Monday, October 21, 2013

Borders and Geese

I was talking to my mother on the phone the other day and I asked her what she thought about the new border I added to my Borders, Borders, Borders project.  She had no idea what I was talking about and asked if I had just recently posted it, because she had not seen it.  That got me to thinking . . . had I posted it?  Was I just imagining that I had written a post about it?  Had I even taken a picture of it?  Hmmm.  So, immediately after hanging up with her, I got on-line and looked and nope, I hadn't posted anything about my block.  So, had I taken a picture?  I couldn't have.  The camera had been in the car for about a week or more and I had just brought it in the day before and it was still downstairs.  Life has been so crazy busy for me since school started that there are some weeks I just operate in a day to day mode.  Do you ever have a life like that?  I was just working from one deadline date to the next. 
After school one day, I had a teacher ask me to do something 4 weeks in advance and I told him I couldn't even think about it or discuss it with him until I had made it through the next two weekends.  At the time, I just knew if I had one more item added to my plate, everything would crumble and fall and I would go bonkers.  I can usually multi-task pretty well, I think most of us can, but how many things can you juggle at one time?  That is the million dollar question.  When he asked me to do that one thing, I was juggling about 11 different things and I just knew, that twelfth item would tip the balance for me.  I knew if I could put him off for a week or two, things would come together, I would finish up two huge weekends of quilt show and quilt retreat and then I would only be juggling 3 or 4 items.  Then, and only then, could I sit down and discuss with him what he needed me to do. Luckily he kind of understood and was patient with me and waited until I had time.  Well, life hasn't slowed down much at all, I have had to totally get one item off my plate - I wasn't enjoying doing it so that was a fairly easy decision - and two more things are coming to an end this week so I am looking forward to some peaceful easy living in my future.  (Who am I kidding?  I teach High School.  There is always something else coming around the corner to be put in the air and juggled)
Anyway, that is a long and rambling road to get to my picture of my Borders project.  This months assignment was to add a border using "squares".  I had planned on putting squares on point and doing a border all around with those.  After making and vetoing that, I decided to put large 4 inch squares around the border.  I cut out my squares and put them on the design wall and . . . nope.  It didn't look right.  I didn't have time for this nonsense of making a border and then not wanting to use it, so I left it right there and knew I would get back to it - left it spinning up in the air.  I knew I wanted to bring in more color, I didn't want to add anymore black or gray or white, but I wasn't sure how I was going to do that yet.  Sometimes you just have to sleep on it (and sleep on it and sleep on it) until the right solution pops in your brain.  That's what happened with this one.  A nice scrappy 4 patch border in just the warm colors from the middle block except for the yellow.  I didn't want to put any yellow in this border.  I wanted a really warm border to contrast the cold and shocking border with the black and gray/white half squares I added last month.  I will put some more yellow in the quilt, because it needs more yellow, I just didn't want any here.  I know some of those squares look golden from this picture, but they are really an orange print.    
I am liking the look so far and know that if I want a larger quilt, I am going to have to make the next couple of borders larger or even put this on point this next month.  I will have to wait until Saturday to find out what our next border must have in it.  The block that is in the lower left corner of this picture is the other quilt I am working on in the Borders challenge and it still needs a border with squares, but I can't find the fabrics for that block.  I have them somewhere, but they are not where I thought I put them.  Therefore, this one isn't ready to be shown this week at our meeting. Or here on the blog.  That's okay, I am an over achiever anyway - according to the group - doing two quilts.  It is all because I started with the one in the lower left corner and had planned on using it for my project, but ran out of background fabric so I made the other one.  Since we started, I have found another fat quarter in my stash of the background fabric, pulled it all out and put it together somewhere safe.  I just have to find where that safe place might be so I can work on this quilt.  juggle, juggle, juggle.  The good thing is, I had already put a border with triangles on it when I started it so I will only be one month behind instead of two.  sigh. 
Okay, this is the next thing I wanted to show.  If you read my previous posting, you know I am in a block exchange group.  November is my month and I chose the Goose in the Pond block.  I made one block to show in a tutorial and yesterday while watching football I made two more (You are asking - is that all?  two blocks all day?  I also took a nap, did a couple loads of laundry, played with the dogs -my day wasn't all about making those two blocks).  I almost have two more made tonight, but I still need to square up all the half square triangles, but I can do that tomorrow night during the Voice.  I have set the blocks I have made on point to see what they would look like and then in a row.  I can't wait to start getting some of these from the ladies to put on my design wall and play with.  I may want to sash them with colored cornerstones.  Stay tuned and see how this one evolves.  Oh, yes, for those of you who are wondering, my mother lives about 11 hours away from me in a totally different state and she sees what I am making only if I post it on my blog or when we find the time to Skype.  (I know, some of you are thinking, 11 hours, of course you are going to be in a different state, but I can drive 11 hours from here and still be in Texas.  Actually I can drive more than 11 hours and still be in Texas.  It's huge ya'll!!) 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Goose in the Pond Tutorial

