Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Great Chicken Dogs Ride Again!

I was woken up this morning at 5 AM! to the dogs barking.  I was semi-alert and knew right away what I needed to do.  I grabbed my pillow off my bed and headed down the stairs to the couch just as a streak of lightening lit up the windows and an extremely loud clap of thunder erupted resulting in more barking.  I have the worst chicken dogs there are in the world! 

 As soon as I lay on the couch, Taegan jumped up and snuggled with his head on my shoulder turned into my neck and was wiggling and wriggling trying to get as close to me as he could.  His fear of thunder and lightening goes way back, many, many years when we had a large cell sit over the house one night.  He and Irish were only dogs then and slept upstairs in my bed with me.  When all of a sudden BOOM!!!  So loud that it shook the entire upstairs.  It scared me, woke us all up and put the fear of thunder into his bones.  When it begins to even sprinkle around here (which doesn't happen often) he starts quivering and waiting for the thunder.  He knows they often go together. 

Then up came Finnagan.  He comes by it naturally, too.  I found him running in the streets about 3 years ago after a major thunderstorm.  He was sopping wet and would not get out of the street to let my car go by.  I finally got out, said, "come here." and he ran and jumped into my arms.  He was sopping wet and scared.  Poor baby.  He doesn't like to get wet and has a major fear of storms, also.   

I think their fears have rubbed off on the other two.  My nervous Nelly dog, McCallum, doesn't need much to get him going and he is the one doing all the barking at the storms.  Usually the only one.  The others are too scared to even bark.  While I was snuggling with the other two, he was having a hard time settling.  He would sit on top of the boxes covered with quilts and then jump on me to the back of the couch.  Then use me as a springboard from there back to the quilts. Then it would thunder and he would bark and watch the back door and would start all over again.  Fiona, on the other hand was sitting on the arm of the sofa by my head.  Not quite touching me most of the time, but just within reach in case she needed to. 

As the rains moved on, so did the dogs onto other parts of the couch snug up next to my legs or back or on the floor right by the couch and I finally caught a few more zzz's.  I woke up with Finnagan laying on top of me and snoring.  Him, not me. 

When I got up, I tried to take them outside - it's not raining at this time - and open the door to the back porch and it's flooded!  The water is about 5 inches from the back door.  This shouldn't be like that, so I wade out and look over the fence to see what is happening with the lake and it isn't flooded.  Just my back porch.  I kennel all the dogs, go back out to the porch, unlock the back gate and whoosh, the water all begins flowing out the doorway.  The bottom piece on the fence had gotten waterlogged and swollen so the water couldn't run out off the porch.  I swept it out the rest of the way, re-locked the gate and made note of the full to the brim flower beds (minus the flowers) and forced the dogs back out onto the porch.  Of course this took some doing, but they all came out and two (Fiona and Finnagan) immediately went to the chair - the not getting wet thing includes the feet!

It has been a busy morning since then.  I zested and juiced all the limes I got in my bountiful harvest basket, (almost 2/3 cup of juice - frozen in 1 T. cubes and am drying out the zest for future dishes) Cut up and froze most of the pineapple.  Made a variation of Mimi's Mini Cini's - delicious and not as much work, but I still love the mini cini's.  A couple cups of coffee, a load in the dishwasher and now it's time to work on adding binding to a couple of quilts. ( I look out the window and notice that all that water in the flower beds has been absorbed our ground here is so thirsty it soaks up any rain we get quickly.)   I finished the binding and label on a quilt for my aunt last night (pictures next week when I can take them up at school) I hope to get the binding finished on these two other quilts this week, also.  Here comes more rain!! 

These last few weeks have been busy ones.  I made a pillow cover, a mug rug and two blocks for the KF Block exchange (I really need to re-do those) and learned to tat - I need a lot more practice on this new skill. At school we catered a luncheon, made 14 dozen cookies for one order, made appetizers for 300, had another order of 13 dozen cookies and 5 pound cakes and planned our last catering of  cake, punch and finger foods for about 40 - that will be made Tuesday and Wednesday) WHEW!!!  I will be glad when things slow down for that last week of school, except it won't be real slow, we will be pulling everything out and cleaning, cleaning, cleaning oh, yes, planning for next year's program  and taking a test, also. 

I am looking out the window at the lake, the sun has come out in the last 30 minutes and the sidewalks - which were all wet when I started this post and got rained on while I was typing - are now 90% dry.  There are only a couple of small puddles on them.  Wow!  It's going to be a hot and muggy day today - another rarity along with the rain. I predict that within the next couple of hours - if it doesn't rain again - any current standing water (flower bed, streets, sidewalks, etc.) will be all gone.  This parched land is just sucking it all up.  Yea!!  We needed this rain.

Monday, May 12, 2014

A Baby Quilt Top

This weekend I worked on some fabric that I had pulled from drawers earlier this year (school year) trying to make room for other fabric.  I had a drawer that had what I call "baby fabric".  Inside were pastels and baby prints, flannels for making blankets and just bits and pieces that I had been given or picked up over time.  I hardly ever used fabric from that box and decided it could be put to better use for other fabrics (like cream/white background fabrics). So, this little bit of fabric, that hadn't found a home somewhere else, has been shuffled from the top of one pile to another and I finally decided to do something with it.  I started out cutting the blue and white print for backgrounds of churn dash blocks (one of my favorites) I was only going to cut enough for 4 or 5 blocks, but then decided if I was going to make that many, I should make at least 9 so I could have a center for a quilt.  Then it was the blue prints turn and I cut it up, also.  However, I only had enough of it to make three blocks.  Hmm, I thought there was more there - and there was - just not of the right size to make more than three blocks.  I got those all made on Wednesday night and turned to finish something else up and left it all alone. 

