May 23, 2016

This and that

Let's see what have I been doing since I last posted??  This and that probably describes it fairly well.  I had a routine doctor's appointment Thursday morning and then met a friend at our meeting place to help him pin a twin sized quilt.  I offered when he mentioned that it was getting too big for his normal basting methodology.   Happy to help him out as no one needs to be crawling around on the floor and killing their knees if I can help it!!

Friday was not a good day for the fuzzy headed.  I thought it was getting better and had talked to the doctor about it the day before.  He seemed to think it might be med effects and possibly my B/P med might be need to be changed if it continued--check my pulse and b/p and see if a pattern emerges.  Well, I was really rocking and rolling.  Gait disturbed more than anything.  I stayed on the couch like a lump.  Thankfully, by Sunday I was able to get back to my walking regime after laying off for the better part of two weeks.  Now stay away, will ya?  Not welcome here!

 I should probably be sewing and specifically sewing Aline's D9P blocks together but I am in a holding pattern before I get any further along than placing the blocks on the "design wall".  She wants it bigger and one way to achieve that is to sash them.  I have some stuff her daughter's sent me--a soft yellow like her small squares and then a light blue for an outer border.  I think maybe too light with the bold teals, greens and purples.  She is still recuperating from her recent injuries and family members are there to help.  Might be wearing her out!  I told her call when she had a few spare minutes for me to run out for a consultation, LOL.

Meanwhile, over the weekend I have been digging around in the closets.  At first it was just to switch some of the long sleeves and jeans around in favor of my summer wardrobe.  Read:  a few things more than bike shorts!

Then I was off on a treasure hunt and looking for quilt backings for some of the recent top finishes.  I thought I had all the Ribbon Candy tops paired up but I forgot one.  I did have some yardage set aside  but initially I thought that it was going for a different top.  I want something else for the binding though.  I had a list started for Connecting Threads anyway as I discovered I do not have quite enough yardage for the queen sized Pixie Stix quilt from the GE Designs book Strip Your Stash  (or alternately, one called Quartet on craftsy.)  I need to get another yard or two of the denim Quilter's Candy Mirage I had previously purchased.

I also puzzled over which gray was which---Moda Bella Solid has a Gray  9900-83, Zen Gray 9900-185 (I think!) and Fog  9900-282.   One might be a tad dark but the Fog might be perfect for a challenge quilt I need to work on in the next few month.  Since I had the invoices and could check past orders, I believe the storage methodology is straightened out.  The hangers are labeled if it won't fit in a project box for now.

How about a choice of Hay 9900-104 or parchment  9900-39 or Snow 9900-11?  What is really the difference between Bleached White PFD 9900-97 and white 9900-98 anyway?  Would it hurt if you mixed the two in the same project.  I am trying to keep them separated for now.  Making my head spin.  You too, no doubt.

I found something I can use to back the Charming Boxes but it will need to be seamed.  I've got a little time before our quilt meeting to get that together.  It is a striped fabric and NOT horizontally either.  It is waiting over the machine which still needs to be de-linted and bobbins wound, needle changed before I start on any sewing.  Working with pre-cuts makes for a good bit of dandruff bits in the machine, on the pressing surface, probably what is floating around on the ceiling fan blades too.

I drew a bit in EQ which helps me figure out how to re-size the block and layouts if I wish.  It is an alternate idea (or two, LOL) for the challenge quilt.  However, I am fairly certain that I will go with my original idea.  I reserve the right to change my mind.

In reviewing the online order history at one site I saw I had gotten a Blooms and Bliss layer cake and charm pack.  Huh??  I don't remember what I did with that let alone what I make with it!!  Of course, it was in a container, even labeled as it turns out, but in with another project.   I was noting the other project but not the small print.  LOL.

