Monday, December 31, 2018

Finishes for 2018

This year got away from me.  I still haven't made the New York Beauties quilt I had planned to do two years ago (although it looks like I will be doing a different NYB quilt in 2019!).  Along with the two quilts I anticipated this year, I squeezed in two more throw quilts and several other projects.  Not bad.

Sunshine, Tidal Pool
Stepping Stones, Shiplapped and #AdoretheSchwarz

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Color Wheel Sweatshirt

I decorated two sweatshirts nearly eight years ago.  There's a third one a few years older.  They're all getting rather worn around the edges.  I'm certainly not the neatest person, so there's some... um... additional color added in spots down the front.  They're long overdue to be replaced.  Even though they're really not fit to wear in public, it's hard to part with them.  I love them.

On the other hand, new sweatshirts!  Two chances to play.  I discovered a really neat paper pieced swirly dresden pattern months ago, but hadn't had an excuse to use it.  I thought it would look great on the navy sweatshirt.  I shrunk it down to roughly a six-inch circle and printed it to freezer paper.  Because I wanted the jersey to show through like the glory boxes shirt, I numbered the slices and cut it into pieces. 

Thursday, December 27, 2018

I Like Thursday: Blogiversary #8

Look at that... I Like Thursday and a blogiversary on the same day.

Another year.  Where did it go?  Gained a pig.  Lost a car (and, omg, as of yesterday afternoon, have a replacement).  Did lots of sewing and reading.  Had fun with my new years resolution of trying out new recipes on the Game Day group.  Danced my tootsies off.  Kayaked with my sister.  Herded guinea pigs and clipped lots of piggy nails.  Enjoyed time with my friends.

Lots to like.

Then I blog about it.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Christmas Baking Mishaps and Successes

I did a little last-minute Christmas baking.  First was a chocolate chip cookie dough cheesecake for Christmas dinner.  This has been bookmarked for some time - originally earmarked as a Game Day experiment before I decided to bring it to my family's Christmas.  The recipe is for a massive cheesecake, so I made it half sized.  According to various sites for pan conversions, half of a 10" springform pan should fit into an 8" round cake pan that was 2" deep.  Well... not quite.  I had to add sides to it to make sure it didn't overflow, because I clearly had more than two inches of batter.

I successfully halved the recipe but the rest was a comedy of errors.  Reconstructing the pan required redoing the crust.  Then I mixed sour cream and cream cheese in the wrong order, over-beating the batter.  Recipe clearly stated that will cause a crack.  Which it did.  Made for anxiety-free baking knowing it was going to crack regardless!  Then I layered it wrong, mixed in the chocolate chips too early.  Seriously? 

I ended up with extra balls of cookie dough because I made a section that was dough-free (anticipating family preferences).  I used the extra cookie dough as decoration.  It also identified the cookie dough-free section of the cheesecake - thus the uneven placement.

Good news is, it popped right out of the pan once it was chilled.  Made a  nice presentation, too.  Only one tiny wedge came home with us - the rest disappeared.  So it's a hit!  I will certainly make this again (and hopefully do a better job following the instructions).

Monday, December 24, 2018

Will Treaty - Ranger's Apprentice

It's Christmas!  Time to show off this year's ornament, based on the Ranger's Apprentice series by John Flanagan.  I read The Ruins of Gorlan to get a feel for what to make.  Not a bad book.  Definitely up my alley - knights, rangers, castles.  It's a big series (plus there's a spin-off set of books with Vikings, too).

This is Will, the apprentice.  He's a classic ranger.  I haven't created a D&D/fantasy ornament in many years.  Ah, this was a lovely project and so much fun to make.  Originally I had planned to do Will's horse, Tug, as well.  But as I worked the clothing and wondered how to assemble a cloak, I decided Will would be enough.

I enjoy the research.  I wanted to add the details of his saxe and throwing knives, but the blades turned out to be difficult to shape (and who would wear a bare blade on their belt?).  Instead I focused on his oak leaf pendant (I made it as a cloak pin) and his arm brace.  I needed something to put in his right hand, so decided he could carry his quiver.  The arrows were a fun addition: toothpicks and tissue paper.  I stuffed as many as I could into the quiver once it was baked.  The bow was also baked separately (it's actually burnt, which added more color and shine), then strung before I glued it in place.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

I Like Thursday: Cards, Cookies and Cheer

I like that I'm just about done with all my Christmas prep.  As long as work doesn't get any more insane, I should be able to coast to the new year (and by saying that, I've probably sealed my doom).

I like receiving holiday cards.  My sister's card is so wonderfully simple.  It's a print of her own watercolor.  Pretty, isn't it?

I also received a pair of guinea pig cards:  loafy pigs around a snowman and a two Christmas elves (complete with pointed little ears!).

