Tuesday, December 30, 2008

File Cabinet

Here's one of my Christmas presents... a file cabinet... assembly required. ;) I'd never put together any furniture before, so this was really a learning experience! It came in the box with nothing attatched, just boards and bolts and hardware. This picture came after I figured out which were the top and bottom and right and left cabinet rails, and how to tell them from the top and bottom and right and left drawer slides, AND if the little wheels went toward the front or back of the drawer:

The directions were most unhelpful. And unhelpful in three languages, too, so what you see there in the little black rectangles on page 4 that look like sufficient information actually says things like:

Unfinished Surface.
Surface non finie.
Superficie sin acabado.

Of all the things I could have been told about how to put this together, the fact that the unfinished surfaces go on the INside of the cabinet, not the OUTside of the cabinet... well, if you didn't intuitively know that, you shouldn't even be starting something like this. My favorite quote from the whole booklet:

This hole should be located here.
Ce trou devrait etre situe ici.
Este agujero debe estar ubicado aqui.

In addition to these bits and pieces, there were 24 cam dowels and 24 hidden cams, 8 flat head phillips screws, and four support pins. Also not pictured, 4 non-swivel casters, three angle brackets, two drawer pulls, one designer medallion... And yes, I was singing that to the tune of 12 Days of Christmas... :D

But finally I got to page 15, and my lovely model Libby shows that it is together and sturdy enough to support a cat:

The only problem I have now is that it's ½ an inch too tall to put where I wanted to put it, under my computer desk. Now I've got to add 4 blocks under my computer desk to raise it ¾ of an inch so it'll fit.

Monday, December 22, 2008

More Gift-Making

Anyone else being a busy little Santa's helper? Here's three pillows for someone who said they wanted 'just a couple of plain pillows.' Do you know how hard it was for a quilter to make PLAIN pillows? But I can agree with her, they're to go with a scrappy, busy quilt, remember this one?

I had a few brick sized scraps left from the border of the quilt, so in addition to the two 16 inch square pillows she requested, she's getting a bonus 12 inch square pillow, the little not-plain one in the front. :D

And here's some gifts for co-workers:

More notebook covers and a hotpad. I actually made several more of these, but they all look the same. It's all completely from stash, and I chained my way through the log cabin style blocks for the hotpads, then stitched around the edge (including the batting) and turned them inside out to avoid having to bind them. That ethnic Santa fabric was hard to find, but it's a really pretty glittery fabric. The candycane pens add a nice touch, I think.

Then some glasses cases for family. Betcha can't guess which one of the three is for my older brother!

I'm using fleece or flannel for the inside lining of them, I tried quilting weight fabric, and the glue from the Timtex made it feel scratchy. I'm learning some heirloom sewing techniques too - can you see on the right, below, my first try at pintucks? And on the front, above, an embroidered rose. It reminds me of the little rose I used to have on the middle of my bras, back in high school. :D

And just for those who didn't notice... did you see that the camouflage fabric isn't quite... the usual camo? If you look close, you see that the shapes are silhouettes of nekkid ladies:

I'm sure my brother will appreciate it!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Presents and Totebag Story

Well, I took my two new totebags to the grocery yesterday, and asked the checker if they still gave discounts if you use your own bags. "Yes, Ma'am!" she replied, counted my totes, and punched in my discount. Then she put them on the conveyor belt to send to the bagger... who promptly folded them neatly into thirds and put them in a plastic bag for me. :D

In his defense, he said they looked new and he thought I was getting them as a gift for someone... lol They worked very well, though, and were especially nice for carrying the cans of soup and other heavy things.

I've also been making some Christmas gifts, totally from stash. First, a little crayon apron - I have pencils in the pockets now, but the slots will fit 16 crayons when fully loaded:

I'd been wondering what I could make with this big flower print FQ since I got it as part of a FQ exchange - and the apron worked great, one FQ made both front and lining. Add the crayons and a coloring book, and it's a perfect gift for a six year old girl.

