Wednesday, August 31, 2022


I got the seam sewn and pressed and loaded the 3 layers on the longarm. Then I decided I had to take advantage of a nice cool early evening and mow the grass.  It is going to get a little warmer each day for 3 days and I know I don't want to mow on a hot day.

This quilt is all Kaffe collective fabrics and being as multicolor as it is I have a light gray thread on the machine to quilt it.  I just need to change the bobbin to red.  I had planned to bind it with the same stripe as the insert near the top and bottom of the top.  That means a high contrast with the backing (red) so I will probably hand stitch the binding.  I don't know if I can get it all done in one day.  What I mean is I don't know if I can stick with one project all day, you know, attention span of a kindergartener.


Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Opening a can of worms...............

This photo is from 5 years ago of a table that sat next to the far wall of my kitchen before you enter my studio.  We were using for a serving table at this Thanksgiving photo.  It was one of 2 tables against that wall that I moved yesterday.  I mopped the kitchen floor so I could proceed with the next step.

This shot shows the whole wall and my window that I sit next to when I am eating.

This is the other table that was against that wall.  These 2 tables were there in addition to the kitchen table that I mentioned a few days ago (that my grandson disassembled and removed from my house).  This one was purchased at the sewing machine store where I worked part time.  There is a door on each end of the table with storage for a sewing machine with a shelf above for misc.  For me the shelf will be for all of my placemats and the storage area below will be for small appliances like my air fryer.

There are 2 leaves that lift up to make a large work area.  In my case this will become my kitchen table.  It is lower than most kitchen tables and that works fine for me since I'm only a little over 5' tall.  I'm planning on lowering the leaf after every meal (no flat surface, no piling).

I have a huge cutting table in my studio which I can't open all the way in there so I'm planning on bringing it out to the kitchen and putting it against the wall.  I didn't get that far yesterday.  Going through "stuff" is just so tiring.  Today I need to wheel the cutting table out to the kitchen and then vacuum the studio.  Then the table in the first photo will go into the studio and I'll try some different arrangements of furniture.  I'm trying to make it easier to take photos of the design wall in there.  I need to take a break from that and press the backing for the next quilt to finish also and get it loaded on the longarm.  I may be living with a mess for a few days.


Monday, August 29, 2022

Sunday project................

My Sunday only project is the strips of 5 triangle squares.  More explained last Sunday.  I hadn't made any dark low contrast strips yet so I cut some dark Kaffe fabrics to pair with the variety of mediums I have left in the project box.  I'm up to 89 strips now.

I decided I want one more finish for August so I trimmed batting to the right length and cut 2 lengths of this Kaffe Banana Tree fabric for the back.  I need to press both lengths before I sew the seam to join them.

We had some storms roll through in the late afternoon but we were just on the southern edge of them so just a tenth of an inch of rain.  More predicted for this afternoon but it looks like it might miss us.


Sunday, August 28, 2022

Pressing and trimming.............

All of the most current Arboretum blocks are pressed and trimmed.  I'm at the point on the design wall where the next 2 rows will be laying on the floor.  My other option is to make final decisions on the top 4 rows and sew them together and move them up higher on the wall.  Then I would have to move all of the rest of the blocks up too.  Since some of these new blocks will probably end up in the rows that will need to be moved, it might not be too bad of an idea.  Here is the last post that showed the design wall.  I have added a few more blocks since then.  Even if I move everything up, the bottom row will still be on the floor.  I have to decide if I'm making one more 1.5 ratio block and if I'm adding any more Charley Harper.

Here we are at the end of a month again and my self imposed quota of finishes is in question.  Do I continue working on the quilt top and hope I can finish it by the end of the month or take a side trip and quilt something?  I have 2 finishes already and no completed quilt tops (3 in progress), one wallhanging basted to quilt on my Pfaff and it is going to take several days to quilt it.  Decisions, decisions...............


Saturday, August 27, 2022

What did I do all day Friday?............

It was one of those days that slipped away.  I know that in the morning I finished packing a box and took it to the post office.  While I was there I bought these cute stamps.  I bought 2 sheets of them and I feel like I might want more they are so darned cute.

Since the grocery store is right across the street from the post office I went there too and got the 8 things on my list.

I sewed a couple blocks while I watched the noon news and weather.  The rest of the day....I don't know other than I went through a box of "stuff" that I cleared off my kitchen table before my grandson visited last week.  I had him remove my wobbly kitchen table that I bought 11 years ago, one of those you have to assemble yourself and if you tightened too much you stripped the screws and if you didn't tighten enough they worked their way out and fell on the floor.  I kept the 4 chairs but am glad to see the table out of here.  The next thing I knew it was 11 p.m. and time to write my blog post for today.

Today I really need to get busy and accomplish something.

Friday, August 26, 2022

Four plus six.................

I cut both size blocks from the same fabrics.  Here is the first batch.

And the second batch.  I'm not sure about that orange and purple print but it will probably be OK in the mix when I get it to the design wall.  I have a few more to sew before I will turn on the iron.  I need to cut a few more strips of the Aboriginal Dots too for branches.  I don't have much contrast on some of these.