Monday, December 17, 2018


This is Joyful - a wedding gift to another cousin (three wedding quilts this year!).  There's so much to tell, I'm not sure where to start.  Isn't it pretty?  I rushed to take the outdoor photos literally 10 minutes after I finished stitching the binding, dragging Rob out there to hold it up.  I hadn't even had time to bury the threads so I could catch the last of the fading daylight (and I notice now it's technically upside-down).

The flange binding was a great choice.  I forgot, though, that the seams need to be lined up when joining the ends.  I didn't see it until I had stitched it all together.  Oops.  Had to pull that out and put it all back together.

I said I was doing graffiti quilting - it's not that dense.  I guess this might be called improv quilting.  It's basically a jumble of whatever free-motion patterns came to mind.  Regardless of what it's called, this was a fun way to quilt.  I will certainly do this again.  I tried some new stuff, played with some designs I haven't done in a while, refined some favorites.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

I Like Thursday: Lots of Work

You know the Harry Potter flying keys that I admired at the library?  The librarians hated to take them down, so they hung them as ornaments on the library's Christmas tree.  I commented  how much I loved them and asked if I could have a key when they took down the tree.  Sure!  In fact, grab one now so we don't forget.  So now I have my very own golden flying key.  Love it!  It currently hangs on my advent wreath.

Okay, so here's a weird like - I've been enjoying car shopping with Rob.  Car shopping itself - not so great.  We rode in a few gawd-awful cars and laughed the entire test drive.  I loved the make of one of the cars, it was fun to drive, but the car itself was worn around the edges, had rips in the upholstery, smelled of cigarettes and I had to guess how to put it in reverse, since the stick was missing its diagram.  Ha!  But tooling around, commenting on what we liked and didn't like about each car was fun.

Still no car, but I have a better idea of what I want to get.  Now if I could just find it at a reasonable price....

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Strip Twist Backing

I had this quilt all planned out and it still took on a life of its own.  I was all set with a nice, simple, single seamed backing.  But nope!  When I purchased this gold fabric I knew some of it would end up in the quilt.  I had looked forward to hanging onto a yard or two.  Turns out the whole piece was destined for this quilt; it complements the rust backing perfectly.  I shall have to be satisfied with a few tiny scraps.

That backing is well worth my loss.

The front of the strip twist is done with borders and the binding is ready.  I have until I finish clipping threads and sandwiching the quilt to pick one of three quilting designs I like.  I hope to be quilting by Monday.

Sharing with Freemotion by the River's Linky Tuesday.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

I Like Thursday: Quilts and Architecture

I mentioned that I saw the Melrose History Quilt over the weekend.  Beside the artwork there were several quilted/knitted items for sale.  One woman created these beautiful quilted cards.  Each one had been paper pieced; there had to be over one hundred of them.  I limited myself to purchasing three - I wanted more!  Aren't they beautiful?  She had some great Christmas ones, too... but I have my own Christmas cards.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Melrose History Quilt

I heard about the Melrose History Quilt several months ago from a friend and went to see it on Sunday.  It's a neat piece of history (learn more about it here).  They think it was a fundraising quilt made in the late 1800s - I chucked when I realized that's an old concept.  I enjoyed learning about the quilt, how it had been restored and seeing all the names in such nice handwriting.  I even got a peek of the backing.

In addition viewing the the quilt, I talked to people involved in the restoration and viewed some contemporary fabric artwork from a few local artists.  Their pieces were amazing (and humbling to look at).

There was quite a bit of documentation done on the quilt.  Names and addresses tied several names to Melrose.  I know at least some of the addresses have yarnstormed (yarnbombed?) markers to mark them as part of the event.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Strip Twist Borders

The strip twists are all sewn together.  I'm working on borders and backing.  Of course the quilt is telling me to change my plans.  I'm thinking two inches for the inner border, three inches for the outer.  Always planned to bind in the green and now I'm thinking of doing a flange binding with a little yellow?  That idea came out of nowhere but it's stuck in my head.  I've only done flange bindings on wall quilts. 

I plan on cutting the green borders in one piece along the grain (so no center seams).  But that makes for short crossgrain binding pieces.  Looks like I can make binding along the grain - I've not done that before. Or cut binding pieces on the bias? 

Then there's the backing!  I had planned a solid back and now I'm considering piecing some of it together.  Wonder what this quilt will tell me to do next?

Sharing with Freemotion by the River's Linky Tuesday.

Monday, December 3, 2018

A Fun Photo Shoot

We had a long-awaited photo shoot two weeks ago with Salem Pet Photo.  Working with Joey is always a blast.  I had been worried if Wedgwood would be up for it, but she was perky and happy on that Monday (and she's still doing well!).

Are we wrapping or unwrapping?

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Are We Comfy?

I caught Wedgwood nesting.  She pulled all the hay out of the holder then settled in the middle of it.  It's so nice to see her relaxed and enjoying herself.  She's off of most of the pain meds and is maintaining her weight.  She even did an extra lap around the living room with Mabel after breakfast on Tuesday.  Wedg is not the pig she was six months ago, but she's still doing better than I hoped.