Thursday, July 28, 2016

Playing with Kites

I'm in the doldrums between projects as I'm planning another kite quilt.  When I finished Shattered Kites, I wondered what it would look like with black and brights, like stained glass.  I've cut a bunch of kites and am playing with size and layout.  Something's missing, but nothings jumping out at me.  I can't get it off the design floor (Rob has to walk around it every day) and onto the sewing machine.

In the meantime I made a pile of scrappy hexies to add to my collection.  At this rate I'll have enough to make something with them in another year or two.  Obviously a long term project.

Inspiration needs to hit soon - I have some free time next week and I'd like to start sewing!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Gift from Italy

My mother went to Italy this spring.  She always returns home with a little gift from her travels.  I have magnets on my fridge from all over.  (It makes me look like a world traveler.)  But this trip, I got something much bigger:  four yards of fabric.  Goodness!  Just think what I could make with that!

The teal print has an interesting texture.  The other print is my favorite - a tiny print of blue and white leaves and flowers.  It makes me think of blueberries.  They're both blue prints - I can never have enough blue. 

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Mug Rugs

I feel like a "real" quilter now:  I left the 99K set up for sewing seams and used my 714 for freemotion quilting.  Whee!

Before I finished Mom's pillow, I whipped up some mug rugs.  It had been a while since I had done freemotion, so I decided to warm up with my two mini New York Beauty blocks.  I was much more confident tackling the pillow after quilting these.

The third mug rug is from leftover home decor fabric.  It's a never ending pile (although I'm really down to a just handful) - mostly selvedges and one 9x10" piece.  I threw in a piece of frankensteined batting and voila!  another mug rug.  Oddly enough, this one is my favorite of the bunch.  Not sure what I'll do with the other two.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

They're All Mine

A pan of frozen blueberries
Blueberries.  I haven't been able to eat them in a while.  Absolute sadness - they're my favorite berry.  So I didn't make the pilgrimage to my parent's house last summer to pick them from the enormous blueberry bush in their back yard.

But this summer they don't seem to bother me.  I visited my parents last weekend and behold!  the blueberry bush had started to produce.  My mother and I braved the warm weather and picked.  And picked.  I brought home a quart of these lovely little beauties.  I froze most of them.  The large handful I didn't freeze disappeared this morning.  Once the weather cools, there will be blueberry cake!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Pointed Pillow

My old machine came back from the shop.  Yay!  I hadn't expected it to return for another week or two.  I spent a few evenings last week quilting this pillow and some mug rugs.

Nothing fancy for the quilting.  I figured the piecing was busy enough.  The colors on the back look a little garish.  (Click photos to enlarge.)  But they blended nicely on the front.

I think of the Beauty blocks as the front of the pillow, but the back is just as pretty.  I had a terrible time freemotion quilting the compass star because of all the fabric at the point seams.  My foot kept catching on it, throwing off the pattern I was quilting.  I changed my approach and quilted most of this side with a walking foot.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Not So Bad

Eating pepper next to each other
Wedgwood has been with us two months and continues to settle in nicely.  I have not done many introductions with adult sows, so it's hard to say how much of her attitude is personality or how much is a reflection of the life she's had so far.  Wedgie was initially territorial about food.  If she was eating something, Boadicea couldn't have any of it and couldn't even stand near it.  So I was surprised after doling out morning pepper that the two of them stood near each other - almost touching! - happily munching away.

Wedg still doesn't know what to make of me.  I often reach in to pat the pigs.  She's ready to bolt, but it's hard to refuse a good scratch behind the ears.  At first I thought she'd be another people-pig like Boadicea, but now I'm not so sure.  We'll see how she is in another couple of months.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

So Bad

These S'more Stuffed Cookies are so bad.  I mean, they're delicious, crazy-sweet and need to be eaten fresh out of the oven.  It's hard to tell in the photos - the graham cracker and milk chocolate chip cookie dough is stuffed with marshmallows. So hard to eat just one.  I'm so glad I only a half batch to test.

I found the recipe on A Cookie Named Desire.  Baking was tricky:  just a minute too long and the marshmallow melts away to nothing.  I didn't bake them all up like a usual batch of cookies.  I formed the cookies and froze them raw.  That turned out to be a good plan - the frozen dough seemed to bake properly with a gooey marshmallow center.  The site recommends eating the immediately.  I have to agree.  I bake them one or two at a time in the toaster oven.  Oh, lovely, especially with ice cream.