Some no reply blog commenters have asked if there was a pattern for this block.  It is Anne's original directions on SpringLeaf Studios blog.  You can do a search for Arboretum quilt and find it.

The double Impatiens on the left made a compete comeback after bugs ate all of the leaves earlier this summer.  A squirrel has been digging in the pot with the Begonias in it.  I have to keep tucking them back in.

We got another inch of rain yesterday, most of it early in the morning and then another shower late afternoon.  I didn't think we were going to get this storm so I had watered all of the pots the night before.

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Checking on the outdoors...............

These 2 pots are sitting near my garage.  The Coral Bell and Sedum need to be planted this year so I'm looking for a spot for them.

This Early Girl tomato plant is by my driveway. It gets some early morning sun and then again in the late afternoon.

Also on the driveway near the garage is this pot of Cannas.  The ones in the other pot are taller but have bugs eating the leaves.  This one is doing  well so far.  I cut a lot of volunteer bushes and trees behind it.

The Coleus plants get so tall in the pots.  This one resides next to the tomato plants.

In the back garden the Brown Eyed Susans are starting to dry up.  There are lots of seeds there for the birds.

The end of summer Hostas are just starting to bloom.  These are the sweet smelling blooms that look like lilies.  It turned out to be a nice day yesterday, not as hot as they were originally predicting.

Back to sewing today.


Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Reds and oranges...........

I did the gathering and cutting of several reds and oranges yesterday.  I cut for all 3 sizes.  I will probably end up with a few blocks I don't need when I get to the final layout.

I got this big block sewn, pressed, and trimmed.  Just waiting for more blocks to be sewn before it will go to the design wall.

I mowed the grass around 6:30 last night.  It was cloudy and had started to cool down. Tomorrow is supposed to be hotter and possible rain Thursday so it seemed like the right time to do it.  I was admiring my front gardens when I got done.  Click twice on the photo for a larger view.

Here is a little closer view of part of the area.  My hydrangea blooms have turned mostly pink now and I'm hoping they make it all the way to the raspberry color this year.

On the other side of the porch the Sedums are doing well next to the house.  I have a wide overhang on the roof so I do water these now and then because the rain doesn't always hit them.  The Annabelle Hydrangea has been flopping down since the last 2 rains.

I have one tomato plant that is producing larger fruit.  It is the Marglobe variety.  It is determinate which means all of the fruit should ripen at the same time.  Also determinate tomato plants usually do well in pots but this particular kind is a sprawling plant instead of bushy like most determinates.  I think one of my volunteer plants might be this variety too because I had one of these last year and the fruit didn't ripen all at the same time as suggested.  It produced over a 2 month time period.  The other tomatoes in the container are Early Girl medium size and the small ones are 4th of July variety.  The tiny ones way at the back are the gold cherry tomatoes.

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Tree progress.............

I still had some backgrounds cut from last week so I sewed up 5 of them.

I put all of the new blocks up on the design wall as well as a few that were on the side in the last photo I showed of this.  I think I have about 18 more regulars size blocks (lots more orange and red) to sew and 2 larger ones.  Then I need to cut some small size pieces from the Charley Harper fabrics to help fill in the space around the larger blocks.

I got one more large block cut and the branches/trunk cut to size for it.

While I had a load of laundry in I pressed the backing for this wallhanging and then taped it down and layered the batting and top.  I have it ready to baste now.  It is going to be hot for a couple days so the basement will be a cool place to be. 

Monday, August 22, 2022

Reviving my Sunday only project..............

I started this project in the middle of April while the regular TV shows were nearing the season end.  Here is the first post.  The pieces were put in a project box after I was up to 68 strips of triangles sewn.  Then of course I wasn't sure where they were and didn't sew on them for awhile.  This is the batch I sewed last night.  I'm not pressing them until I come up with a layout so I can have all nesting seams.

I printed the photo of the inspiration quilt so I would have a guide for how many and the amount of contrast within the strips.  It looks like I need to do some low contrast triangle strips if I want it to be true to the inspiration.

Here are 36 of the strips (out of 80 so far) on the design wall to get a better idea what my mix is.  I need to cut more triangles before I can go much farther on this project.

I needed to check my tomatoes because they sometimes split after a lot of rain.  I found a couple I had to throw away because of the split.  Then I noticed a big bite out of one of the large almost ripe ones.  When I picked it there was a stink bug on it.  I had noticed one yesterday too so I looked it up on the internet, and yes, stink bugs take bites out of tomatoes.  The site recommended picking the tomatoes before they are fully ripe to not lose any more fruit.  It also suggested dropping the bugs in soapy water.  I haven't seen a big infestation of them but I will be watching closely now.  I picked about 14 good size tomatoes in the morning and this was my late afternoon haul.  I'm sharing with 3 neighbors and my granddaughter.  The ripening has been sporadic this year, lots at once and then a week (or more) of nothing.  Not as predictable as previous years.

Sunday, August 21, 2022


It was raining off and on most of the day yesterday.  My rain gauge had 2.15" in it for a 24 hour total.

