28 May 2020

Still Green After All These Years

I got SO excited about this scrappy quilt-as-you-go project I started last week to use up the tiny green batik pieces leftover from my still-not-finished green batik leftovers dress, I haven't finished the dress!!! In fact, I haven't touched the dress since the second block from this new WIP!

This project is teaching me I really like using up scraps as I go, as opposed to pulling scraps from a box. I'm using up small batting remnants that have hung around for years. I've re-learned I crave designing as I go. And this project is teaching me that I can make time for quilting, even when I have no time. When a project is this much fun, it's hard not to put other tasks aside!

Every time I'm forced to pull away from my sewing machine right now, I can't wait to get back to it. I needed sewing, piecing and quilting to be this much fun again.

When I began the first block, I was trying to figure out why I had so many solid green Kona leftovers. It took me a few ticker-tape pieces to remember the rainbow quilt I put together because I had so many colors of the rainbow.

After cutting the first two solid green blocks, I came across a solid green I wanted to use that wasn't quilt wide enough. I decided to incorporate one of the tiny scrap stash-burners I learned from Crazy Mom Quilts. I had clippings from the skirt of the dress that started this journey that would be perfect for a birch tree block.

I had a ton of little half-house shaped scraps leftover from the Dresden plate I'm appliquéing to the dress bodice.

I've always wanted to make a scrappy house/village quilt, and I thought these odd-shaped little pieces would be perfect.

I tried several different layout options, and I just really didn't like any of them. As I was putting the pieces away one last time, I realized I could create half-hearts from the half-houses with a few simple cuts, and then perhaps I could use up those scraps on this new, nifty quilt.

The resulting hearts are so inspiring, I might have to do another heart quilt!

Linking up with Alycia Quilts and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

26 May 2020

Bits and Pieces

The garden is coming up beautifully, albeit a little fast. I've been enjoying watering in daylight every morning.

I spent part of Memorial Day weekend thinning out portions of the garden, including the lavender. I should have snapped a photo before I began, but I didn't think of it. Lizard was the lavender expert. He wanted to have a small lavender farm one day. He studied how to care for them. He's the one who knew how to prune the plants at the end of the season. I hoped last October I hadn't killed it by cutting off too much and too deep.

The main plant started looking pretty dead, although even dead, it's the best-smelling growth on the planet. Most of it looked as if it wasn't going to come back this year, and I'd been wanting to trim off the old wood ever since the weather began warming up.

I spent more than two hours trying to gently trim the old seemingly dead branches because there was growth deep inside the main plant. I accidentally cut off two branches with live growth, and I put them in a mason jar with water to see what will happen. I don't know if you can start a new plant with cuttings, but I intend to find out. Plus, for now, the branches are still alive. And they smell so wonderful!

The result of my lavender hair cut isn't very pretty right now, and my back was so sore by the time I got done. But man, there is nothing more pleasant than trimming lavender! I could have stayed down there on the ground with those dead branches all day!

I often see baby bunnies scampering from the garden as I begin watering. I guess there's no getting away from the garden terrorists.

One morning last week, I found a deep hole in the flower raised-bed garden. It appeared someone dug all the way to the bottom and all through the mouse tunnels. Bulbs were not eaten but tossed aside, as if that wasn't what the digger wanted to digest. We assume it was a fox, and I was happy to replant my bulbs, hoping the mice were at long last gone.

No such luck. Three days later, a mouse was right back in the same place, with new tunnels, and chewed bulbs. Argh!!!

I went right back into high security mode, layering the spices on my garden and digging the soil every day.

Two days, three days, four days... no mice... Perhaps this time, they realized this wasn't a safe place to nest.

blink, and you miss it

Then I found one again. He (or she) had moved into the tomato and pepper garden, which also is loaded with onions and spicy oregano. And carrots, which is what this particular mouse was feasting upon. I used up all the rest of my cinnamon, cayenne pepper and black pepper layering both the veggie gardens, and I'm digging up the chewed up carrots. But I think I'm losing the battle.

I don't have a whole lot more energy left to fight them!

So I looked up kittens available for adoption in the area. They wouldn't be mousers until next year, but perhaps we would have so much fun with new members of the family, we wouldn't care so much about the mice and the bunnies.

