Friday, July 30, 2010

That'll be a red face not a pink one

The last baby quilt was a mix of 3o's squares cut just shy of 5 inches with some thin sashing. I used a new technique with a lightly gridded fusible foundation. The scant measurements allow for the fold when the seams are sewn.

The pieces are laid on the fusible and then ironed down with a Teflon sheet to keep the fusible from gumming up the iron.

Then the seams are sewn down with a quarter inch seam right sides together. There are suggestions for pressing seams to one side and after that they are all clipped for the crossing of the next set of seams.

I was pretty irritated by that time. The pressing would have gotten fusible where it shouldn't go. The clipping meant more bother and possible loosening of fabric. So I forged ahead.

I wasn't impressed. A lot of fiddling to get it ready to go and then all you saw after that was the white back of the fusible and while it did go fast I got some physical discomfort from lack of moving around. The extra layer is probably not a problem but I don't really like it. I wonder if it will bubble later. I've learned I really do like the process of match, sew, iron, place, match, sew, etc. The walking about, the pawing, the smiling, the happy noises may take a bit longer but I like what I'm doing.

So this little top is done and ready for layering and quilting. The colour is odd but it is the end of the day and that hot sun is going down. Now I need to go cool my face after working in this humid sweat shop! I wonder how I'll quilt these little baby quilts?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Chicks Arriving

I'm thinking yellow today!

The resident hens need to have the bar raised on what is expected of them so My Farmer ordered 50 White Rock chicks from Alberta, 2 provinces to the west. They arrived this morning bright and early at our local post office. Noisy bunch! Chicks can go 3 days without food and water so the airplane flight wouldn't have been too much of a hardship in these days of jet travel. I expect hens need 3 days to complete brooding all their eggs so the chicks must be able to chillax for a while before taking their first stroll.

Now where was I... Baby Quilts
A friend has 2 daughters who gave birth to their babies within a week of each other. One is a boy and a second child. The other is a girl and a first child. So I picked a bright, busy, animal print for the backing. I didn't want to play favorites and there was enough backing for 2 quilts so I considered a second top similar to the first. The girl's bright pinks went together well so I looked at my other hand dyes. I had the most selection in a run of yellow golds to orange red.

If I added a jungle print and a red/gold geometric stripe I could pull the range of hand dyes together. Eight 5 inch finished squares fits the backing width perfectly. So 8 x 8 = 64 squares and an easy peasey few hours of sewing. I didn't even need my handy dandy calculator! lol

First I spread the most noticeable squares around to evenly disperse them. Then I begin to fill in with the rest. I still needed that yellow print that has proven so useful in my stash so I added those and then one small dotted print to add to the eye spy aspect.

Again, I sew by bringing pairs to my sewing machine which is on my cutting table so I can sew standing up. The best rhythm for me is to have one pair to clip off, one pair under the needle and when I take the sewn pair back to its place on my design wall I bring back the next. I can still get things upside down but my mistakes have been significantly reduced since I've begun this practice. You can pin numbered papers on key points as well. But since I'm older and slower I can slow down and enjoy the process more. I can also enjoy the chicks and the occasional cuppa in my Coop and Saucer Playroom! 8^)

So it is pairs, then fours, then eighths to complete the rows. Some sew in squares, some in lines or rows. I like rows.

When that is done I press the first row seams to the right and all the odd numbered rows as well. I press the second row seams to the left and all the even rows as well. This enables me to butt my seams and I don't need any pins.

I pinch the area where the seams butt with my right hand. They kinda nestle together. Then I allow the feed dogs to ease in any fullness in the fabric. This works with slight amounts of ease. If there seems (oops, 8^) a pun) to be a lot then turn the whole thing upside down and get that fabric with the extra fullness down on the feed dogs so they can shuffle the fabric under the foot and needle. This works for small amounts but not large amounts. But I can testify that the more I do the better and more accurate I get! Who'dda thunk it?