And some little notebook covers, one from a bluejean leg, one in heavy cotton. The denim one has a fringed skinny pocket next to the seam for a pen (I'll put a pretty gel pen there for giving) and the black with stars one has three ribbon loops to thread a pencil through to 'lock' the memo book closed:

Here they are open - they were very quick to do, just zig zagged the raw edges, and the cover slot is made from a 1½ inch strip of the same fabric, no lining. For the locking pen on the black one, sew one loop of ribbon to the front of the book, and two loops to the back of the book, so when it's closed, you go thru the back top loop, the front loop, then the bottom back loop.

And last, but not least, If you haven't been following Lindsay's adventure of actually MAKING a block every day from her block-a-day calendar, now's the time to watch as the end draws near. 365 days worth of completely different blocks... go offer some encouragement as she completes one year's worth:

SCHNOODLE'S Block-a-Day Epic!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Another Tote Done

Here's the second tote done, with a jungle themed print. Coated red canvassy stuff for the bottom and straps and pocket this time, don't know where I got it, but it's been in my fabric drawer forever. I'm doing these completely from stash, not buying a thing.

I quilt the top half of these before I sew the straps and pocket on. For batting, I'm using some flannel that started pilling the first time I washed it. I knew it wouldn't be good for a quilt border like I wanted, but for batting inside the tops of these totes, nobody will see it. Nothing fancy for the quilting either, I just lay down strips of masking tape in nice straight rows, and sew between the tape. You can barely see the lines of stitching if you click on the picture below.

My Siamese inspector is in just about the same position as last time. Predictable, isn't he? I hung both totes on the doorknob when I finished taking the picture above, and Toby was so sure I'd hidden something behind them, he had to check:

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Autumn Totebag

In the interest of using less plastic bags, I've decided to use some of my excessive fabric stash and make some totes. Here's my first one, with a Fall theme:

The bottom, straps and pockets are an orangey denim, very stiff. I wanted something about the size of a standard paper grocery sack, but a little wider, with straps that I could hang on my shoulder. I also wanted it sturdy enough to carry cans, bottles of V-8 or fruit juice, etc.

I probably could have gotten this thing done faster if I'd had a pattern to follow, but all the patterns I saw weren't the right size, didn't have the heavyweight fabric on the bottom, or didn't go up the sides as far as I wanted. I'd hoped to have the straps meet at the bottom of the bag, maybe even go into the center bottom seam, but I wanted them long enough to go over my shoulder more than I wanted them to go all the way across the bottom.

My machine didn't like sewing on the thickness of the denim, especially when I made the straps and stitched them down over the sides of the pockets. I finished off the inside too, zig-zagging the edges of the denim so they wouldn't fray, and using bias tape to encase my two side seams.

Toby is the resident Siamese inspector you see in the picture. He has an oversize bump of curiosity and has to follow me from room to room wherever I go. He tells me I should have made it even bigger, to carry the LARGE size bag of MeowMix. :D

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving pix

Well, here's my family, gathered together at Thanksgiving. First, the grand-nieces, I didn't ask for permission to use their names on the net, so I won't, but aren't they cute, even nameless?

My nephew Mike and his wife, Kelly:

Paula, who was also lurking around with her camera:

Fred, relaxing in his chair, after eating turkey and the trimmings. Notice the quilt in the bedroom, in the background:

The group shot of the folks that were there, minus me, taking the picture:

And last, to make this somewhat crafty, my mom holding a glasses case I made for her from a leg of her jeans and some timtex, for stiffening. I decorated the front with eyelet lace and ribbon:

Hope you had as nice of a Thanksgiving as I did!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Pipe Cleaner Elf and Ruler Holder

I just got back from our guild's November Retreat... and here's two things I finished there.

