the TV (DIY Network, I think) while I was quilting, and I kept stopping to see what Nicole Curtis was doing--have you seen that show?  I love her and her ideas about recycling and restoring old homes.  For such a tiny thing, she's surprisingly full of energy, guts, and drive!

I kind of hate to stop this close to finishing, but I have another day of work before the weekend and I need to get some sleep.

See how easy it is to start with a simple idea and watch it grow into a quilt without planning anything specific ahead of time?  Now that Easter's nearly here, it's time to start thinking ahead to the next season and holiday.  I'm thinking about red, white, and blue with flags and stars.  I think I'll start by making a flag and see what it grows into.  How about you?  I challenge you to make a flag and then use your imagination and quilting skills to see what happens next.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

I Think My Dental Hygienist is Trying to Kill Me

Yesterday I went for my six month check and teeth cleaning.  I remember a few years ago, when I complained to my friend Lisa, a dental hygienist, that my jaw had been achy after I'd had an appointment with my own gal, Lisa said that was a good thing because it meant she was doing what she needed to do.  And yes, yesterday afternoon, a couple hours after the cleaning, my jaw was achy again.  No big deal. What I didn't expect was that today, the day after the cleaning, my shoulders, neck, and the back of my head would ache.  It took me awhile to relate it back to the cleaning, but it finally occurred to me that what probably happened was that while she was working on me, I must have tensed up my muscles without realizing it.  A day later, and those same muscles were as achy as could be!

So I took a couple doses of Tylenol IB throughout the day and I may have had a margarita at lunch--for purely medicinal purposes, of course.  Again, not a big deal.  But I wondered how on Earth I was going to be able to sit down at the sewing machine and quilt all evening with all that achiness going on in the same body parts I'd be using for the quilting.  Ha!  I needn't have worried after all, because as it turned out, all that achiness finally wore off by the end of the work day, so quilting was no problem at all!

I could quilt AND I could do it with clean teeth!  And thank goodness I don't have to return to Frau Scraper for another six months.  Woo-hoo!

I think I'm pretty much on track to get this done by sometime this weekend--hopefully before Sunday.  Tonight I finished quilting all of the center up through that first turquoise ribbon border.  Tomorrow night I'll move onto the bunny corners and maybe even get out to that final border.

Now, though, I'm going to go soak for a little bit in a hot bath.  Because even though I started the evening without any serious aches, after quilting for several hours, a few of them have come back.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Down and Dirty

With only four (FOUR!) days left until Easter, I knew I'd need to take a couple of shortcuts to finish the Easter Toss quilt before the big day.  Will I finish, though?  That's far from certain, but what I'm doing to hurry things along is something I've done a time or two in the past, and it seems to work out okay.  Instead of hand appliqueing the corner bunnies, I've prepped the pieces and glued them in place; now I'll stitch them down by machine as part of the quilting.

Tonight I finished prepping the bunnies and pinned the quilt.  I also have the Juki out and cleaned, the thread picked out to match the quilt, and I'm ready to start quilting tomorrow night.

And for those of you who are curious about the pattern for the bunny, I started with the one I designed for the Spring! quilt pattern, redrew him a bit smaller to fit the corners, and adjusted the legs and ears, also to fit the space better.

If I can get the quilting done Wednesday and Thursday nights, I'll have Saturday to sew on the binding and anything else that needs to be finished.  Wish me luck!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Bits and Pieces

I'm so tickled that several of you want to join in the Scrap Basket Sunday group!  And I'm even more tickled that Carol offered to help me with a blog button for the group.  I think sometime this week, we'll probably have something you can add to your blog.

I know several of you have also said you want to make the Kim Diehl quilt I showed on my blog--that's the one I'm working on.  I had a little bit of trouble when I started making my blocks in that the pattern is written using fat quarters and strip sets.  However, I carefully read through the directions and did some calculations and came up with the cutting measurements for single scrappy blocks.  If you have the book and just need the measurement conversion, email me and I'll be happy to give you the info, but please don't ask me if you don't already have the book.  (I'm not being mean; I just don't want to violate copyright laws.)  I have my first four blocks made and I'm excited to show them to you, but I have to wait until Sunday, darn it.  I know this is going to be fun because these are like potato chips:  it's hard to stop with just a couple!