Then I again sew two long rows together, then 4, then I sew the final two big sections together. The only difference here is that I'll press the seams to one side each time I add a row just because there is less bulk than waiting till the end.

Next decision will be the machine quilting and the binding. But the grass may need cutting before I can do that. I'll have to study the sun and the clouds to see what my future plans for the week hold!

But with yellow now taken care of, I'm thinking of something a bit more daring for the days ahead.

I shall consult with the chicks to see how they feel about cobalt blue with apple green trim for the new paint for the Coop!!!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

In the pink!

The focus is baby quilts.

I decided to use some hand dyed fabric I have. I also have a bit of a fabric from some local gals, Completely Kids by Blue Meadow Designs. Using that as the accent, I dispersed 5 .5 inch squares over a piece of backing I'd determined would be the finished size. 8 X 8 squares totals 64 squares. Hum, hum.
Ah, I'm needing something more; a bit of some yellow that'll leave a big hole in my design schemes when it is all gone.

My design wall is quite full so I'm working on the hall floor. I do chain piece but not by stacking blocks and carrying them to the sewing machine. I somehow mix things up when I do that so I pick up two squares, sew them, go get another, sew them, cut off the first and put it back where it came from and grab another two. I enjoy the back and forth movement and now that I piece standing up I find it doesn't take all that long. I'm enjoying the process.

I'm quite pleased with the finished top. The jungle print for the back has some fuchsia in it so it'll be bright enough and busy enough for floor use and eye spy.

Monday, July 26, 2010

So I saved a little money

I spent the whole day, which began with an early appointment, with my daughter and her family in the city. And it was a hot one! I went to Michael's while they went to the big mall and I bought the block printing kit hoping for that elusive large discount. I do need to come back next week so I tried. No change at 40% so I'll just do it next week.

While waiting for the rendez vous I stepped into a small store and there were these wall flowers. 25 lime green on sale! Hmm, they'd be cool on the purple wall. So the sales gal and I considered options to the thumbtacks for my plaster walls. My farmer can predrill. He'll be just thrilled! LOL But I thought lime on purple across from blue/green might not be good so I traded for the white flowers. Now the whites weren't on sale and after I got home I'd decided to paint them various shades of greens so the cheaper first idea would have worked. Oh well!

I'm starting to get excited about this stairway now!

Friday, July 23, 2010

What a lark, I see a bunny

Yvonne commented on my last post. "Did you ever see the bunny in a larkspur? It can't be a hybrid larkspur, but if you look close you will see a bunny in the center of it, sitting on his haunches with his long ears sticking up. "
So I ran out this morning and even though things are kinda wet...
But by golly, it looks like bunnies to me. Now apparently there are ladies taking a bath in the bleeding hearts. ???

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Summer Spread

Here's a few flowers to see and smell before I point out the weeds. Things have spread out a bit too far so it is time to regroup and get things tighter.

I've managed to get a dozen things started and only the things on my hubby's and my mutual list are crossed off. Time to refocus!

For some reason my soil/garden likes to allow reseeding. Poppies became a positive weed and I've learned to thin mercilessly. Now these larkspur and dill weed (hmm, that shoulda told me something) are becoming a nuisance. It does seem as if a bright idea of mine sparks all kinds of half finished projects.
Now what have I actually managed to accomplish so far? Oh typical! Nothing to show!

I have the mulch down but not quite all finished. And then I see some weeds are getting thru. So I need to go back and make it a bit heavier. That little scene above almost made me throw away my trowel. But I'm pretty optimistic so I'll give it a thicker try.
We did get the trees in the ground. Some are doing splendid and some are struggling and some have drowned. Lesson: we can only look after 50 trees a year. Therefore, DO NOT order 120! yes, sir!
I probably need a good day or 2 early mornings to run the hoe around the worst of the weeds.
Oh, The BOM quilt top is made and the deadline met. YAY!
The new shed is moved but not yet finished as far as shelves go, nor is the front closed in. I know Michael won't start my dye shed until he finishes up this first one. But I dragged him out to the old puttering shed last night to explain my plans for the new dye place. I'd been up into the dusty corners of the barn checking the availability of supplies and measuring. oooh, it is gonna be good even if it does make him roll his eyes. But he is NOT spontaneous and needs lots of heads up time to figure how to accomplish my heart's desire so I like to forewarn him!

