april ufo

 

Well, here is it is.  I can definitely say it is more finished.  It is bound and quilted.  However, I feel like it needs more work.  Wow!  Am I still in March?  I did  however finish the Valentine quilt this month, another ufo on my list, so I am feeling pretty successful.  I want to add more embroidery to the houses and more on the sky. Now that I photographed it, I think I also need to delineate the angel as well.

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Published in: on April 30, 2011 at 8:10 pm  Comments (7)  
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mushrooms

My mom sent me an awesome gift for my birthday.  Here’s a picture:

I totally love it.  Also, I was completely surprised.  She told me my present was coming in the mail and I shouldn’t let it freeze.  I assumed it was liquid.  When I saw the box said mushrooms, I was very confused.  I thought maybe she had got some truffle oil or something.  But no, it was much, much better.  A mushroom log!  Science experiment and food in the same awesome project.  So, Paul, Steve and I sat down to put it together.  It was easy to assemble. The only thing we needed to provide was a sharp knife and a shallow bowl of water.  In one week, we had the little protrusions above, but then a few days later:

and:

It was only one more day and we ate them.  They really grow that fast.  If you are interested in doing this fun, delicious and even educational project, the company she ordered from is Gourmet and Mushroom Products.

So we had the mushrooms sautéed in chicken stock and butter, then mixed with a little cream over angel hair pasta with a little parmesan cheese on top.  Wow! So delicious!  Thanks again, Mom!  Now, we have started growing our second batch.  I can’t wait.  I already know that I want: cream of mushroom soup. Yum.

Published in: on April 28, 2011 at 8:29 am  Comments (5)  
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painting

Steve and I finally got in gear and painted the kitchen.  This is huge undertaking for us.  First, is the huge debate as to what color we should paint.  Because we are both artists, we both have very strong opinions about what color we like and would be appropiate. These “discussions”  finally results in one of us just agreeing just to get it over with.  At least this one turned out ok, although every time he painted a little more, each one of us would alternately hate it.  Only the fact that graduation was coming, and I would not change the color once we started because it simply had to be done, made us persevere.  In any case, in the end, I do love it.  It is like a giant easter egg.  Here’s the pictures, which have been severely cropped to protect the chronically messy:

You can see the powder blue in the dining room in this picture.  It works together surprisingly well.

And finally…

It even looks better now because Steve has touched it up and scraped the windows. Cropping those photos helped me to define some of my problem areas and I have already straightened some of them. Maybe I should do that in every room (sigh). Slowly, slowly, we march forward.

Happy Easter!

He is risen!  May your life be full of God’s love!

Published in: on April 24, 2011 at 5:39 am  Leave a Comment  
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April Ufo

I spent a lot of time painting this weekend in preparation for graduation, but I did get a little time in on Saturday to work on this poor orphaned ufo.  I did make a lot of progress on Saturday.  I sewed the star and the angel down and made some little funky log cabin houses.  My husband gave me the idea for the houses when he told me it reminded me of Chagall. I think the color and the way it was drawn is what brought Chagall to his mind.  I feel like it needs one more object on the right in the sky, possibly the moon or some small stars.  This Saturday I will work on it again.

Published in: on April 21, 2011 at 8:12 am  Leave a Comment  
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Valentine’s quilt

I have been working on this quilt for a year and finally it is done!  I am so excited. It is one of the most girly quilts I have ever made and I think that is why I liked working on it so much.  I made it for my little niece, Mary Beth.  She is a true girly girl, with huge beautiful eyes and long blonde hair.  Her mom made me feel so good last year by asking for a quilt from me.  I had made quilts for my first three nephews when they were born, then I kind of fell away.  I was going through a bad time, and I missed making one for Mary Beth, Isaac and Annie.  I had made one for Seth, my littlest nephew, and at his baptism, I was able to give it to my sister in person (guilty pleasure: giving gifts in person, if I were truly a good person, I would not get so excited about that).  Anyway, my sister-in-law mentioned that I had given a quilt to the boys, but not Mary Beth.  I was glad she felt my quilts were that special. So, I have been working on this quilt ever since and here is the finished quilt:

This is a funny picture because I had to shoot it upside down.  It was so windy that my usual strategy of hanging it from a stick made it blow too much, so I had my husband hold it upside down so the stick would anchor it.

I may have gone a little wild on the hearts, partly because she is a little girl, but also because I wanted her to feel like she is wrapped up in love by her family. 

This quilt has a lot of history for me.  The hexagons in the corners are cut pieces that I got when my Grandma Amann died.  I have been using them ever since.  I was glad to put those in for Mary Beth so she would have that little bit of her great-grandma.  My grandmother died before Mary Beth was born, so she never got to meet her.  I wish I had something from my other grandmother for her quilt, too.

This is one of my favorite blocks.  I have only a few embroidery stitches on my sewing machine and I use  them very infrequently.  I don’t think I would use more if I had them, but I try to make good use of them.  All I did here was use a variegated thread and my nifty seam guide to make them parallel.  I love the way it came out.  Then I ran parallel hand quilting lines between the embroidered lines.

Here’s some more of my favorite blocks.  I did a tutorial on how I constructed these blocks here.  These are still some of my favorite blocks.  I did struggle a little bit removing the paper from the paper-backed part.

This is another one of my favorite parts of this quilt.  I had this large area that needed to be quilted.  I used an empty Valentine chocolate box as a template for the big heart.  (That Valentine’s box will come back again soon in another top-secret project).  I did the heart right away while I was basting.  I don’t think I will do that again because it was difficult to disguise my knots.  Later, I added the smaller heart, buttons and the butterfly.  I still feel like this could have been quilted a little more.  I machine quilted in the ditch around the center and the thin border, so I know the bat won’t shift.  However, my hand quilting is not the most sturdy so I hope it will not fall out.

