26 April 2012

Love and Piece

Whew!  Three more blocks are finished and ready to go.  They were definitely the most time-consuming blocks I've made this month.  Every minute of my spare time the past few days has been spent on them.  But there's no rest for the weary... I've still got two potholders for Bee a {modern} Swapper and two charity blocks to make before month's end.

For this month's Love Circle block, Rachel chose Polaroid blocks based on this tutorial.  My kids saw them in progress and asked what Polaroids are (aren't they cute).  So we hopped on Google, and through the power of the interwebs they learned all about Polaroid cameras, and now "Hey Ya" makes a little more sense to them.  Of course now we're in the market for a Polaroid camera (one of the older models, which I've seen at estate and yard sales).

The tutorial recommended paper-piecing the individual polaroids, but I opted to chain-piece them based on the measurements given for the fussy cut centers and white strips.  I attempted to make some of them jauntily askew, but it sort of looks like I wasn't precise with the squaring up.  The thought came into my head to un-sew the blocks and skew them a bit more, but then out it went.  I might have done so if these were the last of my sewing commitments (maybe).

Kelly asked for blocks pertaining to being sick with cold and flu for Piece Bee.  My first couple of ideas were claimed right away.  Then I though back to my childhood, and every single time I or one of my siblings had an inkling of a cough, out came the Vicks Vaporub and the humidifier.  Vicks, along with Mercurochrome, were my parents' weapons of choice against childhood ailments and injuries.  (I had forgotten all about Mercurochrome until this month's theme came up.  Here's why it isn't sold anymore.)

On the docket this afternoon are two charity blocks that a fellow guild member is collecting for a Quilts of Valor project, and then some much-needed housekeeping. 

22 April 2012

So many blocks, so little time

Nine blocks down, five blocks and two potholders to go.  I coasted too long on that sense of accomplishment after finishing up my 3x6 blocks and now find myself in a pretty pickle.  I was hoping to mail everything off tomorrow, but that clearly isn't going to happen.  It will be down to the wire with the potholders and other blocks.

 Last week was spent piecing bee blocks in earnest.  Two were improv style blocks, and these blocks took longer than they should have because of my need for structure and order.  (Structure and order in my sewing and quilting life, that is.  The housekeeping these days is laughable.  But I digress.)   I also helped a friend with a donation quilt to benefit her son's little league.

Two blocks were made for the Aqua and Red BeeShanna sent fabric and requested Converging Corners blocks based on this tutorial at Film in the Fridge.  This block required a bit of un-sewing because I miscalculated the width of the strips for the outer logs more than a couple of times.  But I love this block, and I may choose it for my next bee block.

Lynne sent fabric and asked for non-wonky star blocks of our choosing.  I didn't realize just how many variations of star blocks exist!  After much agonizing, I finally chose the Amish Star, which I love.  

A word about flying geese.  I am unable to make pretty flying geese using the variety of quick and easy methods.  My flying geese come out much more crisp and precise if I do them using a traditional method (plus I like that there's no waste).

Suzy sent us fabric for April's Design Camp block and asked for Improv Chevrons using this tutorial from Six White Horses.  This is a wonderful tutorial, and the block should have been quick work since I made two for do. Good Stitches in March.  I think I spent the same amount of time making this one block as I did making the two last month.  To be fair, last month's blocks had two chevron panels, whereas this one has three.  A lot of effort went into lining up the chevrons just so.

I love that Suzy chose three prints and sent coordinating solids for her block.  I added a few solids from my own stash in complimentary colors because I was worried I'd run out of fabric (I didn't). 

Next up on the docket is my Piece Bee With You block.  Kelly's theme for April is "Cold and Flu."  I've got an idea that I've sketched out, but it needs a little refining.  I'm fearful that while I'm piecing my block, someone will post a pic in the group's photo pool with the same idea.  My hope is to finish the block by tomorrow evening (!), then get to work on the Polaroid blocks for do. Good Stitches.

17 April 2012

Among the Big Trees

It always surprises me how exhausted I am after a family vacation.  While the kids were on holiday last week, we took to the Sierra Nevada foothills (of California, not Spain).  It was very pleasant and low-key, just as a vacation should be.

