Friday, December 31, 2021

Finishes for 2021

I did lots of work this year, mostly in the first few months.  I currently have four unfinished quilts, so January of next year is going to look amazing for finishes.

Fussy Spots, Mini Nauset Light
Kitty Corners, Crazy Postcard, From the Sunroom

I participated in the Project Quilting this year, which was fun!  These were my entries for fussy cutting, mini quilt, snail trail quilt, crazy quilt and Ab Intra (from within).  The crazy quilt is a post card.  The others are mug rugs and table toppers or little wall hangings.  I learned something new with each one.

Thursday, December 30, 2021

I Like Thursday: Winding Down the Year

One last set of things I like for 2021 to share with I Like Thursday with Lee Anna and company.  I cannot believe that 2021 will be over and done.

The family celebrated Christmas on Christmas Eve, which was wonderful because the roads turned icy on Christmas Day.  (And did you see the ornament I made this year?)  On our walk after dinner we came across this rather unique Christmas tree.  What do you think?  An interesting use for lobster traps and buoys.

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Combative Neutrals

I really like the colors on this quilt, but I'm having the darndest time arranging them to my satisfaction.  I've done several arrangements - but they're all missing something.  Sunday afternoon I moved the quilt off the design floor and onto the design wall.  Turns out, that was an improvement.  The lighting isn't the best for photographing quilts, but it's been easier to see the arrangement.

I think I'm close.  I need to cut a bunch of pieces, swap around some of the colors.  I'm a column of darker squares.  Ugh - that will require a trip to the fabric shop and hope I can find matches.  The little squares in the bigger squares will be a darker color of the outer square.  So once I figure out the layout, it will go together quickly, including the backing.  I even have a couple of fabrics that should work nicely for the binding.  Oh!  I want to be sewing.  Maybe by the new year?  That would be a wonderful way to start the year.

Monday, December 27, 2021

Blogiversary #11

Eleven years of blogging.  Time flies!

What started as a way to share guinea pigs and sewing projects has grown a bit beyond that (although that's still the heart of the matter).

Saturday, December 25, 2021

Chinese Dragon


I've had good years and okay years with ornaments.  This year was a very good year.  Be prepared for a lot of photos.

When I made the Chinese man last year I was inspired to make a dragon, too.  I had a picture of what I wanted to make; creating it was a bit more complicated. 

I love how Chinese dragons are so long and sinewy, all twisty.  I wanted to capture that.  I've seen some holding a ball, so I wanted to do that, too. 

Thursday, December 23, 2021

I Like Thursday: Almost Christmas

Thursday!  Time to join LeeAnna for I Like Thursday.  There was lots of good stuff happening around here.

Our family cookie party was canceled.  Bummer.  But it meant I had more time to myself than I anticipated.  So I played.

On Friday we traded Cupcake for Twix and Brownie.  Oh, it's fun to have a pair of pigs - they're so much more dynamic than a single one.  Brownie and Twix like the cuddle cup - but half they time they're under it than it it.  Strange piggies.

We rounded them up for photos on Monday.  Now they're settling in and starting to get demanding!  Feed us now!

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Plethora of Pastels

I spent the weekend cutting fabric.  I like the colors in this, but they're hard to differentiate in low light.  I can't work on the arrangement in the evening or in the morning when the sunroom window tints the sunlight.  It's an unexpected difficulty.  

Even though the basic block is the same as Squares and Pinwheels, these blocks are mirrored.  This changes the cutting; the squares continue to require all half-kites in the same direction, but the diamonds need both left and right half-kites.  Some squares need right-sided kites, the others need left.  It's also going to be a challenge to sew together - all the points line up together.

This is the first throw-down on the floor.  I need to play around and see what sticks.  I'm also deciding what to do with the center squares:  all one color, or a mix of the colors on the quilt?