I do believe all the grass is cut that I can cut. One weather storm cell is showing for today and then there are no more on the coming week's weather picture. My farmer should be busy making his hay so that leaves me on my own and doing my own thing. another Yay!

So I need to gather up the scattered seeds and see if I can gather in some finished fruit for my labour.
The weather should allow for some painting. I have a gallon of paint for the poor old coop from last year. That might be the place to start. There'll be a mess outside, on the chooks and on me but the clean up will be minimal. Then I can tackle veranda stuff and work in to the fine furniture and trim in the house. I do think I've got the basic colour plan for the house all figured out.
I checked with he who brings in the moola and yes, he still wants the baby quilt for his boss and the delivery date for the other two is about 10 days away. So...
Sadly I have my daughter's wedding quilt UFO facing the wall and the new front of my design wall with the Sunshine room quilts is covered by the BOM top. I really need to give myself a stern talking to as the fourth anniversary will be this winter. I think I've learned my lesson about not finishing tops!
I would so like to play with fun stuff like paint, thread, beads, fusibles etc. for journals and art quilts but I need to get some of these basic things done that hopefully are not going to reoccur anytime soon.
So Focus- get back to the basic to-do list
But Fiddle- only slightly with the time options
And Finish- one thing and move to the next thing
Then Fling- that old crumpled list away!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Multi Tasks

I'm in the process of emptying the old shed so that meant I had to get all the lawn accessories out and into position. I must say that shade gardening is pure pleasure. This area doesn't get prime attention but things are actually beginning to fill in. It is cool, the weeding doesn't come any easier, and it just has its own special magic. I do need to catch a hen who can fly over the gate and likes to rearrange my path!

I picked up a few old books at the thrift store Friday and of course the grandson. A rainy Saturday so I steered the Grand Farmer and his helper into the veranda.
We got the various things up including my 'chandelier'! It doesn't work but I suspect I could set tea lights in it. I haven't quite mentioned it to the site foreman, but I think it needs a coat of some stupendously smashing spray paint! I do like how it is visible when I look out the front window from inside the front room. I would have liked a bit more sparkle and a little less visual weight, but it was free! I'm getting a sense of the colours I want in here and a teal floor is first thought that presented itself. But I'm not sure about the light. Lime?
Monday the sheep shearer was due. His timing was great as the sheep had had some time to whiten and drop all the mud from their belly wool. I spent the morning cutting some of the foxtail around the sorting area that the sheep will not eat. Very itchy stuff! So my city trip was postponed but the sheep are another thing off the list.

I dashed off to the city to pick up a new 1/4" foot with a guide for my sewing machine and to hear all about the summer training session. The old roller foot is now recommended for echo quilting so I ordered that as well.

I got a Threads magazine on my travels. I'd let my subscription go but this one didn't have one superfluous article in it. So I e-mailed back to add an invisible zipper foot to my sale order so I'll be ready for garments as soon as the snow falls. Yikes!

