Saturday, March 27, 2010

Quilting and Orchids

First I want to share progress on my quilting. I'm working on a Wedding Ring table runner. A couple weeks ago I showed you the arc segments laid out of the background fabric. Today I can show you a little progress:

The arcs have been fused onto their blocks, blind stitched (by machine) down so they won't come loose. Then I added the "jewels" - the fabrics that form the squares at the intersections. Where I was sort of so-so on the fabrics I picked for the projects, adding the jewel fabrics has really brought this to life for me. I'm really liking it now. Next step in this project is to sew the blocks together. I'll show you more steps as I go along. So far, so good!! I'm thinking I do not want to leave the runner square. I was thinking of edging it at the outside of the rings. Now I'm thinking that maybe I'll leave a border of background fabric about 1" all the way around. Do you have any suggestions on what I could do? Please let me know. I'm still thinking about it.

I have also created the block of the month which was due this morning, and layered the batik table runner and mat. I didn't get pictures yet, so I'll show you these later. Maybe I'll get the runner quilted before I show you.

Next I want to show you some orchid pictures... I took these a week ago, and was going to show you earlier, just never got the pictures off the camera. This orchid with all the pink flowers is my second orchid. I was trying to get a shot of the two most recent flowers. They are noticeably bigger than the rest of the flowers on the plant. I must be doing something right with this plant.

Here is a close up and the flower looks much bigger here. Yes, part of it is that it is closer to the camera, but it really is much bigger.

This is my first orchid plant. It is a different species, and I've had it for over a year. I'm not sure the pictures show, but this older one has more upright leaves, and they are mottled verses solid green of the second plant. It came with a single large flower, which I THINK was a very dark purple. The flower died, and I now think I let it get to dry. Then a year ago, I had another flower bud start up, but it did not get tall enough to even see the stem. (Again, I think I let it get too dry.) About 1-2 months ago, I noticed that another flower bud was forming. I'm so excited! I took this picture a week or so ago. The second picture I took tonight.

Below you can see both plants, the pink flowered orchid is in a bigger pot and the flash washed out the color. And look how tall my flower bud is getting!! I'll be sure to show you all when it opens! I'm thinking it is getting close. I'm SO excited about this.

And yes, I do keep both orchids on the side of the tub. With a couple pots of water on the sides, and a humidity tray below the older orchid. They grow well here, but not many people get to see them. I bring them out to share when I know I'm going to have company!
Other things in my life... We had pinewood derby with our Cub Scout Pack, and I crossed the two older boys over to Boy Scouts. I will miss them at our meetings - both are great boys.
Have a great night!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

What have I been up to?? -Not quilting

This week our Cub Scout Pack will have it's Pinewood Derby, and two of my Webelos Scouts will be crossing over to Boy Scouting. My den has both 4th graders, and 5th graders, and the two fifth graders have completed what they needed to for crossing over. To honor their accomplishments, I'm making what I call arrow plaques for them. Basically I take a 1x4 ceder board, about 3 feet long... wood burn their name and the year onto the board. On to this will be mounted an arrow which has had a color band painted for every rank award they have earned during their Cub Scout career. Bobcat is blue, Wolf is red, Bear is a sea-green, Arrow Points are gold and silver. Webelos rank is a tan color, and Arrow of Light is yellow. Then they also get a band for each activity pin they earned as a Webelos, which are color coded to the activity badge group the pin belongs to. (red, purple orange, blue, and green.) Both of these boys earned 8 activity pins. So all the paint except silver has been done (I might need to buy some silver), and I'm now waiting for the paint to get dry enough to remove the tape before I go to bed.

So tomorrow, I will do the woodburning (the letters and numbers are already traced onto the boards, then I will attach the arrow mounting bracket, and stain the wood. I'll mount the arrows Wednesday just in time for the pack meeting. As well as a quick trip to Flagstaff to pick up the Pinewood Derby trophies for the race. I'll take a picture of the plaques when they are done, so you can see them. But now time to remove the tape, and then off to bed. Tomorrow will be a busy day.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Getting Ready for Spring

Last night we received just a dusting of new snow, but yesterday I started getting serious about Spring. As I've mentioned before, hubby and I will be planting our first vegetable garden this spring. We ordered a bunch of different seeds, and some of them are to be started indoors before the weather is nice enough to go outside. Specifically, the tomatoes and the cabbage need to be started 4-8 weeks early. We purchased a planter box with a cover to start our seeds. Here is a pictures of the first seeds we have planted.

Last fall I purchased tulip and daffodil bulbs, and planted a lot of them. But I don't know what I was thinking when I purchases the bag of 90+ tulip bulbs. I did not get them all planted, and noticed they were starting to sprout all on their own. So I planted them in what ever containers I could find. I don't know if they will flower, but I'm hoping I can put them outside when the ground thaws, and if I don't have flowers this spring, maybe I will next spring?? Below is a close up of all the bulbs.

