25 September 2014

Basting Day

Today was basting day for this one.

So far I've been referring to it as "Fall Frenzy" 
because it really was kind of a mad frenzy the way
I put it together...but I'm also thinking of calling it
"All Around the Pumpkin Patch" because in each 
star's center is the same pumpkin fabric.

I love pumpkins!

I guess I'll figure it out later...

Even with a busy schedule, I did manage to get
it basted today--doing my best to get 
TWO quilt completions in one week!

These little guys really save me some time.
I'm kind of old-school in that I've always 
hand-basted every quilt but lately, I've 
been doing a combination thing.

I use the pins where I know I won't be quilting--
in this case, just outside each of the blocks. 
This left me with only the very outside of the quilt
and the centers of each block to baste by hand.

Well, a very full day has me falling asleep at the
computer so off I go to dream of how to quilt this one.

24 September 2014

This Would Do So Much For My Scrap Basket!

(Bear with me here as I attempt to post from my iPad for the first time.
Not to be archaic.  It's just that this speed typist gets frustrated typing that slowly so
I have just avoided posting from it altogether...but this is like a Special Announcement  
Or something.)

Fons and Porter just posted this on Facebook.
And then left us hanging!  
Hello?!  Directions?  
It took about 5 minutes of staring at it but somehow I
went from "eh" to "hmm" to "Oh!" to "Holy Shop Hop!  I think I'm going to attempt it!"

Hopefully they'll send out more info soon so I can properly attribute this.
I pretty much just lifted the photo from FB.  

They have since added this info:  Courthouse Stars

First Finish of the Fall

Clouds, thunder, sprinkles and cool breezes have
been nudging me to the sewing machine.
The Starbucks Live channel is going on Pandora
and I'm enjoying a latte.  
We could really use a big rain.
We'd have a colorful fall instead of a dead one.
And I can do my fall window cleaning.  
(There's no point when it's dry and dusty out--I wait till the rain settles
things down and, hopefully, the wind switches to the north most of the time.

The squirrels are burying
all of our pecans (grrr) and walnuts about the yard
and in my gardens...because I enjoy pulling saplings
out all spring and summer, of course. (grrr)

So, hey, enough growling about squirrels!  
I finished a quilt!
(much more entertaining)

Here it is, in all its glory.  Literally.
All about 'merica here.

Simple quilting.  Honestly, it's not the best
quilting but, as usual, when you see the big
picture, it's fine.  Besides, what guy is going 
to ever notice.
(Quilting larger quilts aren't my fav.)

He's real "in" to the America thing so I 
went with eagles on the back.  

I tried to get a great pic outside yesterday
but it was too windy.  Today, everything outside
is wet with the light rain.  I gave up trying to be 
oh-so-careful to not get it dirty, brought it inside
and tossed it on the couch.

I went for the thrown-over-a-chair look
but it's 81"X81" and just too big.
A good "mellowing" in the wash would
help that, too.

Looks like fun over here, huh?
Quilts everywhere!  I'm a quilt squirrel!
(who's had too much coffee??)
I am looking forward to quilting this one next.
I put the border on it yesterday--and I meant for a 
4" border.  So what did I cut?  4" strips.
Sigh.  It's now a 3.5" border. 
I'm just excited that I finished something.

It's a little smaller so I should be able to do a 
better job with the quilting.  

9 days till the shop hop.
One quilt down, 2 to go.

Today I'm having a second electrician over to give
us a bid on his part of our kitchen make-over.
I got quoted $1,200 for the LED strip lighting
for under the upper cabinets from the last guy.
That's a bit of an investment and it sounds like there
are all kinds of options there so I'm hoping this next one 
can shed...er...uh...yeah...
shed some light on it all for me.
(Sorry about that...I really wasn't trying to be all pun-y and stuff.)

Linking up

21 September 2014

Let's Talk Caramel

When it comes to fall, 
what else is right up there with pumpkins? 

Caramel.  And apples. 

Let us first clarify something, 
something most people get wrong.  
That that includes 99% of baristas, btw--they really
ought to know better...and they should probably not 
attempt to "correct" those who pronounce it correctly. 

Caramel, pronounced CARE-UH-MEL,
refers to the candy.
Carmel (car-mel) is a place.
To ask for carmel apples or a salted carmel mocha
really does not make any sense.
Please feel free to pass this info on so that,
together, we can enlighten all this fall.
Grammer Nazi has spoken.

Making your own caramel sauce not only gives you a
superior flavor but it also allows you to cut out
the nasty corn syrup and preservatives you're 
probably going to get when you buy it.

I just made this recipe from Cake Duchess this morning
but there are a lot of recipes out there.  
This seems to have a little more butter than I'd like
so I may tweak it next time...or I may try yet another
as I have a little "try new recipe" fetish.
And I added vanilla.  I like it with vanilla.
Yet, this one makes just the right amount--  
fits perfectly in this large jelly jar that I store it in.  