Besides the scrappy blocks, I took a little time to make the April block for the Thimbleberries BOM I started this year--it's the very first BOM Thimbleberries ever did, and it's fairly simple really.  Here's April's block:

I worked on it while I watched Murder on the Orient Express on PBS on Sunday night--another oldie but goodie.  Here are the first four blocks up on the design wall together:

I'm kind of surprised I've kept the blocks up there for the past couple months and I'm sure I'll need to take them down before too long for some other project, but it's kind of nice to have them there for now.

Tomorrow night I'll get back to the Easter Toss quilt--I'll be sure to show you how it's coming along.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Basket Case

I've been working, off and on, on the "Easter Toss" project, and I thought you might like to see how it's grown.

This is as large as it's going to get, and I think it's probably around 40" square or so.  I'm working on bunnies for the corners, but I'm not far enough along that it's ready to show just yet.  I hope when I quilt this, I'll be able to make those tulips look a little less one-dimensional.  In truth, if you were able to see it in person, you'd see that the center "petal" is folded fabric--kind of like prairie points--and not sewn down.

I'm happy to hear a number of you are interested in Scrap Basket Sunday, and I like the idea of a blog button, but I'm not sure how to make one.  I took a photo to use but I'm not experienced enough with Photoshop to add borders with words--not without spending hours trying to do it.  Do any of you know how to do that and want to volunteer to make a button?  If so, feel free to grab this photo, or I can email it to you--or you can make something up yourself.

I was only able to make one block today but I'm excited about how the "prototype" turned out and I'd like to make a couple more before I post photos next Sunday.  And, as you can see, I went through my much larger scrap bin and pulled out some fabrics to begin with, so I'll have them handy.

I've had a happy and productive day in the Sweat Shop today; but it's back to work in the morning.  Still, I think it's things like having to go to work that make us appreciate our play time even more, right?  I hope you too had a great weekend!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Scrap Basket Sunday

The idea that I needed to do something with my increasingly packed scrap drawer has been lurking in the back of my mind for some time now, and I finally formed a plan to help decrease my scrap stash.  I'm going to start something I'm calling Scrap Basket Sunday.  Each Sunday I'll pull fabric out of my scrap drawer and make a few blocks.  Then I'll post photos on my blog the following Saturday night--that way, the photos will show up in my Sunday post.

Once I decided on a plan, I started looking through various resources for a project to begin with.  First I visited Quilter's Cache.  Have you looked at all the blocks Marcia Hohn has uploaded there?  It's a great resource.  If you don't know about it, click on the name link which will take you to the page where you can access the blocks and check it out.

I printed out a couple block possibilities but then I remembered that Kim Diehl's books contain a lot of scrappy quilts and I love her patterns, so I pulled my books off the shelf and began browsing.  When I came across this one, I knew I'd found my first project:

The quilt is called Pie in the Sky and the blocks are stars inside of churn dash blocks.  My friends and I saw a quilt made from this pattern at the Manteca Quilt Show a few weeks ago, and it was one of my favorites.  And I'd already forgotten about it until I went looking for a scrappy project!  You can also see there are plenty of plain fabric squares that make up the sashing--great for using up a basket full of scraps!

I'd like to invite you to join me in Scrap Basket Sunday if you also have scraps that aren't being put to good use.  And I may have a few scrappy giveaways along the way--which will also help to decrease the amount of scraps I have.  Win-win, right?!  Just find yourself a pattern you like and join in--it doesn't have to be the same one I'm making.  If you have a blog, post your blocks on your blog each Sunday and let me know you're participating, and I'll create a section in my sidebar of links to other scrappy bloggers.

Speaking of giveaways, I promised to announce the winner of the Australian magazine Stan sent to me for machine embroidery.

Here's the winner's post:

Shelley has left a new comment on your post "Stan's the Man!":

"That issue looks like an 'oldie,' but 'goodie.' I have been embroidering for over 12 yrs and I do not have that particular issue. Maybe there is something inside that catches your eye? Love adding embroidery to my quilts! Thanks for the chance to win a little treasure."

Shelley, please email me your mailing address and I'll mail the magazine to you this week.  Thank you all for stopping in to visit.  Happy sewing!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Stan's the Man!

Do you have any favorite eBay fabric sellers you'd like to share?  I thought I'd let you in on one of my "secret" sources for "vintage" Thimbleberries fabrics--Ideas Unlimited.  I try not to visit too often because they always have fabrics I want, so it can get expensive.  In fact, just in finding the link for you, I was compelled to order three yards of fabric, darn it!  Lucky for me, most of the fabrics are priced under $7 a yard.