This is a tutorial for my November block for the Bee Balm group.  I would like for you to make a Goose in the Pond block using the following fabric selections.   For the background I would like a white with black print fabric.  The outside half square triangles can be any color from the cool side of the color wheel.  (blue, green, purple, teal, blue violet, etc.)  The inside 9 patch and strips are any color from the warm side of the color wheel (yellow, orange, red, pink, etc.) 

From the white/black print background fabric - cut: 
6 - 4" squares;
5 - 3 1/2" squares
1 - 1 1/2" X 20 1/2" strip
2 - 1 1/2" X 12 1/2" strips

From the Cool fabric - cut:
6 - 4" squares

From the Warm fabric - cut:
2 - 1 1/2" X 20 1/2" strips
1 - 1 1/2" X 12 1/2" strip

As you can see from the picture above, I chose red for my Warm color and Blue for my cool color to use for this tutorial.  Also, the strips are folded in half so I could fit them all into the picture.  It is so handy to have my boxes of pre-cut strips and squares.  All I had to do was find enough squares of the same fabric for my Cool and then two strips from my 1 1/2" box for my Warm.  I am going to dig through again tomorrow to make another block.  Okay, carry on - sorry I got side tracked. 

Now that everything is cut, you are ready to sew.   Either draw a diagonal line or fold and press a diagonal line on all 6 of your background 4" squares.  Place one background square right sides together with a Cool fabric 4" square.  Sew 1/4" on both sides of the diagonal line.   Repeat  with the other 5 squares.  In the picture below, you can see my pressed line and I am sewing 1/4" from that line.

It's a little hard to see, but I have sewn two lines of stitching on either side of that pressed diagonal line.  I turned it over to the blue so it might be easier to see the stitched lines from this side.  Cut on the diagonal line.  Press toward the Cool fabric.
Square up each square to 3 1/2" and set aside. 

Sew one Warm 20 1/2" strip to a background strip of the same size.  Press toward the Warm fabric.  Sew the second Warm strip to the other side of the background strip.  Pressing once again toward the Warm fabric.  You now have a WBW strip.   (sorry - no picture of this)

Cut this WBW strip into 4 - 3 1/2" squares and 4 - 1 1/2" pieces.

Sew one 12 1/2" Background strip to a Warm strip of the same size.  Press toward the Warm strip.  Sew the second Background strip to the other side of the Warm strip.  Pressing once again toward the Warm fabric.  You now have a BWB strip.  (again, no picture)

Cut this BWB strip into 8 - 1 1/2" pieces.

Create 4 - 9 patches sewing two of the BWB on either side of a WBW piece.  Press toward the middle. (finally a picture of the finished 9 patch block and a partial of the WBW strip block)



 Sew one 9 patch block to one strip block lining them up as in the picture above.  Sew the second 9 patch block to the other end of the strip block.  Repeat for one more set.  Now sew the remaining strip blocks to a 3 1/2" background block with the warm fabric to the block.  (see the picture below)

Press the top and bottom strip toward the outside and press the middle strip to the middle and you will be able to butt up those seams when you sew the entire group together like the picture below. 
You now have your center of the block finished and are ready to add the outside borders. 