Is it weird that I brought my sewing machine on vacation like the sixth member of the family?  As we were loading up the car, I told my husband to leave room for my machine.  He asked incredulously if I was kidding (I was not).  Room was made, and off we went! 

We spent a little time playing in the snow, a little time walking some nature trails, and a little time in front of the television since we were rained in.  Walking the North Grove Trail in Calaveras Big Trees State Park was quite an experience.  The sheer size of these Sierra Redwoods is overwhelming.  In the photograph below, we are standing on the edge of a rather large tree trunk.

Here's another view to give you some perspective of how massive this tree was:

The rain that came a couple of days later was a great excuse to break out the old Singer.  My 3x6 bee blocks were due upon my return home, so leaving my machine behind was not an option.  I opted to make "Rocky Road to Kansas" blocks, using this tutorial.  Three blocks were completed prior to the trip, but I had to "unsew" one that turned out badly.  I spent an evening fixing that block and working on the other three while the family watched "Avatar."  The blocks were finished early the next morning before the household awoke.

I also did a little fabric shopping.  There is the most wonderful little general store called the Twain Harte pharmacy that has an amazing selection of quilting fabric at very reasonable prices (especially the flat-folded fabrics).  I'm already looking forward to my next visit to the foothills so I can pay the pharmacy another visit! 

Note to self: don't leave your debit card at home, thus leaving you dependent on your husband to make your fabric purchase.  No good can come of it.

16 April 2012

Rock Liebster!

Liebster is German for "darling" or "favorite,"  and the award recognizes blogs with less than 200 followers.  I've seen this award on many a blog, but I never thought I'd be a lucky recipient, or that I'd be nominated twice in the same week!  Danke to Julie of Jolie Maxtin and Michelle at Design Camp for the bloggy love!

With this award comes responsibility.  I must now pass the torch.  And the Liebster goes to:

Kathleen at Doodles and Designs.  Kathleen and I are fellow BAMQG members. We share an addiction to Flickr swaps and bees.  Follow Kathleen along in her quest to make quilts from her plethora of swap blocks in the company of her adorable labradoodle, Boo.

Alli at B.Yazoo.  I'm cheating a little here since I don't know how many people are following her blog.  But she's recently joked about having only a handful of readers.  Anyway, Alli and I are beemates in Piece Bee With You.  Her blog is charming and her paper-pieced blogs are have been delightfully playful.  And she always works with such fun fabric.

Camille at Hermit Goodness.  I know Camille through For the Love of Solids Swap.  I find her blog amusing, as it's filled with raucous humor.  Check out the awesome swap items she's made- including the supercool Pacman and Inky pincushions.
I had a few other blogs I was going to nominate, but they have since been awarded the Liebster whilst this post hung in cyber-purgatory as I searched for cool blogs.  I'm going to reserve the right to uncover three more Liebster-worthy blogs at a later date.

Liebster Conventions:
1. Thank your award presenter on your blog and link back to him/her.
2. Copy and paste the award to your blog.
3. Present the Liebster Award to 5 blogs that you think deserve to be recognized.
4. Let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
5. Have faith that your followers will spread the love too!

01 April 2012

March Recap

For some reason, I was feeling like I did a lot of sewing in March.  After creating a mosaic of my sewing accomplishments,  I'm feeling like that is not the case.  Maybe that bump to the head I had earlier in the month affected me more than I previously thought!

March 2012
FTLOS Swap, Aqua and Red Bee, do. Good Stitches, Piece Bee With You

Since March was my month for a couple of bees, I didn't sew as many blocks as I normally do.  I did, however, design and sew a mini-quilt and potholder. 

This week will definitely be down to the wire, sewing-wise.  Four blocks for the BAMQG  A-Z Quilt-along and Echo Challenge, a charity quilt top, and four more 3x6 Q2 blocks.  I'm already tired just thinking about it!

Next month's recap will be block-heavy.  Sixteen to be exact.  Plus a couple of potholders.  And an apron.  Over-commit much?