I'm terribly tickled at my latest find, though.  I know some of you have followed Thimbleberries for years, right?  Do you remember the Safe Haven BOM with all the bird house blocks?

For years after that BOM came out, I'd hear off and on from people searching for the focus fabric, which was very scarce and was even harder to find because a whopping 3 yards of it were needed for the quilt.

Well, Stan, one of the owners of Ideas Unlimited, must have unearthed a bolt somewhere because when I stopped in last week for a peek at the vintage Thimbleberries fabrics on offer, there it was!  And yes, I had to order four yards.

And oddly enough, at the country store at the quilt show in Yuba City last weekend, I found a set of the patterns--it was meant to be!  Of course, since the patterns first came out, the whole set has been reprinted in one of the Thimbleberries BOM books so they're widely available.

When I opened my fabric package, not only did I find the Safe Haven fabric (and another yard of vintage Thimbleberries), but I found Stan had tucked in an Australian magazine, Machine Embroidery.  What a sweetie, eh?!  There are some very lovely things in this magazine, including a baby's christening-type gown that would surely become an heirloom, but since I don't have an embroidery machine, the magazine isn't much help to me.

So I thought I'd share Stan's bounty.  If you live in the US (or can receive mail here), have an embroidery machine, and think you'd enjoy this magazine, please leave me a comment and I'll draw a winner Saturday night (posted on Sunday's blog post).  And stop by and visit Stan from time to time.  If you're not a Thimbleberries fan, you should know that he also carries vintage Jinny Beyer and some Moda as well.  You just never know what you're going to find there!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Rabbit, Run(ner)

Sometimes I throw fairly obscure (to most people) literary references into my blog posts.  In this one, my bunny runner reminded me of the title of the 1960s book Rabbit, Run, a very well regarded piece of literature written by John Updike.  I thought what I read of the book before putting it down was pretty boring, but then that's generally my opinion of most literature, unfortunately.  I guess that's why I didn't stick out college to become an English major; instead, I've left that feat to the Wild Child to accomplish.

Anyway, now that I've bored you about as much as John Updike bored me, I'll show you my rabbit runner and tell you the book Rabbit, Run has nothing to do with an actual rabbit.  Typical for literature, right?

When we last saw this guy, I was contemplating orthodontia, which I did perform one day.  And I also gave him a lower lip/jaw under his buck teeth--kind of like Doctors Without Borders performing jaw reconstruction surgery.  Still, I wasn't happy.  He was just sitting there in the grass, looking kind of sad, lost, and (shhhhh!) not very intelligent.  In fact, he looked like a sad dog with long ears.  So I added a basket of carrots.

And apparently I did a really good job with that lower lip/jaw surgery because the basket handle seems to just be stuck to and held up by his lower lip rather than gripped in his buck teeth, but a person can only remove and replace a bunny's teeth a limited number of times, so this will have to do.

If I thought I could make some decent-looking butterflies, I would seriously consider adding two or three to the runner, but I'm afraid I'd end up with something that didn't look quite right, and then I'd be tweaking it into 2014, so maybe this is done now, except for the quilting.  Time will tell.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Easter Toss

Tonight I thought I could show you the current progress on one of my Easter egg projects--remember I had to order more of the background fabric a couple weeks ago?  It arrived last week, so I worked on it over the weekend and a little bit the last couple evenings.

I'm not sure where I'm going with it from here, but I have a couple of ideas.  Right now, it's 24" square.  Originally I thought just a simple border of the background fabric would finish it, but then I started wondering where the bunnies were.  So, I guess I should wait a little while and see if the bunnies show up--those carrots seem like pretty good bunny bait, don't they?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Lady Bugs, Polka Dots, and Red Fabric

I guess you could say these are a few of my favorite things.  I've been "collecting" red fabrics--mostly fat quarters--for a couple years and squirreling them away in my secret drawer.  Okay, the drawer isn't really secret, but I DO have these "special" fabrics tucked away there until I find just the right project.

See the lady bug fabrics too?  There are a couple in there.  And there are a lot of polka dot fabrics in the drawer as well.  At the quilt show last weekend, a vendor called Lady Bug Lace had lady bug pincushions.  Yes, I bought one; I couldn't resist.

