A Crystal Cut Glass Covered Cake Plate (say that three times!)

The weather here in the midwest has been phenomenal! And when it gets this way, it is so hard to stay indoors, so The Kid and I have been spending more time away from home and outdoors.

One thing that I did manage to complete was ‘the accidental cake plate’. I absolutely love the crystal cut glass in whatever form, but mostly I like the covered plates or bowls. On occasion, I have an epiphany with pieces and I can bring them all together to make another item that was never expected.

2015-01-27 14.27.21This is one of those pieces. While attempting to put pieces away, it just came to me. A little E-6000 and those four pieces became this great and elegant cake dish.

2015-01-26 18.44.03So, what I have is a plate, a large bowl (pictured upside down), a candlestick and the glass cap of a coffee peculator.

2015-01-26 18.45.11The percolator is glued to the bottom of the bowl and the candlestick is glued to the bottom of the plate.2015-01-27 14.27.42Viola`, a covered cake plate.

2015-01-27 14.27.53If I hadn’t told you just now what all these pieces were, you probably wouldn’t have guessed what they were. 🙂  I’m probably going to hang on to this until a girlfriend’s birthday and give it to her along with a small cake.

I’ve also been able to get a few more quilts bound. Here is one that I finished yesterday and managed to get The Kid to help me get a photo.Strippy Sash QuiltThis is built sort of backwards, as the sashing was the part pieced, while the blocks were just plain black. I think it is stunning! I have always been a big lover of piecing and I use just about every piece of fabric that is left over, down to doing tiny doll-sized scrappy quilts. Another quilt I am just finishing up is a postage stamp quilt, the original blocks were an inch and a half, so the finished block size is 1″. Wait ’till you see it!

I’ve also been working on the cross stitch, there is a very large area towards the bottom that is deep green and although I have been working on that area all week, it still seems like I am not getting ahead. I’ll provide an update soon!

julie

 

And the Work Goes On

I can’t seem to stay on any one project for very long these days. Maybe it’s clichéd to say, but I think winter has dragged on for far too long. Or maybe I’ve been house bound too many days.

I continue to work on the cross stitch, seems to me that I’ve made progress, but when I stop to take photos and report, it seems so insignificant to the whole.

2015-01-21 15.59.53Been working on the top. Greens, lots and lots of greens. I know it doesn’t look like much, but this hours worth of stitching. I am determined to complete this, though. I don’t think I will start another for a while.2015-01-21 15.59.46Took a little time and completed the binding on three more quilts. I am amazed at what I found in the last box of quilts to arrive quilted… it is almost like opening a box of quilts completed by someone else. I swear, some of these I don’t hardly remember making!

On the other hand, today’s quilts, I do recall. In fact, one was supposed to be a graduation present for my The Kid. He graduated almost two years ago! LOL

2015-01-21 15.55.30That is the Staley High School Falcons and he is Class of ’13. Yep and yesterday I finally got the binding done. I actually had to get the school’s permission to use the likeness (well at least to get Kinko’s to make the printed version so I could get the outline large enough). Maybe I will just donate it to the school and then can raffle it or maybe hang it in the school or something. That’s the downside of making so many quilts.

2015-01-21 15.56.28This quilt – and the next one – are a couple of my all time favorites. Orphan Quilts. Those leftover blocks from other quilts that you just don’t know what to do with. I mean, you can’t throw them away, and just how many can you make into hot pads and and cup coasters!?

So, I tuck them away neatly in this trunk I made over and that sits in the hallway. And when I can no longer add anymore or I can’t find inspiration, I pull these out, sort them and make orphan quilts.

As you can tell, I do make a lot of pink quilts. I suppose that is because I never had a real excuse to make one (a daughter of my own). But I do love the pink and make them in abundance for other folks’ kids or grandkids.

2015-01-21 15.54.27Here’s a an honest-to-goodness Orphan Quilt. It is really kind of fun to figure out how to get these blocks together to get a good size with no gaps.  Much like fitting a puzzle together. I like this one as well, once the binding was done, it was really fluffy, and I can tell that this will be a warm comfortable quilt to sleep under.

