Saturday, June 27, 2009

Nosey Parker enters the building.... and a finished quilt top, too!

Is this the sweetest face or WHAT? Little do you know, though, that behind this cool exterior lies the heart of a lion. Or a small Great White Shark, I can't decide! lol Meet Nosey Parker. Our newest family member, sister to 3 not-very-happy boy cats and 3 very curious and protective dogs. Nosey Parker was abandoned along with 3 other litter mates at the ripe old age of 2 weeks, on the doorstep of the vet's office that we go to. She was nurtured and bottle-fed by all the staff members, they took turns caring for the litter at night and they had adopted out 2 of them before we knew anything about them.
When we first met, Nosey Parker and her sister- also white but with a smudge on her head- were living in a big kennel in the waiting room at the office. I, of course, was immediately smitten but shot down by the man. "We already have 3 dogs and 3 cats, we can't afford any more ani-mules." Huh. (I wanted both of them, kittens are easier if you get them by the two-sies, but Smudge was already spoken for.)
I guess we got rich over the weekend because when he went to the vet to get a test result for one of the dogs and pick up some meds, he found the lone kitty in the kennel and started playing with her. 30 minutes later he called me to ask if I still wanted her. As if he had to ask! Men. *shakes head* According to the ladies in the office, he was totally smitten with her little fierce personality and dogged determination to worm her way into his life. He's acting like he got her for me, but Mr. Softy keeps disappearing and being found in the master bathroom where the kitten is confined until we can trust the other cats to not try to kill her dead.
This kitten is into everything! Hence her name, Nosey Parker. We'll call her Parker for short, or Nosey Posey, but right now she's so into having fun, she pays attention to nothing but playing and investigating.

She has green eyes and hears really well, so that's good. White cats with blue eyes are usually deaf and that wouldn't be good here since she'll be an indoor/outdoor cat like the others- Beeswax, Murphy and Sammie (Sambuca). We have an open door most of the time so all the beasts can come and go into the yard as they need to and since we live in the woods, we don't have to worry about traffic.
It's hard to photograph a moving target! I just love when kittens stand up and balance on their back feet, like little bears. Tickles me to bits.

I finally finished my "lemonade" quilt top, even with the help of a kitten. This is the quilt that started out completely different and morphed into a stacked coin quilt of rainbow colors. I'm really pleased with it so far.

I made lemonade out a lemon, so I decided the backing should be something to remind me of that. This isn't sewn together yet, everytime I go to work on it, I find a cat lying on it. Sheesh. And to think, we just added to the population! Please to note- my stack of coins on the back is a random pattern. I have a hard time doing random, so this was a big feat for me! (Can it be random if I changed it around 25 times to get a layout that I liked? Does that still qualify as "random"? lol)
So bedlam reigns at our house again, the trials of incorporating a new animal into the mix is always a little traumatic but N.P. doesn't seem to take the hissing personally, probably because she isn't really thinking yet, she's too busy playing and being very self-centered. That's a good thing, I like to see a happy kid!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Roadtrip Accessories.... girl trips are the best fun!

I went on an all-girl roadtrip in January with 2 girlfriends to another friend's and thought it would be even more fun if we had roadtrippy accessories. I made a cover for my new atlas, a wallet purse with beads on the strap for the cash-pool and receipts and a paper journal for note-taking and mementos.

The little journal came in handy- we made a note of which places had the nicest restrooms (none of them!) and funny things that happened and who got demerits for screwing something up, stuff like that- it became quite hysterical.

The cute road trip fabric is a discontinued print by Alexander Henry, I had a heck of a time getting a yard of it and it probably cost me over $40 for that yard by the time I had it shipped from two places, one in England. I had to have it, though, it was just too cute.
I also made a matching bag for trash that hangs from the passenger seat headrest that was very handy for candy wrappers, water bottles, etc.

Let me just say this- roadtrips with best girlfriends are the BEST fun, ever! We all had a great time and would do it again in a heartbeat!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Making lemonade out of a lemon I made....

Well, phooey! I abandoned the idea of a strip quilt when I just couldn't force myself to like the blocks I had made last week. I had a stacked coin quilt on my list of things to do so my first intent was to use these blocks and cut them in half so I'd have lots of coins. But I still didn't really like the layout and the fabrics together, so I pretty much started from scratch to make the coin stacks. I had cut up some of my favorite fabrics, though and I really hated to waste them, so I've been unpicking seams to salvage them. I knew I wanted it to be bright and I'm really starting to learn that I completely suck at randomness. I'm too orderly to be able to do it well, so instead of fighting it, I've decided to run with it. You should see my craft room, though! It really looks like a small bomb went off up there, I'll be hours straightening it all up and I now need another box for scraps. My original box overfloweth. I'm not THAT orderly!
I had a helper- MURPHY!!!!!

So this is where I stand as of today. I'll be using white sashing. I still want to make a quilt like the quilt-along with Old Red Barn Co, but that will have to wait until I find a place that has 12 fabrics that actually GO together, or I make a decision and order it all online. I'm tempted to use Tula Pink's Neptune fabrics for this quilt along, but can't decide what color to do. I should do it, though- her colorways would look great in our LR.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Anybody need a potholder?

