Monday, December 31, 2012

Blocks - we have blocks!

Well, edges at least.

Today's mystery post from Quiltville assembled the edges and corners for an on-point setting.  Blocks tomorrow.  Whee!

Friday, December 28, 2012

But Bonnie IS taking it easy on us. . .

Double brick blocks and triangles.  Nice easy sewing.

Bless you, Bonnie, I took all the Christmas decorations down and I was exhausted.

Can't wait for the next step on New Year's Day.  Will the mystery be revealed?

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Barbara Brackman isn't taking it easy on us for Christmas

This is the latest block for the Grandmother's Choice Block of the Week by Barbara Brackman:
She gave us templates in Adobe Acrobat but I took one look at that block and said "foundation paper piecing".  Since I don't have BlockBase I had to draw the block first in EQ before printing out the foundations It was time consuming but the only way for me to construct this block accurately.  I'm rather pleased with how it turned out


Couldn't she have picked an easier block for the Friday before Christmas?

Friday, December 21, 2012

Guess again!

Could this be it?

Or this:
I really like this a lot and it appears the number of all the subcomponents of the blocks agrees with what we have made, unless I miscounted.  I was thinking that Bonnie is not one to leave those 3" green squares plain  so I tried square in a square blocks with different color corners.

I know - somebody stop me........

Easy Street part 5 - my guesses were wrong!

I just finished part 5 of Easy Street:
and these don't fit in with my guesses.  Whoops!

Now I'll have to fire up EQ and try again.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Easy Street guess (possible spoiler alert!)

I was fiddling around in EQ last Saturday with the components made so far in the Easy Street mystery and came up with this:

Or, maybe even better, add sashing:

I have no idea if the number of each unit made matches up with what I used in the sketches;  I was just brainstorming.  I like the look of both of them, though, and I like that they don't have a border.  If either isn't the design I need to save these idea and use one later.

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Christmas Card Economic Index

Here's a new economic indicator we can use:  how many Christmas cards have you received?  We've gotten six and three are from family.  Has the expense of purchasing and mailing any greeting cards killed the industry generally, is it the region in which we live, or has the past years' economic downturn and lack of significant improvement been the death knell for Christmas cards?  It seems worse this year than any other.  By this time in December, the front of my secretary desk is usually covered with cards, but this year's display is paltry.

The people from which we would expect to receive a card are not out of work, to the best of my knowledge, but are they penny pinching to be safe?  Counting the cost of cards and postage, each holiday greeting can set you back $1.00 to $1.50, and that's if you buy the cheap ones.  We're using up the ones we had left over  from past years at my house, and had just enough, although I did purchase a few specialized cards for Mom, my brother and his kids.  We sent about 35 cards - you can calculate the cost.  Ouch.

But I  wasn't going to forgo sending Christmas cards - it's an essential part of the season to me, the same as baking cookies for the goody baskets I give to the neighbors, the postman, garbage men, and others.  Baking is expensive but I didn't want to give up the activities that make the season special for me.

At least not yet.

Addendum (12/18/12):
OK, just as I was bemoaning the lack of Christmas finances to complement the Christmas spirit, I received my mail and got six cards in one batch.  I guess the problem isn't technology or money, it's procrastination!  Probably more will arrive today.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Spoiled, much?

I think it's safe to say that Tuxedo is living the rescue cat's fantasy life.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Easy Street step 4

Not quite as speedy as last week but done before lunchtime.  The purple is definitely growing on me.  I need to do something else purple next year.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

So much for a relaxing visit with Mom. . .

I left on Tuesday at 7 a.m. for a visit with my mother.  I got there after a 6 1/2 hr drive, and we had a nice afternoon.  She wasn't feeling very well so she went to bed early that evening (she's 89 so she often turns in early).  We both didn't get up until about 8 a.m.this morning, she because she didn't sleep well and I because I was still worn out from the drive.  We spent the morning talking, and planning to visit the cemeteries where both sides of my family are buried that afternoon, to remove some old flowers and tidy up a bit.  But my husband called with a medical problem and I had to throw my stuff back in the suitcase and leave a little after noon so I could take him to a doctor appointment tomorrow.  I got back at 6:45 p.m. today, just about 36 hours after I left - a little over 13 of those hours were spent driving.  To say I'm tired is an understatement.