I was asked today to curate a clipboard on one of the popular websites. I am going to have to research it a little to figure out how much time and energy it is going to require. Maybe I might have to go out and buy some!

julie

Cross Stitching Isn’t a Hobby for Wimps

An update to the giant cross stitch that I am working on. I do a little whenever I have some free time and this weekend was a gigantic laze-fest for The Kid and me.2015-01-18 20.04.59Now that I’ve gotten a foothold on a couple of areas, it makes continuing that much easier. The canvas is getting less rigid and easier to roll up, so that I can concentrate on a single area.

So, I opted to try out a “field” of varying colors at the left center area of the canvas. I went through and stitched the off-green color first. I then followed through with the gold-ish color. Finally, I took a slightly darker gold and wove a few threads through the field.

2015-01-18 20.05.28

Next up, the very almost-kelly green field in between previously completed gold fields in the upper right side of the canvas.2015-01-18 20.05.33

This section was completed pretty much without thought. But while doing this section, I wondered just how long it will take me to complete the entire canvas.

So, with the kelly green area, I counted stitches and timed how long it took. There were 313 cross stitches. It took me 95 minutes to complete.

So based on these numbers, it takes 3.3 seconds per cross-stitch. A square inch is 144 stitches, which would be 475 seconds or about 8 minutes. The entire canvas, 16″ x 20″, is 46,080 stitches,and at 3.3 seconds per stitch, about 13,963 minutes (232 hours).

So, if I were to work on it about 3 hours a day, it will take about 76 days. Now, of course, you have to factor in some time for thread color changes, end of thread secures, any mistakes or re-work and you will soon realize that as my audience, you’re going to be seeing a lot of updates on this piece!!

Today I put in more time than three hours, more like five, but the complexity of first field probably meant that I didn’t achieve the require 3.3 seconds per. But it really is only about leisure and the fact that I can’t sit and do nothing with my hands. Eventually, I will turn this into a large pillow or wall hanging.

In the meantime, I am just enjoying it.

julie

Ladies and Gentlemen, Fasten Your Seatbelts…

…and prepare for takeoff.

A couple of weeks ago when the weather was topping out in the single digits and we were determined (well I was determined) to get work done in the garage, we went out and purchased a garage heater. I wanted something that would heat the space quickly and efficiently and didn’t want to have to spend an arm and a leg. We came across a heater in a second hand store for $35, which we got home and fueled. It kicked on and heated, but it gave off some extremely strong smells and along with it, some smoke. Frankly, it worried me that it was a fire hazard and it made me nervous enough to just junk it.

We’d then tried out an electrical heater, but it didn’t heat the space we needed… at best, it took the chill off but it didn’t warm up things enough to build, let alone warm enough to be able to paint.

The electrical heater that we found that would heat the space that we working in, was way too expensive, so we opted for a kerosene heater. I was hoping to keep the price down to a hundred dollar mark, but it was quickly becoming clear that to get a quality heater for the space we needed, I would need to spend a little more; we ended up spending just about $200. We finally settled on this one:49bf84eb-6220-4c8d-aff1-8549674847c4_300It easily starts with a flip of a switch and heats up the two car garage in no time. There is a bit of kerosene smell, but quickly dissipates (or you get used to it).

The thing that gets to me is the sight and sound of it. It reminds me of a small jet engine at takeoff. Check this out!

Isn’t it awesome!? I love how the end just glows and the flames shoot out of it! Ha!

julie

 

PS…for those interested, I am not being paid for nor sponsored in any way for the mention of any products or stores in this post. I just like the way that these particular products work and want to share with you!

My How Time Flies When You’re Quilting!

Okay, for the last four days I have been working on a new quilt. Well, technically it is going to be more than one, but the intent was to create one.

While organizing and cleaning up my sewing room – ostensibly for the purposes of trying to finish any- and everything that I have started. I get like this occasionally where I will vow not to start something new until everything I have already started is done.

