Friday, February 23, 2018

Keep Calm and Sew Purple

On one hand, it seems as though this month of February has flown by. That would be because this is only my second Rainbow Scrap Saturday post for purple. But on the other hand, this month has been going

Back on February 1, a sunny vacation loomed ahead. Now it’s done and we’re back (see last blog post for more of that fiasco).  February also brought a tragic school shooting in Florida, with teenagers proving they’re more mature than many adults in the public forum; Olympics, snowstorms, politics, auto accidents, mounds of laundry, tax returns.... Sheesh. No wonder I dove into my sewing this week and beat those purple scraps into submission!!  

Rather than show everything individually, I’ll just do my usual month-end scrappy recap via a collage photo. 

Here is my Purple February tally (clockwise from top left):

(4) 8.5” string blocks
(3) 10” Squared Away blocks
(9) 6.5” crumb blocks
(1) Geese Migration block
(8) 6.5” selvage blocks
(10) 6.5” quarter log cabin blocks
(3) Linked Squares blocks

That's a total of 38 purple blocks for February.

There were other things I worked on this month as well, of course. I prepared three blocks and a PDF tutorial for The Block Lotto’s March block, which will be published on their site ( on March 1.

I finished my brother’s Hot Rod Quilt and sewed up a dozen or sew On Ringo Lake blocks. And this is currently on the design board, being sewn into a flimsy. Sorry for the bad picture. The blocks were folded into fourths so I could play around with their placement easier. I hope to have this finished to reveal for next Saturday’s linkup. 

Rainbow Strings
We found out yesterday that our 11th (and final, I believe) grandchild, due in early July, will be a girl! I’m so excited! So I’m planning her baby quilt. What am I saying? It’s been planned for weeks, and I pulled the fabrics last night. But I have to finish a couple other quilts first, so the baby quilt won’t begin until the second quarter of the year.

Bruce and I will begin car shopping in March. We were in a bad auto accident about a month ago. Luckily, when impact was inevitable, Bruce sped up instead of braking. We were therefore hit toward the rear of the truck instead of the cab where I was sitting. We thought his truck was totaled, but because Toyotas hold their value so well, it wasn’t close. We get the truck back next week. And so, for reasons I won’t go into here, we will sell both our current vehicles and buy a new one. We are looking at another Toyota hybrid, probably a RAV4 SUV. And I will be the sole driver.

And since I haven’t shown kitty pictures for awhile (and every post is better with cats, right?), here are Alfie and Darla settling in for a long winter’s nap....

Linking up to:
Oh Scrap!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggedy-Jig

We are home, and so glad to be here. You have no idea how glad. It was certainly a vacation to remember. But if you know me at all, you know I can’t leave it at that. First, though, I have to say that we had fun with Cousin Kim, who usually comes with us. And although I have a few new pictures to share of some things, the best pictures of our annual visits to Tubac, Arizona (just a half mile north of the Arizona/Mexico border, and even south of the checkpoint) are from previous visits and can be found if you click on “Tubac” in my word cloud link area in the right sidebar.

Let me show you the new pictures first, before I go into my rant tale of woe. The Tubac Arts Festival ran from the day before we got there until Sunday the 11th. The weather was picture perfect - mid-seventies.
Free rides in a horse-pulled wagon
Some of the side street crowds at the Festival
Our favorite place was the Beer Garden, a new feature at this year’s Arts Festival. Proceeds go to help maintain the DeAnza Trail and Presidio, where both Bruce’s sister Annette and her husband Glenn donate their time. There was beer, margaritas and entertainment. Plus gorgeous weather and good company!

We sat over to the side and our backs faced this little footbridge and dry creek (below). The footbridge crosses over into the new area of Tubac called The Barrio. In the Barrio are great new stores and restaurants and several dozen streets of new condominiums, plus a park and a sculpture garden.  We were just happy to take in the fresh air, sunshine, good music and to RELAX.

Once Festival was over, the weather turned cloudy, and by Wednesday it began to rain. Before that time we got some walking in and visited a couple of our favorite restaurants.  The following few pictures we took in the Sculpture Garden one morning.

Bruce and the kids playing
Bruce and Mark Twain talk about Things.

Cousin Kim

Cathy playing Ring Around the Rosie

The next couple pictures were snapped during walks around town. They show how some of the stores are brightly painted. And you can see that some merchants keep their wares out at night.

Once it began raining (in a steady, consistent manner that Bruce’s late sister Faye used to call a “female rain”), we pretty much stayed indoors and read, watched movies, and sewed. We left for home a couple days early because - well, rain in Arizona and snowstorms forecast for Salt Lake. We were smart to go and beat the weather.

