Thursday, August 29, 2013

Use It Up Challenge…..FINALLY….


When we last left this challenge, it looked like this…..


I quickly finished the 2-1/2 inch square border but there it sat while we traveled and I caught up with my accounting work.

This week I have had some time to work on the project again with the first step being piecing the piano key border.   The first problem was that I didn’t have enough keys cut to finish the border, so I had to do some fancy piecing…..


….and some of the seams got REALLY small…..


Even after all of my fancy piecing, I was still a few inches short but added a little bit of two new fabrics to allow enough for the border.   Having said that, there was not enough to make a full border so I ended up having to add corner squares….


At this point,the piano key border was 3.5 inches wide.

Now is where the rub comes in…..   I still had some tiny slivers of fabric left so decided that I would put them together to make a new fabric to be used somewhere in the quilt.

I took a base fabric, covered it will fusible web and started laying out strips of the left over fabrics…..


After ironing it down, I pulled out some fun threads…..


….and attached the fabrics….


My thinking is that I would make circles that could sit in the cornerstone squares and they turned out looking great…..


Then came the new design opportunity (ie…mistake).  As I was attaching the first piano key border, I decided that it would look better if it was smaller….a LOT smaller.  So, I grabbed the rotary cutter and whacked off almost half of the border.   It looked a lot better, but then I realized that I had now made the border so small that the perfectly formed circles would not fit anymore…..ARGH!!!!

Since there wasn’t much that I could do to fix it, I decided to go ahead and attach the final border and then figure out what the quilt needed.    At this point, I had these leftover strips from the wrongly-cut border….


I was really wanting to have circles somewhere in the outer borders to continue the theme from the center of the quilt.  As I looked at these pieces, I realized that some of them were big enough to cut a 1 inch circle out of…….


Then came the agonizing decision of exactly what I was going to do with these perfect circles.   I started out thinking that I would put the circles all along the outer border…..


I also considered a tiny, tiny strip of mini keys in the middle of the border (see the bottom one) but quickly canned that idea.

By now, I was tired of trying to come up with ideas so I called down to Michael and asked him to come up and have a look.   He really liked the circles in the borders but commented that it should be asymmetrical and not have circles all around the piece. 

BINGO….that was exactly what I was thinking in the back of my mind, but it hadn’t made it to the front of my mind yet!!!

Thus, with help from the Hubby, the top was finished…..


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The house of interesting chandeliers…..

On our return trip from Texas, we stopped by Hattiesburg, Mississippi to visit our friends, David and Lyn.  They have recently purchased a new home with a gorgeous wrap around porch…..


……complete with some very interesting light fixtures.

This one was my favorite and was over the dining room table……


This one hung in a very small guest bathroom…..DSC00613

….and this beauty was in the Master Bedroom…..


I have never seen chandeliers painted black, but it was quite effective!!!

We had a wonderful, if very short, visit with these dear friends!!!


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Goodbye to an old friend….


Back in 1993 our guild decided to put together small quilting groups of four people each and that each group would work on a mystery quilt….one clue each month.

At that point, Michael and I  barely had enough money to live on, much less to go out and purchase fabrics for a quilt that I had no particular use for AND no idea exactly what it would look out.

So, I decided to use the fabrics that I had on hand and to make it scrappy rather than a planned format.  I had a wonderful time with my three bee mates and was thrilled with the final product….


This quilt became our family “comfort” quilt.  We used it for our kids to sit on when we ate dinner in the living room, we snuggled under it when we were cold, we were comforted by it when we were sick or recovering.  Basically it was our “go-to” quilt.

Now, after all of these years, it looks like this…..


Many of the fabrics have rotted and shredded, probably because I didn’t use the best of fabrics……DSC00645

This hole was the final straw…..


When my feet went thru the quilt I decided that it was time to put this old friend out to pasture.

Now the question is what to do with it.  I am not sure that I can throw it away but not sure that I want to store it for the long haul!!!

I guess that I really need to finish up the quilting on the piece that I started to take the place of “comfort quilt”!!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

It’s a “Piece-o-cake”

Last week I had the joy of spending some time under the teaching of Becky Goldsmith from “Piece o’ Cake” designs.


At our guild meeting, she gave a magnificent power point presentation about Machine quilting.  She encouraged us to think (from the very beginning of a project) about how we are going to quilt it.

She had some great ideas about where to get quilting designs from, including….

  -  Catalogues for rubber stamps,

  -  Zentangles  (check out this blog….)

  -  Art, Nature or Architecture

  -  Shapes found in the quilt or designs in the fabric

She also suggested that you stop before you have quilted too much to make sure that you really like the design that you have chosen.  She said to never quilt more than what you are willing to rip out!!

Becky showed us that she keeps a notebook with her quilting ideas.  She said that she always draws each design by hand even if she takes a photo because the act of drawing helps her to remember it better.

She told us to never stretch the batting when layering a quilt, but instead to pat out any bubbles.   She thread bastes her quilt sandwich and trims the batting and backing so that she can fold over the backing to cover the batting along the edge of the quilt…..great idea!!

Her meticulous attention to detail shows in the magnificence of her work….


She also showed several of her famous quilts…..