 That lead me to ponder the difference between the Moda Bake Shop Speedwell Quilt presented by Nicola Dodd and the similar looking Missouri Star Double Square Star.   I guess it depends on many seams you want meeting at the block intersections.  I like the cleaner looks of the Speedwell one better---and the pieced in border color.  I've printed the pattern off and put it with the fabrics and in its own container.   I love the pretty pastels and florals in Blooms and Bliss and it would work well for this pattern. I will work it into the "mental" list.  I should really start a document so I can scratch off or remind myself what I planned to do with my fabric treasures though I have been doing better about leaving notes in the containers if not the actual pattern print out or copy!

Meanwhile my friend Lucy has completed not one but two Floating Squares!  She said I could post the pictures.   Mine is waiting but I may work on it tomorrow, after I cut out something else I have in mind.

This is from her relocated Peppered Cottons and is probably quite similar then to the one shown on the Missouri Star tutorial.  I really love how these turned out and seeing them makes me want to get cracking on my version!

What am I cutting out?  Have you seen the Fat Quarter Shop free patterns page?  Or their videos?   Scroll down and there is one called "Layer Cake Lattice" that is a currently craze of plus quilts..  I would link it but it goes straight to pdf download.  You should check out the page when you have some time.   I have a well antiqued layer cake I got for Christmas from DJ (Silk Road from Benartex) that I will use.  I am using a Moda Bella Parchment and maybe bind it with Hay, LOL.  (he gave me money to spend down---worked for me and even more for him!  Pants that turned into an iron instead any indication of his shopping expertise??)

I puzzled how you did Indian Hatchet shapes if you don't want to do a flippy corner half square triangle.  Marti Michell had covered this in a Farmers Wife Sampler post---I know because I read back on her blog to find THIS POST on cutting tricks.   I have many of her template sets in my sewing collection and the idea of not wasting the fabric but removing the fabric and sewing on the correct sized half square triangle could possibly be explored.  Scroll down to what she shows in the Ava Block #19--that is an Indian Hatchet shape and what is needed in the Speedwell Quilt.  I couldn't get it to work necessarily with the charm square but may have found a work around but need to do the seam to know if it will work for sure.   OR I could try Trudie Hughes Rotary Mate with the speedy triangles shown in several of her books, Crib Quilts for one.  I have the ruler.

I spent a good part of the day Saturday washing and trying to dry the pet linens.  Skyler is not using either of his perches so I took them down to wash the sheepskin stuff.  He would rather park on the dog crate or the front door rug right now.  However, that danged washing machine is not good about heavy or bulky items.  I could not get the water to spin out properly and that meant prolonged drying times.  So what does Mister Mister do after all that?  Dumps his bed upside down along with his frog and sockie laying on the BOTTOM, not the cushy top.  What a goofball!  Oh and drug it over to the front door area.  Not quite to in front of the TV but close.

And this one?  He had been snuggling up with me on the couch till I needed something, like the camera off the coffee table.  Of course, I can't get a decent picture of him.    He won't look at me, or is licking or scratching for a kitty blur.

So I resort to this..........I had switched out the quilt on the master bed to the more summery Cheese and Crackers quilt.  Then threw the light weight 50's vintage bowtie on top of it. Skyler is acting like he found a long lost friend.  Oscar wants up there in the worst way but mainly because Skyler is on there!  Hop, hop, hop.  Lucy says I should get him steps, LOL.  I think not.

Well, Oscar is acting like it is time to walk again and I am about ready for supper. Greek Salad awaits!

Hope you have had a good day in whatever you chose to do.  I've been busy as usual but trust me, that is way better than mugwumping on the couch like Friday!  Till next time------

May 18, 2016

oops but fixed

I had the top of half of the Charming Boxes all done by 3 pm Tuesday.  Rows 5 and 6 were assembled and joined.  Row 7 was done and waiting for Row 8 to be assembled.

Then I saw this-----I cropped a previous picture to show you how close in colors these two blocks were but I didn't see it till they were all sewn together.

