Sunday, October 30, 2016

The Crazy Quilt

I have always wanted to do a crazy quilt. I never understood how they were done.....so crazy....
But last year, I found a template that gives quilters a "base" to start with.
So, I started making this a year ago, using scraps from projects. I had lots and lots of scraps. Bits and pieces of fabric from literally hundreds of projects from the last couple of years, most made this last year.
I had been taught never to throw any scraps away, and I felt very guilty if I did, looking over my shoulder almost when I did. I guess the pioneer in me held me back and all.
So, with this template, I could use the smallest of scraps to create a useable item.
One could also make placemats, pillows etc using this technique. However, my goal was a lap quilt of useable size that was also a scrapbook (no pun intended) of projects I have done.
So, today the quilt top was done.
Cost.....$0.
Hubby liked that.
I had the scraps.
I had border fabric.
I have batting.
I have backing....so it will be fun to do when it gets sandwiched.....



Now I know that this goes against some people's grain, all these little pieces, mismatched colors and patterns....
But even though it isn't...just think.
Not much fabric ended up in the round file. So, I was recycling....and it will go into most decorating colors...
Well, maybe not your style....however, I love when something comes together, almost from nothing....
And today, the only scraps left in the scrap basket are those from the border fabric! Yup....
It is a great way to empty out the scrap basket at the end of the year....
Have a great day....
Nancy

Thursday, October 27, 2016

The Scrap Box

Quilters have them, they rarely talk about them.
They have stashes. They have UFOs (unfinished Projects).
But they rarely talk about the scraps.
I'm talking about the pieces that come off as we cut and trim. They aren't the big pieces or the leftover patchwork squares, triangles, or rectangles that we cut for a project.
This is the "trimmings"...the stuff that most see "trash".
Well...yes, we have scraps too.
I have a box for those under the table and when it gets too full, I go through it.

Once I took a quilting class....what seems like a million years ago...and they said keep all scraps 1" or bigger....
So, I have all these years...
Last year, I discovered a method for doing Crazy Quilts.
It is absolutely perfect for dealing with all those scraps!
Crazy quilts are those designs that aren't designs...no color pattern, just plain random....
As you can see it is an odd shaped pentagon...


And you find scraps to sew to every side...going around it in a progressive way, and just stitch away....
You decide how big the final squares will be..
No rules....
Well, only that the final product is square so you can use it.

You get to play with all those stitches on your machine that you rarely use! Or you can embroider by hand if you want. Some people use buttons and lace and overlay on top or into.
You can use the scraps of sewing fabric from dresses or other...such as velvet, or other. Nothing is "wrong" in a crazy quilt.
IN my case, I quilt, so there aren't too many fabrics but cottons.
But as you can see no color restrictions, which I might add is refreshing for the quilter.
Then, when you get a piece that is bigger than what you want, you can cut it square.
Unfortunately, you end up with some more scraps. However, this time, the scraps are either useable for the next square or they really are ready for the trash bin.
For me, it is like a scrap book of all the quilts I have made over the year....
Some people use this method for baby and child clothing that is no longer fitting and won't be used anymore...
Or I saw one done with ties!
There really are no rules, except that it needs to be square in the end...however big you want....
IN my case, these squares are 10"....and as of yesterday I had 10 off them....
Still so much to go through in that box.
I found some fabric that can go back into the stash even.
Everything gets ironed before use....so turn that iron on....
It is so fun. After you have sewn pieces together, iron and then play with those fancy stitches on your machine... or not....
I might even go back and machine embroider the "Center" and then again I might not....we will see.
But, that is that scrap box.
Do you have a scrap box?
How do you use it?
I encourage you to try the crazy quilt template. It is available at most quilting shops....I got mine from Missouri Star Company....
Enjoy!
Nancy

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Heartland

Ever since we came back from our trip to Wyoming, I had a vision for a quilt.
It was going to be a bigger quilt. It was going to be amazing.
Well, reality is I challenged myself quite a bit and stitched my way into untried areas of my quilting.
It is an appliqué quilt, which isn't my forte in the least, but sometimes we just have to do things we aren't good at.
But, I did have fun and I learned a great deal.
Meet Heartland.....


All the appliqué pieces were designed, cut and applied by me. I designed the boots first using the boots I had used at the dude ranch, and the hat was my Hubby's hat....
The saddle I got the idea from a picture and cut the individual pieces.
I did have grand ideas  about thing with this quilt, that did not get to happen.
For example, the boots were going to have more embellishment when I quilted. But, alas, I found that free motion quilting doesn't work very well with faux suede and the sticky stuff used to adhere all the pieces.
I could pull off the quilting on the saddle only if I used a strong Gutterman thread....not my usual silk thread.
For the main background, I wanted to try a technique I had seen on Pinterest....well it didn't work quite as I had planned, but still works as it shows some motion, which the appliqué did not.
Last night, after this picture I finished the binding and created a label for it with it's name.
I did have fun and that as quilters know has to be the foundation of every project....