And that’s about all you need to read unless you want to hear about the unsavory portions of our trip. I hope I don’t sound ungrateful, but I probably do. Oh well. After visiting Tubac almost every year (except last year because of Bruce’s cancer surgeries) for 15 years, one thinks one knows what to expect. First, some backstory. There were originally 6 siblings in Bruce's family, and they grew up in Bountiful, Utah. Now they all (except us here in Salt Lake)  live in Tubac, a town south of Tucson.

The oldest remaining sibling is Dennis, who owns the Tubac Trailer Tether (mobile homes, camping spots, laundromat and propane concession). Then there's Marv who lives in the Tether, Doug who also lives in the Tether with his significant other Katsi, and Annette and her husband Glenn who built a huge house in the Tubac hills when they retired from their California/US Navy life. Cousin Kim’s mom Faye was the eldest of the siblings when she was alive, but she passed away about 13 years ago. It is her mobile home that is designated for visiting family. We offered to pay once, and were laughed at. Not about the money, they said. So, we always come bearing gifts. This year it was quilts, wine, cheese - things they like and can’t get there in Tubac. Anyway, the last time we (or anyone else in the family) visited was 2 years ago. And the place hadn’t been cleaned in the meantime.

We arrived at the Bates Motel trailer on Thursday evening, the 8th. It was dark, late, and we just put fresh sheets on the beds and went to sleep. In the morning we surveyed the place. O.M.G. We were shocked. Our immediate and first trip was to the local market to get creamer for our coffee and some cleaning supplies. That’s what we did on Friday - clean. All day Friday. Kim scoured the bathroom (after two years of disuse, it was a major undertaking); Bruce vacuumed the cobwebs, furniture, floors, desiccated lizard, etc. I cleaned the kitchen, greasy dishes, light fixtures. We washed towels, curtains, windows, etc.

The steps and railings outside the trailer were hazardous and in need of repair; the toilet kept breaking down (Kim got the Golden Toilet Award for using a twist tie to fix the chain), and the doorknobs locked at will. Bruce had to climb in through the window once because the key wouldn’t work. But at least we had a place to stay. We may never go back, but we had a roof over our heads while we were there. For that I am grateful. But the rest.....

Dennis owns the park and employs brother Doug to do handiwork. They never thought (or cared) to have anyone pay any attention to the family trailer. Dennis is in his seventies and and it’s not about money - he is a millionaire. But he lives like a hoarder/pauper (which I mentioned in previous Tubac posts years ago). And that is his right - his choice. But I don’t know if we can go back to that, even to visit. And small-town lodging is hard to come by.

Anyway, once the place was cleaned up and we spent several hundred dollars on groceries for our stay, the single brothers came by every evening wondering what Kim and/or I were cooking for dinner. So yes, we prepared meals for 5 people (Bruce, Kim, me, Dennis and Marv) every. single. night.  So, we got the Bates Motel, and they got free cooking and cleaning and some minor repairs. Kim’s sister Carrie and her hubby are going down to visit the family later this spring. Carrie’s hubby Jeff is a contractor (he did our living room remodel) and we will prepare a list of Must Fix-it’s for him. And if we have to chip in on the repair costs, we will do it gladly. Just don’t make me stay there again in those conditions!!

So now we’re back home and it began snowing within a couple hours of us arriving home. Great timing, as we had clear roads all the way back. We are so grateful and happy to be in our clean and (relatively) spacious cottage. Bruce has gotten a “wild hair” and cleaned his man cave again (bathroom, which was cleaned before we left) and installed a carbon monoxide detector in the last 24 hours. It’s unbelievable how clean everything here seems!  :-)  The unpacking, laundry and grocery shopping are done, and I even got some sewing time in this afternoon. It is wonderful to be home, and we are so happy. Jiggedy-jig!!!


Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Hot Rod Quilt Finished

My goal was to finish this hot-rod themed quilt for my brother before we left on vacation this week, and I did. Yay!!  The picture isn’t the best, but it was threatening rain and getting dark, so we just did it. Steve is thrilled.

The quilt includes several fabrics with different color schemes, scale, etc. There is even a cut up shirt in there (the blue backgrounds). The only thing I could think of to do to unify (somewhat) all the disparate pieces was to use colored sashing in various sizes and bright colors (green, blue, red, black and some gold). It worked out pretty well.

The back is just leftover fabrics and/or other stuff that didn’t quite go with the rest.... The batting is Warm & Plush, and the quilting was a large stipple, which he seemed to think was “rad”.  I’m just glad he’s happy. And that it’s done. This is my February goal for OMG - One Monthly Goal over at Elm Street Quilts. I’ll be linking up at the end of the month when the linky party opens.

This is also a finish for me for my Quarter One goals for the 2018 Finish-Along. It was #5 on my list and is my third finish so far this year. You can visit my list HERE.