Here’s a picture of the back.  I love the pink floral.  It reminds me of a nightgown I had once. My husband picked it out along with the blue and as always he is spot on.  Since the front of the quilt is a little on the dark side, I wanted the back to be lighter.

This is one of my ufos:  number 3.  I kept on hoping it would be pulled early so I could finish it for Mary Beth’s birthday, but since it didn’t, I just decided to go at it anyway. Whatever month Judy pulls 3, I will have a month off, I guess. 

I realized after I sent it up with my mom, I didn’t include a card.  So:

Happy Birthday, Mary Beth!  I hope you had a great day.

 Love, Auntie Roberta.

the first chicken quilt completion.

 

Wow! Who would have thought that a little chicken gift would come through such a long and arduous path?  Anyway, here it is: the final chicken quilt, finished and already on the way to its recipient.  I really love how it turned out, so bright and full of joy.  I didn’t realize how fun chickens were as a motif but I really got into the idea of it. 

This little quilt could be used as a pot holder, so I tried to make it washable.  It has a cotton batt and is 100% cotton.  I used a little binding trick that I like to use when I know something is going to be washed often.  Also, it is super quick.  I sew the binding to the front of the quilt as usual. Then I press the binding flat.  I press my quarter-inch seam allowance. I have a roll of the half-inch fusible tape that most people use as a quick fix for hems. I pull binding into the finished position, and slip a strip of the fusible web between the loose binding edge and the quilt.  I fuse it, and lastly sew through it.  If you are talented, you will line this all up, and catch the back perfectly sewing from the front in the ditch between the quilt and the binding. You can see from the photo that  I tried to sew from the front, and I missed in a few spots, so I had to flip it over and stitch those edges down again.

chicken progress

So here is my second chicken quilt.  I love this quilt, but again I just don’t feel like it fits the person I am giving it to.  So I have already completed a third and final chicken quilt.  I love that one, too.  However, I can imagine it at the house of the person I want to give it to, and being used.  I know every time that person uses it, it will remind him/her of me, and make him/her smile.  I will get photos taken and post that final, and best chicken, quilt in the next few days.

Published in: on April 10, 2011 at 9:55 pm  Comments (3)  
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new denim quilt

In spite of having so many works in progress, I started a new quilt.  I wanted to use up my denim and I had seen many faux cathedral window quilts using denim.  I read through this tutorial to get an idea of how to put it together.  It looks like a lot of circles, right?  However, I did so math in church the other day (sorry, Paster B), and I figure I need 360 circles.  Pictured above is 100 circles.  So I have only completed one-third.  I think it will be a pretty quilt.  The pattern self-finishes as it is sewn together, so that will be an interesting way to work. 

I plan use scraps for the inner squares so I will use up a lot of odds and ends. I actually will end up with two quilts because the squares are not for the centers of the quilts.  I want to make a rainbow quilt so the centers will be primary colors in plain cotton.  I will probably make a plain nine patch from the denim squares.

Published in: on April 8, 2011 at 9:09 am  Comments (6)  
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Silk crazy quilt wrap up

Here are the final pictures of the silk crazy quilt. I first thought of calling it Blood War Horse of Jewel-encrusted Opulence and Power.  This makes sense only in my own mind.  Mostly because I see a red horse in the middle.    If you can see it, too, let me know and I will feel slightly less crazy. I take heart in the fact that artists can name their pieces anything they want. However, that name seems extraordinarily violent so I went with Jewel-Encrusted Scarlet Pony of Opulence and Power.  It makes much more sense.

Anyway, overall this quilt was a success.  I think the color scheme worked out fabulously.   It has a bohemian chic feeling that I really like. I love the back.

Successes:

The color scheme.  I love the jewel tone, 1980s density of color in this quilt.  The peach is a color I never ever, ever use.  Except now I did, thanks to Steve.  It is almost shockingly colorful.

The back insert.  This is a testament to my online quilt surfing.  I am seeing many quilts now that are putting an extra block in the back.  The grey backing fabric I used was a remnant from a long, long time ago.  Someone I worked with before my older son was born had given me a huge amount of fabric.  So when I say a long time ago, I mean I have had that fabric since 1993 or 1992.  Someone had written on it in grease pen.  I cut that segment out and added these blocks. I planned to use those extra blocks as a frame on the front of the quilt, but found them too busy on the front. Even though this was a save, I do like this idea.  I have been piecing my backs for a while now with multiple colors of fabric, because when I get to the fabric store I see so many choices I like.  Seth’s quilt is a great example of this. I always have extra blocks from the front so from now on, I probably will include some of those in the back.

Straightness.  Although the inner borders are not perfectly straight, the quilt as a whole is pretty decently straight.  I used some tips Deanna gave me of measuring the borders which helped, as well as, carefully truing each border after I sewed it on.

Lessons learned

Silk.  I think it will be a long time before I use silk for a quilt again.  It was beautiful to work with and a very sensuous experience to sew and touch, but a pain to make straight.  I have no idea how to clean this quilt.  I ended up cheating a little bit when I used the peach and dark purple.  They are not actually silk, rather polyester.  The fuchsia border is silk.  That border is also iridescent.  Anyway, just the little bit of fabric for the borders was 20 dollars.  Fortunately, I had most of the rest of the fabric so I could pop for it.  However, I don’t think my budget could cover more silk.

I am learning a lot about myself from the ufo challenge.  I am learning that I can get a lot of work done when I have a deadline.  I found out that I can successfully finish a project that I was confused about or had lost interest in.