Because I can't say no, I happen to have a large
collection of Knotts jelly jars in all sizes.
You know I make all my own jelly so they aren't 
because I hold a membership to some monthly club!
(Have you noticed that this happens when you're crafty? 
 People give you things so that they might avoid the guilt of tossing 
perfectly good things--they know you'll find a good use for them.  
It's a bit of a curse, really...)
It took me a couple years but I've lately been finding
some great uses for them.  This size seems to be
perfect for sauces.  I have one that I refill 
for my daughter and her house-mates.
I have smaller ones that I use for my dried herbs.
(This isn't one of those "curse" times.)

Making caramel is a quick, simple process but you 
do need to keep a few things in mind:

1)  Too dark = too burnt.
Basically, you're burning sugar anyway but you can
take it too far.  Just about every recipe includes
pictures but it's all about experience.
I threw away a batch or two myself when I first 
started making it.  Fortunately, it's not expensive.

2)  It really is a quick recipe.
As in, you need to have everything ready
and handy before you even turn on the stove.

3)  Be prepared to never buy it again.
You'll be spoiled.  
Welcome to Food Snobbery.

Taking this down to my football-watching crew
right now.  I love buffalo wings as much as the next
football fan but hey, this is almost as good and much
healthier.  We'll eat wings later...

19 September 2014

Do You Shop-Hop? Go With The Plan!

There is one day of the year that I set aside just 
for me:  the regional quilt shop hop.

I know most quilters around here grab the biggest 
vehicle among their quilty friends and party their way 
together through south-central Kansas. 

Maybe this makes me odd but that is the
 time of the year when I am just so ready
to get away from everything around here
that I usually go it alone.

 takes place the first weekend in October.
For me, this is the end of a crazy-busy summer.
I've ran kids around, gardened and preserved and 
cooked like mad without taking any time off.
And just when summer ends, when I'm really dying for
a "free day," somehow there are still
back-to-school meetings, appointments and
open houses to wallow through for a few weeks.
Quilting, take me away!

Lots of inspiration on shop hops and I take lots of pictures.
I bought the pattern for this baby quilt which also includes a 
girls' version.  I love the ric-rack the boats are sailing on!

So here's another reason I want to get those UFO's
done:  no embarking on a shop hop without The Plan.

The Plan?
 That's drawn up by cleaning my sewing room first.
In the process, I get a good look at my fabrics,
revisit my patterns and remind myself what UFOs
need to be completed.  It's even better if I can get some
of those done before the shop hop but maybe something
still needs a fabric?  Pack that up to take along.
In go a few patterns/books that are currently speaking
to me--just in case I find the perfect fabrics.

This is when I do the majority of my fabric shopping,
and most of that is from the 50%-off clearance racks.
I have no problem shopping last year's trends.  
Quilting is supposed to be timeless, right?
And that is definitely the time to
grab backing for your UFO's.
Btw, sticking to The Plan also keeps me
from over-buying--no hoarding allowed.
If I know I'm deep in say, green fabrics...well,
then I don't need that green fabric even if it is only 
$5/yd, especially because I don't have a plan for it! 
I'm a firm believer that having
too much only weighs a person down.

The bonus is that I get to come home to a clean,
well-organized room--and I'll have no guilt in 
starting new projects because my UFO's are done.
Er...well...it sounds good in theory.
I suppose it doesn't hurt to have one or two on 
the back burner but Quilter, know thy limit!
Ok, well, I have some work to do.
I only have two wee little weeks to go!

Do you have a shop hop in your area?

Winter Stitching List '14 - '15

I can't believe I just wrote "15".
As in "2015".

Who has their winter stitching list ready?

Really, I will get a newer pic soon!

This one is all quilted--I'm putting the binding on it
today!  I cannot WAIT to move on to
my other finishes, and then, new projects!
Allergies have had me rather lethargic this
past week so it feels good to get excited about 
something!  I'm telling you, if it's not the allergies
it's the meds--and I try not to take much, if any.
"Non-drowsy" is a joke.
Looking forward to that first freeze of the season!

Anyway, of course I made a list. 
I perused my Pinterest boards, hoping to find all 
kinds of projects that I couldn't resist...

But instead, I found that I think I just want to wait 
to see what the mood brings when my 
UFO's are done.  So, while I feel the list is a good
start, it's also kind of "to be continued".

I did find one quilt that really has my interest.

Am I crazy?  The theme is so similar to my own
UFO that I may not want to tackle the above quilt
by the time I finish my Fall Frenzy, which is next up
on my to-do's.  
(Now there's a thought!  How nice would it be to get all of

these done before winter is even here!?)

I do think it'd be a great way to use up more of my
fall fabrics, of which I have waaaay too many...
Oh wait.  Is that even possible?
Well, I want to use the older ones up at least. 
And what good is fabric if you don't use it?

I would love to see what everyone else is
planning on this winter.
Drop me a line and a link!

18 September 2014

First Fall Picking

Hello there.

Chloe, looking ferocious...but really just yawning.

