Thursday, May 31, 2018

Flowering mania

     If you never have seen a tree peony, it is hard to believe how large and showy the blossoms are on such a stick like plant. I lost the magenta one last year due to garage construction and heavy handed workers (still sad). The pink one is blooming and it is so glorious! 
     On Memorial Day, I planted my pots and, of course, I ran out of plants as I have many more pots. I planted in the shade of the oak tree.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Another Gold Star quilt on its way

     Fortunately, I was able to get this one bound and delivered for the Gold Star camp in July. It was a panel I won years ago that I cut apart, added a flange to frame, and used batik fabric from a friend to complete it. The twins, Chasen Dreams, quilted it.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Trying to move forward

     Most of my effort seems to be directed to rehab- cardio three times a week and PT two times a week. The whole morning gets gobbled up. Now that everything is growing like crazy, I am trying to keep up outside and I don't want to miss a single flower. I have a tiny yard, but I jam lots of flowers into it.
    Some highlights:
Azalea at school
White chestnut in neighborhood

Crabapple at school
Pink lupines

Purple lupine

Wisteria near school

Variety of my tulips

Thursday, May 17, 2018

The Star Quilt, center out

     Making baby quilt can be a lot of pressure when it is for your own grandchild. My daughter is having her first in June. I had a hard time picking a pattern but settled on Blue Carolina Starburst from Fort Worth Studio. I liked the simple star. I found fabric I liked from Hawthorne Threads (digitally printed). I read the pattern over multiple times and I changed how it was put together. 
     I decided to start from the inside to outside assembly. I also did not cut squares and draw lines on the diagonal. I find that I cannot reliably sew 1/4" on either side of a diagonal line. I end up with lots of trimming. Using what I learned from Bonnie Hunter, I use the EZ Angle ruler, strips 1/2" wider than the finished size, and cut the triangles. I can line up the cut edge against my sewing guide and get the seams I need. I did not have to trim up any of the triangles, they were all perfect sewn this way. 
First cut, at 5 1/2", right sides together of strips
Flip the ruler like a hinge, and second cut

First round
Second Round
Third Round
     Another technique I used to be more accurate, is use the fork pins I bought at Lancaster. If I put the pins on either side of the seams, they come out perfect, right on. If I try to nest them and hold them, they nudge. If I try and use regular pins, they shift. I wanted these star points perfect and the fork pins work like a charm. I have another round of triangles to go!
Fork pins at either side of seam intersections on a tiny wonky star block

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Tiny Finish

     Every year friends of mine, the Twins, quilt all the quilts for Camp Gold Star and Camp Purple- free camps for kids whose parent is serving in the military or made the supreme sacrifice. Each child chooses a quilt. My guild makes a bunch for them. The Twins quilt our tops and we put the bindings on our own quilts. 
     I did the Disappearing Nine Patch Lattice for a workshop I taught our guild last fall on quick scrappy quilts. After the Twins quilted it, I did the binding. The backing is from Ikea. I have another quilt to put the binding on yet as I am still slow getting things done.


Thursday, May 3, 2018

Where I have been

     For about 10 years, my husband and I planned to visit a few national parks in the Southwest. He did a raft trip in the Grand Canyon nine years ago. Four years ago we cancelled due to stuff going on at my husband's job. In February, due to the heart attack, it looked like I would never get to go. However, after a year of planning and budgeting, last week I made it to Zion, Bryce and the Grand Canyon. I came home with about 500 photos which I am going through and labeling. I have never been out west- I live in Buffalo, NY. We flew into Las Vegas (not a fan), picked up a rental car, drove to Zion, drove through Zion (white knuckle ride over the Mount Carmel road and tunnel- what,  they don't believe in guardrails?), spent two days at Bryce Canyon, drove a long way to the Grand Canyon for three days, another long drive through Sedona and flew home on the red eye from Phoenix.
    I have never seem so much land- arid, rocky, empty, vast. Everything is hours drives. I loved the Parks- the driving and distances, not so much. When we got to Bryce, it was late afternoon, and when I made the short hike to the rim, I was absolutely struck. I fell to my knees and just sobbed. I could not believe I was given the opportunity to live and see this:
 Once I get the pictures labeled and sorted I will post some. No matter what, you can't capture the vast gorgeousness in a photo. I did have problems with the altitude at Bryce (8,000 to 9,200'- I live at 560') resulting in breathing difficulties and heart pain. From the plane rides and driving, I managed to  pinch a nerve in my hip which meant limping for the entire trip. So, in addition to cardio rehab 3 times a week, now I am in PT. Yikes.
  The only quilty thing I could manage was to buy some printed fabric to make a memory quilt. The company, has them for all the parks, although they only sold them at Bryce. I will buy some others online.
     Unfortunately, we passed through Sedona on a Sunday and the two quilt stores were closed.
     I think I have recovered from the time difference and planes, and can hopefully get sewing. Very grateful for this chance to see something that can't even be adequately described. How in the world could I make any quilts that could capture the colors, majesty and scale of these magnificent creations?