I'm waiting to hear back from two different kitten parents, and I hope I have a big announcement soon. However, what we're looking for seems to be in high demand, so perhaps it won't be in the next week or two. I think, once our filed adoption applications are approved, we'll likely be put on a waiting list.

I think a new family member (or three) will be just what Lizard needs right now to restore hope and optimism. He took a turn for the worse about 17 days ago and is having difficulty walking now. We haven't given up hope, and he's working as hard as he can to regain his skills. We're hoping these latest changes aren't permanent.

Due to some balance issues, we've had to make some modifications at home. I'm still not going out much, and we needed supplies, so I ordered them.

I picked up some primo wash cloths rated very soft and thick. The manufacturer supposedly supplies hotel chains. The new stash arrived last weekend, along with more men's socks. We washed everything before putting them away, and I forgot about the comments some buyers made about the "incredibly soft and thick but high quality" cotton in the face towels. Many people said there was a ton of lint after the first wash.

No kidding.

I spent nearly an hour trying to hand-pick the lint off Lizard's new socks. Packing tape didn't work. I tried.

When I first pulled the wash cloths out of the packaging, Lizard commented, "Oh, you can dye those!"

Oh, how I love this guy!

25 May 2020

Snowflake Monday

I wasn't sure I'd be able to finish today's snowflake. Thanks to sometimes gloveless gardening and too much hand sanitizer over the last ten weeks, I've got what my husband calls a cold split.

And that makes a much better snowflake name than Garden Sanitizer.

You may do whatever you'd like with snowflakes you make from this pattern, but you may not sell or republish the pattern. Thanks, and enjoy!

Finished Size: 7 inches from point to point
Materials: Size 10 crochet thread, size 7 crochet hook, empty pizza box, wax paper or plastic wrap, cellophane tape, water soluble school glue or desired stiffener, water, glitter, small container for glue/water mixture, paintbrush, stick pins that won't be used later for sewing, clear thread or fishing line


Popcorn Stitch (pc)

Work 5 dc in designated st, take loop off hook, insert hook through top loop of 1st dc and replace loop on hook, pull loop through top of 1st dc.

Cold Split Snowflake Instructions

Make magic ring.

Round 1: [Pc in ring, ch 14, 1 sc in 7th ch from hook and in next ch, 1 hdc in each of next 2 ch, 1 dc in each of next 2 ch, ch 2] 6 times; sl st in top of starting pc. Pull magic circle tight.

Round 2: Ch 8 (counts as 1 trtr and [ch 3), in next ch 6 tip work (3 dc, ch 3) 2 times, 3 dc in same tip, ch 3, 1 trtr in top of next pc] 6 times, omitting last trtr of final repeat; sl st in 5th ch of starting ch 8.
If you're not reading this pattern on Snowcatcher, you're not reading the designer's blog. Please go here to see the original.

Round 3: [3 sc in next ch 3 sp, ch 5, in next ch 3 sp work (1 dc, ch 5, 1 dc), ch 5, sk next dc, in next dc work (1 dtr, ch 13, 1 sc in 11th ch from hook and in each of next 2 ch, 1 dtr), ch 5, in next ch 3 sp work (1 dc, ch 5, 1 dc), 3 sc in next ch 3 sp] 6 times; bind off. Weave in ends.

Finish: Tape wax paper or plastic wrap to top of empty pizza box. Pin snowflake to box on top of wax paper or plastic wrap.

If using glue, mix a few drops of water with a teaspoon of glue in small washable container. Paint snowflake with glue mixture or desired stiffener. Sprinkle lightly with glitter. Wash paintbrush and container thoroughly. Allow snowflake to dry at least 24 hours. Remove pins. Gently peel snowflake from wax paper or plastic wrap. Attach 10-inch clear thread to one spoke, weaving in end. Wrap fishing line around tree branch (or tape to ceiling or any overhead surface) and watch snowflake twirl freely whenever you walk by! Snowflake also may be taped to window or tied to doorknob or cabinet handle.

21 May 2020

It's Not Easy Sewing Green

Last month I made a list of the best things about staying home. Number 7 on the list was wearing T-shirts and jeans every day.