In the pile, extreme right are the little wooden doohickeys that my dearie insists will fix my failed attempt at furniture assembly. I'd wanted that little bookcase for the Sunshine room done yesterday and so I 'did it myself' and the result is several weeks delay while the glue grabs and the fix is found! sheesh

But I did hit an EUREKA! This building store has a big paint department and I'm gathering paint chips to make my own fan deck. They want $30 for one and I figure I'm pretty close to being done to warrent spending $$$ for ones I can string together for free. I'd said no thanks to any help but the perky young thing was hauling paint gallons around and was letting me alone so nicely that I decided to try one more time for paint colour advice. Well! We got 2 nice greens and I asked how I should transition and she said, no transition, Go Bold! whoa! So I cautiously asked if one of the 12 walls slated for greens could have a little more boldness. Purple? She found a very good possibility. little snoopy dancing happening down in my heart! Lets go for broke. A red dining room? Now that took a bit more hunting but I have a cranberry swatch which is exactly the colour name I've had in mind. I asked her name and told her I'd be back the minute I started to whimp out! lol

Then I shuffled around Michaels for something cheap so I could get a coupon. He who keeps the budget wouldn't approve and a $20 expenditure on 2 accessories maybe won't cover the return gas and the 'must have' purchase. vbsigh And I only got a 40% after all that traffic hassle and options oogling. But I'm after a $100 screen printing kit.

And that brings me back full circle to emptying the shed, getting it ready for the remodeling for a dyeing shed and slapping on some paint while the slapping is good! The sorta bad news (shhh!) is that the hay fields are actually drying so my contractor/farmer may be springing into the tractor seat to make hay rather than grabbing his carpenter's apron, but all that sunshine will give me some time to paint veranda doors, chests and chandeliers! It'll also give me time to figure the layout. The really good news is that he estimates that the shed is a fairly quick job and he can give me some significant extra square feet! big snoopy dance happening down in my heart! He says we have just about all the supplies but I need to save up for shingles. ooh, more colour options!

So one thing I did buy when I picked up the grandson was some highpowered health food type shake. It's full of hay. I figure what is good for the sheep is good for me. And actually alfalfa powder and barley greens are amazingly affective as a Go Juice. They really make me a bit hyper.

So it is ready, seddy, GOOOOO......

Friday, July 16, 2010

What's cooking!

I'm in trouble. My dear hubby who is more interested in food than I am is looking to preserve the rhubarb for winter.

He is also looking for all the jars. There seems to be a shortage of pint jars.

Anybody who knows anything about science and particularly lab experiments knows you use glass in experiments. 8^) Glass is very stable and besides it is very much nicer aesthetically than plastic food containers. And I'm all about form over function. So I have lots of jars in my dye centre.

The TOM for July was dyeing or fabric painting. I decided to use up some of the old dyes that I had in the jars from a previous dye session. That was some time ago so I just used what was left. I did combine a little of the yellows and the reds. This was very much serendipity. I did the soda ash soak then added the dyes to the fabric as they sat in baggies. I did lots of scrunching as I was after an even colour. I intended to let them sit all day and over night but the bright yellow was making me nervous so before I went to bed I just drained off the yellow but left the cloth in the baggies. In the morning I began to rinse, and rinse and RINSE! It looked like most of the dye was rinsing away but some stayed. Phew! I had done a few pieces of plain cotton and some cotton velvet. The colours are fairly subtle and that is okay. I will remember not to let my dyes get too old.

Oh, and the jam turned out quite nice as well! Actually, it had more colour. Hmm, I shoulda asked for the recipe! lol

Thursday, July 15, 2010

It is a finish

I am so impressed with myself for keeping up with this BOM project. I must have a lot on my mind because I did have to do some more reverse sewing on the final border. It didn't help that this green looks similar on the back as on the front.

But the dark blocks are back in the right order. That definitely bothered me so absolutely was worth all the hassel of redoing.

I don't care for symmetrical layouts so I did offset the blocks. Then I needed a bit of the periwinkle to pop things. I used a log cabin method to add the borders which really worked against me for taking apart the top to fix the mistake I made. I had to finally remove every sashing piece.

