it’s been so long!

The past two months have just flown by!  We finally got the house ready to be listed and it’s been on the MLS for a couple of weeks now.  No visits from prospective buyers yet, but August is notoriously slow for home sales.  We have an open house scheduled in early September, so hopefully we’ll get some traffic then.  If not, I may have to put an ad on my cat!

The first weekend I wasn’t doing house projects, I finished my mom’s birthday quilt.

I hope she likes it, it’s a smallish lap-size and I tried it out while hand-stitching the binding – worked well for me!

This was my first time to use polyester batting and I really like it!  I used hi-loft and it gives the quilt a nice poofy, bouncy feel.

Knitting has really fallen by the wayside.  Everything I was working on requires constant pattern referral and/or charts, and I’ve given up the loveseat to SB while he recuperates from bunion surgery.  I’ve been sitting in the arm chair, which isn’t large enough for me and my papers.  He’s 3+ weeks post-op, though, so I think it’s about time I reclaimed the loveseat!  I have been spinning though, and will post yarny pictures soon.

Ciao for now!

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last weekend

I had the house to myself and kept busy.  I finished my mom’s birthday quilt top and worked on a scrappy quilt, strip pieced from two jelly rolls.  I absolutely love this quilt – the waves of riotous color make me happy!  I followed these instructions, but used only five strips per block instead of six to save fabric.  This resulted in shorter lengths of one color and it was easier to see the pattern when laid out in waves rather than diamonds.  It’s so bright it’ll put your eye out, but I still love it!  I can’t wait to make another!

a little of this, a little of that

Seems my blogging is all over the place lately – quilting, spinning, hiking, I guess it reflects my activities and general lack of focus.  Oh well.  How about more quilting?!?

I finished this quilt top last weekend, it’s a birthday present for a little guy who routinely steals his mother’s quilt (that I also made).  I measured it this morning with plans to go shopping for backing fabric at lunch but it was raining buckets so maybe tomorrow…

I never tire of the stained glass quilt top shots!

I finished that on Saturday and on Sunday was still itching to sew but couldn’t settle on a pattern.  Just like knitting projects, there are so many quilts I want to make!  I’ve been dreaming of a bright, sunny, springtime quilt and when I couldn’t decide what I wanted to make first, I did the right thing and pulled out a quilt top I started last year, got about 90% done with and then forgot about.  I sewed together the blocks and now I have to find a little more fabric to bring it up to queen size, and of course, fabric for the back.  Blurg.  That’s always the non-fun part – the actual finishing.  No pictures yet, though!

I do have pictures of these:

Little mug rugs, one for my daughter (the weirdly scientific creatures one) and one for my husband!  Fussy cutting is so much fun!  I need more fabric!

And the backs.  I definitely need to work on my free motion quilting, also my corners.

Also – my arugula is pretty close to being harvest-ready!

I’m hoping to get a salad from it next week.  I need to research how to remove leaves and still keep the plant growing, at least until the farmer’s market is in full swing.  Gotta feed the habit!

Lastly – check out this salamander SB saw on his hiking trip last weekend!!!

So cool!

It looks fake, doesn’t it?

I want to put it in my pocket.

See ya later, Sally!

 

 

 

I think I’m turning Amish-y

oh yes, I’m turning Amish-y, I really think so…

That is the song that ran through my head all day Monday

as I made Strawberry Balsamic Jam

(am I the only one who says ba-sal-mic, rather than bal-sam-ic?)  I’m trying really hard to correct myself, but years of mispronunciation is difficult to change!).

Found a cheap canning pot and rack at Walmart for around $20, got home and noticed it said “Not Recommended For Glass Cook Tops.”  SB rigged up the Coleman one burner, protected from the wind and curious kitties by our recycling bin.

The jam turned out okay.  I didn’t use the recipe I found online because Anita, the lady who has been cutting my hair for 15 years, asked me Saturday if I had Sure Jell and was horrified when I said my recipe didn’t call for it, so I hightailed it back to Walmart and got some Sure Jell, and then was so petrified of wasting time and money and a gallon of strawberries that I followed the Sure Jell recipe to a T, incorporating 4 tablespoons of bal-sam-ic vinegar as per the online recipe.

It’s good, but a bit too sweet for my taste, and I wish I’d used more bal-sam-ic vinegar.  However!  My friend Vikki really likes it, she sent me an email that said:

“BAM!  You be Jammin!  Oh my GOODNESS, girlie – you put BOTH feet in that jam!  Vikki like….vikki like very much.”

For the next batch (because yes, there will be more, and then there’s blueberries in season, and peaches – I see lots of canning in my future!) I’ll use Sure Jell’s low sugar product and tweak the bal-sam-ic vinegar amount…

Canning was completed by mid-afternoon and I turned to another proper Amish activity – quilting.