Okay, I'm now officially tired of all my T-shirts. I'm ready to go back to wearing dresses! But I want new dresses. Not the same jumpers I've been wearing over and over again for the last two or three years, mostly from the same pattern. That means I'd best get sewing.

I hadn't touched the green batik dress since... yikes, since April 16?!?. Oh, my heavens. Where in the world is the time going?!?

Well, more masks, of course. Most don't take long, thank heavens. There was another request from a nurse in the neighborhood. I am still getting requests from family members as their states open back up. My daughter requested Colorado Rockies fabric I'd used for a pair of shorts for her when she was a child. That took some digging through the ancient stash!

Then my brother asked for Dallas Cowboys. I had a tiny bit of that fabric left because of him (he's THE Cowboy fan of the family), so it was fitting to use the last of it for his mask. His wife's name is Rose; making that fabric choice a no-brainer.

When I finally sat down to cut out the bodice and sleeves from the darkest green Kona solid, there was not enough fabric. NO!!! I was so... oh, I can't even think of a word to describe what I felt. I had to walk away for a while. It looks like I required four weeks of simmering to begin problem-solving again.

After I cut the bodice and sleeves from the Glacier Kona, one of my nieces asked for masks for her family, and her husband requested Miami Dolphins because he'd seen the Dallas Cowboys and Colorado Rockies masks. Look, I'm NOT a professional sports fabric store!!! Yes, I had a few pieces leftover from a few projects, but I don't have every team!!! I don't want every team!!! Ha ha ha!

The Glacier Kona probably is as close as I can get to Dolphin colors. So now the Glacier is all gone. Just like that.

I didn't have enough width for the mask, so I had to get creative. Definitely the most time-consuming mask I've made so far. And to the rest of the guys in my family, don't get any ideas!!! (Just teasing. I'd do whatever my family asks. I love them all.)

My niece wanted music or sunflowers. I have both. There was barely enough of the music fabric from back when my now-grown kids were in middle school band and would still wear clothing I made for them. I made a reversible mask for my niece with the leftover pieces, and now I have no more unused rainbow music scraps in any of my scrap bins.

Their daughter likes anything girly and pink and/or purple. I had plenty to fit that order and actually had difficulty selecting just one fabric. Maddie could have been the most fashionable girl in her day care (mom's an essential health worker). I could have made a different mask for my grandniece for every day of the week. Maybe even for a month!

I confess I've had a ton of fun reliving memories while going through stash for various mask requests. I can proudly say I did not hoard toilet paper and I did not hoard hand sanitizer. Fabric and yarn, however... is that hoarding? Or is is just addiction???

There were so many fabrics I didn't remember buying, and there are so many fabrics I don't remember why I bought them. It felt a bit like walking through a fabric store, only better because I could touch all the preciouses!

After finishing off my most recent bunch of masks, I finally decided to use the second dark green Kona solid for facings and pockets. I had already planned to use a fabric I don't like for the pockets because they aren't going to show anyway. There was enough Fern Kona solid for everything I needed, so I cut all the rest of the missing pieces from that. The facings and pockets aren't going to show, but they match! And now I have very little Fern left.

Finally, it was time for the pièce de résistance.

I had decided months ago, before I even knew there would be no button-shopping trips in my spring future, not to use oversized buttons for this dress.

I toyed with the idea of crocheting motifs to appliqué in place of buttons, perhaps even using some of my hand-dyed thread to accomplish the task.

Ultimately I decided to use a Dresden template to use up some of the smaller green batik leftovers. After assembling about five petals, I realized this "flower" would be bigger than I had visualized, and a couple of times, I even wondered if I should start over and make this gigantic Dresden into a pillow or a quilt block. I played with placement a bit and decided to go ahead and finish it, then use it if it fit on the bodice.

Now comes the chore of picking a color for the center!

I narrowed my 26 options down to the two handpaints I liked best. I think I'm going to go with the purple.

I think this is going to be my new favorite dress. Once again, I'm wondering if I will have a place to wear it, but I've also decided it's okay to dress up while working from home. Maybe I might even catch Lizard's eye... Wink, wink!

And what do you do with all those tiny little Dresden scraps? Well, you start yet another quilt project, of course.

Linking up with Alycia Quilts and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.
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