First, the quilting ruler holder for my living room, where I sew. All loaded with rulers, rotary cutters, triangles, and scissors. Only problem so far is the fact that it's covering part of the light switch. It's so heavy though, I couldn't just attach the shelf to the sheetrock, I wanted to go into the studs, and that's where it's got to hang.

Next, a pipe cleaner elf. She's hanging from my ceiling fan chain right now, and Libby's keeping a close eye on her - she adores pipe cleaners, it's her favorite cat toy of all. I plan to make a few more and take some to work, maybe even make Libby one all for herself. :)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Tomatoes in November?

When I planted three tomatoes way back in April 08, I had absolutely NO idea that I'd still be eating homegrown tomatoes from them in late November. How long does a tomato plant last, anyway? I brought these three indoors before the first freezing night was predicted. Here's the Goliath:

And here's the Better Boy plant:

And the Cherry tomato plant is producing best of all. Lots of blooms too! Now that they're indoors and I don't have to worry about the birds getting them, I can leave the tomatoes on the vine to redden, instead of picking them when they start to turn orangish. I ate three of them last night:

The cats don't seem to bother them at all. Toby takes a couple of long sniffs at them, then sneezes and walks away.

Baby Quilt

Here's what I've been working on lately, a baby quilt for a friend of my mother's. Sometimes I forget how quick and easy a quilt with no triangles or little pieces can be. This one's made of flannel, very nice and soft for a boy baby.

I cut the big squares at 8½ inches, the blue squares at 4½ inches, and strip pieced the little four-patches from strips cut 2½ inches... fast!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Still Tomatoes!

Is it time for another tomato post? I've been eating them all summer - for a while there in late July and August I think it just got too hot for them, but now they're back, with a vengeance. Sorry about the flash on these pix, it's sure getting dark earlier now!

Here's the Better Boy plant, showing one almost ripe and one in the lower left still green:

The better boy are great tasting, but prone to splitting and spots. Here's the Goliath plant, a great tomato producer, but the end results just don't taste as good as the other two varieties. I have maybe ten tomatoes on it now:

The best producer of all,and one I'd definitely buy again, the Husky Cherry Red plant. It's a short bush, and usually loaded with small tomatoes:

This cherry tomato may be the one I take inside and try to nurture indoors after the first freeze, the flavor is excellent, and lookie, it's still producing blooms:

Saturday, October 18, 2008

It's a mystery

Two hundred fifty half square triangles, and 150 or so plain cream squares... what's it going to be?

I have NO idea. ;)

Along with teaching the Fowl Play class on making all my chickens and birds, I'm taking a mystery at our retreat. The mystery coordinator is a secret too. She's told us (via an alias on our guild bulletin board) how much fabric to buy, and how to select our colors, then told us how many strips to cut and hsts to make. I can't WAIT to find out the final design.

Everyone else is doing it with squares that finish at two inches, but as you can tell from the picture, my squares are smaller, and will finish at one inch. I've decided there's just as much work in making a miniature as a big quilt! My house is tiny, and a 40x40 quilt (before borders) is kinda big for my walls, while a 20x20 quilt, with a couple of small borders on it, should fit right in. ;)

I still need to iron them (uggh) then repack them in baggies to protect them from the evening rampages of my two siamese.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Chick in Salad

In November, I'm going to be teaching a class at my guild's retreat ... on making chickens and other fowl. There's already a bunch of samples made that I showed HERE. Then I thought the other day that the birds needed a 'home' to live in. Here's the chick-in Salad, with bacon. The two fabric slices of bread to the right there are going to be part of a chick-in club sandwich. I had some fabric that made great cheese slices, and lettuce, and more bacon, of course. I'll finish that in a couple of days. :) I'm debating on how much of the chicken I want showing between the bread - you think just the beak and eyes, or should I make a chicken with feet to poke out too?

As I was sewing, Libby comes to join me on the couch. She really wanted to nap, but I couldn't resist teasing her with a strip of selvedge. Isn't that a long-suffering, p.o.'ed look she's giving me?