I also wanted 2 greens in the final border. I had thought about making one wider than the other and that could still happen but for now I'm pleased with how things look. The photo looks like the top is wider than it is long but the measurements are showing it really is square.
oops, except that the bottom left hand block is very light and might benefit from a motif to be appliqued to it. I did add a bit of something to one of the earlier pictures so the difference can be seen.
Okay, something is crossed off that everlasting to-do list. What is next? Right! Under all the stuff on the table are some pink baby quilt blocks that needs connecting. And 2 more babies have left the hospital!!! But the sun is also shining today and I have an old shed to empty and a newer one to fill so we can remodel the old one. CHARGE!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I HATE when that happens!

Multitasking. I'm trying to do a couple of things at the same time. vbsigh
I did stop sewing the last section to the first two because I realized I had something wrong. I did some reverse sewing. I unpicked. But...

Well, I didn't put everything back up on the wall. I thought I knew what needed to be done. So I must take full responsibility for the total snafu. VBSigh

The very noticeable dark blocks need to be spread about. I did not put the top on the design wall any time I added the last ring of fabric. I did lay it on the floor but I never noticed that there was no longer a nice dispersal of the darks. AWK!

There will now be a momentary delay in the programming!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Setting BOM Jewels

I'm taking a break from the more physical stuff and I'm setting the BOM jewels in their setting. They really are bright, glowing and multifaceted.

I can't find the setting I had in mind. Darn files; what good are they if you can't find your bright ideas. So I drew out a rough plan and began to cut and sew.

I thought squares of the very dark secondary theme fabric would be perky.

But after a few are in place I'm not liking them beside some of the blocks. I auditioned a few sashing possibilities with yellow a strong desire but I'm thinking green. The final choice really is a new one and not in the blocks.

Now I'm not liking the fact that some blocks will butt directly to the thin enclosing border.

I am also NOT a fan of those solid chunks of fabric for a final border so I am resisting that theme fabric on the outside. I'd hoped for dark of night or at the least some some early morning inspiration. There doesn't seem to be any forthcoming so it looks like another play day today.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Phase 1

I am MORE than excited. Whoo Hoo!

I so want to get dyeing fabric outside. I can run a water hose down to the potting shed but the potting shed is in serious need of redeeming. First I needed to cajole a sheep shed out of my farmer and have him haul it over to my side of the yard. He is an amazing mover of large unwieldy buildings. He moved the chicken coop and that old potting shed over to the house yard some years previous. This shed is more on the boundary between his side and mine. We no longer use the overhead tank but it could qualify as an antique in a few years! lol It probably would have been better to wait a bit before we pounded in the 2 fence posts and planted the 3 shrubs but he put that shed right into that tight corner with hardly any angst at all. He did lever the finishing touches in by hand and I managed to get my blocking pieces in place pronto. He is wonderful! I'll get some shelves up for my lawn ornaments, tools and lawnmowers. We'll configure doors later. But I shall be emptying the old potting shed ASAP.
Now the deal was: If he moved the shed I had to help start the other tractor. I HATE helping with that kind of stuff. It just doesn't compute that the pulling tractor and the dragged tractor need to be same speed, direction, yada, yada. But, I want a dyeing shed. Badly. Therefore...
To make a long story excruciating...
The removal of the truck from where it was stuck was relatively easy. I was in the dragged part and it went good. I got a false sense of security that all would be well. I was to be the puller. I throttled down, dug in, spun to China, jack rabbited away and saw my dear farmer fly by my right side yelling loudly. Have you ever played crack the whip on skates? It kinda reminded me of that! He said he never saw his life pass before him but I did! So while I filled in the hole I'd dug he repositioned every thing. Back in the saddle and a different gear. Now I needed to make a curved path. Between the car and the truck, no less! VBSigh. Smoother start and by golly, I saw smoke, so I clutched, disengaged and... Now what's the matter? Okay, I will not stop until told to. Right; another Big Sigh. I'm staring to run out of wide open spaces to drive into. I think I'm getting this start down better. Will it never stay running? Uhm, he never told what to do when the road comes to a fork. Should I take the one less travelled? Yahoo, that definitely is smoke. I get the nod, I slip into neutral and off I bound down to terra firma. One last job. I need to help hook up to the wagon and what the hey... Darn thing stalled as it was backing into position. I'm not liking where the 'puller' will be placed to help the 'dragged'. My farmer has had a long day and just about enough of his less than qualified help so we'll retire to pull and drag another day. Phew, I hope the cavalry arrives before I'm called upon to do my duty again!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

