Monthly Archives: April 2011

Quilting? Hot Dog!

We have a long running joke with some friends about wiener dogs in booties, so in preparation for a big gathering in Buffalo last weekend, we whipped up this quilt:

Wiener Dog

We’d seen the wiener dog quilt in the book “Dare to be Square” and knew we couldn’t not make it. We added the little yellow booties to make it more fun. This was the first quilt we’ve made entirely on the machine, and the first quilt we’ve pieced in a day. It was such a blast to have all three of us working on the same project at the same time. There were bits of wiener dog quilt all over the dinning room table, both machines were whirring away, and the iron got a workout. We used mostly brown scraps from other projects; the background is Northcott’s new solid line (it was waaaay nicer to use than Kona; it was softer and didn’t have that Kona fraying problem).

We were also super-excited to be able to back it our new favoritest fabric ever, Alexander Henry’s Junebug print (shown here behind Blurch The Pincushion):

Blurch The Bird

Mary, the Long-Arm Quilter, did all-over quilting with dog bones, which could not have been cuter.

The wiener dog is now living the good life in his new home in Buffalo, where will hope his little booties will keep his feet warm in the cold winters.

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Filed under Pins and Needles, Quilting

Works In Progress

It’s been a long time since I wrote anything about my quilty works in progress, but I’ve had good reasons! OK, I’ve had some good reasons and some bad. The good reasons are: I’ve been working on secret projects (whee!) and I’ve been too busy sewing to write. The bad reasons are: I’ve been lazy and I’ve been working on stuff that’s really sort of too boring to want to show off. Of course, I can’t show you the secret projects, but here’s some of the rest of what’s been going on.

Most excitingly, I finished the quilt top to Taffy City.

Taffy City Finished Top

Salt Water Taffy pattern by RJR Fabrics; Fabric: Everything But The Kitchen Sink V

Schnookie gave me this kit for my birthday in 2009 and now it’s finally ready to be quilted! I’ve wanted my own ’30s quilt for a long time, so I couldn’t be more thrilled with this. The fabrics are so charming and sweet, but with a little drama from the dark red and black accents. The process of making it was super fun, too. I learned a lot about using templates and about pressing 8 pointed blocks so they’d look good. I didn’t do any thinking of my own because I just followed the picture of the front of the kit, but sometimes that’s all I’m looking for. (I did give myself a challenge with the borders. I managed to cut 6 of the 8 borders 1.5 – 2 inches short each time. I still don’t know how the last 2 ended up being spot on when the earlier ones were all wrong.) Thanks for the delightful birthday present, Schnookie! (Anyone interested in the pattern can download it for free from RJR’s site.)

Next-most-excitingly, I’ve made huge progress on Henrik Jane. I have 17 of 25 of the 81-patches finished, all of the setting triangles sewn, and all but four of the snowball blocks sewn. I could, if all goes according to plan (which is probably won’t), be putting this together in about a month! I don’t have any good pictures of it, but here’s what it was looking like a few weeks ago:

Henrik Jane Progress End of February

I spent a chunk of time last weekend divvying up the rest of the 1 3/4″ squares for the remaining 81-patches, so it’s all pretty much downhill from here. I realize I still have a lot of work left, but the end is definitely in sight. My goal for this year was to have this pieced by Dec 31st, but now I’m thinking I could easily have it quilted and bound by 2012!

Since my approach of having Schnookie or Boomer take a few minutes on weekends to machine piece the strips of nine to make the 81-patches leaves me with downtime during the week, I’ve been puttering away some other stuff, including this little number:

MoMoBeBo April 2011 2

I found this tutorial and loved how it looked. I had a layer cake of “Wonderland” sitting in a closet upstairs, and had a gift certificate for Fat Quarter Shop so I picked up a layer cake of “It’s A Hoot”. The tutorial is for a bento box-ish quilt, but due to copyright issues, can’t call itself that. Since I purchased the official trademarked Bento Box pattern, I feel like I can guiltlessly call my quilt a bento box. And since it’s all the same designer, I’ve decided to call this MoMoBeBo. Heh. (If I was using Film in the Fridge’s modified bento box pattern, I could call it MoMoMoBeBo!) Anyway, this tutorial couldn’t be easier, this fabric couldn’t be nicer to work with (this stuff practically finger presses itself), and I couldn’t be happier with how it’s looking! I should have it finished soon and then I’ll have to decide if I want to hand quilt it. I’ve been having a blast hand quilting Raccoonsweet, and I’m tempted to try some big stitch quilting with some pretty perle cottons, but it’s just so much easier to have it done for me. We’ll see. (Raccoonsweet, by the way, is chugging along. I’ve only been working on it sporadically, but I think my technique is really improving. I’m getting about 7 stitches to the inch now!)

Since the last time I posted, I’ve whipped up a few more squares on Dolly Dresses:

Dolly Dresses April 2011

I also finished one diamond for my V&A Liberty clamshellstravaganza:

Clamapple City First Block

Last but not least, is a project that’s close to being finished:

February 22 2011

I haven’t written about this puppy at all because it’s modeled exactly after a shop model I saw at Quilt Asylum in Texas, so it doesn’t seem very exciting to me. I mean, I’m loving how it looks, but I knew I would since I’ve already seen what it will look like. Heh. I finished all the blocks for this just after Christmas, but I’ve held off on putting them together. I’m thinking this will be the perfect project to take on the two mini-vacations I have coming up. It won’t require thinking or pressing! Perfect!