And I purchased a little bundle of fat quarters that go with my red fabrics, although these have black too for some nice contrast.

When we were at the show, there was a section that had several red, white, and black quilts that were quite nice--we all admired them.  Maybe that influenced my purchase a little bit.  But my best "find" of the day, I think was a nice collection of fat quarters from a little shop in Lincoln that we stopped at on the way home--Sew Katie Jean.

These guys--except maybe the one yellow fat quarter--definitely belong in my secret drawer; don't you agree?  Just looking at them makes me smile.  I found a possible pattern last week to use with my stash but I'm not sure yet--I saw it made up in reds and greens, but they were more "country" shades and not as bright as my little hoard.  I'll think about it.  And open that drawer every now and then to admire my collection.  How about you?  Do you "collect" any specific fabrics you just can't seem to pass up?

Monday, March 18, 2013

Houston, We Have a Problem

Don't you hate it when technology goes wrong?  Admittedly, my little problem wasn't anything like the problem Apollo 13 experienced but it was frustrating.

Recently we here at Casa de Kim have had some problems with sporadic internet access and we thought it had something to do with our service provider.  A couple weeks ago when I sat down to write a blog post, I found I had no access until later that night, when I just posted a brief note mentioning the problem.  The same thing happened again Friday night.  I had already been playing around on the internet, reading blogs, and had even posted a brief message about National Quilting Day when our internet connection went down again suddenly. 

It's a little alarming to realize how much we depend on something like the internet or our telephones.  I email a friend, Eileen, twice a day; in the morning and evening.  I thought if Eileen didn't hear from me for any length of time, she might worry, so I brought my Kindle with me on the quilt show trip.  When we stopped for coffee drinks at Starbucks, I took advantage of their WiFi to send off a very brief message letting her know I was okay and what the problem was.  And while I was off playing with my friends at the quilt show, Hubby was tasked with contacting our internet service provider to get the problem resolved.

When I got home Saturday night, I learned the problem wasn't our service provider but was instead due to our outdated modem--time to buy a new one.  So Hubby went off to the electronics store and I spent a couple hours blowing dust out of the computer and messing around with plugs and wires and software and passwords.  Why is it that these computer things that would take a tech 10 minutes to fix always take me two or three hours?  So on Saturday night I spent a second frustrating evening on computer stuff, but at least the computer is up and running again, and the fact that I finally took time to remove the dust from the computer guts seems to have it running better than it had been lately.

Remember when computers were supposed to make our lives so much easier and better?  I'm sure they DO, but I can't help but feel, now that the weekend is at its end, that I lost several precious hours messing around with the computer when I'd much rather have been sewing!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

How Was It?

Did you have a great National Quilting Day?  A couple of my friends and I traveled north for about 45 minutes to a quilt show in Yuba City.  Some of us went last year and had a good time, so it seemed worth repeating.  Last year the only disappointment, I think, was the choice of the restaurant we were directed to for lunch, but this year I got a couple recommendations from a blog friend who is a member of the guild, Diane Steele, and a local merchant, and we ended up with our choice of several good options.  In the end, we decided to try the Sutter Buttes Brewery.  I ordered a twist on a club sandwich that included sun dried tomato aoli, chicken, and bacon, and my friends had fish and chips.  It was all good!

Before lunch, though, we went to the show.  And this time, I completely forgot to bring my camera, darn it!  There was a really great quilt made from a Sue Spargo pattern with wool and an amazing number of different embroidery stitches--marvelous!  And Diane's group, the Calendar Girls, had a display of their quilts made from patriotic blocks they'd swapped last year--such a talented group!

Ah, and then there were the vendors.  I had been looking forward to visiting one particular vendor who sells vintage "stuff," like buttons, ephemera, laces, trims, etc.  And yes, she was back again.  Last year she had some really fun themed "grab bags"--you could kind of see what was in them, but when you got them home and opened them up, there were a few surprises that weren't visible through the wrap.  Unfortunately she didn't have those today, but she did have some trims I really needed to have.

Red and white ANYTHING will always find a home with me, but I also thought the tiny green rick rack and green bias tape would make some really nice stems for appliqued flowers.

One of the fun places to visit at most quilt shows is the country store or boutique--whatever they call it, it's more or less the quilters' garage sale area; you know what I'm talking about?  There I found more trim I really needed--how cute and spring-like are the lavender and yellow loop braid trims?

