Thursday, November 30, 2017

Not getting much done..........

This is one reason I'm not getting much sewing done.  The embroidery machine came into my studio from the table in the kitchen when company was here.  I also moved all of the furniture so a queen size air mattress could be here in the studio last week.  I haven't gotten it all put back yet.
I dug up the canna bulbs yesterday.  My daughter in law wants to plant them next year.  This was 5 bulbs when planted in June and now there are 10 or 11 in this large pot.

I ran across this page which I had printed from the internet a couple years ago.  I like the honeycomb look and thought it would be a good fill in project at this point.  The half hexagon they used is 5" on the long edge.

I have a larger die that is more like 8" on the long edge.  I put the pieces next to the colorwash which is 34" with 2" finished squares so you can see the scale.

I have 2 half hexagon dies and the largest one on the 3 part die is about 4" on the long edge.  I think the big one will be more fun.  I can use these GO! dies on my Studio die cutter with the white adapter pad that is under them in the photo.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Lazy day................

I had a really lazy day yesterday after all of the company in the past week.  I ran some errands and read for a good part of the day.

I started doing some free motion quilting on a quilt that has been waiting for over a year.  I did the ditch quilting back in June 2016 and I think I made the top back in 2014.  I would never win any prize for my machine quilting but I'm not trying for prize winning perfection.  I finished all of the quilting with off white thread and will do the black thread next.  I will probably use at least 6 different colors of thread on top by the time I am done.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Jerry's quilt top..........

You have seen one of Otis' quilts in the past.  Jerry is the other guy in my art quilters group.  I sold him a package of four inch finished triangles cut with my Studio die cutter out of a miscellaneous group of scrap fabrics.  I made sure there was an equal number of light values and dark values in the pack which was enough for 36 blocks.  Jerry supplied the fabric for the center squares.  He eliminated one block for a 5 x 7 layout for a quilt top around 60" x 84".  He got the top totally sewn together yesterday.  This is a Friendship Star pattern.  I know some people have renamed this pattern.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Maintenance time.............

The art quilters are coming today so it was time yesterday to wind bobbins and clean machines.  These bobbins fit two of the machines.

Here it is the end of November and they are forecasting close to 60 degrees for the next 2 days.  That is better than ice and snow at this time of the year.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Getting back into a routine.............

This table in the kitchen against the wall of my main floor studio is where my embroidery machine usually sits.  I moved the machine so the table could be part of our buffet set up.  While the kitchen table is pushed over to the left I decided to look in the drawers.  I thought maybe you would like to look in them too.

Top drawer left:  mostly pieces prepared to make into bottle/can cozies with a few crazy pieced blocks thrown in on top.

Second drawer left: a lot of play time blocks...maybe for mug rugs.

Third drawer left:
More playtime or trial blocks.

Fourth drawer left: machine embroidery pieces.  I usually don't have a project in mind for the embroideries.

Fifth drawer left, a few started items made with hand dyed fabric.  In the front, trimmings leftover from stratas.  I forgot to take a picture of drawer #6 which has 2 started journal covers.

Top right drawer:
Miscellaneous blocks and cut away strips (created when I straighten my batik fabric for the first time to prepare for other cutting).

Middle right:  All cutaway strips of batiks.

Bottom right drawer:  All cutaway strips.  It wouldn't be so bad if this was the only place I had drawers full of things like this but I have more drawers full in the studio.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

A wonderful family gathering........

My two handsome grandsons filled their plates to the brim (and so did the rest of us).  Both of them live a distance from here so it was good to see them together.  Everyone was able to come.  The 2 little great-grandsons were the entertainers.  At 1 and 3 1/2 they are at a cute age and love all of the attention from the family.
On Wednesday night we ate at the Bull Moose Bar and Grille where my youngest granddaughter (center) is a server and a bartender.  The remaining granddaughter not here is the mom to the two little guys.  We had a photo session before the meal and I can't wait to see the photos after my grandson edits them.  He has promised I'll have them this weekend.

Now I have to finish cleaning up the basement because the art quilters group is coming Monday.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Another treat............

I promise this is the last food post.  Yesterday morning I baked the frosted creams for today's party.  My daughter's family also took some to the party of the other side of the family last night.  They have always been a favorite dessert in my family.