Next I want to show you my table runner I have been working on. I picked the option that most of you also liked, but I shortened it. So here is the pieced top:

And below is a close up view of one of the ends of the runner. I'm not sure what I did, if I stretched the bias, or I'm thinking it was when I sewed the bias background to the strip sets. Anyway, I had a dickens of a time getting all the seams in the strip sets to match. The person leading the group that this is from was raving how easy this pattern was. Well, I didn't find it that easy, and I'm not sure that I will make it again. If I do, I will probably pick a different setting for the blocks - one where I won't have to match all the seams!!

And when I shortened the runner, I had an extra 4 blocks. So I put them together and made a small table topper, or maybe it could be a candle mat out of them. I do really love the fabrics, just not matching all these angled seams!!

Friday, March 12, 2010

More on Robotics

The matches are today and tomorrow!

One of the teams is streaming the matches:

Current Standings:

Match Results:

My son's team is 1165, Team Paradise

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Sewing Day and Robotics...

Yesterday, I was to have a sewing day. But we didn't allow enough time for travel when we left the house, so there was not really time to drop me off before hubby went to his first meeting. One thing led to another, and I did not get to the travel trailer until about 3:30pm. At that time my in-laws were already there, so I got to visit with them for a while, and then we went to dinner. So my sewing day started about 7pm. I'll show you the results of the sewing, but first I want to show you a little about Robotics...

My youngest son is in his first year teaching at a High School in Phoenix, AZ. He is also assisting with the Robotics Team at the school. He is working with another teacher who has a lot of experience working with the Robotics team. The first two pictures show the playing field for the district competition in Phoenix this weekend. The robots they are building will play soccer. Notice the red "bump" in the first picture, and the blue "bump" in the second picture. One of the requirements is that the robot be able to move over these bumps!! In the first picture you can also see one of the goals. It is the box below the bulls-eye target. (The bulls-eye may also be part of the goal, I didn't get any information on exactly how they are to play the game, and no one was practicing when we were in this area.

This is the team's robot. There are very serious safety inspections, and most teams need to do some work between their first inspection, and their final inspection. There are also size and weight restrictions.

My son is in the lower right corner of the above picture. They are fastening on the red bumpers after their first inspection.

I was just amazed by what the High School Students build.

One of the items they needed to fix was the camera was "grounding out on the frame". Here they are drilling a hole in the mount, and will add some type on insulation before re-fastening it to the robot. (and yes, that is a girl doing the drilling. There were almost as many girls there, as there were guys!)
Unfortunately, we had to leave, as we had to be home early evening to meet with our Cub Scout Dens, so we did not get to see their robot in action. Here is wishing them well in the competition tomorrow!!!

Now the sewing I did get done yesterday evening was to finish the wedding ring "sausages" that will be part of my tablerunner. I started this with my neighborhood group. We are piecing arcs, and then sewing them to iron-on interfacing, and then turning them right side out. Below I have laid them out on the fabric I plan to use for the background. This is not what I had pictured. I was planning to make the cornerstones (missing in these pictures) either dark blue or dark brown. But I wanted the blue at the brown ends of the arcs, and the brown at the blue ends. As you can see, I have brown and blue coming together at each end. Hmm. I'm thinking that I might make some more arcs, and flip the blue and brown "ends" And I think I might scramble the fabrics in their positions, still alternating the blue and the brown, but moving the fabrics around. What do you think? The white ends are the interfacing, and the dark blue and brown fabrics will get sewn over these ends.

Below is a close up of the end. You can see the interfacing at the ends of the arcs, and I have the brown and blue fabrics in the lower corners.

The other projects I took with me, but did not have time to do, were the table runner I showed you a few days ago, and the next block of the month kit from Odegaards. No worries about running out of projects to do. LOL!!
I hope to do a little more sewing tomorrow. Also, I'm going with a couple other quilters from my neighborhood to see the local quilt show at the Flagstaff Library. Should be a fun time! Maybe they will let me take pictures to share with you.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Snow, Snow, go away; Come back another day!

Actually I like the snow. Even after shoveling for over an hour. It snowed yesterday, and was supposed to be done last night. But it snowed more today that it did yesterday. We have accumulated another 8-12 inches, I think. I have a hard time telling with the drifts, and we had a lot of wind with this storm. (Hmmm, must be that I'm getting a little tired of the snow, because I didn't even bother to take pictures.) All the ground that was starting to show is now under a good layer of snow. Lets just all pray that it melts slowly, or we will probably have flooding in our little town.

I'm going to have a sewing day tomorrow, and I'm looking forward to it. (Today I helped hubby with his stuff, and worked on his new web site.) I'll show you what I accomplish when I get back to my computer.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Your opinion wanted please!

I have the blocks together for my table runner, and now the fun begins. Below are different settings for the blocks. All pictures have the same blocks, just twisted and turned. So which setting(s) do you like? And to add more options, I have one strip set left that will make 4 more triangles. These could be put on the ends, and make the ends of the runner pointed instead of square. This last strip set has the bright orange fabric in it, in the 2nd or 4th positions (2 each).

