Monday, October 31, 2011

Bee Blocks - October

Happy Halloween!!  Since today is the last day of October, it seems only right that I share what has been going on with you this month in the way of Bee Blocks.

---------------------------------------------------------------

Simply Strings Bee: October is the final month of this bee which has been a lot of fun.  Lindsay asked for Spiderweb blocks; but done a little differently.  Here is the tutorial she asked us to use...and here are my blocks.  She asked us not to sew them together, so she could mix all of them up.





do.Good.Stitches {a Charity Bee}: I'm part of the Trust Circle; which is making quilts for My Very Own Blanket.  This month, Amber asked us to make Greek Cross Block using this tutorial from Faith @ Fresh Lemons.





I also have been doing lots of thinking about the blocks that I want to make for the Lou Bee.  It's Grace's month and she gave us lots of fun fabrics to play with.  Decisions, Decisions, Decisions.

Can you believe tomorrow is November 1st? 
Monday, October 24, 2011

Don't mind me...

...Just doing some sewing over here in the corner, where no one can see me.

There is a plan; but I can't tell you just yet.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Deliveries of Color

Don't ask me why I had never ordered from Hawthorne Threads before, as I am always on their site  looking at all the fabric and imagining what I would make with it.  Yet, when I was gifted a Gift Certificate, I no longer had an excuse.  Lucky for me, my shopping trip coincided with them having a $5.99 sale on their Scrap Bags. 

I bought 3 Scrap Bags, one of each variety (Warm, Cool, Fresh) and here's what I received between all 3 of them.  When Hawthorne Threads says scraps, I think they redefine what that word means.  There wasn't a piece smaller then 6" wide x LOF (Length of Fabric) and I even got one that was about 15" wide.

The mix of fabrics I got was great too, some things that I had never seen before and some that I might have secretly wanted; but couldn't commit to or even missed out on.




While I'm talking about fabric, let me show you what I picked up at Fabric Nosherie last week.  Don't know about them?  They are St. Louis's first modern fabric shop, located in the heart of Webster Groves.  I was in the area and stopped by as I had heard that they were expecting some Japanese import fabric.  Aside from a few little squares I had received in a swap once, I had never really experienced this stuff up close and in person.

Some of it is a little too cutsy for me; but when I saw this, I knew that I had to have some. 


I'm always on a search for stash-building basics, and while there isn't anything particular basic about the stack below, except to say that each print can certainly find its way into lots of varying projects.  If you haven't visited Jeni over at In Color Order, you definately should check out her "Art of Choosing" segment; which shows you a thing or two about organization, fabric selection, etc.

These are some that have made their way into my stash and will certainly be making an appearance in future projects.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Quilt Math, Two Strikes and Acceptance

Once upon a time, or maybe it was last week, I had an idea for a quilt block.  It was a Swoon-esque, Farmer's-Wife type of block, clearly something more traditional; but interesting nonetheless.  I doodled on paper and then played around on the computer.  I like to change my mind alot, so the computer is a necessity.

Yet, once my design was colored in and printed off, I got the paper and pencil back out so I could figure out block sizes and quantities.  Suprisingly, I do enjoy this particular process (it's probably the nerd in me); but I like playing with the fractions and am happy to know that I actually CAN do this without the assistance of some fancy program.

Cutting fabric and making my "test" block was next on the list.  Things were coming together beautifully until I hit a snag and realized that I must have made a mistake in calculating one of the pieces.  Ugh! especially after I had just told you how much I enjoyed this process.  Strike One.  I made it work by using a 1/8" seam allowance on 4 of the pieces and then immediately made a note of this for future reference. 

Determind to make this work, the next day I cut out another set of pieces making sure to add the shortage that I was missing from the day before.  I sewed everything together and this time, I was a 1/4" too big...WTH???  Strike Two.

So, now I have two 18" blocks that are wrong in some way/shape/form.  They don't look bad persay; but I'm a semi-perfectionist and that's not a good combination.  I was so aggravated with myself that I just stopped and put everything away.  Clearly numbers weren't my friend right now. 

Do you want to know what I did next?  I got out my bucket of random colored fabric strips that I had been collecting for a WIP (see below) and just sewed colorful pieces of fabric together in random pairings.  Clearly Improv was something that I could wrap my head around right now.  I'll save the precision-piecing for another day.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Corn + Quilt = Autumn Weekend

My Sister, Sister-In-Law and I headed to a Corn Maze this weekend.  One of my Sister's little life goals was to run through a corn-field.  We figured this was almost the same thing.


I guess I had grand visions of getting lost admist the stalks; but in reality it only took us about 15 minutes and wasn't that challenging.  Boo! This is not to say that we didn't have fun, because seeing my Sister "go all ninja" on the grasshoppers (which she hates) was entertaining enough.

The 3 of us then hopped on the Hay Ride that was leaving and enjoyed a nice ride around the farm.  We then got up close and personal with a pony, a calf, sheep and some kids (the goat-kind, not the human-kind).

-------------------------------------------------------------- 

We visited an Antique Mall that was was about 3 miles down the road, where I found this old quilt for $20. It's hand-pieced, hand-quilted and fits nicely in with the other antique quilts I've been collecting.