On Thursday night I saw the green print - this one, believe it or not, used to be a dress.  I loved this fabric so much when I first saw it sometime in the late 80's that I made a dress out of it.  I wore that dress several times until someone asked if it was a maternity dress.  (pastel baby colors! empire waisted and billowing out in the wind - I was much, much skinnier and didn't look at all pregnant!!)  So, I really looked at it and decided it needed to be cut up and added to the stash.  Where it has been since about 1989.  It's about time I used this fabric up on something.  I cut enough to make 4 blocks and saved the rest to put as a border if I wanted to use it later or to make more blocks.  After sewing these four blocks, I put them on the wall and determined that they would need to be sashed and I could add in another color for 2 of  the blocks.  Looking at the pile of fabric, there was a yellow, pink striped and another white background blue/green print.  There wasn't enough of the pink to sash so that became the blocks and the yellow the sashing using the leftover blue for cornerstones.  I added what was left of the green pastel to make a small border and I think there is enough of the yellow for binding and that will pull it all together.  It's a nice size 52" square quilt for a baby quilt.  Now to get a backing made - going to use that other white/blue/green print and quilt it. 

It's a bit on the wrinkled side, but it's okay.  The green churn dashes really fade into the background fabric on those four blocks.   Here is a close-up of the green and pink blocks.  The yellow fabric has little dog paw prints on it. 
I also made two Kaffe swap blocks and took a picture, but with my camera so I will have to download them later.  However, they look all wonky and wrong.  I am debating making them all over again or sending them and seeing what the person, whose month this is, has to say about them.   I will post a picture this week and you can decide how they look.  I am not sure I would have picked that pattern for others to make for me especially since they have to be so precise and specific.  here is the link to the top, except she made several changes to the pattern.  After looking at this again, I may have to re-make the blocks.  I didn't trim them the correct way.  Maybe that is why they look so wonky.  (they actually aren't wonky, but just look like it) 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Weekend Works in the Wasteland

I know the plan was to work on the various items to catch me up in the Stocking Swap.  That was the plan and I intended to stick with it, but when I got in the studio Friday night, I saw the little zip bag of KFC scraps leftover from the last blocks I made for the KF block exchange and I just started playing and making fabric.  (KFC = Kaffe Fassett Collective - fabrics from Kaffe, Brandon Mobley and Phillip Jacobs; KF = Kaffe Fassett)  I continued on Saturday and then remembered a pillow of little houses I had seen on a blog.  "Ah Ha!!!"  I can make this fabric into little houses and turn it into a pillow cover for the swap.  Excellent idea!  I did the math and figured out what size to cut everything, found fabric for the roof, chimney, door and sky and cut everything out.  Sewed the chimney sections (that took a couple of tries to get right) and made one house.  Yep, I think this is what I want to do. So, I made one more just to be sure and then a third just because.  I finished up the roof tops and went to bed.  Today, I finished all the rest of the houses (9 total) and started putting it together for my pillow cover.   Below are a couple of the houses.  They all have the same lime green doors and striped roofs.  The houses are made from my made fabric.  I love how they turned out. 
Then, I sashed them with white Kona and measured.  Hmm, it's too big for the pillow cover.  Do I take it apart and do something different?  Do I make a larger pillow cover?  Or, do I just add my border and make a small quilt?  All great questions and it only took me about 2 seconds after measuring to give my answer.  Of course, I add a wonderful border (Phillip Jacobs) and hang it on the design wall for a quick picture.  
It is such a bright happy little neighborhood, I just couldn't take it apart and re-do it.  But now, I don't have a pillow cover made or anything else for the swap.  So, a quick cutting of the made fabric, a little sewing, stuffing and button and voila!  A brand new pin cushion for the swap.  
Okay, one down and 5 more to go.  Actually, I made a mug rug way back in December or early January and can use that one if I want, so, two down and three to go.  I am making some progress.  Are you? Are you participating in the swap?  I know there are at least 4 of us from here and two or three of you out there.  Let me know - if you can get my response/comment thing to work - I know Kathy was having some trouble earlier this week, but finally got a comment to post.  Let me know if you are participating in the swap.  We would love to have about 10 people this year. 

Friday, May 2, 2014

Color Challenge Quilt

I have them, you have them, we all have them, you know you do, what are they? Projects that you start and for whatever reason, don't finish. I love the challenges that Victoria over at 15 Minutes Play issues for us to try and I am always game for starting the new one, however, I haven't completed all the ones I started. My mother's New Year's Resolution for 2014 is to complete projects, so I have kind of sort of adopted that same thought. (I refuse to make resolutions. They make me feel like I am under too much pressure and the end result is that I don't get anything done.) Therefore, I say to myself, "I am going to try to finish up some projects that are just laying around the studio." The pressure is off, I only have to "try" to finish and if I don't get them done, it's no big deal. (I know, it's the same thing, but the wording takes the pressure off)

SO, I have recently pulled out the color challenge blocks. I only had 13 blocks finished when I put them to the side promising myself that I would finish the rest of them in the near future. Well, as we all know, the near future was over a year away. I made the executive decision not to make the remaining blocks and to just start putting the quilt together. I spotted the perfect setting fabric, which had moved to the top of a pile of "need to be washed" fabrics when I knocked the stack over and re-stacked them. Every color from the challenge was in there. I finished off the top with a smaller border of the background Kona from the blocks and Voila - the top is finished. Now I just need to piece a back and get it quilted.

Thanks to the three students that "volunteered" to hold my quilt up so I could get a good picture of it. Now on to the next project.  This was also posted over at 15 minutes play.