Did I mention they're addictive?

Only two left.  Whew.  I'm not sure if I'll make them again.  They were a lot of work for something I'm going to eat all myself.  But they were delicious while they lasted.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

New Mitt

I make my own oven mitts.  I found a pattern years ago that had a big fat thumb in the middle, instead of the more traditional small thumb on the side.  Love the pattern (have no  idea where I found it).  It has no right or left, no sharp curves to sew or turn inside-out.

I admit, the old one is rather ratty.  Rob has wanted me to replace it for months.  It still works fine, although some of the fabric had burned through expose the terry cloth batting underneath.   (Who touched the bare heating element?  Not me!)

I'm a messy cook, so normally I choose dark colors for my mitts.  This time, though, I went for durability and heat resistance.  I picked what was left of my cotton upholstery fabric, stitching the heaviest onto the fingers and thumb.  I use old bath towels for the batting.  That's enough insulation for me but this time I went whole hog and added Insul-Bright to the palm of the mitt. 

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Three Cheers for Boadicea!

Boadicea's classic disapproving pose
Why?  Because today, Boadicea is three years old.

Boadi has mellowed a lot in the last year.  It's a good thing, considering she's gone from top dog with Cannoli to low-man with Wedgwood.  Oddly enough, she doesn't seem to care.  She's happy as long as she can sack out in a cozy or the hammock.  All alone or with a buddy, she takes it all in stride.

That's Boadicea for you.  The Boad abides.

Even though she can't pick on Wedgwood like she did Cannoli, she's started to rumblestrut at Wedg.  Although most things aren't worth arguing about, occasionally Boadi feels she must stand her ground.  It's the principal of the thing, even if there's plenty of good spots to hang out in the cage.  Life with the new roommate is balancing out.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Whiny Wedgwood

Wedgwood has come a long way in two months.

The shelter told me two things when I adopted her:  she was noisy and liked to hide in her house.  Well, I think her preference to hide was a symptom of being a solo pig.  She certainly stayed out of sight the first week or two here, but now she's out in the open quite a bit.  Wedgie has learned to loaf on the third floor (which is the most exposed spot in the cage).  She lounges in several places on the first level.  She's even started to adopt the cashew pose with a leg sticking out. 

Obviously Wedge is taking lessons from Boadicea.  Face it, Boadi is the queen of lounging.  She thinks anywhere in the cage is a good place to lay about.  I believe Wedgwood is rapidly coming to the same conclusion.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Points All Around

I'm on a paper-piecing kick.  After finishing the New York Beauty blocks for the front of my pillow, I needed something for the back.  I picked a pattern called Celebration Compass.  It's a free pattern by Quilting on the Square.  I found the pdf on Wombat Quilts' page of free paper-pieced patterns.  (Say that five times fast.)

The pattern is for a 12" block.  I needed a 16" square to back the beauties.  I had planned to extend the block simply by adding more leafy material to the edge.  But as I started to lay out the pieces, I realized I didn't have enough fabric to go around.  Instead I added an extra ring of gold and brown.  I really wanted the outside ring to be blue, but I think this still looks really cool.

I plan to bind with blue, once they're quilted.  Quilting needs to wait for my old machine, which may be a week or two away.  In the meantime, I'm piecing together some binding for the pillow and a pair of mug rugs.  I've also started stitching together an oven mitt and designing a new kite quilt.  Good stuff!

Sharing with Freemotion by the River's Linky Tuesday.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Full Circle

I have my first four New York Beauty blocks done.  They've been fun!  The narrower spikes/rays were more challenging to sew than the first two blocks.  There was not much fabric to adhere to the freezer paper, so I had to be gentle sewing them or they shifted.  I also had difficulty matching points on the curves.  The points are clearly off on the lower-right block and I'm not prepared to rip it out and try again.  I'll just keep that in mind when I sew the next block with points aligned on the curve.

I need only four blocks for this project.  But I'm all fired up to sew the rest of the patterns in this set.  I'm thinking black and grey with colored highlights?  We'll see.  Some of my black fabric is earmarked for other projects.  I need to have enough for them before I start using the material for something else!

This will be a pillow when it's complete.  I've started piecing a compass star for the back.  Then dream about how to quilt and bind it.  I know what I'm doing this weekend!