So this afternoon---wouldn't you know this was a block with short seam allowances that I had not only double stitched but zig-zagged.  The seam allowances did not stand up to the overcasting but it was one that I had made.  Fabric a bit stretchy and ravel-y so I didn't try to selvage it.  Good-bye!  After debating about borrowing from row 8 or switching something around in the top row, I made another block using a newly acquired background fabric from our trip to the quilt shop last week.  The one next to it did re-locate.  LOL after I said nothing was going anywhere else!!  Famous last words, right?

Repair work done, Row 8  was finished up.  That just left a few more joining seams to do and the top is done. Woohoo!

Next up, Aline's D9P but probably not today.  I need to wind a ton of bobbins and clean out the machine.  I am sure it is a linty mess after using so many pre-cuts!  Besides, it is time for supper, whatever that is going to be.

May 16, 2016

Monday, Monday

Monday, Monday, so good to me
Monday mornin', it was all I hoped it would be
Oh Monday mornin', Monday mornin' couldn't guarantee
That Monday evenin' you would still be here with me.

Oops, sorry--reminded me of the Mamas and Papas lyric.

So hope you had a good weekend.  It was fairly quiet around here though I did a bit of running around.  I had fasting lab to do ahead of my routine MD checkup this week and had just walked back in the door when Jane called to see if I wanted to run over to the Ashville House Quilt Shop with her and stop for a bite to eat.  Our friend Aline is laid up right now due to a recent accident so we stopped to see her on the way.  Well, on the way back too since she asked us to pick something up that the shop had set aside for her along with their block of the month patterns.  Aline has asked me to finish the assembly on her D9P for guild since she will be unable to sew for a bit.  Not my favorite pattern-- hers either now that she has done one, LOL--but I do want to help out my pal.  The blocks are done so just put them together and double border it .

I paired up some more block pairs for Charming Boxes on Friday but took a break from sewing for a couple of days.  Worked on my knitting-- I should be able to get this one finished and one more out of the ball.  I have ran errands, made some Taco Pasta Salad*** (recipe will be posted below though I didn't exactly follow it this time!) , balanced the checking account---some silly errors and omission of entries will mess you up every time, won't they?  Basic home stuff but no cleaning.  I'm still having a bit of trouble with the vertigo.  After looking for Oscar under the bed, I realized afresh that I should NOT do stuff like that right now!

Saturday the Postal Service had their annual "Stamp Out Hunger" food drive.  Since I was not sure I would catch the carrier, I took my donation stuff into the local post office instead.  Then on to the recycle bins on my way down to Golden Springs Baptist Church as they were having their bi-annual Car and Quilt Show.  Antique or classic cars for the guys out in the parking lot and quilts set up inside the gym area.  I've got some pictures on my camera that I'll probably post later.  Ran into some quilting buddies there, of course.  They were also having Lick Skillet Days in downtown Oxford and I think that guild was doing quilting demos but I passed on that.  Circled through Zaxby's on the way back and headed for home.

Yesterday afternoon I headed back to the sewing machine.   I had picked up a couple batik charm packs at the quilt shop the other day and said "this looks like the ones you used on your block, Jane."  She said she would let me use her leftovers and dropped them by the house so I used them in 3 more of the blocks and sort of a matching one to her block but down lower and reversed the block orientation.  When the dust settled, I found I only had 2 more blocks to make.  I was trying to decide on what colors to use in the last row and repositioned some more blocks so let it rest for a bit but later paired up what I needed.  Put those together this morning so this is the final layout.  I got them stacked in rows and pinned together so I am NOT going to be tempted to tweak this any further!!  I scattered the colors the best I could as there is quite a bit of blue in here as it turns out.  Purple in every row and a cream/yellow too, red/pink as well.  It will be fine.

