Saturday, September 22, 2012

Bees and that Brit Boy Band (again!)

I finished my Sew Buzzy September block for Michelle with the fabric she mailed to me.  I also sent her my practice block (below left) because I liked the fabrics together and thought maybe she might, too. 
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the block is called My Blue Heaven and available at Quilter’s Cache.  It requires a very scant 1/4” seam if making for someone else.  That’s part of the challenge of bee blocks – my 1/4” seams might not be as scant as others, but they are consistent and so not a problem if I’m making all the blocks for my own project.  I worried a little on this block, but could see from the discussion board that some of the other sewers ran into the same trouble.  The pattern adds 7/8” to the square sizes for making the triangles, which is standard for half-square triangles but I prefer to add an inch and then trim to the needed square size when making HSTs. 
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I made five bee blocks this month and went to the post office today to mail them to their recipients.  Five envelopes to five different states – sort of felt like I was in high school sending out chain mail.  which is a little bit what bee mailings are like…  huh.









well, good thing about that is (unlike those crazy chain letters) I actually get quilt blocks mailed to me, too.  I got this lovely block from Marla today.  I now have three NuBees blocks (two received plus my practice block for the ones I made).  It’s going to be another bright and cheerful quilt when it’s all done!!!
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not only is Marla’s block pretty on the front, but she’s got some major pressing skills – the back is so neat and tidy.  I’m a little scared for her to turn my block over!  I still have trouble figuring out in some spots which way to press seams.  I like to press different rows first this then that way so I can nest the seams when connecting rows and hope to have my seam lines match.  In general, I press seams toward the bottom of a block (or quilt).  and I’ve found it helpful to press seams open when there are a lot of converging seams.  but sometimes all those things combine in one block or one quilt, and then I’m totally lost.  and just hope that it won’t matter once the quilt is put together.

I did finally finish something this week – the bean’s One Direction pillow.
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yes, it was supposed to be a quilt, but bean – in her most thoughtful and considerate teen way – let me know that it isn’t her favorite design and she didn’t want a whole quilt of stars.  “why do you keep using so much white?”  I wanted to tell her that’s what all the modern quilters do, but I was afraid I might get back something akin to “if all the modern quilters jumped off a bridge, would you follow?” and so I changed the quilt plan to a pillow plan.  I only made two blocks, and she can always use another pillow, so I’m not too crushed.  It’s a big pillow – 27 inches.  Bean’s favorite part – the (pretty awesome, I must admit) fabric on the back.
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She’s already rejected the backing fabric I bought to make the second pillow…  and now she wants a black and white (not too much white!) quilt for her room.  I imagine to tone down the loudness of her walls which are every inch covered with posters of those Brit Boys.  I think she’ll have to wait a little bit – I’ve still got my niece’s quilt to complete, some Christmas projects, and my own quilt to finish (will that Pickledish EVER be done?).  and it’s soon to be October (!) so there’ll be more bee blocks to work on, too.  :-)
053Sew Buzzy practice block: Amy Butler, Cameo, Josephine's Boutique in Cobalt; Dear Stella Heirloom Blueberry Flowers in Indigo.  1D pillow: Makower UK (Andover) London Collection – British Icons in Cream and Blocks in Britain, with some Pat Bravo Oval Elements in Cookies and Cream.  Backed with Michael Miller Fabrics the British are Coming (in Denim?).  Scooby’s laying on the back of Lili’s Quilt, which is backed in Philip Jacob’s Shell Montage (Beige colorway).  The vintage floral pillow cases (in front of Scooby) are from In Color Order.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Flowers and NuBees

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today was just a beautiful Sunday.  a good day to appreciate nature’s beauty and to finish my NuBees September blocks.

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I brought the dogs along on my morning adventures.  Poor Tinky really needs to do something about that belly – I think she and I might need to do some more walking…

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after our explorations, I got back to this book

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and finished these blocks for Sarah and Lynn

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I received this block in the post this week from Jan (how did she finish and mail it so quickly???).  She had shown it oriented the other way (Double Link from the Shape Workshop for Quilters book), but I like it like this - “J” for Jan.  :-)

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… did anyone else notice that Lynn’s block would look great with mine?

here’s all four blocks together

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the block design is from Emily Cier and is named On The Plus Side.  If I were making a quilt out of these blocks, I think I’d use non-directional fabrics and use a layout like this

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I’m off to play with that second book, hoping to make Monday a little more joyous in the beige beige beige office I work in…  fabric and frosting – the answer to all life’s stresses.  :-)