A good night's sleep

I have loooong wanted shavings to use for mulching around the shrub beds. They will keep all that tedious and time consuming trimming down. I do believe it is true that all good things come to those who wait. 8^) I get 4 loads of shavings from a neighbour who thought they'd like them and then changed their mind so I took while the taking was good. I have 3 loads now and one more to go. My hubby gets them and it is up to me to unload them. I really don't mind this kind of work. The rain has made the shavings heavier than I anticipated but I've learned to use the slope to get them moving.

Two loads Thursday went beside the barn. Today I have one load over by the north bush. The ground is quite wet and the truck is spending the night there until we can assist it a bit. Ooops! But we knew there was a possibility that this would happen as the truck is quite heavy and has the worst back tires. I'll get one more load and then we'll fill in the ruts. I've been telling my dear list maker that 'done is better than perfect'! I am really quite pleased to see that we are actually making progress on his lists and he gets some kind of weird satisfaction from crossing things off the list.

I can also report that I am having some very excellent sleeps! 8^)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I THINK I can, I think I CAN!

I stopped yesterday and brought home the colour fan deck from the paint company I'll use for my paints. It has the whole line of colours but this copy is wired together and I suspect a few cards are missing in the red/cranberry section but I can tweak that later.
The 5 pamphlets are from a different company but they gave me the aha! to mix up the 4 moods although I used mostly the muted pallet on the end but I'll use the others to keep the flow with accents. I was also pleased that I've maintained the original impetuous for the most part. My mistake was thinking that the flow had to be with the same value of colours. It was just getting the exact paint (undertone) colour and I learned that they aren't always where you think they are in the order of the colours. Kinda neat, actually!

But I think I have a whole house plan figured. I better because I want to get on to other things and just pick up the appropriate paint and do the rooms in between my real fun hobbies.

I've learned that I can't have it all and still have a cohesive whole which is very important to me. So I think this is the best that I can come up with on my own. Now I've been told the cranberry living room won't work but the same gal gave me a colour for the sitting room that I don't think goes with the 2 chairs. ??? I found a similar but better. (The 2 professional recommends are very centre bottom.) So why not 'my' cranberry. I'll be experimenting with that when I get there. I am also not using the decorator white for trim. I'd already decided it was too cold for me when I read about it being very overly recommended and there were much better choices. Then I took the next (RADICAL) leap. I do not like high contrast so why am I doing such light baseboards and trim??? I'm going to do each room a lighter version of the room colour. Gnash, gnash!!! It is only paint, remember, it is only paint! LOL!

The hall rug upstairs ties together the rooms represented on the left of my story board. (That very dark purple is my reconciling that a purple front door can work.)

The front room (dining room) rug is the fixed feature for the downstairs. (See, I'm still reconciling that purple door!)

The trick will be the stairway which is 2 stories. I want warm yellow greens upstairs to transition in the stairwell to the cooler blue greens in the downstairs. I have another pamphlet with a great combo that includes the 2 greens. It is possible I'll be painting all the walls a slightly different colour but it works out to about 8-10 walls depending on how you count so I should be able to ease the colours along without too much jarring. It doesn't show up very much but the up stairs rug has the warmer greens and a dash of blue green while the down rug has a bit of blue green in the leaves as well as that navy. Heck, I may be stretching it but there is some olive in the stems as well.

So the big question is- Am I thinking that it can work because I SO badly want it to work or does it really work?