Hubby is fine right now but needs to have a problem checked out.  It's not life-threatening or anything but it can't wait.  That's what I get for thinking I can slip out of town for a day.  I was going to come home tomorrow anyway, I just cut my visit short by about 18 hours.  I think I'm getting too old for these long drives - when I crawled out of the car in the driveway this evening I was moving like I was 89 years old!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Another step down Easy Street

The third clue for the Easy Street mystery was released and a little more than three hours later, I'm done.  Finally, finally I get to use some of these lovely aqua fabrics.  I just love them!  Now for some green next time?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Thread Head quiltalong progress report

After I made the half blocks on Tuesday I cut out the rest of the setting triangles and borders for the Thread Head quiltalong quilt.  I especially love the blue background fabric, but I am very pleased with how it's all coming out.  This thing's a bias nightmare, though, with all the edges of those triangles, so progress is slow.

I was also slowed down by the fact that I cut the setting trianges the wrong size and then had to trim every one of them.  I don't know what I was thinking but I cut them for a 10" block, not a 7" block.  DUH!  I mixed up two projects in my head I guess.  So, instead of having plenty of fabric for the job I barely had enough, which is good because this is from several years ago and I probably wouldn't be able to find more.  I'm trying to scrounge up enough of the "Prairie Home" gold to make the binding;  I had enough to cut about half of it after cutting out the inner border, and had a few more fat quarters left, so I'm hoping it will be enough.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Easy Street step 2

I woke up early this morning and checked Bonnie Hunter's blog, and there was step 2 of her mystery, Easy Street.  So I fed the cats and started cutting.  Five hours and 144 flying geese later I'm done for the week.
I had to get the lead out and finish this step quickly because I've got a dilly of a week ahead.  I have to take the car to the body shop for repair of the damage from my sideswipe accident a few weeks ago.  Luckily, the other driver who was at fault had insurance and their company is covering the repairs.

Then I have to put up all the Christmas decorations inside and outside, including the Christmas village, which takes a day in itself.  I have to clean the whole house and do a grocery trip today, and get ready to visit Mom the week of the 10th after the car is back from the garage.  The only Christmas task finished so far is wrapping what I've bought, but I have't finished buying gifts yet either.  Whatever I buy for Mom and my brother's family has to go home with me on the 10th so better get a move on.

It's going to be one of those weeks where there isn't time to breathe, much less sew, so my plan was to blast through this step this morning and I did it!  Aren't they cute?  Purple is not a color I use very often;  in fact I can only remember one quilt I've ever made where purple played a significant part and I gave it away as a wedding present.  I guess it's time for more purple in my life.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

New border idea

I think I've come up with a border idea for these blocks:
While sewing them (I have half done so far, 18 of 36) I thought about a way to do a positive/negative effect in the border.  I have a lot of a red print and a navy print, and more of the white on white used for the backgrounds so I fiddled around in EQ and came up with:
If I had more greys like in the hourglass blocks left over I could have changed the color of the flying geese in the border blocks too and made it a more accurately positive/negative, but I will have to use what I have available.  I like it and hubby likes it, so I guess that's all the people who need to be pleased, but I would like to hear opinions.

Sharp eyed readers might remember this from the spring:
I made this small quilt using a couple of charm packs and scraps from my stash an always thought that it would have worked better if I could have controlled color placement better.  Working with what was in the charm packs it wasn't possible, but later I found a cheap fat quarter bundle and decided to revisit Panier de Fleurs.  Can't have too much French General fabric, in my opinion.

Monday, November 26, 2012

I'm on Easy Street

Bonnie Hunter is taking it easy on us.  That's the only explanation I can come up with for the fact that the first step on her Easy Street mystery quilt is four patches.  She must have figured that on the Friday after Thanksgiving we were still addled by too much turkey.

So we made four patches.  Admittedly, 192 four patches, which is no small potatoes, but still.