Roadtrip Roundup

thank you to all of you for encouraging me and watching along on this trip.  the quilt was loved and shown off to all my folks RV neighbors, but more than that, it was just so wonderful to see them and to spend time with them and to know that time and distance mean nothing where family's concerned.



and then this one -

which reminds me of this old one -

the dogs, the bean and I all got home safe and sound.  we've returned to our routine of sleeping on the couch between kibble and walks (dogs - not me and the bean) - bean is back to school and I'm back to that job-that-makes-me-wish-I-was-home-sewing.  It was a good quilt and a great trip!  All's well that ends well.  :-)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

another NuBees block

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this one’s for Marla from sewhungry who requested eggplant and mustard yellow.  I thought the mustard would be a problem for me, but turns out I don’t have a lot of eggplant.  I’ve got a lot of Pat Bravo’s Oval Elements, and eggplant is my favorite color (or one of, at least) but I had to break into my super sacred precious Heather Ross Mendocino stash to finish this block.  now I want one for myself.  I wouldn’t’ve pegged myself as a mustard/eggplant gal, but I think – especially with the gray – this is a great combo. 

The block I chose is from Modern Blocks, a block titled On The Plus Side and designed by Emily Cier.  As I said before, lots of pieces.  maybe other sewers don’t play around with layout as much as I do and could get a block done more quickly (but I like the fabric auditions and layout tryouts!).  This is one of those blocks that about halfway through you start to think “why did I pick this block?” but then as you get close to the end, you get excited to see the finished block.  and (again) I really think this block has awesome potential for an entire quilt. 

is it annoying that it’s a late night photo?  well… I just couldn’t wait to share it.  :-)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

a Book, a Bee, a Block

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well, vacation is over and I’m back at the machine.  have to go to work tomorrow, which I avoided thinking about most of the day by playing with fabric.  I joined two bees for the month of September.  having never been in a bee before, I’m not quite sure why I joined TWO.  and then went out of town on vacation!  silly.  so this week will be spent on bee stuff whenever sewing time is available.  the block above is my practice block – decidedly shy of the 12 1/2” (unfinished) that it should be.  which made me glad that i did a practice block.  my needle was slightly left of where it should be for my 1/4” foot to work properly.  I only got one block made of the 5 i need to finish this month.

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I think it’s kind of cute, though.  NuBees Jan asked for red, white and blue on a white background.  It looks very fourth of July to me.  I hope she likes it.  It’s more stressful than I thought it’d be to make blocks for people you’ve only just met – and online at that.  The block is called ON THE PLUS SIDE by Emily Cier from the MODERN BLOCKS book that came out last year.  There are 99 block designs in the book and this is the first I’ve tried.  It was pretty straight-forward, but a lot of pieces.  I think if you had a bunch of these blocks, and non-directional fabrics, it’d be fun to twist and turn the blocks and see what other designs would show up.

yes, that is a cat tail in that photo.  trying to take photos so close to everyone’s dinnertime is a mistake.  this one came over to “help”, too.

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there’s also a teen in the background asking when i’m going to start cooking.  we’re having soup for dinner – seems like she could get that started while i finish this up.  ha ha ha!!!! 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Road Trip, Days 2, 3, 4

roadtrip2012 005Day 2 started like this in Worthington, Minnesota and ended 355 miles away in Wall, South Dakota  roadtrip2012 013en route, made a stop in Mitchell, SD to see the Corn Palace.

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made multiple stops along the way for gas, or water and bean helped me walk the dogs  – until she saw this sign and then she wouldn’t get out of the car.  

Day 3 was only 83 miles of driving (yay!!!) to get to Hill City, SD, but our hotel check-in was late afternoon, so we stopped in Rapid City (nearest Starbucks) and got our coffee fix.  Then drove through some really scary, winding roads in Custer State Park – beautiful, but not sure I’d do it again!  Next up was the Wildlife Loop in Custer State Park, a much more relaxing drive than the mornings explorations.  The dogs and the bean really enjoyed that part of the day. 

roadtrip2012 003 roadtrip2012 009 roadtrip2012 005 roadtrip2012 015 roadtrip2012 016 roadtrip2012 021roadtrip2012 041 roadtrip2012 049roadtrip2012 050 roadtrip2012 045 roadtrip2012 071 but the highlight of the day for me was our stop at a campground near Custer, where I was able to give the Starlight Campground Quilt to it’s owners, my dad and stepmom.  happy.  and Day 4 started with breakfast with the parents, more happiness, and a trip with the bean to Mount Rushmore.roadtrip2012 019 roadtrip2012 039