Monday, July 28, 2014

Jamming Does Not Mean Good



When I talk of jamming, I am not talking about music.  I have, on occasion, gotten the hopping foot caught under the edge of a quilt and since the needle is still in full swing, it has sewn the fabric into the center of the hopping foot.


Big giant bummer!  And then whilst trying to get the thing unstuck (rippit, rippit), I broke the seam ripper (holy smokes – never done that before!).  And, BTW, it took forever to find where that tiny pointy piece flew, so it wouldn't get sewn into the quilt!


But, fortunately I have two of those (this style is my favorite, so I have one in my travel bag) and it eventually comes unstuck.  So I finished up the Quilt of Valor that I was working on and got it over to the meeting – too bad Flat Stanley didn’t get a photo with it.
Pieced by CT Quilters QOV Group, Quilted by Me
After that, I finished up another of Beth’s novelty squares quilts – this time with a different panto of critters that I like.  This one had smaller turtles, snails and frogs:


Frog, bottom left - Turtle, top right

Snail


Isn’t that heart in the middle a nice touch?

On the nature front, I have been trying to take a photo of our Gallinule family for quite some time.  The saga began with one Gallinule in our pond – unusual for us.  This is a stock photo:


This guy was all by himself for at least a week until another came along.  And then the other was gone … or so I thought.  The second one was the female and she had retired to the grassy area in the pond to build her nest.  The tiny babies were the cutest things – just little black puffballs.  The red shields on their faces comes later.

But the dad wouldn’t let anyone come within 300 feet of them without squawking and when he does, they all melt away into the grasses quicker than a whistle.


Mom and the babies are in the grassline in the back

They look like an elegantly dressed duck – black, a little white and red - but they aren’t really ducks at all.  They are in the Rail family and they have long legs and clutching feet that can walk on top of the weed covering and hold onto the grasses.  They swim and dive very well even though they don’t have webbed feet like ducks.  The babies have gotten quite big now and they are venturing farther afield from mom, so maybe I’ll have a better chance of a photo soon.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Catching Up Once Again



I always seem to be a little behind on my blogging.  To finish off what happened last week:

I did one more session with my little Flat Stanley for the young Boy Scout in Minnesota (for his visit to Dunedin, see this post), I took him to my Quilts of Valor meeting last Friday.  Boy Scout Troops frequently take part in community service programs so I showed Flat Stanley what Quilts of Valor was all about and what we do at the meetings.

First he saw the patriotic fabrics display in the Quilt Shop.  Flat Stanley is standing on the basket of kits of fabrics/instructions for blocks that volunteers can check out and return:


Then he saw one of the pieced tops that was turned in – this one was made by Ginger using the Take 5 quilt pattern.  Ginger is making at least one Quilt of Valor top a month in 2014 in honor of her husband that passed away at the end of 2013 due to the effects of Agent Orange.  Roger was very supportive of Ginger’s volunteer activities with QOV and Conker Cancer (pillowcases for children in the hospital).   All of Ginger’s quilts will go to Viet Nam veterans.


Flat Stanley helped a little with the sewing to add borders to tops:


Then he proudly showed off the stack of finished quilts – these will be going to the Poly-Trauma Unit at nearby Haley VA Hospital:


That’s the last of my adventures with Flat Stanley.  He was fun, but it’s time for him to travel on to new ventures!


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Almost Wordless Wednesday

Quilt of Valor
in process today

Design:  4th of July by Bonnie Hunter
Pieced by:  CT Quilters QOV Group

Quilting Panto:  Allegiance by Kristen Hoftyser


Monday, July 14, 2014

Another Box in the Mail



This box was a little short on quilts, but there is to be a special showing soon of the various quilts made from the Nigerian fabric that Wrap-a-Smile received from a generous lady, and I wanted to get my quilt in the mail ASAP.  The fabric was distributed to those interested members of the Sunshine On-Line Quilters Guild to make WAS quilts.

The fabric I received was very exotic for me and in colors that I am not used to working with (red, lavender, brown and lime green?).  I figured I would go ahead and try to work up a more modern design loosely based on a pattern that used oriental fabrics.  I just eked out enough of the dark purple to make up what I am calling “Nigerian Abstract”:


Then it sat for quite a while … how in the world would I quilt it and in what color thread?

I finally decided to just go ahead with the off-white quilting in an Anne Bright design called Swirling Vines.  I was hoping the vines that intertwine would give all almost lacey look – as if you were peering thru a vine canopy.



I think it turned out ok, but with all of the close quilting it is a bit stiff.  I prefer my quilts to be cuddly!


And speaking of cuddly, these two quilt tops were sent to me by another Sunshine member, Beth in NJ, to be quilted and they are indeed very huggable!   They were ready to go so they made it into the box, too.



The first has the design called Animal Crackers and the second has Seascape.  The sneak previews of the quilting were shown in this past post.

What fun to do these cute novelty square tops with kid-friendly designs.  Quilting is great therapy for the soul!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Stealth Operation?



Location:  Tampa, FL
Time:  Very early morning
Scene:  An empty parking lot


Act I:  A nondescript car pulls up


What's this?  Has someone been kidnapped?  No, it's the accomplice she has left her car to greet the new arrival.