You know what happened that's kind of funny though?  When I got up to the cashiers, they told me they didn't think they had any individual packages of trim.  As it turned out, the WHOLE BOX OF TRIMS were just $3.  Yes, ma'am, I'll take it!

Hubby seemed to think the box itself was worth the deal I got, so maybe I'll give it to him to store stuff in, but I'm keeping the trims.  I'd estimate about half the box is filled with seam and hem tape, and I'm really not sure what I can do with those.  Any ideas?  The seam tape can probably be used in place of silk ribbon for embroidery or dimensional applique, perhaps.  Something like that, anyway.

I'll show you one more of my "steals" from the country store--a bundle of light colored (mostly blue and gray) woven/homespun fabrics.  My friends and I have been planning to make house quilts with homespun, so for $5, I was able to significantly increase my stash of light shades.

I have more to show you but it's going to have to wait until another day, because if I yawn any wider, I'm going to crack my jaw.  I think it's nature's way of telling me it's time to head off to bed.

My corned beef is in the crockpot, by the way, bathing in a couple large cans of Guiness overnight--I'm trying my friend Missy's recipe, and it's new to me.  I'll let you know how it turns out.  Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Happy National Quilting Day!

I know I don't usually post on Friday nights, but I didn't want to miss wishing you a happy National Quilting Day!  I'm heading to a quilt show in Yuba City and a couple quilt shops with two of my friends.  How are you celebrating the day?

Friday, March 15, 2013

A Little Bunny Business

For one reason or another, I don't think I've been in the Sweat Shop . . . at least not to do anything at all creative . . . since probably last weekend, I think.  I've THOUGHT a couple times about the progress--or lack of progress--on my Easter egg quilt projects and pondered, in particular, what I wanted to do with the appliqued runner.  I finally headed back into the Sweat Shop this evening to do a little work on the bunny.  After all, almost everyone can use a little work at one time or another.

And now that the bunny's had a bit of a makeover, I'll start the border treatment next.  And yes, I've figured out what I want to do with that, but you'll have to wait to see.

I haven't quite made up my mind, though, whether the bunny's overbite needs a little bit of orthodontia work.  I'll keep pondering that.  Thanks for checking in.

Thursday, March 14, 2013


Last Saturday, I was watching the Cooking Channel while I sewed.  I find I can't do that very often, because watching those chefs create yummy goodness just makes me hungry, and then I want to eat all day, so I limit myself on my TV food show watching.  Watching Chopped is usually okay, because I'm never really going to want to take those ingredients they find in their baskets and cook with them.  And usually watching cooking shows in the mornings is okay because I'm less likely to want to snack then.

So, Saturday morning.  There are a couple shows I like to watch and Kelsey's Essentials is one of them.  Last Saturday, the TV channel guide promised me Kelsey was going to barbecue, which sounded pretty good, but when the show started, I learned she was going to barbecue INDOORS!

Seriously, did you know you could smoke foods on top of your stove?  I didn't!  I wasn't even sure that we could smoke foods outside on our barbecue, although Hubby later assured me it was possible, even if we'd never done it before.

So what did Kelsey make?  The dish that really made me drool all over my sewing was Garlicky Smoked Shrimp.  Ummmm, um!

I could only imagine!  And you see, that was the problem--I could only imagine since I didn't have a stovetop smoker.  But I thought about it for awhile while I watched Kelsey eating smoked garlicky shrimp, and then I told Hubby I was pretty sure I wanted a stovetop smoker.  "Why?," he asked.  And that's when I found out we could smoke stuff on the outside barbecue.  But you know what?  The outside barbecue is HIS toy, and he's never used it to smoke food.  And if he never has, I was pretty sure I wasn't going to be the one to try to figure out how to do it either.  So I hopped on Amazon to check out the possibilities.

And now I have a smoker of my own, and tons of wood chips to go with it.  And the cool thing?  After I ordered my smoker, the price went up about $20, so I feel even better about ordering it when I did instead of holding off to mull over whether I really needed a smoker or not.

I think I just might do some smoking soon.  If I wasn't going to be out of town on Saturday and cooking corned beef on Sunday, I'd probably be smoking something this weekend.  As it is, though, I might have to wait until Monday or Tuesday night.