I'll go back in the sewing room in a bit to get started.  Oscar is making going outside indications so I will heed the whining and stretch both of our legs.  THX for stopping by---------

Okay, this time making this instead of another dish was a last minute plan SOOO I had to used petite diced canned tomatoes instead of chopped fresh Roma ones.  I also did not have any shredded cheese so I chunked up a couple oz, of Velveeta instead and tossed that in with the warmed noodles.  I like that better as the cheese got all melt-y in the rotini swirls as it would when you make tuna mac salad.  I will do that again.  (There are two things from growing up that I still eat routinely--grilled cheese made with Velveeta and PBJ sandwiches)  I realized I had accidentally gotten chopped black olives instead of sliced.  I used some of the can but WON'T do that again, LOL.   It still makes a ton of it and I put half of it in the freezer.

Taco Pasta Salad

It makes a big recipe and even halved it made up about 12 cups of salad.  I added about a 1/2 can each of drained fire-roasted corn and black beans, rinsed as I like them--a lot.  I would also add some chopped green onion or recommend browning some diced onion with the ground beef.
This is for the larger amount.

16 oz. container of rotini, cooked and drained
1 lb. of ground beef,  browned and drained 
1 envelope taco seasoning
3/4 cup water
8 oz. shredded Cheese---I used Mexican blend****
4 oz. sliced black olives, drained
1 chopped tomato
chopped green pepper
chopped onion---I cooked mine with the meat
chopped avocado might be good on this too but I used some corn and beans instead 
16 oz. bottle of Catalina dressing---I used Kraft Light and dialed it back a bit

Prepare the rotini--toss in a tad of the dressing to keep the noodles from sticking. Prepare the meat adding the taco seasoning and water till the liquid is reduced as you do in making tacos.  Combine the two and refrigerate for a hour or so.

I just mixed all the veggies and then added them to the rotini and beef.  Toss with the dressing.  Add the cheese before serving.   ****See my note about the Velveeta substitution.  

May 11, 2016

Another Wednesday rolls around

Another week flew by and most of it went on by without me!  A little vertigo problem that I have occasionally has reared its lovely head.  I think I might have a little fluid on my ears that might have started it this time along with seasonal reactions to the flowering Chinese privet and Honeysuckle.  Smells great but plays Hobbs with the sinuses.  Thankfully, it has not progressed to bed spins or n&v but I am always afraid it might---dreadful when that happens. From past experience I have to stay down in bed and pray it just quits.  This time I have to watch bending over or getting up out of bed  too quickly as it is messing with my gait and balance.  I stayed home from Bama Belles yesterday as I didn't need to be driving the 15 miles or so over there especially medicated.

 I've been resting and trying to be still.  Oscar thinks he needs to lay down with me and he doesn't quite have the oomph to get up on the bed in the master bedroom.  Now,  having me flopped on the bed was a new wrinkle to begin with.  He kept hopping, hopping till I dragged him up.  Of course, he wants under the throw, not on it. With all the recent sewing I was getting tired of running back and forth from the kitchen where I was sewing, the design wall in the master and pressing in my sewing room having to open and close the gate.  He just wants to run to the sunny spot on the floor, chase the cat up and down the hall.  So far he is behaving himself with no errant peeing, that I can tell anyway.

My new friend Lucy had commented about the Floating Squares top I had mentioned I had wanted to do.  Seems she has the Peppered Cottons that Jenny mentions in her tutorial.  I asked Lucy if she wanted to sew her version "with me" across the miles.  She would but with it being Mother's Day weekend and all, it might be Monday or so before she was ready.  I didn't have much done so I could wait until she was ready.

That is about as far as I got though I sewed one strip on the side of the strip sets and had to quit.  Sewing crookedly--eye tracking component with this ear thing.

Lucy could not find her stash of peppered cottons so she used a charm pack called Daisy Stash and the Moda Bella Solid Evergreen 9900-234.  Her cat Jane is "helping" her.  Of course, I know all about kitty helpers at my house too.

This really is a fairly straight forward quilt---charm pack squares alternating between background squares and then floating blocks like the one Lucy completed in alternate rows.  Only 20 to actually piece!

We'll get back to it down the line as this was just something fun to do together.  Anyone else want to cut one of your own out??  We'll wait!

