Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Easy Street Mystery Quilt, Part 1

Since I have finished all my holiday shopping, wrapped all the gifts, mailed out the holiday cards and decorated the house from attic to basement (NOT!), I have decided to fill my spare time by joining Bonnie Hunter's Mystery Quilt Challenge, Easy Street . I took a class with Bonnie Hunter this summer in Vermont and just love her I have followed her blog for years and own all of her books. I think she is very talented, as well as generous. Her website is amazing, loaded with free patterns and all sorts of other good stuff:

Here are the beautiful colors I am using for my purples, teals, and lime greens. I have raided my batik stash, although I had to purchase the lime green fabrics.
I was inspired by my friend Joannie, who is also using batik fabrics.
These are Joannie's black and white batiks.
I am envious...maybe she will share...
My friend Kim, who did Bonnie's Orca Bay Mystery, seen in several of my previous blog posts, encouraged us in this endeavor. So, the four of us, Marion, Kim, Joannie and I are all working on it. Joannie came over on Monday night to get started. So far, I have made 40 4-patch units (only 152 left to go) for step 1. There is A LOT of sewing in this quilt.
My black and white prints are kind of zippy! They were dizzying to cut! Apparently I am quite fond of geometric patterns. The little words on the fabric above, say "moo....moo", it is an old fabric and one of my favorites. All the black and white prints came from my stash. My grey fabric is Kaffe Fassett Aborigine Dots. Marion and I both purchased the same background fabric.

My quilt studio is decorated in zebra prints with hot pink accents and it is quite wonderful except when you try to iron black and white fabrics against a zebra ironing board cover.
Here is a cutting tip. I stack two strip units together in the opposite direction. When I cut them they are already in position to be a 4-patch unit, so all I have to do is pick them up and sew them. Here are two strips in position, I have pulled back the top strip so you can see what I mean.
Step 1. Stack in opposite directions.
Top layer is folded back for illustrative purposes.

Step 2, all cut and in sewing order!

Here are my next 100 4-patches, cut and ready to sew.
Yesterday, Marion and Kim were doing virtual sewing, while Joannie and I were at work. They kept sending us email messages with progress reports. Kim is a fast sewer, she probably has all of her 4-patches done.
Here are my three pug assistants, all sacked out on the zebra dog bed
in the quilt studio. Larry and Elvis are in front.
Romeo is in the back, trying to squeeze into the bed with them.
Must stop blogging, and get back to those 4-patches. I am really enjoying seeing everyone's progress.

Pugs and kisses,

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving Day Challenge, Day 2

Yesterday started off well with a hearty breakfast of party oatmeal. Party oatmeal is fortified with fresh raspberries, golden raisins, M&M's, and chocolate chips. It's colorful and there's happiness in every bite! Joannie made me the beautiful Halloween place mat that the bowl is photographed on.

Accomplishments for Thursday:
  1. Spent two hours cleaning the bedroom (not finished). Still organizing a lot of clothes. Discovered that I owned four pairs of denim capris and I found my leopard pants.
  2. Put away two loads of clean laundry that have been languishing for about a week.
  3. Ran two more loads of laundry AND put it all away (as of this morning). There are still two socks without mates...
  4. Took everything out of the corner kitchen cabinet, and put the new 18" Lazy Susan inside. See below. Doesn't it look nice?
  5. Finished the last three wedding Thank You notes for recently received gifts.
  6. Replaced burnt out light bulbs in the kitchen, hallway, and bathroom. This actually required a little ingenuity, since we apparently are out of the new, environment-friendly light bulbs and it was Thanksgiving, so everything was closed. I decided it was ok to use up the old, non-green light bulbs. Isn't that more green than disposing of them when they weren't used up?
  7. Took some photos and listed some new items in our Etsy shop

I watched three episodes of Design Star, one episode as my personal afternoon matinee and two episodes last night. Two episodes left until they declare the winner. It's kind of funny since all the episodes are taped, the commercials are for summer or back to school.

Had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner at Joannies with her family.
This is a before-dinner photo. Check out Joannie's Thanksgiving place mats. Aren't they pretty? Time for her to start working on the Christmas place mats! Dinner was yummy and Joannie made a delicious apple pie as a finale. My desserts were also quite popular.

This morning I have to work until 1pm. So far I have received one email and it was automatically generated by one of our databases. I am working from home, so I have thrown another load of laundry in the washing machine. I honestly don't know how two people wear so many clothes!