In this exercise, I found a large ziplock bag with 3″ squares sorted by color. LOTS of 3″ squares. So, I thought I’d make one of my favorite quilt patterns (used on one of the quilts on my bed) and zip through this pile of squares.photo

It starts with a nine-patch (5 colored/4 white) and then adds the triangles to each side. I am guessing that there is an “official” name to this, but I like to think this is my own doing. 🙂

So, with this large stack of 3″ squares, I started making 9 patch blocks. It’s amazing how long this can take, especially since this time around, I wanted to keep each block in the same color family. So, after sorting and sewing – about 12 hours worth – I ended up with this:

photo 8The next step would be to cut and sew the four triangles onto each side. I didn’t have these pre-cut, so it occurred to me that I would have to delve into uncut stock, and I was looking to reduce the amount of precut that I had. So, I had an idea… each of these blocks would be set with a block pattern called a “snowball”. Basically a square with each corner replaced with a triangle corner.

UnknownI have found the easiest way to produce this, is to place a block at each corner, mark it and sew it diagonally. I got The Kid to help with drawing the lines. I had way more blocks than originally anticipated. Isn’t that they way it goes?

photo 7

In order to not waste the part that is cut off is to sew a secondary line about 1/8″ away from the original line.

photo 13

Then cut between the lines (removing the pins, of course):photo 10

photo 5

To make all the cuts, again I roped The Kid into helping. I hope that he is gaining an appreciation of what goes into the quilts I make. He has laid claimed to at least a dozen so far. 🙂

photo 1

Once separated, you simply iron everything. Depending on how many squares you have, this may take a while. I think I watched a whole movie while doing all this ironing!

photo 6

The larger block will compliment the nine-patch and I will use the smaller blocks for a smaller quilt. Or maybe a border on another quilt.

photo 3

So, next up is to connect the nine patch to the snowball. I am going to deviate each line of blocks so that it staggers the placement of each block. I may actually have more than enough for a single quilt top, and perhaps might divide it into two. The colors I have most is blues and greens, and it might be enough to spin into two separate quilts of their own.

For as long as I have been quilting, I never seem to be able to accurately estimate the number of squares or blocks I need. I guess that is why I seem to end up with extras, enough to create “orphan quilts”. Some day when I don’t have anything to write about, I’ll do a post on those.

julie

 

 

Putting Final Touches on a Bunch of Quilts

Since the new year, I’ve been staying out of the garage and working in my sewing room. I am drawn to doing work in the garage, but the temperatures have been hovering just above the freezing point and kerosene heater or no, it is too damned cold to be working outside. And not just for me, but for painting and staining.

I am an avid quilter. Rather, I make a lot of the quilt tops and send them off to be quilted and then returned to me and then I bind them (the outer edge). I’ve been quilting for over almost 15 years, started just before 2000 and I am betting in the time I have made at least a five hundred (or more!) quilts. In the last couple of months, I received two big boxes of quilted tops from my friend Gloria and I’ve slowly been working through them. Doing the binding, that is.

So here’s what I finished today:

DSCN3025I’ve created some of these quilt tops months – even as long as years – ago. I have almost forgotten that I’ve done some of these. This was a work in green… not much to say about it really, just a nice fun pattern that I will give to someone who likes green.

DSCN3026This was inspired by a fun little duck print. Wouldn’t this be grand for some little one? The yellows are so cheery. And the quilting pattern is little ducks too!

Did I mention that one thing I had always loved about my friend Gloria who does the quilting, she makes most of the decisions about pattern and thread color? I like to work with her, it is a real creative collaboration. It started out with her wanting to try new patterns and me wanting to not have to choose! And it has worked out well for the last decade and a half.

DSCN3029I love bold, strong colors. As a result, I also end up with a lot of great scraps (see below). Sometimes I just like to sit and cut pieces while watching old movies on DVDs (I have the complete set of Alfred Hitchcock’s movies) and then sit and sew them together. Sometimes they turn out absolutely great and sometimes they turn out ok. Once in a great while I get a dud or two, to which those are donated to the local no-kill animal shelter for the dogs to use. That way, it gets used and the puppies probably don’t care what it looks like!

DSCN3031This is a piece that I have been working on and off for years! These are strips of white cotton are cut across the width of the fabric and six inches wide. Then the strips and scraps are sewed onto them. I had 16 strips completed, so I then sewed them together. The back is just white cotton and I am debating about whether or not to layer it and quilt it or just leave it as is. I have it hanging over the landing railing, so every time I walk down the hall, I see it. And then I think about it.