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Brownie and Twix

For some reason I thought our latest fosters, Brownie and Twix, were going to be girls.  Rob brought them home on Friday and I quickly realized how wrong I was.  These two are good, solid adult boars.  Brownie and Twix settled in fairly quickly - other than a screaming humpfest on Saturday morning as they re-established themselves.  (I really wish I had videoed that - it was impressive.)  After that, they turned down the volume to the normal rumblestrutting and grousing over who got the hammock or the paper bag.

On Monday I did a short session of pig torture:  a photo shoot.  I'll have next year's cards all set to go!  They were really good boys.  We started off with pandemonium as they scrambled all over the set trying to get away.  But then they found the bits of carrot and lettuce and decided this might not be so bad.  They didn't mind getting dressed up, although we got more photos of the hats falling off their heads than with them on.

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Sunrise Backing and Fabric Pull

Backing done and the quilt is sandwiched.  December goal accomplished!  Plenty of time to go.  Huzzah.

So far I've sandwiched this and the Icy Colors quilt.  I have the Sunny Lanes and the next baby quilt to sandwich next.  I'm happy with the king sized batting I purchased - I'll get all four of these quilts out of the one piece of batting.

Thursday, December 16, 2021

I Like Thursday: Errands


Thursday already?  Time to join in with Not Afraid of Color's I Like Thursday.

I just finished three days off.  They flew by, which is a bummer.  On the other hand, I got a lot done, which makes me happy.  Some shopping done, cards sent, made some calls and ran errands.  Not so much sewing as I'd like, but maybe this means I'll have time this weekend.

The lady up the street decided the furry coat wasn't warm enough, and has added pants, boots, a scarf and hat.  And rocking a new pair of glasses.

Friday, December 10, 2021

Backing Choices

My one monthly goal is to get this backing done.  So far I've pieced together all the leftover half-kite pieces that didn't work on the front.  These are just the square portion of the square and pinwheels block.  These mini-blocks were harder to square than the full-size block, which surprised me.  I assembled them pretty quickly - I bet it took longer to lay them out than sew them together.  Piecing together the crumb block convinced me I do not want to make this pattern with crumbs.  There were way too many seams and bulk.

There were more pieces than I thought I had.  I sewed together three whole columns.  They just about reach to the top and bottom of the quilt.  Now I just want to add a couple of big pieces.  I have cream, gold and a very dark grey.  The cream seemed washed out.  I thought I'd like the dark grey the best, but I'm now considering the gold.   

What do you think?

Thursday, December 9, 2021

I Like Thursday: Visits, Sunlight and Shadows

Mom came over for the weekend.  She brought some of my dollhouse stuff and a newspaper clipping Boston Globe from 1959.  Five industrial arts classes in the Boston Public Schools volunteered to make dollhouses to donate to local hospitals.  This photo features my grandfather and the dollhouse is nearly identical to the one he built my mother years before.  How cool is that?

That dollhouse will be a new project next year - it needs some work and updating.  I'm looking forward to sprucing it up.

Thursday, December 2, 2021

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

December OMG

I want to do so many things:  there's three quilts to sandwich and a fourth quilt create.  But it's December.  Therefore, I need to keep my goal simple:  to make a backing for the Squares and Pinwheels quilt I finished in November.  If I manage to find time to sandwich or make bindings or a label?  That's all bonus.  One can dream, right?  

Sharing with:
Elm Street Quilts - December OMG

Monday, November 29, 2021

Squares and Pinwheel Flimsy

Woo-hoo!  I finished the quilt top with a day to spare.

I tweaked several little things as I started to sew it together, including flipping the whole quilt upside-down.  If I hadn't sewed some of the kites together, I'd have mirrored the design, too, so the color went from light to dark from the lower left to the upper right, instead of the direction it goes now.  Maybe I should just look at it on it's side?  LOL

I liked all the dark blue lumped together rather than split that I had previously.  However, moving that last bit of blue from from one corner to another required different yellow fabric than what I had on hand.  Eek! That prompted a last minute trip to the fabric store, quick before they closed for the weekend.  It's hard to find a dark yellow that isn't actually orange.  I bought four different yellows and two of them worked.  Whew!

I'm calling the pattern Squares and Pinwheels.  The quilt itself will be named Sunrise.