Without further ado, here are my Easy Street pieces:
And I have definitely warmed up to the grey.  Which is not to say that I'm not eager to cut into all that aqua fabric and get some color on the table!

Meanwhile, now that the four patches are done, I'm digging into another Carrie Nelson pattern and a fat quarter collection of French General.  Here's a fourth of the blocks:
Mega cute - and more grey!  The plan is to do 36 blocks and then a solid border of a navy print, but I may get on EQ and try to design a pieced border that would do it justice.  Any ideas?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

It's midmorning, about half way 'til our festive meal, and it's business as usual - I'm washing dishes as much as I'm cooking.  I don't have a large kitchen and my counterspace isn't extensive either, and if I let the mess get away from me all is lost.  So I wash up as I cook, keeping bowls and pans and utensils cleaned and put away so I can have room to mess up the next batch of bowls and pans and utensils.

The cat has already tried to open the bread package - not Molly, for heaven's sake, who wouldn't dream of such a transgression, it was Tuxedo the new miscreant who never met a bit of food he didn't like.  I shooed him away and admonished him that he's a carnivore anyway and wouldn't eat bread.  "Oh, no", he seemed to smirk, "I'm not a carnivore, I'm an OPPORTUNIST."  And he certainly is.  He ate a potato chip yesterday.  What cat eats a potato chip?

I'm in a froth eager for Bonnie Hunter's mystery to start tomorrow.  I have already taken a break from cooking to fondle my fabrics and start to second guess myself.  Stop, just stop, I have to tell myself.  You have already changed your mind too many times.  Finally you jettisoned the gold and brown on the grounds that you use entirely too much brown and you are "golded" out from Orca Bay, and have decided to go with Bonnie's colors.  You have a very nice group here:

So quit worrying.  (OK, so I ordered a few more purples from this morning.  I couldn't find the lighter purples I wanted locally and they had cheap shipping.)

Anyway, happy Thanksgiving to one and all, wishing you a merry and safe holiday, whether you are surrounded by family and friends or, like my husband and I, sharing the meal at home together.  I send a virtual hug and handshake for the bloggers whom I have met online and may never be able to see in person, in affection and appreciation for you all.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Well, SOMEBODY has some sense. . .

I went to the insurance adjuster for the other party involved in my little crash last Sunday and I was happily surprised that they didn't quibble, didn't low-ball and didn't argue - just wrote an estimate for all new replacement parts to repair my car that was well in line with the other independent estimate for new parts.  Whew.  What a relief.  I may get a check by the end of the week.

Perhaps the body shop won't be very busy between the holidays and I can get this fixed and over with before I visit Mom sometime the first part of December.  We don't try to go home Christmas, after having to fight one too many snowstorms in the past.  Husband doesn't make the trip anyway and I couldn't leave him alone here on a holiday, so I go see Mom between Thanksgiving and Christmas before the weather turns.  A few years ago, however, they got a snow around the 6th of December while I was there, so you can't tell.  And there is often worse weather going across Jellico Mountain than in the valleys - it snowed on top of the mountain the weekend after Halloween one year.

I basically try to avoid the whole "driving in the snow" scenario, even when I had an all wheel drive car.  I could become one of those "snowbird" people if I lived further north, like my husband's uncle who had a house in Ohio but wintered in Florida.  As he got older he quit going north entirely, an altogether sensible concept.  A major deterrent to moving back near family has always been the colder winters, which we both detest.

On the quilty front I'm trying to complete a quilt top using Moda's Merry Medley collection for a Christmas themed quilt, which will of course not be done for this holiday season.  It's based on a pattern from Animas Quilts, although on a 2" grid instead of 1 1/2", mostly because I was using charm packs and that was the least waste way to do it.  I wanted to get as many existing projects out of the way as possible before Bonnie Hunter's mystery starts Friday and this is the last one I can fit in.


Finished it!  Here's a horrible picture - it was night and the light was terrible.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The latest Grandmother's Choice block

Oh, Barbara Brackman!  The lady has it in for us - that's all I can figure, given the blocks she's using this time.  What, the Civil War quilt wasn't difficult enough?  That block took me an hour and a half.  And be charitable and don't look too hard at the corners, please.