And to give credit where credit is due, here is my helper, usually hidden behind the quilts. And the one who runs up and down the stairs for sodas and makes lunch for me and who helps me move the massive amount of fabric around as I bind them. And I just love him like crazy 🙂

DSCN3032The guest bedroom bed has about another nine or ten quilts waiting to be bound. And of course I have projects that I’ve started that need to be completed. And I found another box of quilt tops that I need to send off to be quilted. But Gloria has decided to hang it all up and retire and now I have to find someone new.

This is gonna be difficult!

julie

Playing Catch-up With Some Food!

Although The Kid and I spent most of the day on the road traveling, I wanted to catch up a few cooking and baking posts that I skipped.

In addition to the homemade navy bean soup we made for New Year’s Eve (and which lasted many, many days). 🙂

We missed the window before Christmas to make the frosted sugar cookies that are popular around the holidays. In years past, it had been a holiday tradition to make tens of dozens of carefully baked and decorated sugar cookies, along with an assortment of other cookies like oatmeal-raisin, and chocolate chip as well as small loafs of banana bread and corn bread and blue berry muffins. We would load up baskets and deliver to friends, neighbors and co-workers. It started out enjoyable, but repeating – and often larger – these gift baskets became more and more work and less and less fun. Eventually, we stopped with the move to Kansas City. No one had any expectations and we took advantage of that.

But I missed, to some extent, the fun of the cookie decorating. So, a few days ago, The Kid and I pulled out my old copy of Better Homes & Garden cookbook and whipped up a double batch of sugar cookies. At the same time, The Kid baked up a dozen or so chocolate chip cookies from a mix. I love that he doesn’t hesitate to experiment, roll up his sleeves and learn to bake and cook. He’s gonna make someone a wonderful husband some day.

photo 2We went easy and only cut large and small circles and a few stars. We whipped up my mom’s well loved powdered sugar frosting and each cookies was given a generous swipe. Decorations were limited to some course colored sugars. I failed even to capture any photos of the “afters”, as they weren’t really great to look at but delicious to eat!

DSCN2967  Another evening, The Kid had a craving for crab legs and rather than go out for a meal, he opted to prepare one instead. We had deep fried battered shrimp, garlic sauteed shrimp, steamed crab legs, fries, and deep fried battered broccoli. He did everything from prep to clean up! He is so talented and I couldn’t resist. It wasn’t hard to enjoy everything! With the leftover batter, we made corn fritters, just battered corn kernels deep fried and then dipped in honey. Makes a great dessert and was the perfect end to this dinner!

Geez, I’m almost making myself hungry writing about all of this food!

julie

Being A Bit Lazy So Far This Year…

Wow, I can’t believe that it has almost been a week since the last post. I knew I needed to take a breather, but when I stopped and looked around, it occurred to me that I have pretty much done nuthin’ for the last few days. I am hot on a binge watching of “The X-Files” (and loving the oh-so-young David Duchovny) and working on the “hee-you-JUH” (well huge for me) cross stitch.

I think I “started” this sometime last year after running across the photo in a magazine in my doctor’s office (don’t tell that I stole the mag!) and I think I alluded to this project once or twice in this post.

"The Road Across the Wolds" by David Hockney

“The Road Across the Wolds” by David Hockney

I did manage to get a significant part completed on one (of four) canvases before becoming overwhelmed with the process of connecting the four canvases together.

I picked it back up on New Year’s Day, just to keep my hands busy while The Kid and I (that’s for you Jennifer!!) started the marathon. I am vowing to work on it at least a little every day, and maybe, just maybe, I will be able to show you the finished work next New Year’s!!

So, here is today’s update:

01:05You will see that I actually did connect the four pieces together and finish the wheat field that spills into the left bottom canvas. I then switched to the upper right canvas and have been working on the fields. And wow, there are a LOT of fields! 🙂

I did sell three pieces on Craigslist, the pink pieces I did. I met a nice gentleman who is very good at talking me down on my prices. Grrr. Not a fan of that. Especially since he mentioned on one piece he was planning to repaint. I really don’t care what people do with the pieces once the buy them, but I don’t wanna know that my hard work is soon to be erased.

Okay, that’s it for today.

julie

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