I just finished making 42 quilt blocks that just aren't working for me. They photograph nicely, but in person, are just so chaotic, it's a horrible sight to see. I had big plans to lay them out in the driveway but failed to take into consideration the lovely breeze we were having. Whoops! Chasey, chasey.

Anyway, I laid the blocks out upstairs and the crazy randomness of it all was making me cranky. (This is totally my own fault, I shouldn't have done something using 36-40 different fabrics and expected calm coolness. What a lesson learned.) So I've spent hours trying to find a way to make this work. I've got about 10 yards worth of fat quarters in this thing, about $90 worth of fabric, and to think that I just wasted it was making me even madder.

So today, I started messing around with the blocks and when I folded them in half, I liked them better. I'm going to change this into a stacked coin quilt! I think I'll be using white fabric in between each column and all around the 4 sides. Hopefully I have enough white fabric on hand, I think I do. I still have to do the math and figure out the size but at least I have hope again. Last night, I was in despair!

This is less than half- these are folded and some are being used to test which color I like best as the solid. I think I'll be using white strips. And I may remove some of those black strips.
I'm just happy to have found a solution that works for me. I still want to do the Old Red Barn Co quilt along, though. I will do it right next time, though and pick 12 fabrics all from one line of fabric.
Thank goodness for the advice and recommendations of my friends, they are so full of good ideas! Like potholders- I could have made 42 ugly potholders! lol Now I don't have to. Yay. Not that I have anything against potholders, but can you imagine the blurb I'd have had to write in order to get some sympathy sales on Etsy? "Please, keep me from shooting myself, won't you buy an ugly potholder?" I figured I'd have to sell about 20 to break even. And I still might, if I have any strips left over. Consider yourself warned!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I've gotten a lot of sewing done lately.....

After making that cute pinnie for Kelly, I decided I had to have one as much like it as possible, using the leftover fabrics that I had and some others in my stash. This is what I came up with-
I love it! I like both sides equally well, too, since I'm a big fan of limes and margaritas. I covered the seam lines with twill tape and a cute key stitch that my oh, so clever Bernina knows how to do. And I made a portable pocket for that wild, paisley side- it hangs from the tie. Again, it's the Lucy Apron by The Brassy Apple. This is the 3rd one I've made from this pattern. I'm on a roll!

Also, I made a wine box cover for a friend of a friend. This is my own original pattern, I made it up several years ago and have been using two all this time, they hold up great. I used to machine quilt the fabric myself and put binding on the bottom, but I've found it faster to make 2 separate covers- one a quilted muslin to pad the box and another one out of decorative cotton fabric and just hem it. It's a lot nicer to look at this on the counter than an ugly old box of Franzia wine.

I'm still working on the quilt for the Old Red Barn Co. quilt along- I hope to get all my blocks laid out today and then start assembling them into a quilt top. To me, THIS is the fun part- laying them all out and shuffling them around. I'm going to do it on the driveway and take photos and eyeball it from one floor up, for better perspective. I'm excited! Just have to wait for last night's rain to dry up and the driveway to get swept and blown off. The sun's out, shouldn't be long now!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Vacations are F.U.N.

We're home and struggling to get back into the routine and catching up on orders and laundry, etc. We had a great time, thanks to our friends and hosts, Katie and Patrick. They are so kind and gracious to open up their beach house to us every summer and we always have the best of times. Sun and sand and searching for sharks teeth during the day (141 this year); our annual craft project painted in the front yard (this year we painted totems); eating fabulous dinners at the picnic table while we wait for the sun to set (2 green flashes this year) and falling into our Murphy bed exhausted shortly thereafter. Drinks in the pavilion as the Gulf breeze washes over you, you just never feel hot when you're at the beach. There's nothing like it, really. Bliss.

As usual, we hated to leave but needed to come back to the real world of grown grass, happy dogs and 3 cats who seem to have brought home a dozen live mice that we're busy now trying to catch and some sewing that needed doing.
One project was for a reversible apron for a friend in TX. Don't you just love this happy fabric? This is the Lucy apron pattern by The Brassy Apple. I've made this before and I keep changing little things on it. I added longer ties so I can tie it in the front, raised them a bit higher so they tie at my waist rather than the hip and added about 4" of elastic into the neck strap (hidden in the casing) so I can pull it on and off without untying the neck. I love it! I'm trying to find more of this fabric so I can make myself one.

And, just to add to my own self-induced stress levels, I've joined, already in progress, a new quilt-along by Old Red Barn Co. I'm kind of behind, so I've been pretty busy since Tuesday. I picked out these fabrics and have pressed them and cut them into 2.5" strips, ready to be sewn together. I've added a few and deleted a few since this photo, but this will give you an idea of what colors I'm using. Yes, same kind of colors as last time. I seem to only buy bright colors as they make me happy, so instead of going out and buying more fabric, I used what I had. My husband would be so pleased, if he had a clue what I was doing upstairs all day yesterday! lol

So, it's been a busy June so far, hope all y'all are having fun and doing something you like to do, too!

Oh, and look what's blooming! This is our best clematis year in ages.