Thursday, January 31, 2013

Madrona Road Finish

Not only is this my first finish (and start) of 2013, it means I finished one in January too!  Whoohoo.
And I am entering into the MQG Madrona Road Challenge, with hours to spare.  

Madrona Mosaic

As of yesterday, here is where I stood.  I decided to add one more section of tiny tiny squares.  
If I had taken the time to determine how long it takes to build a block with 1" squares, I might not have gone this route, but here we are, at the end of the road with it done.  

I wanted to make this at least large enough for a baby quilt.  
The final dimensions are 42" X 50".
Our Modern Quilt Guild said that we could include one more solid, and I chose Kona white.  Each of the other fabrics in the line had white in it (except the yellow and blue solids), I felt I could pull from that with the solid white.  

And here I am when the power went out.  With just one day left to complete.

I was in the midst of deciding if I should pack everything up and finish the quilting somewhere else, when the power came back on.  And I said a little prayer to the binding goddess, and I believe that she was fair.

With only about 15 minutes of daylight left I was able to snap a few photos.  They aren't the best, but will have to do.  
I used the Morning Glory fabric provided on the back.  

 I did just a few bits of free motion quilting from the back, following the flowers in the Morning Glory fabric and using the variegated black/white thread I was using on the back so they would show on the front.  

I was undecided about how many of these flowers to use on the front.  I ended with the few across the bottom and 3 coming up the left side.  

I used Superior Threads King Tut white thread for the quilting on the front.  

At this point I would wash the quilt.  But I will wait to see if I hear anything from either contest before I do that.  

Fingers crossed.  

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

WIP Madrona Progress

I'm down to the wire now, only today and tomorrow to have this complete!  I spent yesterday deciding if I wanted to go larger or leave the top as it was.

In the end I opted for larger, so that I can use it either for a baby quilt or small lap quilt.  I don't want to just fold it up in the closet when the challenge is over.

I did not have a lot of time, and I don't normally work with a 'center'.  I don't add a lot of borders anymore, so I tried to figure a way to make the rest of the top branch off of the center, rather than just add borders.  I think that the corner of this one is what I am going with.  Which meant making 2 more of those blocks with the tiny tiny pieces.  I may (or may not) have to make the opposing corner the same way, I'm still dwelling on that, I just don't have the time left to be too picky.  Today, I have to be finished with the top and start quilting.  I know the quilting design I will use, that I have known all along.  And I have to use one more fabric in the top, I haven't worked that in yet, but it is on the drawing board.  

I love the way the back of the mosaic looks.  One day I may do something similar and use the backs for the front.  

Yesterday while I was thinking along the Madrona Road - I took care of a few bee items.  These are 9.5" strip blocks, the last blocks for the Running with Scissors bee.  While it's nice to be complete, it also makes me a little sad to not have those little packages coming every month.  

I also moved forward in the Quilt Around the World II group.

This grouping so far, on it's trip around the world, she asked for charcoal background and geometric shapes, these blocks are really coming together nicely.

I am now half way through the 25 sets of blocks, I have made 12 for others and my own starter block, 13 total.   This is a very diverse group, everyone wants something different.  The way the group works is everyone is in a loop order, and when you get the next package in the loop, you make a block and add to the package, send on to the next person in the loop.  In the end you will have 25 blocks in your theme.  
Mosaic of blocks I have made to date:

This was my starter block

Linking up with Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Monday, January 28, 2013

On the Madrona Road

The Modern Quilt Guild's winter challenge uses the fabric line Madrona Road by designer Violet Craft for Michael Miller.
The deadline to be considered by Violet Craft and Michael Miller for QuiltCon is January 31.  Our local Modern Guild received our fabric packets on January 19, due to not having a meeting in December.  Eleven days to complete.  Now, for our local guild we have until March to complete, which is a more realistic time line.  

I am going to hit the January 31 deadline.  Even if it kills me, which it is coming close to doing.

 The fabrics, luckily one of the LQS carried some of the line, and I was able to get more than the fat quarters provided by TMQG.  