Here is a close-up of the boots and hat.....


All finished here with its binding.

This is the backing fabric and the binding fabric as well....

Why the name Heartland?
Well, before our trip for months we watched a show (a Canadian series now in its tenth year) called Heartland....so the name stuck quite aptly I think for the quilt and for the memories of the Dude Ranch we went to.
Have a great day...
Nancy

Friday, October 21, 2016

Alone Time

My wonderful and very special Hubby belongs to Kiwanis, and they do wonderful things, especially with the local college.
However, since has retired and I have been, alone time is well, rare.
I adore my husband...don't get me wrong, but there are now a days, few spreads of time, where he isn't.
Occasionally, I believe all of us need "alone time"....no matter how devoted we are, I think it is important.
We spend a great deal of time helping our kids (still) even though they are old enough to be on their own with their hubbies or significant others, but it seems that neither of us gets "alone time".
Then, there is the fact that Hubby doesn't move fast in the morning anymore....as I am a morning person that is hardest of all!
But, still, one needs to stop and hear their own heartbeat and rhythm of breathing and time to take it in...without TV, without interruption....
Do you ever crave that? Or am I the only one??
Well, tonight is the night.
He has a Kiwanis function.
When he does, I make my favorite dish, which is eggplant roasted in the oven sprinkled with parmesan and maybe some fancy mushrooms (Costco had fantastic chanterelles today) and a bit of garlic and oh, maybe some wine.

Afterwards, there may be some cleaning  or maybe some reading, or maybe a bubble bath....

In case you are wondering...I sliced the eggplant and soaked it for a bit in salted water to pull out some bitterness that can occur in eggplant....
Then I rinsed it and dried it...
Then I placed it on a cookie sheet with parchment and drizzled it with olive oil and put in the oven at 425 degrees....
just when it is getting brown, I sprinkle some evil parmesan on (letting a fair amount get on the parchment as thats pretty yummy) and then bake until it is beautiful and melted and just a hint of brown.....but not too much.....
Then it cools, but only just enough to eat....which in my case is not much as I never can wait.

You see, Hubby, as perfect as he is, hates eggplant. He has tried. He hates it.
So, when the cat is away, this mouse eats eggplant, with a little cheese......

Have a great evening.
Nancy

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Finished Baby Quilt

To me, it turned out, OK.....not super wonderful....but then I am really not great at appliqué, or hand embroidery...and I didn't do lots of fancy quilting....
It is cute though...and I hope she likes it...




This picture doesn't show it well, but I used an all over quilting on the white part that follows the motion of the balloons. Whereas the elephant has a meandering quilting....


Here is a picture of my label...and the backing fabric...
I only did a "stitch in the ditch" for the squares...
So, now it is on to other quilts for me, one that is also appliqué, but for me...
Hope you have a great day.
Nancy

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Lazy Day

We slept in this morning...it was bliss. We have had to wake up early almost all week.
I have plans for today, but bet that much will not get done.
I want to garden, but with the little I did yesterday my back was grumpy...so we will see....
I plan on quilting too. I am working on a quilt that has been hanging in the "waiting zone" for a name to embroider, which I finally got, so it got "sandwiched" while Hubby was watching the playoffs...
I started playing with my design and I was having fun...but by 7:30 pm I was done with sewing...and decided I needed to put it on "pause"....
Here is my view today both of the quilt and what it looks like outside...

I made Hubby "Pancakes" today. I haven't made those in ages....It is kinda chilly outside and there is a good chance of rain, so....


I know I have told you about this mix many times...it is my "go to" for all flour...In most cases , it can be substituted for any flour....and it is high protein as it is made with almonds....

I also cleaned out the freezer last night while Hubby watched TV....and found the perfect makings of a stew...so that went on first thing this AM to cook all day....Hummmm, maybe eat it by a little fire...?? That sounds good...we haven't lit the fireplace in ages...
It is what I stashed away over the last year in the freezer, though most of in the last several months. Homegrown tomatoes, beans, sweet Italian peppers, and some smoked turkey stock as well as garlic, and a sausage leftover from last night. As it cooks down I will season it. But it should be pretty good with the stock and some wine. Yes, I think a dinner by the fire might be in order....
I hope you have a great and productive day.......
Nancy

Monday, October 10, 2016

A Little of Fall Doings....

Fall is here, even though it is still quite warm during the day, it is getting cold at night....well, for us in Southern California....
It isn't quite time to put on the duvet (though I am just itching to)...but while vacuuming all the dog fur (again), I realized that the rug for the family room was still rolled up and under our bed. It is time.
Did you know that if you have wood floors, even some laminates too, that rugs should be removed for periods of time so the floor can age evenly??
Yes, one of the tidbits our floor guy recommended.
Wood floors darken and lighten (depending on the manufacturer) and when a rug is not moved, well, you will have a permanent "rug" on your floor...especially if it is like our family room that has lots of light....
Now, granted, we don't move our furniture around much, so likely there will be a permanent couch, chair here, and chair there....but, at least during spring and summer we remove the rug in the family room...at this time of year...we bring it back.
Now I was gonna show the whole room, but honestly it isn't presentable....