That made it a playday for me.  Of course I could have cleaned the house......

The first thing I did was sew 10 more scrappy log cabin blocks.  They will finish at 7" and I now have 40 made.  I think I will need close to 80 for a throw quilt.

I still had a small pile of backgrounds cut for the original size Arboretum blocks so I did some prepping for future sewing.

Two more were prepared in that size.

I had one of the 1.5 ratio backgrounds cut so I prepared that one too.  I think I need more red and orange blocks so that will be the next group I will cut and sew.

One of the shops I get emails from had a sale code for summer and they had one fat quarter pack of Marcia Derse's new line, Random Thoughts.  I had already purchased full yards of a few pieces but now I have a little of all of the fabrics in the line.  I didn't want full yards of all of them so this was perfect.


Saturday, August 20, 2022

All of the blocks so far................

I got the last blocks trimmed and decided to put them up on the design wall so I can make some decisions.  

This isn't necessarily the final layout for this part of it.  I will make at least one more large block which means at least 6 more tiny blocks.  I can cut some Charley Harper fabric instead of tiny trees too.  I need 2 more rows at the bottom to finish at 80" or maybe I will add 3 rows for 88".  I'm still planning on experimenting with a pieced Charley Harper border.

Friday, August 19, 2022

Thursday's blocks..............

Some blocks were made last night, trying to keep up my enthusiasm for them since I still need quite a few more.

I didn't want to go down to the basement where my big ironing table is so they are unpressed and untrimmed at this point.

Earlier in the day I cleaned up the garage a little, swept the floor and then set up 2 card tables at the entrance to the garage.  A friend was coming over for me to help her with all of the math related parts of some quilts she will assemble in AZ over the winter.  I made notes for her and hope they will make sense when she gets around to sewing them.

I finished the mowing, filled the birdfeeders and watered everything that is in pots.  It is supposed to be hot today and then rain off and on Saturday and Sunday.  That sounds like 3 days inside with the AC running. 

Thursday, August 18, 2022

All pressed and trimmed.............

I got four more blocks sewn yesterday and then pressed them all and trimmed them to the proper sizes.  I will sew one more batch before I take them down to the double design wall and add them to the mix.  This batch had a lot of dark blocks, the next batch will be mostly lighter blocks.  Seeing these blocks together has me thinking that a smaller wallhanging might be interesting as well as my twin size quilt.

I mowed about 3/4 of the front yard in the early evening yesterday.  I don't like the glare of the sun when I am mowing so late in the day is best or a cloudy day is good too.  I will mow the other 1/4 and the side and back yards today.


Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Sewing, no pressing or trimming...............

I really thought I was going to sew, press and trim all of these blocks but all I did was sew them.

Once I realized I wasn't going to turn on the iron I sewed 2 more blocks and then paired up branch fabrics with background fabrics for 4 more blocks.

This is my view as I eat my lunch every day.  I think it is as close to being like an English garden this year than it has ever been.  I saw a hummingbird and 2 Monarch butterflies yesterday at lunchtime.  A little later a Goldfinch was hunting for some of the dried Coneflower seed heads.  Lots of birds visited the feeders while I was sitting there too.  We are still having beautiful weather so I took a long lunch break.  We know that here in northern IL the heat usually comes back the last week of August and into the first week of September so we need to enjoy this pleasant weather while it is here. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Tiny trees.............

I pressed all of the rest of the fabrics for Arboretum trees and cut more backgrounds.  I got one tree cut into shapes and ready to sew.

These are all of the fabrics I cut for tiny trees that will finish at 4" tall.

I had all of the usual errands to run yesterday plus a load of laundry so no sewing happened.

My neighbors got 2 cats and they want to be outside quite a bit.  My country garden in the backyard has them fascinated with all of the tall flowers to run through.  I haven't seen any chipmunks lately so I think maybe they are scared off.  When I see a squirrel out there half way down a tree but not coming down to the ground I know the kitties are out there.

Monday, August 15, 2022

Gathering and cutting.........

I pulled the next batch of fabrics to cut Arboretum block backgrounds.  Some didn't have fold marks where I needed to cut so I cut 14 of the original size blocks two of the 1.5 ratio blocks and 7 of the smallest block.  I will have to press the rest of the fabrics before I can cut blocks from them.  I also cut another color of Aboriginal dots for the branches.  I will have to cut more of that as I sew but I decided to use what I have already cut first.

I decided to put all of the log cabin blocks on the wall and there were 8 more in there that I didn't have in the count yesterday.  30 blocks that will finish at 7" so far.  I found some more scraps and cut some more pieces so when I want some mindless sewing I will make some more blocks.

The Annabelle Hydrangeas turned back to lime green about a week ago.  Now I have to watch for just the right time to pick a bouquet for drying.

The double Impatiens I showed a couple weeks ago that were totally ravaged by bugs eating the leaves have survived.  This is all new leaves on the bare stems that were left.  There was a bloom the day before I took this photo and now it is gone.  There are 2 buds in the lower right corner of the photo.  I had replaced the plants in 2 pots so I went out to the weed pile to see if the ones I dumped were growing and they are.