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Shrinking Blocks

Hard to say if I'll meet my OMG because I keep switching between quilts.  I finished the other quilt backing, so I hope to be sandwiching that in the evenings.  I'm still fiddling around with the navy blue blocks on the baby quilt.  I've taken the plunge and started sewing together the middle blocks.

I had purposely cut the half kites on the large side, which allowed me to ensure the final kites had the color split right down the middle.  The pile of scrap is so pretty - makes me want to do something with that!

Thursday, November 25, 2021

I Like Thursday: Laying Low

I like Thanksgiving.  Usually it's because I enjoy getting together with family.  This year, I'll enjoy laying low.  I plan to do some baking or sewing today.

Or maybe I should take my cue from Scarlet?  One last photo before she left for a new home with a friend.  


We didn't swap pigs at Dakin like we normally do.  There was plenty of guinea pigs that needed fostering... but we're pigsitting my sister's fosters this week.  Oh, my!  They are two fat-bottomed gals!  Sky and Huayra (it means wind).  

Thursday, November 18, 2021

I Like Thursday: Cooking and Quilting

Missed last week's I Like Thursday - nothing to show and tell.  Been busy, though.  Let's see.  I baked a lot - tried three new recipes.  First recipe was for lemon poppy seed bars which were delicious.  I was told this recipe is a keeper.  I used a pair of lemons I picked from my parent's lemon tree.  I'm amazed it produces lemons - the tree is only a few feet tall in huge pot on their back deck.  How cool is that?

I tried out a butternut squash couscous salad recipe.  It was good, but I don't know if I'll make it again.  

On Sunday I made these cranberry scones for breakfast.  Yum!

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Honing In

I've spent more time rearranging colors.  This is the latest layout.  I'm cutting some more purples and blue.

Instead of putting contrasting squares and pinwheels next to each other, I've put similar colors next to each other.  I like this better.  It has some problems with the reds - but I'll work with that.  It will get there.

I made one crumb square (see upper right, second block down).  I like really like the square, but not for the quilt.  Too busy.  But if I were to make a quilt with all the same colored pinwheels with crumb squares?  That could be fun. 

I tried a number colors with the navy - anything light jumped out.  Dark works better, and I'm thinking it will calm the quilt a bit.  I like the dark blue, but the dark grey is pretty good too.  So some more playing.  It's getting close.

Sharing with:
My Quilt Infatuation - Needle & Thread Thursday
Wendy's Quilts - Peacock Party

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Where Next?

I've moved my half-kite blocks to the wall and spent a chunk of time rearranging them (see prior layouts here).  I like the rainbow layout - it cuts down on the confusion.  I have to blank spots on the left side that will be filled - I just haven't cut those pieces yet.  But it's the lower navy stripe that I'm floundering on.  I'm considering doing them all the same color neutral?  Maybe a rainbow of colors?  What I do not have is a multi-colored fabric (oh, save me from another trip to the fabric store!).  

I'm actually considering making string blocks for it...ooh or maybe crumb blocks.  That would be more work creating those blocks - however I feel that having the same solids there will diminish the impact of the stripe.

Sharing with:
Love Laugh Quilt - Monday Making
My Quilt Infatuation - Needle & Thread Thursday
Wendy's Quilts and More - Peacock Party

Monday, November 8, 2021

Half-Kites in Transition

I've been working on the first baby quilt.  First phase was simply cutting pieces and spreading them out.  Then I wanted to work in more navy blue than just the center squares, so I put a navy pinwheel and a navy square.  I liked the pinwheel better than the reverse square, so I added a few more navy pinwheels, and it became a zig-zag stripe.

Friday, November 5, 2021

Scarlet in Fall Colors

Scarlet is our latest foster guinea pig from Dakin.  Isn't she a cutie?  Such soft fur.  She's still a little bony, but curious and seems quite happy.  She hides sometimes, but every day I see her in a different part of the cage.  Scarlet gets very wheeky when we're in the kitchen.