They are a molasses sheet cake and I shared the recipe in April 2015 but here is is again.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cream 3/4 c. Crisco and 3/4 c. sugar
Add 2 egg yolks and 3/4 c. molasses
Add alternately 1 1/8 c. cold water with 3 c. flour, 3/4 t.baking soda, 3/4 t. cinnamon, 3/4 t. salt. (I do 1/3 of flour and other dry ingredients first, then half of the water, another third of flour, other half water, then remaining flour) beating well after each.  Spread in a 11.25" x 17.25" greased pan or line with parchment paper.  Bake 30 min. or until edges are browned and pulling away from pan.  Frost with your favorite butter cream frosting.  Yield, about 40 pieces.  In the oven I have now 25 minutes is long enough to bake it.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving...............

I am thankful for family who all got here safely yesterday.  I am thankful for all of my readers who faithfully join me each day on my blog.  I am thankful for all of the comments.  I am thankful to have a beating heart, thanks to my pacemaker, so I can continue to create and tell all of you about my projects.

Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate on this day.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

More Thanksgiving prep...........

Yesterday was the day to move the last few things out of the guest bedroom and then bake chocolate Spritz cookies.  I use the recipe in the 1950s Betty Crocker cookbook.  They are a favorite of one of my grandsons and several others in the family.
In the evening to relax I do some knitting on dishcloths.  I like to have 2 or 3 going at the same time and then I can knit on whichever color I want.  My east coast family and Colorado family both arrive today.  On Thanksgiving day everyone is going to the other side of the family parties.  Our dinner will be on Friday.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Cleaning and more baking............

I had a date with the vacuum cleaner yesterday and then it was time to bake some more.  This is English Toffee Squares.  They don't get stale so I can always bake them several days in advance.  I don't like nuts on or in anything but I had a bag of chopped walnuts so I put them on part of it.  I hope that part gets totally eaten because I don't want any of them.
This is my mother's hand written recipe card with my own notes written in pencil.  It is a thin layer of toffee which is hard to spread really even.  My note tells me that I need to be sure it is totally browned or it will be soft instead of crisp.  I also use the mini chocolate chips instead of sweet chocolate on top.  It is really important to cut them while still warm, within a few minutes of spreading the chocolate topping.  Otherwise they are too brittle and just break into lots of pieces while cutting.  This is one of my family's favorite treats.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Baking day...........

My family is divided on which Kringla recipe is the I made both kinds.  I have shared the recipe in the past and here it is if you missed it the first time.  One has egg in it and the other doesn't.

This is what I will be fixing on Wednesday.  My family loves the Chex mix made in the oven the old fashioned way.  I think it gets crispier that way compared to the newer microwave method.

I have had many questions in the last 2 weeks from NO REPLY commenters.  Evidently they don't know we can't respond to them without a link to their email (go to your Google profile and enable your email address, scroll down and click on SAVE).  So.....if you have asked me a question and you didn't get an answer in an email from is because I don't have your email address.  I have an email link on my right sidebar and another link in my profile so you can contact me.......I just can't contact you.

My 2 week pop-up shop closes tonight at midnight EST.  If you want a last look at all of the new detail photos on each item you need to do it now.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

It's a quilt top............

This is the design wall where I do most of my photography.  I just took down "The Star of the Show" and some of the leftover squares are still on the wall.

I pressed this colorwash quilt top and did the staystitching and then it was time for photography.  I was pleasantly surprised how much I like this one.  I built it with the left edge at the bottom but had decided I was going to turn it so the flower bed was on the bottom and the sky at the top.  I feel like I can walk right into this scene to the sunlight in the center.  I'm glad I spent more time tweaking the center before I sewed it.  It is a little under 34" square.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Final layout............

I finally got back to my colorwash and did the final tweaking.  Here it is not yet sewn and ready to take down in rows to go to the sewing machine.

This is what it looks like all webbed together as I add each row to the previously sewn part.

The seams are pressed up in one row and down in the next row.

I haven't pressed it yet but I had to admire my nicely matched intersections.

I will press it today and do the row of staystitching around the perimeter and then photograph it for tomorrow's blog post.

Friday, November 17, 2017


I got to this point in sewing the top together by mid afternoon.  The bottom part was sewn in 4 sections.  I forgot to take a photo at that point.

A recap of this quilt's thought process:  I needed some busy work to sew on while watching TV on November 1st.  There happened to be a box of 1.5" strips near my sewing table so I just pulled out all of the really dark strips and started pairing a lighter contrasting strip with each and sewed on them for the next 8 days.  I realized really quickly that these little 4" blocks were going to take forever to make this into a decent size quilt so on the 10th day I made some 8" blocks to add in and to quickly increase the size.  On day 12 I found the star block while looking for something else.  On day 13 I tried adding in a 16" block.  From that point on it was all design time and making a few more 4" blocks to fill in. None of this quilt was planned ahead of time.  I was just looking for something to sew one night....