Lucy was going to a quilt show there in Utah this past weekend and Jenny Doan was the featured artist!  She missed her trunk show but there were featured quilts hanging.  Apparently Jenny made more than one of these as this is not the one on the tutorial AND she is listed as the quilter.   I know Missouri Star has long arm services but you would think someone else there would do that part so she could keep stitching!

So I became basically a lump.  I can't just sit or lay even if I do/did feel puny so I knit up a couple of dish cloths.  I have one more ball of Sugar & Cream (or equivalent) cotton yarn so I'll probably do two more.  I basically watched Celtic Thunder DVD's.....and knit on Sunday.

The JOY Quilt Guild met last Thursday and the plan is to display their challenge Disappearing Nine Patches or whatever disappeared at our next meeting's Show and Tell.  Those quilts will be going to the guild's comfort quilt coffers and the president has been quilting up most of them on his long arm.  It is time also for the Potluck Luncheon so the quilts will provide the best kind of decoration for the gymnasium area.  I won't have one but I do have this----- the ladies will need to see what I did with their blocks!

At our retreat I walked the participants through making a Charming Box block with the idea that they would go into a combined block comfort quilt.  I got 20 blocks from the group but I'll need 48 to get it in the target range.  Obviously I will need to make more.  I tossed in 3 blocks leftover from my Beach House version.  I found two of the bits from the tutorial pictures but had to re-sew part of it as that was when I said you could just leave the center untrimmed if you were doing all the blocks in the project.  For this project they were a half inch too long.

As I was putting the blocks up on on the "design wall" I found a couple had missed the verbal instruction to trim the middle down as well.  Easy enough to fix.  That is, by no means, a criticism! I personally came up with the idea for and wrote the Charming Boxes tutorial and STILL forgot to trim down the center on a block this morning, LOL!    You get it set next to another block and think "oh, oh!  Which one is not right?"  I know there are two blocks that are a bit small that will need some tweaking.  I think they just went a little deep on the seam allowance which happens with that many machines in action.  One is missing some seam allowance on the middle section, just eyeballing it there isn't enough to catch it in the seam.  I knew that one lady was concerned when she handed me her block but I can fix that so it can be included.

Quite a few of the group made purple blocks so I am trying to scatter it and add a few other colors to the mix.  (8th row is not present either.)  The fabrics are a variety from brights, a Civil War vibe, batiks, lovely florals and such.  It will be fine and really representative of the group ultimately.  I did make 5 blocks this morning digging in my Block Party charm packs, leftover bits of Prairie from two recent projects.  I've got a couple other things paired up to work in a bit more green and such.  Good spot to use some birthday fat quarters maybe?

That is what is happening---or more like, NOT happening around here.  Oh, I forgot about the two days of baking Friday and Saturday along with trying a crockpot chicken recipe for Enchiladas, tacos etc and poaching the remaining breasts the next day for the freezer.  I made Hummingbird Muffins and delivered some to the neighbors and the rest to the freezer.  I did Apricot Cheese Loaf as well.  Lucy suggested an Applesauce Oatmeal Bread from King Arthur Flour that they like so I tried that one too.   Pretty good and I think I'll put in some grated or chopped apple next time I make it.  I also made some Health Nut Spread for bagel topping with the leftover cream cheese from the Apricot Bread and made a pan of Quick and Easy Fudge Brownies also on the KAF site and the flour bag.  Those were good but the only leavening was the eggs and teeny amount of baking powder.  It says to "Beat" but I was not sure if they meant with a mixer or 50 strokes like you do with a mix.  I didn't and they came out only about a half inch thick and about what I spread out in the pan.  I may have overbaked them a bit but was using a different pan that my usual 9 x 13.  Maybe go with the 9 x 9 next time??  Taste wonderful though they went out to the freezer too.

I'm going to walk my poor neglected dog (or so he would have you think with those sad brown eyes!)--just in the lane as I am not ready for the trail just yet.  THX for stopping by to see what I might be up to.