I am not sure what I want to accomplish today. I will definitely work on the bedroom some more. Hopefully I will get to do a little sewing. I will report back tomorrow.

Hope your day is going well and that you don't have 87 loads of laundry to do.

Happy Birthday Kim!

Pugs and kisses,

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Day Challenge, Day 1

Romeo, Elvis, and Larry wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!
It is Day 1 of my 4-day Thanksgiving Challenge. What is my Thanksgiving Challenge? Why to get my house back in order of course! Mike crawled out of bed this morning at the crack of dawn, and made it out of the house by 7:10 am to drive six plus hours to Philadelphia for Thanksgiving. He is going to spend four days visiting with his family, while I stay home, ostensibly to clean the house... Before you start to feel a little bit maudlin that I am spending my first married Thanksgiving separated from my darling husband, I have to let you know that this was my idea. It may be my dumbest idea yet, but it seemed like a good idea at the time.

I wanted some time to rest, catch-up with my life, and maybe even to feel bored. My work load at the office has been crushing, I've traveled extensively, and lately some of my clients seem to have taken crazy pills.

This has been the busiest, happiest year of my life. Mike and I got married in February in Florida, honeymooned for two weeks in Hawaii, and the rest of the year has just gone by in a flash. Other family milestones included my Mom's 75th birthday, my nephew Josh's Bar Mitzvah, adopting Larry Pug, Mike's 50th birthday, and my parents' 50th anniversary. Mike's Mom was very ill (and trying to hide it) during our wedding and the ensuing Spring months, and her doctors finally figured out the diagnosis, she had surgery, and she is 110% better! Back to her old self!

Back to the Thanksgiving Day Challenge... by the time Mike gets home I hope to have cleaned out both closets in the master bedroom and reorganized them, along with cleaning off the top of the dresser. Ideally, I will stop wearing my clean clothes out of the laundry basket and find a place to put them away. Other potential ideas for cleaning and organizing entertainment include: replacing the burnt out light bulbs in the hallway and kitchen in those hard to reach places; assembling the new shelf we bought for our dining room, and taking out everything of the corner kitchen cabinet to see if the new lazy susan will fit inside. If I finish all of these things, there is always a load (or 20) of laundry to do. Or, I could clean and organize my sewing studio some more. There is a large mystery corner full of boxes that needs to be attended to and I also want to dump everything out of the scrap basket (formerly laundry hamper) and sort these fabrics by color into the plastic drawers that I purchased earlier this fall.

If all else fails, I can have my own personal Dancing with the Stars TV marathon (please don't tell me who's been kicked off, I'm a little behind) as well as finish my Design Star TV marathon. Plus, I have eight zillion sewing projects to entertain me.

My girlfriends are all home for the weekend and ready to play! I'm not brave enough to go Black Friday shopping with Olympic Gold Medalist Shopping Queen, Eleanor, but I'm sure that eventually I will want to get dressed and leave the house at some point.

I'm going to Joannie's for Thanksgiving dinner. I made a loaf of beer bread (yum, yum) and bought a plethora of tiny goodies at Whole Foods. Aren't they pretty? Can't wait to taste them!
My goal is NOT to call Mike one million times and beg him to come home. I will miss him like crazy but I have the Pug Pack to keep me company, and he never complains when I leave him at home for a quilt weekend. I have loaded Mike down with candy for my nephews and mother-in-law, as well as a loaf of beer bread for his cousin's Thanksgiving dinner.

Almost 9am now...must be time for a nap! Will report back later. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Pugs and kisses,

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sunday in the Studio with Marion

Marion came over this morning for a few hours of sewing. Mike is NOT a morning person, so he  doesn't mind if I sneak in a few hours of sewing while he is still snoozing.

Marion made pillowcases for two of her grandchildren. They are flannel and very snugly.
She is also working on a set of place mats with lighthouse fabric that will be a Christmas gift for her neighbors who have a summer place. One of the lighthouses shown on the fabric is actually located near their house in Maine. This is the same pattern that Joannie has been using for her place mat-o-rama that you've seen in previous blog posts.

I made six Patriot's pillowcases for our Etsy shop. They are for sale here:
Here are Larry and Elvis getting a quick snuggle in the bed with Daddy this morning.
Mike doesn't like the dogs to sleep with us, since they shed profusely. They sleep downstairs in the kitchen unless Mike is away and I let them sleep with me as a treat. In this photo I had gone upstairs to let Mike know that I was headed out and Larry jumped in the bed so naturally Elvis had to get on the bed too (with a little help from his PugMom).