Do you smoke indoors?  If so, what's your favorite recipe?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Sick Day

I stayed home sick today with a stomach/intestinal bug, so there's not much to tell you about my day.  Nothing you'd want to hear about anyway!  I didn't even feel like wandering into the Sweat Shop.  But after a day of resting, reading, and watching TV, I'm starting to feel a little better, so I should be up and around again and back to work tomorrow.  "See" you then.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

That's My Boy!

You know, of course, that Soccer Son plays soccer.  And I think the last time I talked about his soccer endeavors, he was playing for a local professional arena (indoor) soccer team, the Sacramento Surge.  Well, that lasted for a couple of months and he became dissatisfied with the way things were going--this was a new expansion team and it just wasn't what he expected when he joined.  Around that time, he was invited to join a team that was part of the same overall national soccer organization but at a semi-pro (premiere) level.  Joining that team meant he would have to travel some distance to and from games and practices, but he liked the team and was offered a modest compensation package that made joining a little more attractive to him than remaining a part of the other team.

So fast forward to now.  The semi-pro team he's been playing for is based in the Oakland/Alameda area and is called Bladium Rosal.  They ended their regular season and moved on to the division play offs in San Diego--Hubby took Soccer Son to the airport last Thursday and will pick him up again tomorrow morning.  (Soccer Son is number 13 near the center of the bottom row.)

The initial play offs consisted of three games; they tied the first two and won the third.  That was enough to move them on to the national quarter finals.  They won that game and moved on to the semi finals.  They won again and went to the championship game against the Colorado Blizzard.  And guess what?

Victory!  National champions.  But you probably figured that out from the title of my post, right?

Oh, and here's a photo of Soccer Son in action that I picked off the league's website:

That's him on the ground in black.  I don't know how he did personally yet as far as goals, etc.; I'll have to wait until he gets back to town to find out.  When Hubby and I talked to him on the phone after we saw the trophy pose on his Facebook page, the professional championship game had just ended, and the San Diego Sockers took that win, so you can imagine how loud it was in the Valley View Casino Center.  Hard to really talk.  But isn't it nice when we see our kids do well in something they love?  Congratulations Bladium Rosal and Pat Powers!  Woo-hoo!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Play Date

A friend of mine had surgery about a week ago, and I wanted to either bring her dinner or take her out to eat today, depending on whether she felt able to get out and about.  Since she was starting to feel like she could do things for short periods of time (and had been advised by her doctor to take short walks), we decided we'd go out to dinner . . . eventually.  But first we made a fast trip through Michael's for a couple essential items and then we went back to her house for a few hours of crafty play time.  Want to see what we made?

We were supposed to get together and make these wool felt "pots" a couple weeks ago, but then I had that pinched nerve in my arm, so we had to postpone.  Here's the pattern--in case any of you need to make a faux pot too.

I have to tell you, though, that about half way through, I told my friend I thought we should have just gone and bought terracota pots instead of trying to make them from wool felt!  On my way home, after we did, in fact, go to dinner (at Mimi's), I remembered I had some wooden tulips and a few birds, so what originally started off as a pot full of eggs grew into a pot full of faux flowers, eggs, and a bird!

It was the perfect decoration for an otherwise overlooked and unembellished spot in the livingroom.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Hop Forward

Today we go back to Daylight Savings Time.  I'm not really a fan of Daylight Savings Time.  Well, that's not it exactly.  I guess I should say I'm not really a fan of messing about with the time twice a year.  It seems that no sooner have I adjusted to one time, it's time to change to another.  It's really pretty pointless.  In my perfect world, it would be time to wake up when it's light outside and time to go to sleep when it's about seven hours before it gets light outside.  Simple really.

I've found a use for the smaller eggs I made.

Yes, the bunny looks a little funny with no eyes or whiskers, but he'll get some before too long.  Next I'll trim it down (you can't see it in this photo but the background fabric extends a few inches in all directions) and add some borders.  I'm thinking about a pieced border but I haven't decided what kind of pieced blocks I'll add.  Probably just something simple and not too big because I don't want the border to overwhelm the rest of the runner.  I think small pinwheels might work.  Or just half square triangles.  Something like that.

Don't forget to turn your clocks ahead an hour if you haven't already.  I'm going to go adjust mine now--begrudgingly!  I think the hour I have to give up might just be an hour of housecleaning.  Or cooking.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Finding Inspiration

Egg-stra, egg-stra, read all about it!  Yes, that's just plain silly, I know, but it's late at night and I've been playing with my eggs.  Hummmm.  I think that sounds wrong, doesn't it?  Well, you know what I mean.  Much of the fabric I've used so far is from the Sunkissed line by Sweetwater--it came out a couple years back and I had a bunch of it for a quilt-along that was really a quilt-a-short, because after I made about three blocks, I decided it wasn't something I wanted to keep going on.