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And I made four blocks for February’s Block Lotto.  We were to start with a piece 3.5” or smaller from the Parts Department or leftovers from a quilt and then make a 9.5” scrappy block with it. As you can see, I had lots of HSTs, flying geese and tiny four-patches. I also added in some favorite bird fabric samples from Spoonflower and a little Lori Holt mini-charm, “Keep it Cool”. Yep, they’re pretty funky, but they’re supposed to be. I think. :-)

I made several more purple blocks for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge that I can hopefully post on Saturday. It’ll be easy to prepare the post ahead of time; I’ll just have to figure out if/when I can link up when the time comes.  Thanks for dropping by!

Saturday, February 3, 2018

February is Purple!

Participants in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge are playing with our purple scraps for the month of February. Our intrepid leader, Angela, has assigned purple and lavender as our focus this month. It never ceases to amaze me how I can pretty much clear out my scraps one year, but by the time that color rolls around the following year, there are so many bits and bobs to play with. This year I’ve been adding in large chunks and fat quarters that have sat unloved or unused in my stash for many, many years. Cue the theme music for Rawhide here as I paraphrase:

“Move ‘em on, Cut ‘em up, 
Ride ‘em in, Head ‘em out...... RAWHIDE!  Our Scraps!

Ye-haw!  Ok. I’m over it now. 

So, purple.

First up were my Linked Squares Blocks. I did three of them this month, using the entire range of purples from red-purples to blue-purples. These blocks finish at 16.

I wasn’t sure how I was liking these until I put all my blocks together. There are the three purples, plus last month’s two blues. What’s with the one green one, you ask? It was the very first test block that I made to see if my pattern was correct. I’ll make more green ones when that color month rolls around. But this gives us an idea of what they will all look like together. I will need 20 total.  

And next I made four 8.5” (unfinished) string blocks for my Never-ending String Quilt that I started back in 2016.
All I have left to do with this string quilt is to make 2 orange blocks (to finish the orange foursome) and then one other large 4-part block in red or green.  This is so close that I may turn it into a monthly goal in March.  

Bruce and I are leaving Thursday to vacation in Arizona with family for a week or two. Our return is rather open-ended because we don’t have to rush home for anything. My brother is staying at the house to take care of the cats. Anyway, I won’t be around for the next couple Saturday link-ups unless I can borrow a relative’s computer. The iPad I’m taking is notoriously useless in Blogger edit mode (it won’t scroll, which they’ve known about for years but have never deigned to fix). So it’s unlikely I will post while I’m gone. But I always take lots of pictures, so I’ll catch you up when I get back.

Happy February!!
Friday, February 2, 2018

One Monthly Goal for February

Once again I’ll be participating with Patty at Elm Street Quilts in her great motivational link-up, One Monthly Goal (OMG).

I participated last month and finished up my Starry, Starry Day quilt in January. And now I’m working furiously on my brother Steve’s Hot Rod Quilt.

These fabrics have been hard to put together because they come from so many sources. Several of the pieces with blue backgrounds (dragsters) came from a shirt that Steve bought years ago at a swap meet. It appealed to him because it showed scenes of dragsters from some of the California venues he used to frequent when we were young. In fact, the (now-defunct) Irwindale Raceway was a few cities over in Southern California, and we could hear the races every now and then.

Steve is into anything “cars” - vintage cars, hot rods, etc. He bought his first car - a 1947 Chevy - when he was 15. Couldn’t even drive yet. But guess who had to drive it? Moi. Yep, I had to learn how to drive a stick shift (in 1970) on this 1947 with a starter button, a huge clutch that looked like a ..... well, never mind. Oh, and it did have a horn - an oooga horn. I learned while having to drive Steve to his dentist appointment after school in it. Stalled it about a half dozen times, with Steve yelling at me and his two friends (along for the ride) laughing and hooting. Once I got the hang of driving a stick shift it was a fun car to drive. But  the next year Steve got his license and that was that.  But I digress......

I have finished piecing the quilt front and back (lots of leftover pieces), and basted it yesterday. The quilting will begin this weekend.  I want to get it done before we leave on vacation next week.  :-)

Friday, January 26, 2018

Light Blue Scrap Recap and Another Quilt Finish

Here we are near the end of January. It’s been a long, cold month, but at least it didn’t seem as long as last year. Maybe getting out more often (to the mall three times a week to go walking), along with my other activities and errands, helps the yucky winter days to pass more quickly.  

This is the last week to post our blue scraps for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge before Angela assigns the February color.  I usually do a collage to sum up my progress, and I will continue that this year. So here we go. I had a total of 51 blocks this month.