Friday, November 16, 2012

It's becoming a fall tradition. . .

.   .   .my car getting hit, that is.

At the same intersection as last year, no less.  Let me explain.

On Sunday afternoon I drove down to the Rite Aid to pick up my prescription.  On the way back, I got into the left turn lane on Gunbarrel Rd to get back onto East Brainerd Rd, which is how I get back home.  The light gave me a left turn arrow and I proceeded to turn onto East Brainerd.  East Brainerd is a four lane road with two turn lanes in the center.  It's a very busy road which is why I wait until I get a left turn arrow instead of trying to cross the traffic during a gap on a regular green light, which is practically impossible.  Anyway, just as I had turned into the inner lane on E. Brainerd, the truck that was sitting across the intersection from me in the right turn lane, turned and veered into my lane, sideswiping my new car.  Yep, the car that I bought in August.  ARRRRRGH!

I motioned for her to pull into a parking lot just past the intersection and called the police so I could file an accident report.  She called her brother, the owner of her vehicle because it turns she was driving her brother's Dodge Ram 1500 pickup truck - a very ratty, beat up truck.  I had to look a bit to see where the contact point was on that truck.  On my car it was all too apparent.

After the police came they took statements and both she and I said that we had turn arrows.  Now, he knew that wasn't possible.  He looked at our vehicles and from the contact points he could see that she had turned wide and hit me.  So he started talking about how if you give false information on a police report it is a felony, and she started sniffling and admitted she had done a a right turn on a red light.  She was trying to spin it like that's what she had said all along, which got her nowhere.  In that case, I had right of way and she was at fault, just like I knew.  The officer ticketed her for Failure to Yield and set a court date in January.  By this time she was bawling on her brother's shoulder - which she should have been, considering she was trying to lie on the report and was caught out.  If she's really smart she should just pay the fine and avoid the court date because it could only get worse for her.

So this week I've been getting estimates for fixing my car and arguing with insurance companies.  My insurance's claim center (who shall remain nameless, but brag endlessly in their commercials about their support of the client during claims processing - NOT) was not very diligent in pursuing the insurance company of the party at fault, and told me the other driver's insurance company "could not verify his  insurance".  With a policy number, policyholder name, VIN number and licence plate?  Really?  They were being stonewalled because the other party hadn't turned in the accident and my insurance company wasn't pushing back.  My company was pressuring me to file it under uninsured motorist, in which case I would be out a $500 deductible.  Not likely.

So on Thursday after I picked up the accident report (which, by the way, the claim center said could take up to six weeks for them to get!) I drove over to my agent's office, plunked myself down in the agent's chair and said basically that it was time for their "value add" in this process, so get on the phone to the other party's insurance company and get something done.  Which they did.

This morning the car rental company called me to start arrangements to get me a rental while my car is in the shop, which is strange because I won't even go to the adjuster for the estimate until Monday.  At least something is happening.

While I was waiting for the accident report to be released, I went to the Honda dealership and had the suspension checked out to make sure there wasn't any damage, since there was contact with the right front wheel, and got two estimates from body shops.  So if their adjuster tries to low ball me, I can pull those out and say "I don't think so".

Oh - and I found out at one of the body shops that they are constrained by agreement with my insurance company to repair instead of replace almost all the time so they would not pay for a new bumper cover even though mine has a hole in it, nor a new alloy wheel although mine is scuffed up and dinged something terrible - not to mention the fact that the car's 2 1/2 months old for pity's sake, and patched up, buffed out and Bondo'ed is definitely not my definition of returning the car to the state it was before the accident.  If I had been forced to have it fixed under my uninsured motorist coverage, that would have limited what my company would have paid, regardless of where I got it fixed, leaving me to cough up $1100 more to repair the car the right way, in addition to the deductible.  Meaning, that for a bill of about $2600 they would have given me a grand, tops.  (The noise you hear is the top of my head blowing off in absolute fury.)