What to do?  That took me a day to brainstorm.

Making the sample block took another day and a half.

After completing the sample, I decided to change a few pieces in the block to make the gradation flow evenly.  

I made 5 blocks - which I was going to consider my 'complex' blocks for the quilt.  I did not even have a plan on how the rest of the quilt would go, just a vague idea after these blocks were completed.  
That is 320 little cut 1 1/2" squares, 1" finished.  With 3/4" cut white Kona strips, 1/4" finished.  
I was close to losing my mind yesterday.  
I measured wrong, sewed strips together wrong, and cut wrong.  Once my machine went ballistic and I thought I would cry.  When I had refilled the bobbin, I undid part of the top thread, and it wouldn't sew a seam.  It took about half an hour to figure it out, and when I saw it, it was so obvious.

I forbade anyone to disturb me.
I had a bagel and apple slices for dinner.  
There was no time for anything but tiny tiny squares.

At this point, I was so close to having the blocks finished.  Other days I would have stopped and come back another day. But with the fast approaching deadline, I pushed through and completed all 5 of these blocks.  It was a very long sew day.  

When I started playing with the blocks and the other fabrics to find a good placement, I did something I had not even considered.  I liked the medallion feel of this layout, but laying the blocks together I needed to add something to have them the same size - I added the yellow strips.  

This will be the center of the quilt, using 4 of the blocks I completed.  I have an idea for the rest of the quilt, building on the yellow strips, and  after thinking about it half the night.  

And I now have 3 days to finish the top, make the back, quilt and get the photo into the Flickr pool for consideration by Michael Miller.  I will be done.  I may have to apologize, drink and crash afterwards - but I will be done.  There are quilts and pillows and bags already in the pool, some great pieces, go have a look.  

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

WIP Wednesdays

Every week I have a plan.  Usually by today the plan is out the window and I have been improvising for at least two days.  That means the plan stayed in place for about one day.  

Life happens.  The temps drop 40 degrees in one day.  The cupboards are bare.  Paperwork piles up.  

We get new bunnies.

It was hard to get a picture, they won't sit still.
Here are their cute bunny rumps. 

These are Netherland Dwarf bunnies, they stay very small, our other one only weighs in at 2 lbs.  These babies are about 5 weeks old, one male one female - no names yet.

Our brood of bunnies now numbers 5.  And seeing their little faces and their baby bunny antics makes me care a little less about the paperwork and mail stack on my desk.  

I did get to sew the last couple of days - in between the dog walking due to the sudden cold and the bunny room rearranging.
This is for 3X6 Bee - Solids Group.  We are almost complete this quarter, next quarters sign ups are now open.  I'm going in for another round of solids so I get enough blocks for a whole quilt in the same color theme.  

Block 1 for January Bee A Mod Swapper, this is the last month for that Bee, and I will be making one more block.

For Quilt Around the World II, Ursi is asking for neutral color blocks with a pop of color.  The photo of her blocks all together didn't come out too well.  Night and the wood floor makes everything look dark.  They do actually look good, just my photo does not. 

What I am trying to get put together and off my design wall, a commission piece.  It's coming along.  I am working on the last row.  Then rearranging and sewing the rows together.  

One parting bunny shot.

Thanks for visiting, if you came by way of Freshly Pieced WIP Wednesday.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Granola Recipe

Like Richard Nixon, 'I am not a cook.'  That was what he said, right?  
I may have lost a letter or something in the years since those words were uttered.

 I like a tidy house, I like good meals.  I don't like to clean and I definitely don't like to cook.  I will do those things, they are somewhat required in a home, I'm just not jumping up and down on the days when the dust balls are so obvious I have no choice.  And all my family is old enough, have their own money and transportation,  if they are super hungry they know where to find food.  They can, in fact, cook for themselves.  My daughter is vegan, and she can whip up awesome vegetarian meals and smoothies.  

Don't judge me too harshly, I do enjoy doing the laundry.  Yes, enjoy.  