Enjoy your day!

And a special Happy 50th Anniversary wish to my Mom & Dad! That's quite a milestone! Here's hoping for 50 more!

Pugs and kisses,

Friday, November 16, 2012

Inside Santa's workshop

It's that time of year again! Time to make gifts for the holidays. I am trying not to stress myself out and just make some small things. Most of my shopping is actually done and I may start to wrap presents on Thanksgiving weekend.

Last night I got together with my Thursday night quilting friends. Although we meet at a hotel that is about 1/2 mile from my office, I'm usually the last one to arrive. I managed to make it there by 5:30 pm, so I was quite pleased with myself.

Here's what I'm working on. If you think that these photos are deliberately obscure, you're right! Two of the mystery items below are gifts for close family and friends that I know read my blog and I don't want to ruin their surprise! I did finish all three items last night.

Earlier in the week, I put the binding on this adorable baby blanket for my little cousin Angie. It is made of super soft minkee. Elvis thought that the addition of a black pug would make the picture extra cute!

Here are three of my friends who I stitch with on Thursday night. They were all working on holiday gifts too!

This is my friend Karen (above). Karen made this adorable table runner with redwork machine embroidery in the center. She also made these delightful embroidered cocktail towels. Karen is known for never reading the pattern directions, yet somehow her projects always come out great! And she is a super fast sewer too. I need to do more machine embroidery, Karen's work inspires me.
This is my friend Toni, who we affectionately refer to as the "bag lady", because she loves to make bags! Although in this photo she is making holiday place mats for her daughter. Isn't the fabric cute? Toni is known in our group for her love of Elvis (the singer, not my black pug).
Here is Pat, who you've seen before in many of my other blog posts. Pat worked on so many projects last night that I lost track. I think there was a pillowcase, a crib skirt, a fleece blanket...anyway, she finished this beautiful yoga bag and we were joking that it looked like you could carry bows and arrows in it, so Pat is shooting an arrow in this photo.

Beth and Judi were also there last night but I didn't get a photo of their projects. Next time!

Hope all your holiday projects are going well. What are you working on?

Pugs and kisses,

Sunday, November 11, 2012

November Cape Weekend in Photos, Part 2

Here is a photo of the whole gang!

Sharon, Sally and Joan S. Sharon and Sally are sisters-in-law.
Sharon came down from Vermont to join us for the weekend.

Sharon's braid quilt. Lovely fall colors.

Sally's amazing John Flynn quilt, that she started
in a VQF workshop a few years ago.

Sally kicks back on Sunday afternoon.

Joan is diligently working away on her Kaffe Fasset workshop quilt.
Cheryl and her Mom, Jean, are long-time Brown Baggers.

Here is Jean's Pineapple Surprise.
Looks like we're getting ready for Christmas!
Paula, in headlock, and Terry have been best friends since first grade!

Paula's star quilt. I love it!
Terry kept her design wall humming!

Recognize these lovely birthday blocks?
Mine were in a previous blog post made up of Asian fabric.
Accidentally left out Pat's cute baby quilt from Part 1 of the blog!
One of my favorite patterns, 4-Patch, Plain Patch.
I am running out of adjectives to describe all the wonderful work our group does!
Here is Nancy D. with her Forty Fat Quarters in taupes. Can I say "stunning" again?

Nancy also cranked out two baby quilts...

...and a Christmas table runner.

Joanne (on right) added the borders to her Kaffe Fasset workshop quilt top.
She finished this beautiful Bonnie Hunter
Scrappy Trip Around the World quilt.

She also finished this gorgeous Birthday Block quilt.
Joanne started working on these scrappy Dresden Plates.
Can't wait to see how this quilt turns out!
Jo Ann E. was camera-shy this weekend. Here is one of her WIPs.
My favorite breakfast at the Cape Point Inn!

Marion prefers the French Toast!

Sue, Marion and me!
Who is hiding behind my Tumbling Blocks quilt?
Why, it's Carol! Oops, she is holding it upside down!

I was a low achiever this weekend. I put two bindings
on and made two pillowcases.

Sssh, these skateboarder pillowcases are a surprise
for my nephews Josh and Sam for Chanukah.
The End!

Pugs and kisses,