I stitched up a quilt back and made the binding,

and I’m slowly tackling the quilting.  It’s amazing how much the material can shift with so many quilting lines!  Probably should have used that spray adhesive…  I’m plunging ahead and praying it won’t turn out to be a big do-over.

I’m not quite Amish yet.

 

freebird

No, not THAT song!

I’ve started and finished a quilt (xmas present) out of Moda’s Freebird line, using a Moda “recipe” – Blueberry Chocolate Squares.  Although I should say that the pattern was a guideline, because I unintentionally altered it (which is a nice way of saying I screwed up). The points are supposed to come together to form a diamond in the center of the squares, and I wasn’t paying attention and ended up with triangles.  Which is okay, I still like it!

The recipient looked through my fabric stash and selected this layer cake, so I got some additional fabric for the edges and backing and voila!

I machine quilted it by stitching around the squares and the triangles, and I did a wavy pattern around the border.  The waves were a lot of fun to do – I am getting closer and closer to free motion quilting!

I also found a practical use for these old glass insulators – they hold the backing and batting in place while I pin the front!  I have to use the dining room table – there’s not enough clear floor space in my house to sandwich a quilt.

One present down – just a couple more to go!  How’s your gift-making coming along?  Or are you saner than I?

up against the design wall

Last week I talked about how there’s not one unadorned, easy-to-get-to, wall in my house that I could use as a design wall.  Friday night, inspiration hit:

I scooted the pepper plants aside and stuck the quilt batting to the brick wall on our back porch!

Obviously, it’s not a permanent solution, but it allowed me to lay out the larger squares of 4 blocks that I’d already sewn together and ensure that I didn’t have repeating patterns.

Just a few trips between the design wall and the sewing machine and the quilt top was finished!  This came out larger than I’d thought, what with sizing down the blocks.   It’ll be close to 50×60, a good couch size.  Now I need to get backing and binding fabric!

We went to see Neil Young in Biloxi, MS over the weekend, which was an excellent concert and a good trip.  Casinos must be one of the few havens left for smokers and they were out in full force – I have had a sore throat and tons of congestion ever since!  I can’t believe I ever smoked – yuck!  But I did, and I really loved it at the time.  Crazy.

I needed a new project for the 6 hour drive.  This is all you get for now – I’m almost finished!

one week in

Today is Day 7 on Weight Watchers and I have to tell you, it’s definitely a doable program.  I even made sausage balls for the boy this weekend, did massive amounts of math and figured out that one sausage ball equals 2 points, so I had two!  It’s good to know that if I really want something, I can have it.  These are all things I knew, of course, after years of reading health and fitness articles and many, many diet books.  Maybe I just needed the structure of a program to keep me honest to myself.  I don’t know.  I’ll find out tomorrow at the weigh-in!  Sticking with it will be critical, once the novelty wears off.  I am very determined, though.  I realized this morning that fat people aren’t told often that they look good.  You know, when you run into someone you haven’t seen for a long time and they’ve lost weight, the first thing out of your mouth is “You look SO GOOD!!!”  If you’ve gained weight, what do they say to you?  They say, “It’s good to see you!”  Or maybe that’s just my personal experience.

In between calculating points and reading Running for Mortals, (I started the weight loss workout program Monday) I have been crafting a bit.

I decided to participate in Fat Quarterly’s quilt-a-long, since I had enough fat quarters stashed and it looked easy enough for a beginner.

I do not understand how my squares aren’t square.  I cut the fabric using a ruler, the same length every time, and they never match up once they’re sewn!  I decided to square these almost 6″ blocks down to 5″ blocks so they’d be easy to sew together.  It was a lot of work, and they still aren’t perfect, as I learned last night when I began sewing them together.

Please pardon the crappy lighting photo.  Sadly, my dining room table is not big enough to lay out the entire quilt design.  I need a design wall, but a walk around the house did not provide ANY blank walls large enough to use as a design wall.  However, if I move a small bookshelf in my bedroom, I can use that wall, so that will be a must before I finish this quilt top.

I’m afraid my knitting ADD has infected my quilting.  It’s the supervirus of crafting.  I was so certain when I started this that I wouldn’t be that way, I would start and finish a quilt before starting another one!  I would only buy fabrics with a quilt in mind!  I was going to be a completer, not simply a starter!  Well.  The ADD Supervirus had other plans!  I still have to sandwich and quilt the string quilt, I have to finish sewing together the quilt top in my last post, and now I have this one to finish.  Plus, my daughter and son both want quilts, but not the quilts I’ve already begun.  There’s no end in sight!

So of course, I’m spinning.