I finished sewing it together last night.  The star block was a tiny bit large but if I had trimmed it the white points would have been nipped off so I just eased it in instead.  I don't bother to name most of my quilts but this one should probably be either "Twinkling Star" or "Star of the Show".  It ended up 39" x 51.5" so it still a rather small quilt.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Making progress............

I made 4 new blocks with lighter fabric in them.  I also added some more small blocks into the 16" block.  I'm not sure if that is how I'll leave it so I'll look at it for another day before I sew that part together.

I'm happy with the top part so I'm starting to sew sections together.  I can sew that whole top row together today.

I have a Facebook page for Exuberant Color now if anyone is interested.  I have stayed away from FB because I didn't want to learn one more thing but I finally gave in and joined. 

My 2 week pop-up shop will close on Monday night, November 20.  I have been using my living room as my headquarters for it so I will have 2 days to move everything to prepare for Thanksgiving week visitors.  I can't wait to see the whole family together.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

3 leftover blocks.............

Yesterday I was busy and didn't find any time to sew.  I did however go down to the design wall and put the 3 leftover blocks into the large 16 patch to see if that would work instead of the plain lighter value. I will need to piece 2 more strips sets to have enough blocks to totally fill it in.  I love all of the comments and opinions (keep them coming!) and you all know I'll do what I feel is best anyway.  A couple people commented that they thought the white in the star was too bright and it should be over dyed.  Actually what I liked about it was that it was lighter and shows up.  By over-dyeing it would just blend in and hardly be noticed.  I guess my idea was that it would be the "star" of the show and that the rest of the blocks would be the supporting actors.  I thought that the white was balanced out the by the light blue in 3 of the small 16 patches and that the 6 new blocks I need to make will also have a very light value in them.  I guess we will know tomorrow.........stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Lots of fun..............

My 2 students chose different ways of working on their colorwash pieces.  One started in the middle and the other on the top edge.

About an hour later this much was accomplished.

After lunch and a couple hours of fine tuning they were each happy with their designs and were ready to take down the rows and clip a number to the top of each row stack.  We used calendar pages again for the numbers.

Later in the day I took my 16 patch blocks to the design wall.  The large block isn't sewn together because the sections are the same size as the small blocks and it would be easier to sew this way.  I'm not sure I like the lighter fabric in the large block but I was just using squares that were already cut and leftover from another project.

One of my friends mentioned that she didn't get my last early announcement of the pop-up shop opening.  I suggested that she look in her junk mail and she found it there.  Subscribers, if you haven’t received emails from me recently, check your junk mail. And to keep this from happening in the future, click on the link in the box at the bottom of the note to add my email to your contact list. 

Monday, November 13, 2017

A surprise block...........

I went down to the basement to look for something and found this paper pieced block that goes perfectly with the colors in my 16 patch quilt.  Since it is a 12" finished block it will work with the 4" and 8" blocks.

I have parts ready for two more 8" blocks.

I finished adding the row to the right and one across the bottom for a 17 x 17 wallhanging.  That will finish at 34" square.  This is the orientation on the design wall.

This will most likely be the finished orientation though.  I still have to tweak it.  I can see a few pieces already that need to be moved or exchanged for a different fabric.  I will work on it while my 2 students are working on their design walls today.

I pulled out my 53 trays of 2.5" squares to find the final fabrics.  Each stack is a color range.  In the front are pink to red and next to it is yellow to orange.  There is one stack of multi-color.  I think I have the most trays of green and purple.  Remember you can click on the photos to enlarge them.
All 53 trays nest and fit into this blanket box.  I buy the reusable aluminum cookie sheets.  The ones that are 2 for $1.98 are sturdier than the 2 for $1 from the dollar store.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Clearing off the tables............

I spent most of the day yesterday putting away things.  I still have a long way to go on the cutting table in my main floor studio.  I wonder if I will ever find places to put all of the "stuff" and then if I will remember where I put it.  Meanwhile as a side event during the day I started cutting off the size pieces needed to cut 2.5" squares for colorwash kits.  This pile on my ironing board is 55 fabrics.  I will continue working on this off and on for the next week.  It is always fun to visit my stacks of batiks.