More to come…..

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A post about quilts…..really!!


I am reminded that the name of this blog is “Quilts and Other Stuff” and lately it seems that I have been posting almost entirely about OTHER STUFF.   So, it is with great enjoyment that I am finally getting to write about quilts!!

Sometime back I posted about making a “Disappearing Nine Patch” quilt (post is here) for one of our guild charity projects.  I wasn’t completely happy with the quilt top and decided to try it again but this time to plan my fabrics a bit more.

SO, instead of making it completely scrappy, I used the same fabric for each of the centers of the Nine-Patch and also used the same fabrics for the four surrounding squares so that the blocks looked like this…..


They were then sliced into quarters and formed into blocks that look like this….


The final top looked like this, although the photo doesn’t do the colors justice ….


The really fun thing about this top is that it only took 1 hour and 20 minutes to put it together, including the borders!!

It is now in the hands of the long-arm quilter and will soon be handed to a deserving individual.   I hope it brings them much joy!!!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Rio Grande River Gorge

On Saturday morning we drove back to Taos, once again taking the high road.  We couldn’t resist stopping to take a few more pictures…..


The scenery is SO open and gorgeous and the sky is SO, SO, SO blue!!!


Our first stop was at the Rio Grande Gorge State Park.  It was interesting to drive up to it and not see any sign of the gorge until you are right on it.  The first clue were the vendors surrounding the park entrance…..


…especially loved this bus…..


We walked behind these vehicles and found the entrance to the park area where we could walk along the edge of the gorge.  Since we were still a little tired from yesterday’s walk, we didn’t walk far, but enjoyed the views….


However, the very best views were those from the bridge across the gorge….


It is amazing to realize that such a small river could cause so much erosion to create such a huge crevice in the ground.


We returned to Taos, going to pick up the painting that we had seen a few days before.  We asked the artist where he would suggest that we eat and he sent us to “Graham’s Grille” where Michael enjoyed an open-face Gyro…..


…while I scarfed down a wonderful barbeque pork sandwich….


We drove slowly back to Santa Fe and started packing up for the trip back to Abilene…..

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Atalaya Mountain….

On Friday morning, Michael and I donned our hiking boots, drove 2 miles and headed up Atalaya Mountain.

The trails were well marked as we left from the parking lot at St. John’s College.


We first hiked thru a small Arroyo (a steep-sided gully cut by running water in an arid or semiarid region).  As we hiked, we talked about how we would NOT want to be in the area when it was raining.  There were many dry stream beds that I am sure would quickly fill with water and make it uncomfortable, if not dangerous, to hike.

As usual, I was drawn to the colors of the flowers in the area, but there were not too many specimens to choose from.   I loved these small red flowers….


Michael, on the other hand, was drawn to various types of cacti and succulents….


This little guy was trying really hard to blend into the background……


There was evidence that a fire had been thru the area at some time as many of the trees were in the process of re-budding, however, this tree was obviously burned too far to regenerate…..DSC00436

We kept stopping to take photos, enjoying the every widening view….



DSC00460As we moved higher up the mountain, the trees turned from Junipers to Pines, making the scenery change.

At one point on the hike, we had to make a decision about whether to take the harder “steeper” route or to take the “easier” route.  DSC00530

We met a man coming down from the steeper way and he assured us that it was doable, so we decided to take steeper up and easier down.  The trail was not that bad, but we did stop often for breath and water breaks!!

When we reached the top of the mountain, we enjoyed the views and took a few photos……


…….including one of me to send to my Physical Therapist to say “my knees are doing GREAT!!!!!”……DSC00477

On the way back down, I stopped to photograph this cactus.  Would love to see it when the blossom has opened…..


Some of the areas were extremely rocky…..DSC00498

….but there would be veins of pink rocks and even a few really big ones…..


Michael had been having cell phone coverage issues in Santa Fe but found that he had a great signal at the top of the mountain, so we stopped so that he could return a few calls…..DSC00499

While I was standing there waiting for him, I started to notice the VERY dead tree that we were standing under…..


The silhouette was interesting, but the really cool part was the bark…..


I loved the shapes in the bark and also all of the woodpecker holes!!!  Michael commented that it would make a cool quilt…..interesting!!

Some of the views were different on the way back down.  We loved this one with the smaller mesas in front of the other mountains…..


The hike down was great and we arrived back at the B&B tired and dirty, but with lots of fun memories.  In total we had hike 7.5 miles and had climbed about 2,200 feet in elevation, starting at 7,000 and topping out at 9,200!!

After we had rested for a while, we went out to dinner at the Coyote Café, another restaurant recommended by Gayle.

We loved the décor of the building, especially the light fixtures…


Actually, they were not light FIXTURES as the light came down from the spots in the ceiling, but the lights accentuated the sculptures, making it look like birds flying thru the restaurant.

Our meal was excellent, including Stuffed Zucchini blossoms…..


Michael and I split the Filet Mignon main course…..Food-13

….and a very tasty side order of onion rings…..Food-14

While Michael enjoyed a post-prandial Port, I (at the waiter’s suggestion) had the chocolate mousse.   It was wonderful!!!


We returned to the B&B and fell happily into bed!!!

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