Act II:  The hand-off of the goods.


WHAT?!!  You weren’t expecting the hand-off to be a bolt of fabric?

Silly me – didn’t I tell you I was a QUILTER and this wasn’t a back alley transaction of the “other” kind … this was a kind person delivering fabric that was offered to Quilts of Valor quilters at a great discounted price.  I bought a whole bolt to use as backings.

Act III:  The nondescript car drives away – everyone is happy.


Act IV:  Let’s see – how many quilts will 15 yards back?  And the leftover inches from the sides, top and bottom will make how many extra blocks?  I used to be able to do math in my head before the advent of calculators … LOL.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Fun – Quilty Weekend



I was able to finish quilting three kids quilts this weekend and start on a third.  What joy it was to have three days with nothing to do and no place to go.  First up is the easiest – the one I don’t have to trim or bind – that’s for Project Linus here locally.  Someone from their group made this top and I loved the fabrics.  Very traditional, like being wrapped in Grandma’s hug, so I quilted it with Hearts Surfing.  I should have taken a detail shot of the inspirational sayings, but it’s already been delivered so it’s too late now.



Then I did two for Wrap-a-Smile.  These tops are from the stack that was made by Beth in NJ.  Beth has lots of cute novelty patches, so I tend to pick one or two for my theme and choose the quilting design from them.  The first has Animal Crackers (giraffes, lions, elephants, etc) like you would find in a coloring book.




And the second has Seascape (with seahorses, turtles, octopi or is that octopuses?!, starfish, etc).




I am having great fun with Beth’s tops!!

We had to go to my husband’s chemo appt on Thursday because of the holiday, and the Voyeur of the Day was a bunny rabbit!  I was so surprised that I fumbled in my purse for my camera and missed him in the photo.  But when I saw the photo, there was a bright red Cardinal in the background, so I took another closeup of him and called it good!  Always something interesting outside of the chemo room.  Fortunately, only two more visits to go – yea!
Not a Rabbit ...

Monday, June 30, 2014

A Little of This and That



I was given a roll of inexpensive polyester batting to use for quilting Project Linus quilts for a LQS.  I tried it out today and it was just OK – not great by any means.  It was uneven (as to loft) and occasionally had tiny bumps or clumps of polyester that the needle would hit and break the bobbin thread.  Only a few times, but enough to make me stay away from this type of batting in the future.  The panto I used was called Asian Vines, by Anne Bright.  This is the finish (the local group does the trimming and binding):




Back

Speaking of flowers, these are my flowers in bloom that make you happy looking at them:

Crepe Myrtles are thick this year

Pentas

I was going to trim that Penta bush down to the ground because it was getting leggy, but never got around to it – can’t do it while it’s blooming so nicely!

I can’t say I am the world’s best cook – actually I can’t say I’m good at cooking at all!  But I made this Easy Italian Artichoke-Bacon Pie from a Betty Crocker cookbook from the library.  All of the recipes are under 300 calories – something I’m seeking out right now.  This was pretty tasty - a tiny bit spicy - good with a tossed salad (yes, I've been eating the dreaded lettuce):


And this was the little voyeur of the week at the Chemo Room. 
Little squirrel in the circle
I think she had a nest tucked in behind that giant staghorn fern.  I told her I was there with a Nut, but I really didn’t bring any extras.  My DH was not amused.  But he is doing well especially as he continues to put up with me!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

A Non-Sewing Day



I volunteered to escort a little Flat Stanley around for a young Boy Scout who’s Mom is a quilter in Minnesota.  So they sent me a sample Flat guy and I colored him up to go visiting here in Florida.


Today’s visit and Kodak moments were in Dunedin, FL.  First a little background:
Dunedin is on the west-central coast of Florida bordering the Gulf of Mexico.  It is the sister city of Stirling, Scotland and cherishes its Scottish roots.  Learn more at this site:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunedin,_Florida

A few highlights of Flat Stanley’s visit:

Flat Stanley was first introduced to a Highlander playing the bagpipes, so Stanley had to try it out on his own set of pipes.


I’m afraid that poor Stanley wasn’t very good at it, so he decided to climb the Welcome Sign instead – can you spot him?


Then Stanley started to explore Dunedin – on the outskirts of Downtown is the Spring training stadium for the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team.



Right in downtown Dunedin there is a wall mural by Anna Hamilton on the side of a restaurant that supports the Dunedin Doggie Rescue group – Stanley thought he’d look good in a photo with all these puppies – check out the name on the mural – Dogedin!


Also right downtown is the old Railroad Depot where Stanley decided to climb onto the luggage cart – get down from there Stanley!


It was a very hot day, so Stanley ducked into the Orange CafĂ© that is located in an old railroad car … Stanley ordered an ice cold lemonade.


Then Stanley left downtown and wandered over to watch the boats go by on the Gulf of Mexico.  Since there was a stiff breeze, Stanley couldn’t catch a sailboat in his picture, but they were out there!


Altogether, it was a very nice day for Stanley.  I expect Stanley will be out and about again next weekend.  As for me – I’m pooped!