She eats her hay like it's going out of style.  Still cautious with veggies - loves lettuce and radish leaves.  Carrots now pass approval, along with parsley.  Not so sure about bell pepper yet.  The blackberry was a hit - but I'm not willing to share more of them!

Thursday, November 4, 2021

I Like Thursday: Fall Back

It's been frosty in the morning!  I've hauled some plants indoors, moved the gardening stuff back into the shed and the basement.  The year is winding down.  The clocks get set back on Sunday.

We finally hung up the new sign my sister made for us.  

The old one was disintegrating.  I love the new one's size - isn't it pretty with the fall colors?

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Pumpkin Show With Lights!

Stormy weather threatened our second trip to the Pumpkin Show.  Good new is, it wasn't a repeat of last year!  No downed trees, all the electricity on.  

The lights were amazing as we approached the estate.  Lots of orange, green and purple.  I enjoyed hearing all the exclamations from the little kids as the took in the jack-o-lanterns and the lights.  Look at this one!  See the owl?  See the bunny?  Is that a cat?

Monday, November 1, 2021

November OMG

I'm hoping I'm on a roll.  This month's goal:  cut and assemble the first baby quilt top. I have all the fabric.  I have two ideas of how I want to piece it.  I have about half the pieces cut.  Once I finish that I can start laying it out to see which speaks to me.

Sharing with:
Elm Street Quilts - November OMG

Saturday, October 30, 2021

Icy Colors Flimsy and Some Backing

I managed to finish my monthly goal long enough ago I almost forgot to post and link up!  Finally a month that I wasn't down to the wire or missed entirely.

I fixed some blocks, rearranged some colors, sewed together a new block and assembled the quilt.  I've decided against a border and have focused on piecing together a backing with the loads of extra fabric I bought that didn't end up on the front.  

I'm also making progress with my missed September goal:  I have all the fabric for the first baby quilt and have been cutting and laying out pieces.  As soon as I have the backing pieced for this quilt I'll start assembling the baby quilt.

Thursday, October 28, 2021

I Like Thursday: Lost and Found

Wonderful weather on Sunday.  I spent the day hiking around Dana, MA with a friend.  The town of Dana was disincorporated in 1938 to create the Quabbin reservoir.  It remains well above the water line (unlike some other towns) and is part of the watershed.

The buildings are gone but many of the foundations are there.  We were intrigued by the lime green moss on these rocks.  It looked like florescent spray paint.

Thursday, October 21, 2021

I Like Thursday: Scarlet Reds and Pale Greens

A colorful post this week, from seasonal colors of green, orange and red, to a Scarlet piggy, then some pretty neutral colors and shiny silver.  Lots to like.

I harvested a few of my container carrots.  Pulled out big greens to discover these stubby little carrots. They're cute, but not what I was hoping for!

Monday, October 18, 2021

Five Things on the Floor

Rob has commented that there's always five things on our floors:  hay, guinea pig poo, fabric, thread and chocolate.  Not all of it all the time (although in the past you could guarantee any three were present).  Some of it is seasonal, or dependent on my projects and my fostering status.

Thread and fabric are traditionally the most prevalent.  My microfiber yoga mat picks up everything on the floor and it doesn't take long before it's covered in flecks of white and bright colors of thread and fabric.  Snips of thread wander everywhere.  The fabric varies from big pieces (or an entire quilt on then floor) to scrappy pieces that are initially corralled in the sewing room.  Eventually these scraps sneak out - I've even found little pieces in the basement.  

Thursday, October 14, 2021

I Like Thursday: Seasonal Stuff


Fall has been pretty in the neighborhood.  The leaves are starting to change in earnest.  We always find fun things on our walk.  The horn is suddenly sprouting a big flower. 

Thursday, October 7, 2021

I Like Thursday: Chocolate Tour and Quilts

Ooh - lots of photos this week.  So much went on!

This may look like wood, but this is a mushroom.  I love the color and the pattern.  Beautiful!

Went to Newburyport to celebrate my mother's birthday and attend the Chocolate tour.  My sister and nephew came along, too.  So much fun!  I love bringing home the chocolate, but the shops are fun, too!