Now when I say, 'I don't like to cook', I mean the every day meal stuff.   I like to make bread and cookies and specialty items.  I have some favorite recipes that I make for get togethers, like homemade macaroni and cheese, or peach bread pudding.  
I also have a favorite granola recipe that I am going to share with you.  When I started making my own granola from this recipe, I loved it so much, I could never go back to purchased granola.  I go without when I run out, store bought tastes too sweet now, and I love the flavor the olive oil adds to this granola.  

Before toasting

Maple Granola
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup dried unsweetened coconut chips
  • 1 cup pecans or walnuts, quartered
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp coarse salt
  • 3/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
Preheat oven to 300 degrees
Mix together oats, coconut, nuts, syrup, oil, sugar, sesame seeds, salt and nutmeg

Spread granola in even layer on a rimmed baking sheet.  Bake, stirring every 10 minutes, for 40 minutes.  
Add raisins and bake until granola is toasted about 10 minutes more.  Let cool completely.

Note granola can be stored at room temperature for up to two weeks.  Makes 7 cups.

Mary's notes:  I use coconut flakes, I haven't ever located coconut chips.  The flakes work fine.
                            I use pine nuts instead of sesame seeds.
                            I do not have 'fresh nutmeg', I just use the nutmeg spice.
                            I don't care too much for raisins, I substitute dried cranberries.

I wrote out the original recipe I found years ago in the paper (our newspaper has been a great source for recipes over the years).  I wanted to provide the original and let you how what I had adapted for my personal taste.  

After toasting

The first time I bought all the ingredients I thought the recipe was cost prohibitive, what with the walnuts and the rolled oats and maple syrup.  In reality, it isn't as all those ingredients last through several uses in the recipe.  I use the rolled oats in very little else, or the coconut.  Some of the other ingredients will be used in other recipes, or like the dried cranberries, just generally eaten.

And now enjoy with your favorite yogurt or cereal or fruit.  Sometimes I just carry some in a baggie for snacking on.  

And this is what I am working on today, Madrona Road Challenge for the Modern Quilt Guild.

I only got the fabric packet from our local Modern Guild yesterday.  To be considered and entered for Quilt Con I have to have something completed by Jan 31.  Just 11 days from now.  No pressure.  None at all.  

Saturday, January 19, 2013

I already have that fabric

I had some out of town company, which was fun, shopping, eating out, window shopping, showing off sewing projects (she isn't a sewer, but she is a scrap booker, which is like making little quilts with paper, so she gets it).  
Her sister is having a baby and they were talking about someone on Etsy making the crib set.  They asked me if I could make a quilt to match the crib set.  Being the jump in with both feet eyes closed person I am, I said I would make it all.

Me:  I'm going to make the crib bumpers, bed skirt, and a pillow for D.
Husband: Have you ever made those before.
Me:  Of course!  I've made a pillow.
H:  And the rest?
Me:  And the quilt goes without saying.
H:  You've never made those things before.
Me:  Here is the best part....
H:  I see you are just ignoring my obvious statements.
Me:  She had this fabric line picked out that she had only seen on-line
H:  How is that the best part?
Me:  She told me the name, I looked at it on line, and then I went and dug through those shipments I got last week, because the print looked familiar.
H:  What shipments?
Me:  And I already had the fabric!  Can you believe that?  
H:  Sadly, yes.  
Me:  That was the best part.
H:  About those shipments?
Me:  I'm still ignoring you.  

Internet was spotty at our house for the last two weeks, and I can only sneak on to blogs and Flickr at work so much.  When I did have service at home, I had to do things like email, pay bills, and tax planning.  Yippee (said sarcastically).  Finally I got it through the Motorola customer service that our router was bad, which I told the man in the first 5 minutes of our conversation.  After over an hour, he agreed with me.  I wanted to call his wife and tell her she needs to work a little harder on getting him to see that we are right and it is easiest to just agree immediately.  

I did get to some of the bee blocks for January this week, here is a line up:

These four are for the 3X6 Bee on Flickr, I'm in the solids group.  I have two more to make.  This is my second round of this bee, I will need at least one more round to have enough blocks in my color choice for a quilt.  