This is an Ikea rug, we bought about four years ago....
We have an identical one in the bedroom. Love this rug, it has the colors we use in it and it is so durable! The two of them at the time, $200. Yes, for two 8x10 rugs.
Do you see the rolling baskets? One has books and the other toys. Our grandson loves them, runs into the house, straight for the baskets....And when he is done, they can be out of the way...I think they look pretty good actually.....
Also, with Fall comes the last harvest of summer veggies.
I harvested carrots, beets and king beans (a broad bean like limas, but bigger)...
They were a little "old" a bit tough as they had been in the ground for a while, struggling with drought conditions of summer...but still yummy. We roast our veggies to bring out the sugars from fresh picked goodies....It made for a treat....
Today, we are cleaning out the rain barrels (in hopes of more rain this year)...and the rain barrels that were on the old patio....well, Hubby came up with a plan. He is moving them. He didn't have the heart to put them on the beautiful new paver patio, so he is going to add to the gutters and have all the water run down the side yard to the rain barrels there. There will be three in the side yard, and one gets moved to the front for a system there. We are hoping to replace the driveway in the spring to be the same as the patio....so gutters will be going up there too....
So, that is our Fall "doings" around here.
What are your Fall doings?? What are your grand plans?
Nancy

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Just a Little Decor....

I am slow to put up my Fall decor...
I see all the decor everyone is doing, and I just haven't gotten moving....but yesterday, after cleaning up the patio, I put a pumpkin on the urn I have...and added a few leaves and silk sunflowers....
I think it speaks to Fall.
I will get more done, maybe, but for now...it will do.
Have a great day!! Happy Fall decorating!
Show me what you are doing....
Nancy

Monday, October 3, 2016

An Evening Under the Pergola

I swear, we have never in 26 years enjoyed our backyard more!
We can use it so much more now with the pergola....
And yesterday, Hubby put up the string lights so we have light and ambiance!
We had smoked lamb chops and zucchini last night under our "twinkling" lights...
I felt as if we were at some lovely restaurant...

Hubby was pretty pleased with himself, as he should be...there was a great deal of time up on a ladder to staple the lights up...and then put up an extension cord to accommodate the lights.
The bag you see hanging to the right of the pergola, though ugly, yes, very ugly is a bag with water, lime juice and salt with pennies...it was a trick on I saw online to repel flies....I think it might actually work. I will of course test it more and let you know.
But we had the best time...

Here are Hubby's lamb chops and zucchini....it was delish!
The recipe for the marinade for the chops is actually one for rack of lamb, but it worked for this...

This is looking out at the lights with no light on in the house...as you can see they are pretty bright. It is only 4 strands of lights on the pergola. We can return 2!
The original plan was to put up a ceiling fan, and we did find one that is rated to be outside...but we are having doubts about putting one up. We could just "cap" the outlet, it is valuable and I am glad it is there, but really, the amount of time we need it is minimal and I think it might take from the cozy atmosphere....What do you think about ceiling fans in an outdoor space?
In any case, I hope we inspire you to update your outdoor space....we waited too long for this and wonder why we never did it. It is by far money well spent!
Have a great day!
Nancy

Saturday, October 1, 2016

The Vineyard Wedding

I am not going to bore you with lots of pictures of people you don't know....
But I will give a taste of the wedding.
It was lovely, if not terribly blustery. There was a 70% chance of rain and our niece was terrified it would rain on her outdoor wedding. It blew a gale, but only rained all around us in the nearby hills of Walla Walla....
 The wedding was held at the Tero Estates Vineyard. As you can see in this picture, the grapes are covered as they are close to harvest....
 There was a lovely greeting area before serving delicious wines before....

 Music was played while we waited for the ceremony....

The bridesmaids came down the steps with our niece's daughter who was the flower girl....even the bride wore a very light shade of pink....afterall, it was a second wedding.....


You can see how windy it was....

 The new Mr & Mrs!!
.


 Our dinner tents were in the middle of the vineyard....so beautiful....even if the clouds moved in...and the wind picked up....a delicious dinner was served family style and more of the yummy wine...
As it got darker, the wind picked up, so all of us were moved after dinner up to the barn.

It was delightful to have family come together from all over to share in the special day!
Our family here was able to go, as well as our grandson who got to play with his cousins....
The barn was a modern barn where bottling and packing were done....
To our delight a concert was played by the groom's friends. The groom is a concert cellist and his friends a pianist and a violinist played for us....
If you go to Walla Walla, check out Tero Estates Winery...you won't be disappointed....