Monday, October 4, 2021

October OMG

I did not meet my September OMG, which was to pick, cut and lay out fabrics for a baby quilt.  I pulled colors and started to cut, but needed more fabric and failed the rest.  I plan to continue working on it in October.  However, that won't be my October goal.  That's the problem with working on multiple projects at once!

Because I didn't have all the fabric for the baby quilt, I switched gears and started working on the Icy Waters quilt again.  This month's goal is to finish fixing blocks (I've pulled apart six of them so far, and I think I need to replace one block completely) and assemble the quilt top.  Maybe I'll finally accomplish this goal?  Would be nice, because I'm dying to start working on the borders for this, along with the two baby quilts on the drawing board.

Sharing with Elm Street Quilts - October OMG


Sunday, October 3, 2021

Clean Sweep

I was notified on Friday that Miss Piggy had an adopter lined up.  She was returned to Dakin on Saturday.  We're pigless again for the time being.  But imagine my surprise when I discovered an unpublished blog post of the prior foster piggies!


Now these were guinea pigs that knew how to be guinea pigs. 

This was cage cleaning day after Banzai had been separated from the trio of girls.  They were all very interested in the cage pieces I had all over the floor as I pulled them apart.

Thursday, September 30, 2021

I Like Thursday: End of September


Nearly October?  How can that be?!  I am enjoying the cooler weather, though.

Headed up the road to buy some eggs.  Got a kick out of the colorful chicken prayer flags.  They're quite striking.

I am so far from completing my September OMG.  I'm bummed but not surprised.  I've been enjoying my job, but it's sucking the creativity out of me.  

The cooler weather, though, forced me to the sewing machine.  My microwavable heating bags molded over the summer (so much humidity!).  I needed replacements.  I used two of the extra Icy Waters blocks.  They're a little on the small side, but done.

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Painfully Shy

Miss Piggy is our latest foster guinea pig from Dakin.  She's been with us about 10 days and is still terribly shy.  There's been some progress - she doesn't hide all day in the corner.  The hammock has become her favorite place to hang out.  Like every pig we've had stay over, she loves the third level.  That seems to be the prime spot, especially overnight.  However, Miss P only goes up there after I've covered the cage or if I've placed her up there.  She enjoys playing with the egg-cersizer, but won't let me watch.  I can only hear her bat it around after I've covered the cage.  

Thursday, September 23, 2021

I Like Thursday: Little Miss P and the Big E

Miss Piggy has been staying with us since last Thursday.  She is very, very shy.  It was only yesterday that she started to stick her nose out for treats.  She spent most of the week crammed into the corner of the cage.  <sigh>  I'm spending my time trying to convince her that we won't eat her.  I don't think she believes me yet.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

I Like Thursday: A Chick Weekend

This week flew by because I was away for most of it.  I spent yesterday digging through my work email and trying to remember what I had been doing last week.

The bridge at the top of the hill was under construction all summer.  We'd walk by the excavation equipment and joke about me taking a joy ride in one of the vehicles.  We got to know some of the guys; on Friday Rob asked if I could sit in the cab so he could take photos.  It was a climb up!  The guy was worried about me, but Rob said he sends me up on the roof, so no worries.  Ha!

Thursday, September 9, 2021

I Like Thursday: Labor Day Weekend

Labor Day weekend was lovely!  We were halted as we headed out to run errands on Saturday morning.  We had a parade of ducks cross the street in front of us like they didn't have a care in the world.  I managed to pull out my camera to catch the tail end of the second batch.  

Saturday, September 4, 2021

September OMG

This months goal - start working on my first of two baby quilts.  I want to do a colorful quilt based on these blocks that I designed earlier this year.  The goal is to get the quilt laid out, pick colors and get the fabric.  Bonus points to have a finished flimsy.  

I have other things going on this month, so I hope I can squeeze this in!

Sharing with:
Elm Street Quilts - September OMG

Thursday, September 2, 2021

I Like Thursday: Is It Really September?

Not much this week.  It's becoming a trend.