To create those borders, you need to sew a 1/2 square triangle to either side of a 3 1/2" background square.  Make sure your triangles are turned opposite of each other as in the picture above.  Go ahead and sew all 4 of the remaining 3 1/2" squares exactly like this.   Attach two to either side of your center block.  
Add one 1/2 square triangle block to either end of your leftover strips making sure the triangles face the same way as the one next to it.  (I don't have a picture here for you to see, but you can refer to the original drawing at the beginning of this tutorial or the picture below of the finished block.   Attach the borders to the top and bottom of your block matching seams. 
Be sure you pay attention to your block and the direction of those triangles or you will end up with a block like the one below.  I had to "un-sew" and then put it back together to get that beautiful block above.  Just wanted to show you that I do make mistakes.  However,  I don't always take pictures of them and then post them on here.  I thought you might get a kick out of this one, though. 
Enjoy making this block and I can't wait to see what all color combinations you come up with.  I hope this tutorial is helpful and doesn't totally confuse you.  If you need help or clarification feel free to send me an e-mail. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Nutty Pumpkin Muffins

It has been a while since I posted anything on here.  I truly think about you often, but just haven't made the time to take pictures and sit at the computer to post anything.  Since I am at school, avoiding grading, and I have demonstrated making Nutty Pumpkin Muffins in all  of my classes today, I will share with you the very best pumpkin muffin recipe I have ever EVER tasted.  It is my favorite muffin of all time and now that the weather is cooling off - it's the perfect time to pull out this recipe and devour these muffins.  (FYI: they freeze well, if you have any leftover - I have never frozen any in the muffin form, but I have made mini loaves using this recipe and have frozen those)
Nutty Pumpkin Muffins
4 eggs
3 c. sugar
2 c. canned pumpkin
1 c. vegetable oil
2/3 c. water
3 1/3 c. flour
2 t. cinnamon
2 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
1 ½ c. pecans, chopped
Mix all the wet ingredients in a bowl.  Mix all the dry ingredients in a separate bowl.  Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients to the dry.  Mix until the flour is just incorporated.  Fill sprayed muffin tin cups 2/3 full of batter.   

Bake at 350 for 20 – 25 minutes (I pulled mine today at 19 or 20 minutes and they were perfect)

 Yield:  24 muffins (I made 30 in each of my classes today, filling the cups 2/3 full)
I can't figure out why the font is goofing around.  I tried to set it all at one font and one size and then it does what it wants.  Weird and it's not even Halloween yet. 
I hope you enjoy these muffins as much as I do.  They truly are delicious and even my students that don't like pumpkin or nut stuff gobble these right up. 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Rambling about the Weekends

I vended at the Midland Quilt Show this weekend and I am TIRED!!  I went to bed early last night and have slept most of the day today.  Part of it is due to my allergies.  They are bad and have been bad since last weekend when I went to the Ogallala Ceta Canyon retreat.  Something up there in Happy/Canyon triggered my allergies and I haven't been back to normal since.  It could also have been the carpet in both places - retreat and vending area.  Neither one were exactly clean.  This weekends carpet was filthy!!!  I have taken another round of allergy medicine and am hoping I don't have to do a third round before I go to bed.  I just hope I have enough tissue around to keep me from having to use my sleeve. LOL 

I am in the process of unloading my car from this weekend's fun.  I took out all the stuff that I store in the garage - tables, boxes, etc. when I got home last night and have put off taking out all the fabric bolts until now.  I have hauled up 4 loads of bolts into the office where I keep them and have at least 4 more loads - probably 6 loads - to go.  I am taking a "sweat" break - sitting in front of the fan and typing on the computer waiting to cool down some before going back down the stairs to get a couple more loads.  WHEW!  It's hard and tiring work, but I need to do it so I can fill my car tomorrow with groceries. 

Both weekends have been wonderful and productive weekends and have been a lot of fun re-uniting with old friends and seeing what wonderful quilting work everyone has been up to in the past year or so.  These women are super talented and inspiring. 

I really enjoyed vending near the Lovington ladies and getting to know them.  I always love what they bring to Ogallala and after going to the store this summer on our shop hop, I can't wait to take a class there sometime soon.  I am hoping my friend,  who moved to Lovington this summer and shall remain nameless at this time, and I can get together at the store and enjoy a wonderful class and time to be together quilting.  I know she has always wanted to quilt and what better way to get her involved than to make her take a class with me.  I probably should have said encourage her to take a class, but I will more than likely have to make her take the first one so I will leave it that way for now. 

Okay, it's time to head back down for a couple more loads.