The weather has been pretty up and down here.
One minute it's quilting weather.
And the next, the a/c has to go back on.
Today, I kind of have both going.  Windows
are thrown open because I'm a sucker for fresh
air...but, the afternoon temps may ruin that.
(I know, it's not very economical.)

On my last post, I got back on track with the
quilting that has/has not been going on around here.
I am happy to announce that I did get started 
on quilting the America quilt.  And was again
reminded why I don't necessarily like to make big quilts.
They're all kinds of fun till it's time to quilt on the machine.
And then you just need patience and time.
Quite often, I'm short on both.

Which is why I stopped.  Never a good idea 
to quilt when you're not feeling it.  
Going right back at it today, though, so that I
can move on to my fall quilt and stay on schedule.

Speaking of fall...

The pumpkins and gourds are showing up
on the front porch.  

Here's the first picking.  

Sadly, the bunnies have really taken a liking to 
the "Red Warty Things" (yes, that's their real name).
What really stinks is that I planted every seed in the 
package and these are the only two that showed up.
And look how awful they are.
What kind of fall display is that!?!

I'm guessing they'll have to be tossed within the week.
I really hate rabbits.  
Hate them.  Hate them.  Hate them. 

Now, thinking happier thoughts,
I should have a finished quilt for my next post.

Linked to:
Farm Girl Friday

01 September 2014

Switching Gears & A Finish or Three

Taking a break from the garden fresh-recipes,
though I still have lots I want to post.

My mantle quilt is already out.  Too fall too early?  Never!
Fall doesn't last near long enough so I stretch it!

It's just that I decorated for fall today,
which got me really thinking of what projects
I want to get started on right away,
and then which ones will be more fun
 as the temperatures drop.

I've mentioned before that I'm a huge
list-maker so here's the beginning of my list:

This guy is begging to be quilted. 
I've promised it to a family friend for a long time now.

It's even all basted and ready to go.
I'm so ready to send it on its way;
it's even sitting out, just waiting...

I don't think I ever posted a picture of this
next quilt top actually put together.

I jumped into this one last fall and had so much fun 
with it that I can't wait to get back to it.  
All scraps.  All random blocks.

Sometimes lots of little pieces,
but always lots of fall color.

My goal is to get this one basted and quilted 
before the first day of fall.

 I try to be one of those people who don't start new
projects till at least most of the old ones are done.
These are my almost-done projects; more are waiting
in other stages, some just piles of fabric with a mission.
I may have multiple ones going at a time but I do
know my limit, and right now I think I've reached it.

I have a couple of finishes from some time ago that 
I'm not sure I ever posted so I guess I'll start 
my favorite quilting season off with those.
(It also might have a little something to do with just possibly being 
a teensy bit jealous of everyone else's finishes I'm always seeing...)

Sorry for the blurry pic but it's the only one
I have of this very simple quilt that's also 
the guest list from my daughter's wedding.

I believe I last left off with this next quilt when I was
basting it.  I prefer doing them on the floor 
but sometimes I'll use the table method.

I actually got that one quilted, too...
sometime in the spring, or was it in the winter?

I don't really remember.  Things got rough about then.
I do remember really enjoying the quilting.  I've never
done this specific random quilting before.  If I'd known 
I'd be this happy with it, I would've done it sooner.

I always thought it would look messy but discovered
that, when looking at the big picture, I love it.  
I'm going to do the American quilt up there in the 
same way, especially because I'll just be getting
back into it and I'm kind of in a hurry.   Plus, I think
a man would prefer simple, no-frills quilting.

Another surprise?  I despise solid fabrics so I 
never thought I'd keep this one...till I finished it.
(I still feel, for me, this is the only acceptable use of solid fabric:
that retro look to set off these feedsack fabrics.)

It totally grew on me!  I now use this lap quilt 
almost every time we watch a movie.  
Going to have to snap a better pic of this.
It's one of those quilts that makes you happy
to use it.  I rarely ever get sick, knock on wood,
but if/when I do, I think I'll be requesting this one.

And lastly.

An I-Spy quilt made from a disappearing 9-patch.

Yet another surprise, I wasn't real sure what to think
of this one as I made it.  I gave a friend carte blanche
in choosing a quilt for her new baby.  Okay, I was 
expecting to do something real traditional but hey,
who am I to argue with easy!?!

Another one that really wasn't my taste at first but
it did turn out pretty fun and I think it'll keep the
little guy's eyes busy.  And when he gets a little older, 
it should help to build vocabulary.  

Yet another way of looking at quilts,  
this one doubles as a game.

This just had so much going on that I nixed any
borders, plus, it was already the right size.  
I then struggled to find a suitable binding.
Even though the binding is a busy fabric, 
somehow it still helps pull the quilt together.

Clearly I need to work on taking better pictures, 
but these were actually just snapped quickly to 
message to my sisters throughout the process.

So here I was pouting that I hadn't any finishes
when I actually have three!  I know many have
reached double-digits for the year but hey, 
my real quilt season is just getting started!

Our porch last fall.  Just waiting on the pumpkins 
to ripen for this year's display!

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