Walked in the woods on Sunday - found these huge acorns.  There were so many of them.  These two are more than an inch across and even taller.  Never seen them so big - must be from all the rain we've been having!

Friday, August 27, 2021

August OMG Finish - All the Blocks

I have accomplished my August goal.  Finally.  I have a whole set of blocks.

I enjoy paper pieced projects, but I'm learning that my usual approach of layout and color doesn't work well.  I have a much harder time envisioning the final product before I start.  This project changed directions twice since I started, and halfway through the second revision I thought of yet another (but I no longer had enough fabric to change directions - so I forged ahead).

I had anticipated my next step would be to assemble the blocks.  However, I first need to fix a couple of blocks (the ones sewed together as I was changing my mind how it should look).  Then I need to let this stew.  I generally don't like starting another project while one is in progress.  It's not how I work.  However, this needs to hang on the wall for a while and let me stare at it and tinker with some pieces before I put it all together.  I know it will look better when I fix the oddball blocks, then hopefully it will speak to me and tell me what to do next.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

I Like Thursday: Harried, Henri and Hummingbirds

A stressful weekend being on call.  Plus I have too many things that are incomplete and needing input and I'm a bit overwhelmed.  Then there's this humidity - everything is going mildewy - it's giving me a headache.

And yet, on the happy side...

Hurricane Henri dumped two inches of rain, but no trees down or power outages.  I've got a happy garden.  Tons of tomatoes!  Haven't seen much of the bunny rabbits, but the hummingbirds have been out in force.  I love watching their antics.  Zoom!

My sister shared photos of her fosters.  Yay!  She says the bolder one is now wheeking for goodies when my sister is in the kitchen.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Changing Colors

The light on the design wall is not great for photographs.  It looks better in person. Regardless, I am liking the movement in color from the very dark.

I am deviating from the pattern more and more.  I'm changing some of the colors on each block.  Moving the quilt to the wall was a great help, because I can see where each block is going when I make it.  The blocks will likely shift for the final layout, but this allows me to tinker with the color distribution as I sew each block.

As usual, each quilt takes on a life of its own.  This one is really starting to take shape.  Yay!

Thursday, August 12, 2021

I Like Thursday: Walks and Waterfalls

Thursday again!  The summer is flying by, filled with good stuff.

I had this conch nightlight as a child.  My mom brought it by a few weeks ago; Rob replaced the broken wiring and the old bulb socket with pixie lights.  I love the little bright spots, like it's filled with stars.

I took Friday off last week.  Got my hair cut in the morning - and the new hairdresser was willing to braid pigtails!  I was so pleased.

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Tacking Again

I'm getting closer with the Icy Waters project.  But it's like tacking into the wind - a zig there, a zag there.  I decided the heavy red in the upper left corner would be too much, so I'm replacing it with a handful of lighter colors.  That's really going to change the look of this quilt.  It's now leaning towards more blue than red and I'm trying to work in a bit more of the green and purple.

I love all the colors I have picked, but the quilt is bucking me, which in turn makes me anxious.  I keep telling myself to trust the process.  I went through the same thing with Golden Orrery, despairing at one point at the chaos and seeming clash of fabrics.  Obviously my anxiety was unfounded with that quilt!  I need to trust my vision (and my gut) and get a few more blocks on the wall.

From the beginning I knew the biggest challenge would be placing the colors.  I had hoped that using the pattern would help with that.  It has, to an extent, but at this point I'm straying further from the pattern into uncharted waters.  Still, there's progress and I'm hopeful at hitting my August goal of finishing the blocks.

Thursday, August 5, 2021

I Like Thursday: Gardening, Greens, Buns and Birthdays

The likes are short and sweet this week.

My garden is doing great.  This batch of carrots seem to be doing well, and since they're indoors, no one but me should be eating them!  I need to harvest that kale soon.  And my volunteers have produced!  The squash is not nearly ripe, but I didn't want them to grow any larger (and was afraid the woodchuck would take notice).  I picked a cucumber earlier in the week and my tomatoes are starting to turn.