Saturday, July 30, 2011

Summer Quilt

I am a few months late in getting my spring/summer quilt made, but it is done, with shams!
Sorry the above picture is a bit dark.
Really like the shams.

Pillow Shams

I made one of the shams to go with the new quilt.  These take a while (~3-4 hours) but they are so worth it.  I used Heather Mulder Peterson's Book, Shams with Style.  She has a few different versions and good instructions.  My 9-patch version wasn't in her book, but it was easy enough to adapt and use her cutting measurements and sewing directions.
I hope to make the other one tomorrow.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Elephant Ear

I thought I would share this picture of the elephant ear plant on our front porch.  It is so big and pretty!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A New Favorite

I have a new favorite quit.  I love the fact that I used all scraps and fat quarters I already had (except 1). I love the scrappy binding; I love the mix of creams and whites; I love the bright summery look; I love the traditional pattern; I love the quilting, oh my, I really love this quilt.

It is made from 2 1/2 inch scrap strips of colors and neutrals for the 9-patch units cut 6 1/2 inches and alternating rows of creams and whites in between the 9-patches. I added a 2 inch white-on-white border and a 5 inch cream (muslin) border so it would be big enough for our queen size bed. Backed with the same premium muslin used on the border.  The quilting is beautiful on the back too!

Beautiful.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Banner year for pickles!

I finally finished up the sweet pickles.  This years total is 17 pints of dills and 21 pints of sweets.

I took off a few hours from work yesterday to work on my 9-patch.  I finished all the quilting and am working on the binding.  I really like it!  It is bright and summery.  I am pleased with my quilting except for the border.  I didn't do a good job of that. I am doing a scrappy binding.  Stay tuned, I'll post a finished picture soon.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

UV light

I used the UV light on my quilting machine today for the first time.  I was doing some custom quilting with cream thread on cream fabric and I could not see my stitching at all.  It really helped. I really enjoyed making these sunburst/octopus designs.
Continuous curves are still my enemy.  I am terrible at them.  I read that you should keep your eye about an inch ahead of the pantograph pattern when you quilt using them, so I tried to keep my eye ahead and focus on where I wanted to go (the corners).  That helped.  I think those are the hardest thing to do in custom quilting.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Today's activities

All that sugar will make some good pickle syrup.

Finally got the 9-patch on the machine. Attempting to custom quilt it.

Tried my hand at some rock painting.  I've done some before and I am no artist, but I like trying.  I've just started, so, I have lots more coloring/shading/detailing to go. I think I've got his eyes too big.

I also tried my hand at wood carving today.  I think that takes real talent, and I don't have it. My friend says not to give up, but try some more.  I might give it another try, but I don't know. My feeble attempts did not justify a picture.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Sweet Pickles

While I was waiting on the green beans to pressure cook, I decided to pour the brine off the cucumbers; they have been soaking for two weeks.  So tonight, they have been cut up and are soaking in alum water.  Tomorrow they will soak in vinegar, then I'll put the sugar and spices in and let them set for a few days before jarring up and water bath sealing. This recipe makes the best sweet pickles.  I've been making them for years.

Canning Green Beans

Well, a lady at my husbands work brought in some nice looking beans from her garden, so we are going to be canning a bit this weekend.  I love to can, but I really wanted to work on my 9-patch (finally got the backing today) and I wanted to have my first lesson in wood carving (got the book, the knife, and the wood).....there are so many wonderful crafts out there to learn.....but tonight, this is what I am doing...
I am always multitasking.  As you can see while I am breaking beans I am also checking all my favorite blogs on the ipad.

Friday, July 15, 2011

More Blackberry jam

Made a few more jars of blackberry jam this evening.  I had a couple of people tell me that the pickles will probably be fine.  I suppose if there is a famine in the land, we can live off pickles and jam. I think I need to figure out how to add more shelves/cabinets in our laundry room ("canning pantry").  The beans are from last year; I haven't canned any yet this year, but I plan to.

Bummer....

Well, 5 out of 6 jars of dills didn't seal. However, when I barely touched the tops to check them, they popped down.  Hummm.....I wonder if you can taste botulism?  I now don't know which one did seal properly.  Oh well, not sure what I am going to do with the spears now.  Also, I worried a bit about the jam.  They sealed fine (I did a water bath on them) but they seemed very runny last night.  I checked the box of sure-gel and it expired in 2010!  However, this morning they had thickened up a bit.  I think they will be ok.

I hope to get back to my 9-patch today.  I don't have much to do to get the top finished; just sew together a few more rows, put the rows together, and sew on the borders.  I plan to do some fancy custom quilting on it.  Right now, I plan to do a 2 inch white on white border and then a 6 inch cream border.  I"ll have to see if that looks ok.  But first - chores, laundry, and groceries....yuck, I'd rather be quilting.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Tonight's canning

The hubby brought home 4 quarts of blackberries from the veggie man, who stops by their office.  So, tonight I made 5 jars of blackberry jam, and then did 6 more pints of dill pickles.  I made these into spears.  I really have never cared much for dill pickles, but I bet this year I will learn to like them.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

New craft to learn

A friend of mine at work is a wood carver.  He makes little caricatures. I want to learn to do it.  He says you don't have to have any natural talent to do it, but it can be learned (not sure I believe that).  So.....he is going to loan me a book, a knife, and give me a piece of his bass wood to try my hand at it.  Can't wait! They are so neat! He has made some that look kind of like this:

Dill pickles

This is my first attempt at making dill pickles.  My sweet friend Sheila (she-she) loaded me up with cucumbers, dill, and even hot peppers to go in some of them! I made 12 pints tonight and probably have enough cucumbers to make about 12 more. It is really easy.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Plantation Shutters

Part of our recent remodeling included getting plantation shutters on the bedroom and living room windows.  I love the look. No more curtains. Ever. I am happy about that.

The living room before (I'd already taken the curtains down):



I had noticed that my chair and the hardwood floor in front of these two windows had faded out some over the years due to the direct afternoon sunlight.  I can tilt the bottom to redirect the light which should prevent further fading.  I like that.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sweet Pickles

Guess what these are going to be?  Yep, yummy sweet pickles!
Got them in the brine for the next 14 days. I use an antique crock with a plate and a big rock in a plastic bag, to keep them submerged.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Progress on 9-patch set on point

I was able to get a little done today on my latest project, after I hemmed a couple of shirts that were too long.  I've been off all week, and it has been nice to visit with my sister and brother-in-law, work on this project, and do other stuff around the house.

Anyone have any ideas about a border for this quilt? I would like to make it big enough to fit our bed, but to do so I will need lots more blocks or some kind of border. I was thinking of a cream border all around.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Colorful 9-patch set on point

Here is my latest project.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July!

My sister and I worked out a deal.  She bound the edges of my little flag quilt and I did the machine quilting on a baby quilt for her.

And take a look at this sweet little thing my DIL made for me.  It is a pin cushion.  I love it!


Saturday, July 2, 2011

Work Party

We had a great time last night at our cook-out.  Jim did a fantastic job on the burgers and dogs, we had lots of other dishes to go with them, and had lots of good fun and conversations.  We brought out the cornhole game, and several of us had fun with that.




Finished!