She has to put up with a lot, as a quilter's cat, doesn't she? I think it's payback for all the times she dashes through the block bits I've laid out, scattering them all over the table and floor before I can get them sewn up.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


Time for some cat pix?

It was bath time at my house this afternoon. But it always seems that Libby is the bath-giver and Toby the bath-accepter.

He tucks his chin and presents the top of his head to her... but it's almost never reciprocal. Do you think it's an older/younger thing or a female/male thing?

If she stops too early for him, he'll give a couple of desultory swipes of his tongue across her face to get her started again, but he's never held her down and washed her, like she does him.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Don't you just hate it...

When your day starts this way? Flat as a pancake, it was.

And as my boss said when I called her, this was NOT a good day for this to happen. Looks like I picked up a bolt somewhere. I'm just glad it went flat at home in my garage, instead of on the road in traffic.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Quilts and Tomatoes

Finally, two-thirds done with the jewel box quilt. Here it is hanging on the fence. I had to work at the library today (Sunday) so didn't get home to take a picture of it until right at sunset:

And I was just recently asked about my tomatoes. Still producing away, and in fact, doing better now than they were during the hot part of the summer. This is the Goliath plant. I won't buy Goliath next year. The tomatoes are nice and big and pretty, but they just don't have that good homegrown flavor that the better boy and cherry tomatoes do. Even the birds don't like the Goliath as much.

Not sure if the CD ornaments you see there have done anything to deter the birds at all, but once I took the scissors to them and cut one side to fit it on the tomato cage, I might as well leave them on there, hmm?

Here's the Better Boy plant, the tomatoes grow all lopsided, split on the top, but mmm, when I can beat the birds to them, the taste is superb. With the quilt on the fence as background, you don't see the tomatoes quite as well, so I added the red arrows, pointing at the tomatoes. :)

The Cherry tomato bush is still producing too, I'm not getting the numbers I did earlier, but 4 or 5 ripe ones a week is still great for snacking or a salad.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Jewel Box Continued

Yes, I am still quilting - just working on this same jewel box quilt means all my photos would look the same if I posted about it. A king size seems to go on and on and on and on. Here's some of tonight's blocks and rows, which look like yesterday's blocks and rows:

Yes, I am getting tired of making little 16 patch blocks. :)

And here's my tip for keeping a quilt all straight in your head as to what block goes where, if you're doing a big quilt with a lot of different blocks. I found magnet clips (supposed to attach to the fridge, I guess) that also stick to my sewing lamp. I made a screen shot of the quilt top from eq6... but pasted it in word and enlarged it till I could only see half of the quilt. Now I move that white card up or down, depending on what row I'm working on, and voila, no more getting lost as to if I'm making a block with 2 blue squares or 4 or 8.

I'm making it scrappy. That's what's taking me so long, it's a very anal scrappy where no fabric is repeated in the blocks immediately to the right, below, left or above the one I'm making... lol. Pitiful, aren't I?

Finally, here's the September block of the month for the quilt guild. We did this one as a part of a presentation on EQ6 for the guild's program - showed all the members how you could design a block, color it with different fabrics, print it in different sizes, or as templates or paper piecing patterns... I was surprised at how many said they have the program but never design a quilt with it.