Anyway, it's perfect fabric for spring and eggs, and as I said, I was playing around with it tonight.  I'd appliqued all four of the large eggs onto Sunkissed background fabric and then I auditioned some setting triangles.  They're too dark, though, aren't they?  Well, the problem with all this Sunkissed fabric I have is that I started out with a fat eighth bundle and added some larger pieces, but unfortunately, none of my larger pieces are any of the three colorways of the fabric I used for the egg background.  And that means I don't have enough of it, so I ordered more of the green I used there in the center square.  Of course, it probably won't arrive until Monday or Tuesday, but I'll keep playing--I still need some kind of applique for the center and I have some other applique ideas I'd like to prep for the setting triangles anyway.

I also prepped all four small eggs--the edges are starched under and I just need to decide what background to place them on.  Originally I thought they might go into the setting triangles but they're too large, so now I'm thinking about making them into a runner of their own.  Of course, this gives me more playtime options while I'm waiting for that Sunkissed fabric to arrive.

And speaking of the arrival of fabric, here's where the title of this post comes from.  Remember the quilt show I attended last weekend?  Out of all the beautiful quilts and all the goods the vendors had on display, you know what really caught and held my attention?  The fabric used in an apron one of the white glove ladies was wearing!  Sheesh!

And yes, I had to stop her and ask.  No, she didn't know what the fabric was, exactly; she just knew that she'd liked it so much, she bought something like five yards.

When I got home, I did a little online sleuthing and came up with the fabric, more or less--I just never was able to find it in the same colorway as the apron, which had a red background.  But essentially it's that white fabric in the center:

You know I love my Starbuck's, right?  So cups of coffee, espresso, and cappucino are perfect!  And it's even better if it has red, black, and white, and polka dots too!  The panel on the right is a different line, but the two pieces on the left are from Lloyds + Barton for Timeless Treasures and the date is 2007.  I found it online at Tymber Creek Fabrics, and if you click on the name, it will take you to the fabric--just in case you're smitten too.  The panel is from a line called All About Coffee for Exclusively Quilters and I found it at Fort Worth Fabric Studio.  I have no idea what I'll make from these fabrics, but I hope to get around to it before too long--they look so fun!

When I post again Saturday night, I'll show you where I am with my eggs, if I've made any progress.  Somehow, I suspect it's going to be EGG-CELENT eventually!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

So What's With Those Strips?

Okay, now I can show you part of what I was up to last night with the strips.

Easter eggs!  And this is pretty much all I can show you for now.  Oh, not because I'm being super secretive, but just because I haven't worked out much else yet.  I just knew I wanted Easter eggs in a project.  Will I applique them onto a square?  A long runner?  Hummm.  I haven't  a clue.  But I do have another stack of future egg strips there in the upper left corner of the photo.  Those didn't turn out quite as large, so they'll be smaller eggs--you can kind of see my two freezer paper templates.  I'll be making four more smaller eggs that may be added to these four large eggs or may be a smaller project on their own.

Do you want to know what I did to get this far?  Please feel free to make Easter eggs of your own!

First I cut those strips you saw last night.

To do that, I assembled some random pastel fabric scraps--a little less than fat quarters--and cut a strip or two off each.  To make an egg, I cut one center strip that measured 2" or 2-1/4" by about 5-1/2".  After that, I cut three more pairs of strips that varied in width but were all about 5-1/2" long.  The narrowest pair measured 1" and the widest pair measured 1-3/4".  I then pieced them together.  I've also added some ric rac trim down the center of each egg.  For now, I've just used applique glue to secure the trim, but when I quilt the piece, I'll sew the ric rac down by machine.

Finally, I cut an egg-shaped template out of freezer paper, ironed it to the back of a strip set, and trimmed the fabric edges so they were about 1/4" away from the paper all around.  I turned the edges under to the back and thread basted around the egg, stitching through the paper.  When I was done, I pressed the edges front and back, sprayed them with starch on the back, and pressed again until the egg and the paper were dry.  Then I removed the stitching, carefully peeled off the paper, and went on to the next egg.

Tomorrow night?  The egg saga continues.