28 May, 2016

Diamond Distraction

Does anything like this ever happen to you? I  saw a quilt that was shown in our guild's biennial show last weekend and I became obsessed with the pattern. I quickly contacted Quiltkeemosabe to see if she knew the name of the pattern; or, better yet, if she had the pattern. She didn't but she casually said: "if we had some 60 degree graph paper I guess we could figure it out". Okay, I took that as a personal challenge, I knew I couldn't rest until this block was constructed. Not knowing exactly how to proceed after I had drawn it up, I quickly discovered my "Sidekick"* ruler, otherwise unused up until now. Score! Not having any particular size in mind I decided to make the star center scrappy, cutting 2.5" diamonds easily and efficiently with my new-found favorite tool! I also had a bin of 2.5" precut strips. Score again!! This same ruler also allowed the background setting diamonds to be cut from 4.5" inch strips.
A friend once told me that whenever she made up any "trial" block she did them in the same color palette so that, eventually, she would have a collection of sampler blocks that would all go together. My red and white block bin is already burgeoning, but that's another post for another time.  
Half a block done! This was fun and went together perfectly. Oh, I forgot to mention that the quilt that inspired this obsession did win a ribbon at the show for "Best Piecing"; I wasn't going to settle for anything less than perfect points and intersections in my version either. 
Whew! Done. I couldn't be happier. This completed block measures 19" from west to east points, unfinished. Yes! I can rest now. I am adding this quilt to my "must do" list somewhere down the line. Don't forget: I already have all those precut strips! I'm thinking about a scrappy, multicolor quilt with a neutral background batik (one more thing just patiently waiting on the shelf to be used). But, for today, this block is joining all the other red and white additions to my someday sampler in its designated block box. If you are like me, and become distracted and/or obsessed by one thing that requires dropping all else until you can figure it out, I highly recommend succumbing to the challenge, you'll sleep better. Now, to get back on track!
Life is Good!
* For the record: Quiltkeemosabe told me that I needed that Sidekick ruler a few years ago, 
she always knows exactly what I need before I do. I am so glad that, this time, I listened!

27 May, 2016

Waging War!

So, you'll remember from a couple of days ago, I mentioned the Papa Bluebird who constantly flies into his own reflection in our windows, thinking himself to be a predator. The patience supply I have   for this situation is almost completely depleted, the annoyance level escalating from bad to worse. Mr. Goodneedle hung strips of fabric (luckily that, like patience, is not in short supply) outside the windows in the sewing room. That worked; for one day. We believed that if the strips were moving that, maybe, he would be spooked off. So, today, we took fans outside and pointed them directly at the windows, causing the strips to wave and flutter. That worked; for about 15 seconds. Have a look at the video, you'll see what I am dealing with. It's almost enough to drive me out of the sewing room! Almost.
However, on the things that work front: I placed this Bluebird "decoy" that I had on the patio handrail outside the kitchen; thinking that maybe he would attack it instead of the windows here. He hasn't gone near the decoy-- or the back of the house since I set it there! Give him time. But, for right now, I am celebrating this one victory, albeit small. It's the little things.
  I wonder if I have another one (or twelve!) of those fake Bluebirds somewhere?
Life is Good!

26 May, 2016

Let Them Eat Cake!

Think of this as an extension on the theme from my last post. Do you need a good cupcake recipe? Do you have a celebratory event coming up that requires a FUN dessert, one that you would be proud to serve? Well, look no further! I have a great recipe for you, tried and true. We have a church picnic coming up and I was wondering what I could take for a dessert. I tried out this recipe that I found on Pinterest a while back. It's a winner, enjoy!
Life is Good...
and even more fun with sprinkles on top! 

24 May, 2016

Forty One-derful Years!

From this day forward... 
Forty one years later and we're still eating cake.
I don't mean to brag, but this is the truth: my veil still fits exactly as it did in 1975!
Life is Good!

20 May, 2016

Blue, Blue and Blue(bird)

The quilting is done, this quilt's been a long time in the making. I suppose the label should reflect the fact that this one was begun in 1997 and took nineteen years to complete! I've decided to name this one "Out of the Blue"; not because it is anything that came about suddenly, far from it! But, rather, because this already vintage quilt came out of a blue storage bin and into the light of day; and, ultimately, onto the longarm! The darker blue ombre backing fabric is just the same age as the top, purchased when I began the piecing; medium blue sashing and quilting thread help carry through with the theme.
"Out of the Blue" ~ 115" X 79.5" ~ Jessie's Swirls pantograph
Thanks to everyone who helped my decision making process for the sashing choice between The Quilt Block Bible blocks-- blue it is!
And lastly. the bluebird (not of happiness, at least for me) who has a wife and five eggs in the nesting box just outside the sewing room window has taken to attacking the omnipresent predator (his own reflection) in the windows of our house! This goes on constantly; the windows and sills are disgusting with droppings, we can hardly keep things cleaned up. Hopefully, when the babies fledge, this will be done and they will move on. I don't know how much more we (or Hannes!) can take. I certainly hope this weird character trait of the father isn't passed down to his babies.
Life is Good!

18 May, 2016

One More Time

This photo represents some randomly chosen The Quilt Block Bible blocks laid out on two different background fabrics as possible sashing choices. I am coming to you one more time. Thoughts? I promise you, this won't go on forever. I would love your opinion on this but I believe I'm closing in on a favorite. What say YOU?
Life is Good!

17 May, 2016

Corralling the Cutter Clutter

Baking and decorating cookies takes time and practice, I'm okay with that. I am completely dedicated to the learning curve and all that entails. Naturally, a new hobby includes lots of new tools; collecting them is the fun part: cookie cutters, specialty gel colors for the icing, icing bags, bag ties, tips, couplers, flooding bottles, sanding sugars, rolling pin spacers, spatulas and the list goes on.  I dedicated a kitchen drawer to the ever-growing collection and quickly learned that organizing all of the tools was going to be the bane of my excitement, each time I opened the drawer for "cookie day" I sighed-- and wrestled out what I needed before quickly closing the drawer again; the tools and equipment were all piled on top of each other in one huge mess. I felt defeated before I began. Well, enough was enough! I knew what I needed, dividers in the drawer! The space seemed sufficient, the drawer is big: 19.5" square and 7.5" deep, the problem was, as I saw it: no way to confine certain tools to their own area-- every time I opened the drawer the motion itself contributed to creating a disheveled heap. I mentioned this to Mr. Goodneedle after I took everything out of the drawer and laid it out on the counter top so that he could see what I was dealing with. He perused the "pile" and suggested "laying out the drawer space" as I envisioned it with dividers. The real problem was the cookie cutters; they refused to comply with space restraints. "Oh, wait" I thought; "I have some storage bins that might just work". (Actually, one of them was holding a UFO that needed to be released into the light of day so that I could work on it. But then, that's another story for another day!) As fate would have it, those two bins, stacked, fit perfectly in the front of the drawer and held all of my cutters nicely! Who knew? In no time at all the cutter clutter had been corralled. Mr. Goodneedle suggested I live with this drawer arrangement for a little while and if it made sense after using it a time or two then he would, indeed, install custom dividers to the space. That makes sense to me. What doesn't is the fact that I put up with this messy, disorganized drawer for months. What seemed to be a HUGE problem for me was easily and rapidly managed. Hmmmm.... what other mountains are looming that can be reduced to mole hills this efficiently? I know I won't have to look far. In the meantime, I am enjoying the happy solution to my formerly "overwhelming" cutter clutter problem!
Life is Good!