--------------------------------------------------------------

Hobby Lobby is where I picked up this wood-like decorative cube, it sits nicely in with my studio's decor.
 


And while I had my camera out, I took a few other random shots around my studio...


How was your weekend??
Thursday, October 13, 2011

Have you seen...

...the little bit of remodeling.  I thought the good ol' blog needed a little face-lift; but let me tell you, it's really hard to try and make a simple header when you are juxtapositing 2 things; which seem to be at odds with one another...Loving Old Houses and Modern Quilting.  Yet, this crazy combination is just how things are around here.

Oh, and that person below...that's me again, making an appearance.  Let me tell you folks, seeing a photo of me is a rare occurrence (hahahaha).  It was a beautiful day last Saturday and I was having one of those feel-good, my hair is cooperating (Thanks Sis) and I need to document this moment...so I took some photos.


At least for now, you'll be able to find this photo on the About Me section of the blog, found above.

What else is going on over here:

  • I'm finishing up my Pillow Talk Swap 6 project.  It's not due until November; but I need to get things done when I can.
  • I have a few in progress quilts lying on my table that I should be working on; but I'm getting distracted by new projects.  Ugh! 
  • I'm starting to make a list of stuff I want to accomplish/do in 2012...it's never too early to start thinking ahead.
Well, that's it for now.  Hope things are going well wherever you are...and Go Cards!!!!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Enough is Enough

When I bought my home back in 2007, one of the first things I had to do before I could even move in (due to county regulations) was remove all the tree debris and brush that had overtaken the yard.  I knew down the road, that there were still a lot of trees that needed to come down; but I would have to take my time...trees are not cheap to remove.

Well fast forward 3 years and I noticed one of the Silver Maples near my house was having some issues.  The bark had begun falling off and a slight breeze would litter the ground underneath with smaller branches and leaves (although it wasn't Fall).  The tree never recovered.  It was dead and not only an eyesore; but as I would soon learn - quite a nuisance.  

Earlier this year, the tree clearly wanted me to take notice; when a branch as big as me crashed to the ground during a routine thunderstorm.  Chainsaw in hand, we cleaned up the mess; but the tree wasn't satisfied. 

A few weeks ago, one of the longer branches fell on the roof of my house...it just wrinkled up a couple of shingles.  Yet removing it was out of our league since it was still connected (although barely) to the tree too. 

I called a few Tree Removal companies and got some estimates, after waiting and waiting and waiting, I dropped the 1st company I called and went with another.  I should have went with the 2nd one all along - lesson learned. 

Within 24 hours, the tree was gone, stump cut to the ground and all debris removed.
As I had mentioned, I noticed the exterior symptoms; but I had NO IDEA what was going on inside that tree.  Look at this:

 
The entire tree was cored out and dying from the inside out.  It was growing/living this way.  No wonder it was loosing it's branches, there was no solid structure left.  This was one seriously damaged Silver Maple.



And here's the trunk of the tree...crazy, eh?  I wonder if Silver Maples are prone to this problem.

Now that the tree is gone, it has opened up the side yard quite a bit and I look forward to cleaning up some more of what my neighbor likes to call "Trash Trees".
Sunday, October 2, 2011

Break Time

I took a few well-deserved days off this past week and yet today is Sunday and I sort of feel like they zoomed by and I didn't get much rest.  At least I have all of this to show for it.

I made some good progress on the Black & White quilt, inspired by the "Snapshots" quilt from Elizabeth Hartman's book, Practical Guide to Patchwork.  All the blocks are pieced together and I have to decide how to finish it. 

Gotta love my B&W Zebra curtains in my studio


Closeup


I also made some progress on my Pillow Talk {Swap} project.  I selected some fabrics and then got to work.  The pillow will of course be much larger; but this is the "centerpiece" of what I'm working on.


Additionally, you may remember me mentioning that I'm trying to cut back on my swap participation.  This is of course a struggle when so many great ones pop up; but I need to be good.  So I have decided to sit out of the next round of the Goodie Bag Swap; but sign-ups are open until October 5th, so if you would like to participate head on over to Flickr and check it out.  I did participate in the 1st Round and it was a lot of fun.


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

On Friday, my Brother and I did a little Antique shopping and I found this piece for a steal, at only $59.  You couldn't buy a brand new dresser for this little, much less one from the early 1900s.  It needs a little tightening, some new knobs and some attention; but it's so worth it.




-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



On Saturday, Fabric Nosherie, the 1st Modern Fabric Shop in STL; which opened in Webster Groves, held a St. Louis Modern Quilt Guild "Open House".  It was so nice of Shannon, the owner, to throw us this little celebration.  You can check out some photos of the shop's interior over on Laura Gunn's blog.


About 20 or so of our members nibbled on some tasty treats and spent lots of time perusing the selection of fabric, patterns, books, notions and crafty misc. that Fabric Nosherie carries.  It was a unique experience as there were a few bolts of fabric that never left the cutting table, they seemed to pass from member to member, as each wanted to get a little bit for themselves.

Shannon and Miriam, Thanks for the invite and for being such great hostesses.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



That is how my short vacation broke down.  I hope you are enjoying some of the wonderful Autumn weather we are having.