Saturday, August 18, 2012

Quilts, Mice and Bert

Minnesota Quilt Shop Hop

Many states have state wide quilt shop hops. Minnesota is no different. This weekend is the last couple days of a 2 week long hop (plus 3 weekends). I had no plans of doing it but ended up at a couple of the Central East shops a few weekends ago so I started the passport you get filled out at each shop and well - I got sucked into doing our entire area. This included a trip up north 35 to Rush City and then over to Wahkon, a small town I've never heard of before but is on the south end of Milles Lacs lake. That day I ended up putting on a ton of miles and getting some good booty.

Below is  much of the goodies I brought home with me over the last couple weeks. Each shop gave a 5" square of the Minnesota fabric created for this hop. Some shops also gave other gifts.

That little town of Wahkon - The Country Caboose Quilts gave little bags to store tools and a charm. The shop was small but, oh my, the amount of fabric they had in there was shocking! The shop was set up like a maze, little tiny aisles where only one person could hardly fit through. Every inch of the shop was filled to the brim.

Blue Bamboo surprised me again with lots of sale fabric. I found a yard of Christmas black and some Laurel Burch horses fat quarter. Not sure what I'll do with them but the horses and a couple other fat qtrs just had to come home with me!

At all the shops I was on the look out for batiks. I designed a wall hanging with a compass in the middle and a few rounds of other block designs. Here's the batik stash that is now ready for that project.

Some of the other things I got are below - a CD of quilting designs; an Add a Quarter rule; pattern for a long thin wall hanging for Christmas and something I've already used a lot- a 1/4" foot for my Pfaff. Somehow when moving my old 1/4" foot went missing and I really missed it.

Bert's Visit to the Kitty Doctor

So, in the middle of all this Quilt Shop Hop I noticed Bert was not doing so great. Last Friday night he presented me with a dead mouse. This little boy is a great hunter, since moving into this house he's gotten 4-5 mice and I have never found a trace of any of them. I swear he gets them before they even have a chance to pee! 

So, Bert got the mouse and Saturday morning he was having problems eating. He'd take a bite and rub at his cheek and gag (the "I've got a furball" kind). Nothing came up and I figured he had something caught in his teeth. To make a long story short, after things not getting better after a few days we went to the vet and discovered an abscess tooth that was actually sideways. The vet figured a bad tooth and a mouse skull - the mouse skull won that battle. This past week Bert had surgery to remove the tooth and my little boy is a happy camper.

Bert charmed everyone at the vet. My little boy who hides whenever anyone comes to the house was cuddly and such a sweetheart to everyone there. Since coming home he's been at my side whenever he's awake. He wants to be picked up and cuddled a lot. It's taking a bit of getting used to but - I like it!

Oh - I almost forgot to mention. The surgery was on Bert's 8th birthday. Not the best way to celebrate.

Let's Design a Quilt

A month ago or so I designed a few quilts on Electric Quilt 7. I love playing around with shapes and colors on that program. I took a basic block and divided it up not quite in half. Then added a few more lines and ended up with an interesting block.

So I ended up with an interesting block and played around with coloring.

First try at coloring I went with darker versions of the primary colors. I noticed I created a kaleidoscope effect with a couple designs coming out. If you follow the black points you get a flower. If you look at the yellow as the center and the green/blue as points you get a compass.

More playing around and I came up with a Christmas version of it I thought would be interesting. The black fabric from the shop is meant to be the border.

At the same time I designed another Compass quilt that I really want to make (all the batiks) but I don't know if I want to do that quilt paper piecing or regular piecing. I decided to make this one as paper piecing to see if I like it or not. I have mixed feelings about paper piecing so this is a good test before starting the million piece quilt.

All the Stories Come Together

Today I started working on the Christmas wall hanging. I am getting WAY more help than is good. Bert refused to leave me the whole time. Trying to trim up the extra bits without trimming up Bert requires a steady hand and slowness that lets me react to his sudden interest.

Every block that is finished needs to be inspected and rubbed down before I'm allowed to go on.

Even though I had all this extra help I did manage to get 4 of the blocks together to see how the top will look. Right now the red flower/star if the obvious design but, once I add more I'm pretty sure the compass will be the primary look. Time will tell.

Wondering what Chief has been doing though all this? He's OK today but the first day after Bert came home, Chief spent the day sniffing Bert and hissing. Vet stink does not make Chief happy and that made Bert sad. They're back to being buddy-buddy again so all's right with the world.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Sewing with Dora

A couple of the blackout projects were given a new home yesterday. It was Layla's 3rd birthday party and a couple projects were for her. It all started when I saw pictures of her baking cookies with her Mom at Christmas. For a 2 1/2 year old she is very capable of many things beyond her years. This includes helping Mommy bake. So - I decided she needed an apron. Of course, she got an apron for Christmas but I am not one to be stopped. I'd make a different apron. After all, everyone can use more than one apron. Then this spring I found out Layla's new favorite thing was Dora the Explorer. 'Nuff said. I'd make a Dora the Explorer apron.

In May we had a Shop Hop around the Twin Cities and I checked every single shop for Dora material. No one had any. Cat in the Hat - Yes. Dora - No. I thought I'd have to buy from the Net even though I like to shop local when possible. But, as I was walking through JoAnn's one day I saw Dora material. I was a happy camper and bought a yard of Dora and a yard of plain green to go with it.

The Dora apron ended up being one with pockets and reversible. Dora with plain pockets on one side and Plain with Dora pockets on the other side. When Layla opened it up everyone thought it was really cute but she wasn't into trying it on right then.

Did I mention Layla is a little cutie?

So I couldn't stop at just the apron with all that material leftover. I made a little pot holder so she could be just like Mommy (but I know her Mommy won't be giving her real hot stuff to carry) But - more material= more playing around. I traced my hand and adjusted to what I thought would be a good size for a 3 year old and made a couple hot mitts. One had Dora on the back and the other had Boots (I learned the monkey is named Boots this weekend) on the back. Turns out the hot mitts were a bigger hit than the apron right now.

After getting all that done I thought it would be fun to find a "My First Cookbook" type thing. While hunting on Amazon I had the luckiest find. There is actually a Dora the Explorer Cookbook. It's really cute; has hints for Mom and Dad on what part of the recipe the little ones can help with and best of all, Dora, Boots and all their friends are all over the cookbook. It was a HUGE hit.

So, that's a couple of the blackout items. The other items will need to wait until Christmas or another celebration that will come before then. When the time comes I'll try to remember to get some good pictures before I give away the items. Action shots are cute but don't do much for detail!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Cats and Quilting

There's a contest going on 2012 Pets on Quilts. Post pictures on your blog and link it at the contest. Well, as you can guess it wasn't hard for me to find pics of the boys on - under - near - my quilts. But - from the beginning there's always been a special bond between my sewing machine and the cats.

When Chief was young it was tough to quilt without him being close - very close.

Even as he got a little older, the sewing machine was still his favorite hobby spot. I would always have to be sure there was a toy or food to distract him while I actually sewed.

Time passed and I got back to quilting. New machine, different cat - same problem. Chief hangs out near the sewing but doesn't need to be right on top anymore. Guess I'll always have company when I quilt!

UPDATE: 2 things. I added the link to the Pets on Quilts contest because I missed doing that yesterday and I wanted to be sure everyone knew where the contest was.
2nd - Over the past less than 24 hours I have discovered quilters are a very chatty group!! This post has received many more comments than usual and its been fun to see everyone's comments and head over to their blogs if they have any.