We'll have to see how the other party's insurance company thinks it should be repaired.  This might be interesting.   .   .

Why is everything such a blooming hassle?

Given the state of my week, I needed to distract myself and finish some projects before Bonnie Hunter's mystery starts next week.  I got this little quilt assembled; don't know what I'll do with it, but it's cute:

Right now I'm making a blocks for a Christmas quilt.  Yeah, probably won't use it this season, but maybe next year.   .   .

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Dithering, dithering

I KNOW that I have been far too indecisive on this Quiltville mystery color selection thing.  You don't have to say it.  But I still feel in some way that I'm not quite there.  Oh, I love the colors I had settled on :
But there is a lot of gold there and it's very strong and while I like it, I used so much of it in the last mystery, Orca Bay.  So I was wondering if the blue and green would be enough to keep all the attention away from the gold.

So, this morning I started playing in my stash.  First I substituted the black on white prints for thee creams, like Bonnie is using:
And, I kind of like it.  It gives the group a little more movement.  So even though I've used a truckload of shirtings recently I might go with that instead of the cream tone on tones.

Then, since I just ordered some fabrics from a cheap web source and threw in some purples because I had absolutely none of them, I made this grouping in Bonnie's selected colors, and it's pretty nice!
The gray might be little light, but it's what I have.  I have another much darker almost charcoal one too but that's probably too dark.

Then, my heart still yearning for a brown and pink quilt, I made a grouping around a striped piece that I found that would be the binding someday for that quilt.  It has a bit of purple in the stripes, so I used this group and put in gray for the constant, since that's in the stripes too.  I could use either the light or dark gray, I guess.  I added the creams for the background.
And actually, that looks a lot more like me!  You can see a bit of the stripe in the bottom of the picture;  here's a better one:
I could even fudge a bit and use a lighter blue for the constant instead of the gray with this stripe as an inspiration.

I'm going to have to put some real thought into this!  To say I'm confused is an understatement.  Don't get me wrong, I love my Orca Bay, I just don't want to make another screamin' gold quilt.

Monday, November 5, 2012

I just had a crazy idea. . .

.   .   .inspired by this fabric:
I was cruising through Thousands of Bolts online, looking at striped fabric because I'm thinking ahead to binding for the new Easy Street mystery quilt and I love striped bindings, when I saw this Kaufman fabric.  I'm not a "black" person.  Don't really wear black or decorate with it or quilt with it.  But when I saw this swatch of green/purple/white on black stripes I got this brain flash of doing the Easy Street quilt with green/gold/violet blue, white TOT for the constant and Kona Black solid for the background.

Am I crazy?

Well, if not Easy Street, I'm going to do something with those colors.  I'm buying a yard for binding.

Then I saw this:
and started seeing pink/purple/gray, black constant and white TOT background.

So may colorways, so little time.......

I think I just like stripes!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Do you see it?

Good grief, I messed up again.  Two blocks turned the wrong way.  Time to get out the seam ripper.  And I was so smug - finally finished.  I never saw the error until I uploaded the photo, and I wasn't even in that much of a hurry in my sewing.  I have no idea how I did this,

Friday, November 2, 2012

I'm so ashamed. . .gulp.

You know how I said I wasn't going to buy any new fabric for the new Bonnie Hunter mystery?  Well, I caved.  Folded.  Crumbled like a stale cookie.  But I had a coupon.   .   .

Photos later.

This is the look I was wanting all along.  Now they've gone into that Rubbermaid tote and they're not coming out until the first clue.  I have made myself crazy over this.

Finally, a decision!

This is how it's going to be.  The designers were of course, right - it does't need any more borders.  I guess I have a propensity to take everything one step too far.

 I'll start working on assembling the blocks after the electrician leaves - replacing ballasts in the fluorescent lights in both bathrooms.  It'll be nice to get rid of the flick-flick-hum-hum that they've started.  And then hopefully there will be no more plumbing problems and electrical fixes and flooring issues and wall repairs to be done - at least for a little while - until the garage interior is repainted after New Year's.