Disclaimers: 1. Now that I see what the strips are doing, I wish I had arranged the strips differently. 2. Yes, the right side of the runner is "floating". My table was not long enough to hold all the blocks - no the runner will not necessarily be on this table. and 3. Please ignore the toes that appear in some of the pictures!!

The pic above and the next two below are the same settings just playing with moving the blocks around.

Again, above and below are the same, just rotating the "squares" on the ends.

Please, I really do want your comments. Even if you are not a quilter, you can decide which one(s) you like best. Please drop me a line and let me know. (Click on the " comments" like just below, between the envelope and the pencil)
Thanks so much!

The first blocks...

I just couldn't wait until tomorrow to see the first of the blocks from the strip sets. If you look at the post below, this is the far right strip set, cut into blocks. To make these, you cut a 45 degree strip of background the same width as the strip set, layer the strip set and the background, and then sew down both sides. Then use the "Diagonal Set Triangle Ruler to cut 7 inch blocks from the sewn strip. I needed to pick out a few stitches at the point of each block before I could open them and press them. I'm not sure I will put these 4 blocks together like this. I'll have to see what the other two strip sets make. Yes, I have 4 strip sets. The fourth one will make points at the end of the table runner.

I'll post more progress tomorrow.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Strip Sets

I just want to share with you a quick peak at the strip sets I put together last night. I just finished pressing them, and I love the colors. Next step is to cut the background fabric they will be sewn to, sew them, and then cut them into blocks.

Stay tuned as I get the next steps done.
Leave me a message and let me know you've been here. Thanks!

The Census

OK, I stumped the Census Bureau. We just got our Census form - hand delivered. It says to fill it out and return it today. You are supposed to answer with who will be living in your household on April 1. But what if "what I expect today" is not "what is" on April 1st?? Now I'm not trying to be morbid, but people die unexpectedly, and in today's economy, people unexpectedly loose their jobs, and move their household. So what if one of these things happen to us before April 1st, and I've already sent in my form???

The young lady who answered my call at the Census Bureau help line could not answer my question. She put me on hold 3 different times, ask for clarification of my question twice and then finally told me she "did not know what to tell me, was there anything else she could help me with?". This just gave me the biggest chuckle!

So the question I need to answer is "Do I send the form in now, or do I wait until April 1st? They are really harping they need accurate numbers. But really, if we all fill the forms out and mail them before April 1st, Can we guarantee that they will ALL be accurate?

Am I a trouble-maker or what!! :-)

But really, I don't think it is such a strange question. What will you do?

aaaahhhh, that's better!

I have spent the last 2 hours sorting out 2 inch batik strips into 4 groups of 5 strips each, and have all four groups sewn into "strip sets". Tomorrow I will press them, and move onto the next step. The colors in these strips are purple, rust, orange, and green. I know, it sounds weird, but I think it is going to be very pretty when done. I haven't decided if this will be a table runner, or a table topper, or a wall hanging.

Also, several year ago, I started doing Bonnie Hunter's "Leaders and Enders". Then, truth be told, I ran low on light fabrics, and instead of doing leader and enders, just used the same small piece of fabric to start and end any of my piecing seams. So as I started sewing my strip sets together, I finally got smart, searched my stash and found some muslin that was big enough for me to make squares. So in the process of making these 4 strip sets, I also made 13 two-patches (one light 2" square sewn to one dark 2" square). Check out Bonnie Hunter's site. You too might want to make Leaders and Enders.

Have a great day!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

I need a fix...

I've spent my days this week gathering stuff for taxes, and doing work for my husband. (I've reformatted an 11 page document and scanned in another 40 pages and messed with them until I had the stuff right.) I still have about 8 pink post-it notes for the last of the stuff in the tax work book. Then I need to get it to the accountant in Phoenix. I just want to be done with it all. I want to sew. Yes, I'm whining.

Putting borders on my 2007 BOM requires more effort than I want to do right now. I need to find something little to do, and that probably means starting something new. UGH. I don't need more in progress stuff. So I'm back to finishing. I need to finish stuff. So I really should do my borders.

Guess I'll finish this post and go into the sewing room. I'm sure I can find SOMETHING to do!!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Just a little progress...

I've been working on getting the taxes ready for two days now, and told myself that when they were done, I could reward myself with sewing... UGH! I still have taxes to finish, and in between I've created all the invoices for the month for hubby. BUT I cheated just a little. Last night I cut the fabric for the first border of my 2007 BOM top, and sewed the ends together to make my strips. I know, it is not much, but it is a little bit of progress! I need every bit I can get.

OK, off to stuff invoices into envelopes, and work on the taxes. I WILL get the taxes done!

Leave me a little note if you read this. I need all the encouragement I can get! Thanks!