So, in short, I’ve been busy!

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Filed under Progress Reports, Quilting

Garden 2011: Getting Closer!

We transplanted little baby plants today! Not into actual garden beds, but out of their seedling-starting trays at least. Yay! Now all we need is for the weather to get warm!

Transplanted Rosso Tomato

Lettuce Farm, Day One

April 17 2011

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Filed under 4. April, Garden

March at Maple Hoo

Today was the final game of the NHL season which means High Spring is on the way! Here’s a look at some of the earlier signs of the changing season spotted around stately IPB Living manor.

Snowdrops

Snowdrops, on March 5th

Lettuces Ready To Transplant

Lettuce seedlings, on March 12th

The Crocuses Are Blooming!!

The first crocuses to bloom, on March 12th

March 16 2011

Forced peach blossom, on March 16th

March 27 2011

Crocus, on March 27th

This Is Your Leader's Crocus

Crocus, on March 27th

Daffodils And Siding

Daffodils, on March 27th

Fritillaria Macro

Fritillaria, on March 27th

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Filed under Pictures Worth A Thousand Words

Fun With Crayons

A little over a year ago, we heard that our buddy Elizabeth was partaking in a photo project called “Sixty-Four Colors“. The deal was, the group leaders (the super-talented Jodi and Dani) were going to post one crayon a week from the box of 64 Crayola crayons; participants then had a week to find the color in real life, photograph it, and post it to Flickr. While it seemed fun, we thought for sure the people involved were too intimidatingly awesome and the assignment was too intimidatingly difficult for those of us out in the ‘burbs. We sat on the sidelines and watched as Elizabeth posted the first two weeks, “silver” and “magenta”. Then the third color was drawn, “sea green”. “That’s ridiculous,” we cried, “who could ever find sea green anywhere?! It’s impossible!”

The next day one of us walked into the kitchen and saw on the kitchen counter, a bowl full of drying soup beans. Could it be… Was that bowl really… Yes! Sea green! In our own kitchen!!

January 19 2010

Sea Green by Schnookie

With that picture, we decided we could brave the intimidating people and the intimidating project. We got ourselves a box of crayons and got to work, finding every color in the box as assigned (except magenta, we’re still working on that one). This week, the last color was posted and the project came to an end. The color was “bittersweet” and, gosh, is that ever accurate. We’re so, so, so glad we did this project. It taught us to look closer at the world around us, inspired photos on days when we would have just resorted to another couch challenge, and encouraged us to up our game to fit in with the cool kids. We broadened our Flickr horizons and made new contacts. So it’s definitely sad to see it go. What are our vacations going to be like without making our hosts join the hunt for photos ops of “cadet blue” or “wisteria“? That said… It’s also a bit of a relief to not have to find yet another dang purple!

Here are some of our favorite pictures we took for “Sixty-Four Colors”.

November 30 2010

Red by Pookie

Red Orange Roses

Red Orange by Schnookie

Tumbleweed Weeds

Tumbleweed by Schnookie

Clover

Granny Smith Apple by Pookie

Asparagus Green

Asparagus Green by Schnookie (This one was almost impossible to find — until Schnookie spotted it across a crowded hockey arena! This is the stuff “64 Colors” dreams are made of.)

Turquoise Car

Turquoise by Schnookie

Sky Blue Splotch

Sky Blue by Schnookie

Orchid Tentacle

Orchid by Pookie

February 4 2011

Gray by Pookie

Here’s to you, Sixty-Four Colors! We’ll miss you!

The Tastiest Blue Green Ever

Blue Green by Pookie

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Are We There Yet? How About Now? Now? How About Now?

As I have advanced deeper and deeper into what can be considered “adulthood” I’ve become increasingly cranky about March. In each of the last few years I’ve just wanted March to go away; it’s an annoyingly unproductive month, where winter isn’t fun anymore but spring is still impossibly far away. And now that the time changes three weeks earlier than it did when I was a young, carefree lass? Forget about it. Now we’ve got three miserable weeks of the sun setting late enough that March is just mocking us with how not springy it is.

But this year was different. This year, after a rare (for us) winter that was entirely blanketed with snow, I didn’t mind March. Sure, it was hardly a barnburner for us photography-wise, and sure, it was cruelly warm and crocusy and then BOOM! cold and snowy again, but before I knew it we’d hit March 31 and I hadn’t complained once about it. So what should happen to me immediately after flipping over the calendar to the lovely month of April? Why, of course I’m suddenly losing my mind. Why isn’t it spring yet? Where are the leaves? Why isn’t it warm? And most importantly, why isn’t the garden in full swing?

That’s right — I’ve got a bad case of Garden Fever.

Fortunately, we planted lettuce at Imbolc, so we’ve got at least some crops not too far on the horizon. Look! Lettuce!

Imbolc Lettuce

It’s not nearly ready to eat, but it’s leafy! And green!

Imbolc Lettuce

We still seem to be insufferably far away from having regular photo opportunities of veggie leaves wearing jewels of water droplets, though.

Imbolc Lettuce

I mean, look at how small our peppers are:

Jalapeno Seedlings

And those are the biggest of the pepper seedlings. It’s a sad scene. April, I never expected this from you — I thought you were better than March. Shape up, April, because I want — nay, need to be in full garden swing. It’s not enough to know that someday those baby peppers will be all grown up.

July 6 2010

[Posted by Schnookie.]

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Filed under 4. April, Garden