Addendum (11/2/12):
No sewing today but a nice trip to Hancock's where I purchased some additional fabric for Bonnie Hunter's mystery, which makes me finally, finally satisfied with the color selection and ready for the first step.

When the electrician removed the panel on the fluorescent light to get to the ballast he found that the case of the ballast was so hot that he couldn't touch it and had to put on a heavy glove to be able to handle it.  Not good  And the insulation on some of the wires was cooked and flaking off, leaving bare wire right next to the ballast.  Even worse.  So glad I got that done.  The ballasts are inside the light structure so no idea that they were in that bad a state - the lights just flickered and were slow to start.  What a relief.

I think I'm just about caught up on the house issues for a while.  That's enough expense and misery for now, until after Christmas when I can get the painters back to paint the inside of the garage.  It won't take long and I will have the worst part of that job - pulling everything down from the shelves and hooks and moving all that stuff out of the way.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

And it was a good guess. . .

.   .   .but not completely right.  I was wondering what would be done with "Red No. 3" fabric called for in the initial yardage.  I figured binding, or a solid border.  But instead it was used for setting triangles without a border, which looks a little unfinished to me.  I laid fabric out around the blocks this morning and took some pictures so I can imagine how it would work.

Just print setting triangles:
 Or print setting triangles and a print border, using a few of the leftover nine patches for a corner detail, which would be optional:

I like the print on the setting triangles but without something else it looks like it just peters off into nothing.  I also went into EQ and tried adding a 3" print border outside the setting triangles without the inner border so that it made a wider uninterrupted print edge.  That looked good too, so I'm in another quandary.  

Why am I having so much trouble making up my mind recently?????  

Animas mystery quilt guess

I finally fiddled around in EQ and figured out a layout for the blocks made by the Animas quilts mystery.  It may not be their solution, but I think it's going to be mine.  I really like this pattern although if I had bought fabric for the mystery I would have made a few changes.  I was working out of stash so I picked the gold that I had enough of, and it isn't dark enough.  But it'll do.  I have a great rust print for the backing and rust/gold/green plaid for the binding, and enough of the white/green toile for side setting triangles.  I'll wait until the next instruction is posted for November just for curiosity but will probably start joining the blocks my way next week.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Or. . .

Use the dark blues with the second group.

Oh, please, someone stop me!

I'm dithering.   .   .   .

I finally got myself off the teal and nothing but teal kick since I really didn't have enough dark teal fabrics for sufficient variety, and I pulled a nice selection of truer blue fat quarters to use instead.  So I'm done dithering and worrying and second guessing.  I have my fabrics for the mystery.  Relief!

More photos of mystery fabrics

Ok, Paula, I couldn't refuse a "pretty please"!  And for you, Calico Cat.  Here are group photos of the possibilities, with one additional factor.  I have enough yardage of a brown print that I could use it in place of the gray instead of making the brown scrappy too.  I showed it in the second picture.  Alternately, I could use the scrappy browns.

Pink Group:
 Green Group:
I guess I could also use the darker teals in the second group, if you got down to it.  But enough pictures - what should I do???????!!!!!!!

The mystery train is leaving the station!

WHOO- HOO!  Bonnie Hunter has posted the colors and yardage for her fall mystery quilt and I'm excited!  Her quilts are always fabulous and I'm sure this one will not be an exception - plus she said it was easier than the last few, which is a relief because although I love ya, Bonnie, and I love Orca Bay it about killed me.

So without further ado, here are two, count 'em, two possible color schemes, drawn from yardage in my stash that might end up being backing or borders.

The first one:
Pink substituted for her lime green:
Green for her aqua:
Aqua for her violet::
 Various browns for her single gray:
 Perhaps using these additional darker browns:
 And creamy neutral tone on tones for her black and white prints.  These are lighter:
And these are a bit darker and may play too:
All loosely inspired by this print:
Green for her green:

 Blue for her blue:
Gold for her violet:
Same browns:

Same neutrals:

 Inspired by this print:
What to do, what to do?  Let me know your preferences - I'm going to stack the fabrics in my sewing room and mull over them for the next month.