This block is my second to last for the Running with Scissors flickr bee.  I love the Ring of Flying Geese block, and Carrie told us the triangle fabrics belonged to her Grandmother.  It is going to be a sweet quilt with the connection to her Grandmother.  

I am playing around with thread painting on a mini top.  Here is a sneak peek.

I'm not sure where this is going, but it has been fun just playing around and letting the design come about on its own. 

I hope you all had a week where you accomplished some sewing.  I would love to see, if I don't already visit your blog, list a link in your comments, and I will come by for a visit and start following.  

Monday, January 14, 2013

So many happenings

There are so many swaps, QAL, FAL, groups happening on blogs and Flickr it is getting hard to keep up!
I'm going to have to do some picking and choosing (which may happen all on it's own, as I sometimes bust deadlines).
all year with prizes!  You can join the Flickr Group and sign up for each month. Did I mention prizes?

Ever busy and supportive Leanne  is running this year's 2013 Finish A Long, you can also join anytime and show off your photos in the Flickr pool.  This one is a quarterly sign up, which I missed this quarter, but I have a photo up anyway, always hopeful, that's me!  Did I mention there are prizes? 

she can quilt

Also happening on Flickr is the  Pantone Emerald 2013 Quilt Challenge you can join up anytime but entries must be submitted by March 8.  There are 3 categories, and I already have my Emerald Green fabric!  But not my idea yet.  There were stunning quilts last year in the Tangerine Tango Challenge.  This group is being run by Ali, go take a peak at her blog.  
2013 Emerald Quilt Challenge

My own swap, Postage Stamp Block is finishing up.  Some have asked about a second round, so I hope to move forward with that!

In the mean time, time to get cracking on some bee blocks for January! 


Friday, January 11, 2013

One for the boys

In this post I am going to pay tribute to my very special, patient waiting in quilt shops, can't understand color value, questions my fabric hoarding, but can build motors, fly a plane, read plans, fix almost anything - husband.
Go get your manfolk - I will wait.

Hmm mmmm, la la la -twirling hair.
Ok?  Ready?

He has cars.  And one is going to be featured this weekend in the Hampton Roads Auto Show in the section of the show Ultimate Muscle Car.  What is a muscle car you ask? Your manfolk will explain.  At length.  Just nod your head.

This is the car being featured at the show:
1970 Cuda Convertible

on the way to the show!

Green machine terrific, you say?  What could be better?  Well, a second 1970 Cuda Convertible.  Why have one when your awesome wife will let you have two?

1970 Cuda Convertible

Said husband has been building motors and restoring cars for 30 years. This car he has had since he was 19 years old.  He doesn't usually participate in shows, he does this for his own pleasure.   He likes to drive them, he doesn't build 'for looking at'.

1970 Charger

Are they fast?  It could be said, that yes, they will make you grab the dash in fear and hang on for a thrill ride.
You are thinking, have your other menfolk caught the bug?  That would be our oldest son's Spice Red GTO that he bought after saving ALL his money during his Iraq tour.  (He has a different GTO now, as he wrecked this one, it looks the same, the second photo of the orange GTO is his current vehicle, he also has an awesome wife that is OK with cars.)

And, Mary, what is that in the background?  Is that a SIX car garage?  Why, yes, it is.  I will remind you that I have a sewing room.  The garagemahal has a larger footprint than our house. 
Anything more in that garage?  Yep.

1968 Charger R/T

 All technical questions you menfolk wish to ask I will forward to said muscle car enthusiast.   I mostly just nod my head and pretend to listen when the technical talk starts.  Pretending to listen is an art, I tell you!  

And one more, the last one, he claims (because he will be out of garage space and we aren't moving again for the sake of cars).  Being painted it's original burgundy color right now, a rare car find.  

1968 Barracuda fastback

For those of you not keeping track - that is 5 cars, and one garagemahal.
 I have 2 sewing machines and 1 sewing room.
All who believe that Mary should be able to purchase any fabric she pleases, a show of hands.
That is what I thought.