Top:  2 Squared Away Blocks, 10 - 6.5” selvage blocks, 2 Linked Squares Blocks
Middle:  2 blue string blocks, 2 birds, 12 crumb blocks
Bottom: 10 - 6.5” quarter log cabins, 1 Geese Migration block, 10 bow ties

I am ready for a new color!

Last week I realized that I’d never given a weight loss / health progress report (it keeps me accountable) in my end of the year/end of December recap. So, I’ll combine two months into one. December went well, eating-wise, until the neighbors started bring over treats and we decided to a family cooking bake-along. Long story short, I lost, then gained, then lost most of that. Bottom line was that I ended December weighing .2 LESS than I started. I was happy with that.

For Christmas I got a Fitbit. I’ve been working to increase my daily steps. I’ve always been a relatively sedentary person. I worked in an office and had sedentary hobbies (sewing, reading), with the exception of gardening. But that’s not an option in Utah in winter. So, Bruce and I began mall walking three times per week, and it has noticeably strengthened my legs, helped me feel so much stronger (and younger), and helped the pounds peel off. I have to remember that I’m losing pounds, not years! So far in January I’ve lost 5 pounds. My next weigh-in is Tuesday, so it could be a bit more or less before the actual month end. Anyway, total loss to date is 34.2, and I am close to moving into the next size down again in pants. Yay! My goal is to do that before we leave for Arizona on the 8th without having to lay on the bed to get the zipper zipped! Raise your hand if you’ve ever had to do THAT!   Yeah, Diann, I see you with your hand down. You’re naturally thin, LOL!! 

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And as the title says, I did have a quilt finish this week. It was rather unplanned. You see, DH Bruce sort of backed into the neighbor’s car when he left for work the other morning (it was dark and as the mirror says, “objects may be closer than they appear”). No damage to neighbors car, thankfully,  but it broke his truck’s rear tail light. Our neighbor, who is a prince and a gentleman, even ordered the part for us because he gets a discount. Anyway, Bruce and Steve will replace the tail light  this weekend, but I’ve been bummed out about it for reasons that aren’t really important (and that I can’t even put my finger on anyway). I felt I needed to find a happy place, and for me that was doing some zen-like sewing or quilting. So I pulled out my basted Autumn Quilt and spent two 2-hour sessions quilting it in a loopy, leafy, and whatever-floated-my-boat-type of motif. The border orange cornerstones even got big spirals. Because I could.

I quilted it with a 50-weight Aurifil in a golden color. I usually use 40-weight, but I still have a couple spools left over from a 50-weight set I bought a few years ago, and this golden yellow seemed perfect for the Autumn Sampler. The binding is my usual Warm and Plush. The quilt finishes at 64x79”. 

The back is a piece of yummy flannel that I picked up on sale last year during the Utah Shop Hop. It is actually a bit darker than the picture shows. Anyway, all in all a comfy fall quilt which will is late for last year or early for this year. Take your pick! 

This quilt was Goal #2 on my first quarter 2018 Finish-Along list, here.

Have a great week!
Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Blue Birds of Happiness

I am so loving these pieced birds for a new quilt I’ve started. And since this month’s color for our scraps is blue, these are blue birds. Of happiness, naturally. They do make me so happy! But first ....

My dear fur daughter/sewing supervisor Darla got an email from Molly (Sally’s supervisor) suggesting a minor modification to the bird wing to make it, um, more “tasty”.  Well, I knew I’d get no peace from Darla until I tried it. And I LOVED it! Thanks, Molly!

Left:  Before                                                  Right:  After

With the new wing more visually pleasing TASTY, I decided to make one bird in the reverse direction. We will have another blue month later in the year, and I will another two blue birds then, but I have to show off the “mate” of the new bird (left, below) that I finished this weekend. 

Again, these are 10.5” blocks.  I have had a couple questions about how I did the beak. You will notice that there aren’t any seams around them. For such a tiny piece, I figured why bother? So, I took a 1.5” brown square and folded it diagonally, twice. The raw edge is sewn into the seam to align with the head. Think of a prairie point. When the block is done, I just topstitch the beak with brown thread and a very short (1.5) stitch length. Blurry closeup below (sorry, it’s the best my old camera can do....)

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Over the weekend I also stitched up four 10.5” scrappy string blocks for Covered in Love over at Kat and Cat’s blog.

They will be winging their way (sorry, couldn’t resist) to Kat this week.  And I’ve continued to work on my brother’s Hot Rod quilt. The top is slightly past the halfway point, thank goodness. I hope to have that top wrapped up by the weekend. But first, I’m going to quilt my Autumn Sampler quilt so I will have enough safety pins, because I’m too lazy to go out and buy more today. More pictures on the weekend.

Have a great week!