The web BOM page for it is HERE with instructions AND along with a free EQ6 file for the block for anyone that wants it. Your reward for reading to the bottom of this post. :)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Quilt Ruler Storage

Well, I finished the heart on the churndash block the day before the guild meeting... nothing like a deadline to make me get it done. :D But I do like the way it came out, I'll have to remember it for the next time I do a baby quilt:

I quilt in my living room, so I wanted some neat way to store all my squares and rulers and small mats. It needed to look nice and match my living room colors. This is what I came up with:

I planned it around all my ruler sizes. The little bargello block fits those odd shaped triangles, and under it, a pocket for my 6 and 6½ inch squares. Under THAT, a pocket for either my rotary cutter or scissors. On the right, a big pocket for my 12½ square, my rotating cutting mat, and the big triangle shaped kaleido-ruler from Marti Michell. The long skinny pocket along the bottom, made from the log cabin squares, holds my 18 x 3 and 18 x 4 rulers, (one printed in black and one printed in yellow, quilters understand why you need both) plus a couple of EZ angle rulers, one 60° and one 45°. The backing fabric has 4 layers of interfacing instead of batting, so it folds, but it's pretty stiff.

Only one problem, it's really heavy when it's fully loaded, I've got to find a sturdy way to hang it. I want to be able to take it down if I ever have non-quilting guests come over, so I can't just hammer a nail in the four corners. :-D

I originally had five loops at the top that fit over a hanging rod, but the fabric sagged in between, so I took them off. Now I'm thinking a sturdy thick dowel, in a hanging pocket with a couple of gaps, and I'll put some of those coated mug hooks up to put the dowel in. Then maybe I can come up with something else to fit on the cup hooks when company comes... lol

Any other suggestions?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Website Updates

Well, haven't been doing too much quilting lately, mostly been watching the Olympics and working on web pages.

But I have made one block, here's the EQ design for my guild's block of the month. They could choose any shade of yellow, and any blue to make the six inch churn dash, then applique a red, pink, burgundy or maroon heart (or two) on it:

And the block I've made, but haven't appliqued the heart on yet, mostly because I dislike hand sewing. I think I'll do one heart with that pink fabric on the bottom of the picture:

If you want directions to it, it's on the bom page of my guild's website:

Churn Dash Heart

I've also been working on my own website, updating the contents page. Check it out if you like cats telling jokes. My favorite is the Matta Baby joke:

ForestJane's site

And I decided to try to collect all the pictures of my quilts and put them on my personal website, one or two pictures per quilt, to make a record of what I've done, quiltwise. It's a bit more complicated than it sounds, because I may have started a quilt in early 2005, and spent most of that year on it, sent it off to be quilted in November, then got it back and bound and finished it in Feb. of 2006... so does it belong on the 2005 page or the 2006 page? Right now the page is both years.

Quilt Record

I'll be working on this for many nights yet to come, I think.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Tomato Update and Chickens

Here's the latest status on my tomatoes... there are 19 cherry tomatoes, and 9 that are close to the size of a tennis ball on down to egg sized ones. And I ate a medium size one for lunch, on my sandwich. :)

Don't tell, but half of the ones in the bowl are destined to meet their end tonight, in my salad. :D

I've also been making sample chickens for the "Fowl Play" class I'm teaching at my quilt guild's retreat in November. Here's the one I call Spring Chicken, made with floral fabrics. All her half square triangles are leftover from mitering binding. I plan to add eyelashes, earrings and a necklace. She insisted on a closeup, she's such a diva:

These next two I'd like to introduce you to are Tom Turkey and his wife, Plain Jane. Jane is made from 4½ inch squares, and Tom's made from a couple 4 patch blocks with a grandmother's fan tail. Both of them are stuffed with a mix of polyfil and split green peas.

I also wanted to show that they could be made larger (I used two 6 inch orphan blocks) and not in 'chicken colors' so here's a bird made of blue fabric and stuffed with rice... so she's the Country Chicken with Rice, naturally. :) I'm trying to think of a double-barreled name for her... Rae Ella? Emma Lou? any suggestions?

These last three chicks are made from 3 inch squares, and went together really fast. They're my protest group... :D I decided to make the signs folded cards, with a pocket where I can slip them over the popsicle stick when I want to change their message.

Then, if I made new computer cards, I could use them in the library display case, they could say... REED MOR BOOK
or maybe instead... SPEL MOR BETR, next to a display of grammar books and dictionaries.
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