Saturday, October 21, 2017

Some Assembly Required

Thank goodness, I finally finished canning the bushel of pears I bought at the orchard!  I saved out about a dozen for eating, and put up halves and slices to have all winter.
With that "homework" out of the way, I can work on getting ready to go on a quilting retreat next weekend.
Believe it or not, there are 3 quilts in this box.  Some assembly required, of course.
A couple of weeks ago I started taming down my wild Christmas scraps, which looked like this:
I also cut into what Christmas yardage I had.
Here's what I'm going to make:
1.  Sticks and Stones quilt
This is a free pattern, designed by Bonnie Hunter but not on her web page.  You can find it HERE.  It takes 5 in. squares, 1.5 x 5 in. rectangles, and 1.5 in. squares for the center.  I'm making red blocks and green blocks.  They are 10 in. square finished.
2.  Four pointed Christmas stars
I'm adapting a Bonnie Hunter pattern here.  Yes, Bonnie again, but for scrappy quilts you can't go wrong with Bonnie Hunter.  This one is Star Struck, and you can get the free pattern HERE.  I changed it slightly, leaving out the triangles on the background rectangles.  Again, I'll be making half the blocks red and the other half green.  All the pieces are cut from 2.5 in. strips.

3.  Classic triple rail fence
I've only got 3 blocks done so far, but there are just dozens of pieces this size.  The rectangles are cut 2 in. x 5 in., so they'll finish as 4.5 in. squares.  I'm going to make all of them with one green strip, one red strip, and one light strip in the center.  Turned the right way, they look a little like the Italian flag.
But wait, there's more!
It is so hard for me to cut out quilts and delay sewing them!  Setting these aside for the retreat has been like torture.  I finally broke down and started yet ANOTHER Christmas quilt, using the triangles left over from the Four Pointed Christmas stars.
They're cute, they're scrappy, and they're making me happy!  There were a lot of 2.5 in. squares in that pile of scrap, which make great 4 patch centers for the stars.  All the triangles I've used so far came from the Four Pointed Christmas stars.  I cut the larger triangles with the Companion Angle ruler from 2.5 in. strips.  The corner squares are also cut from those strips, or from 5 in. squares I have on hand.
So, not a lot finished this week, aside from the pears.
But a whole lot started!
Also, this:
He's a very willing worker, but Grandpa and I have to remind him not to eat the leaves.
I hope your week is filled with love and laughter.
Link ups today:
Busy Hands Quilts
Crazy Mom Quilts

Friday, October 13, 2017

Apples, Cats, and Quilts

Here's one of the best things about fall--apples!  We got a bushel of Macintosh apples from the orchard yesterday.  I take my husband along to do the heavy lifting, and I usually pick out what are called "seconds" to save money.  Seconds are still good, but not perfect, so they are cheaper.  Since I fall into that category myself, I don't mind "not perfect" at all.
I peeled and sliced a batch of them, and canned some quarts for pies and crisps this winter.
The cores are stuffed into this old crock to make vinegar.  For this particular crock, I add 2 quarts of water and half a cup of sugar.  The ratio is one quarter cup sugar to each quart of water.  You want the water to cover the cores.
Then you put a piece of cheesecloth over the top and secure it with a rubber band.  It will sit on the shelf in my kitchen cupboard for a few weeks, until it smells like vinegar.  Then I'll strain it and put it in glass bottles.  The  resulting apple vinegar is good in baking, and my oldest daughter takes it to ward off a cold.
I still have to make applesauce (on the stove now as I type) and do another small batch of pie apples.  The house smells great.
This week's finishes are lap quilts.
Imagine you are an elderly person.  (If you're lucky, you'll get to be one someday.)  Now imagine it's winter, your knees are cold, and you'd like to cover up with a quilt but it's a problem with your wheelchair.  You would need a lap robe.
That's what I made this week.
The first one is flannel, top and back.  I got the pieces for the top a few weeks ago at a flea market.  There was a nice big stack of flannel rectangles, cut 2.5 in. x 3.5 in., in a bag of scraps I bought for $2.  I made 4 patches out of them, and added the light colored fabric from my stash, plus a few flannel rectangles to make 30 blocks.  Flannel borders top and bottom made the quilt square and just about the right size.
The nursing home we give these to asked for quilts about a yard square.  You can see from the yardstick I fell a little short with this one.  Not perfect.  I think it will be okay anyway.
The back is more of that cozy plaid flannel.
Here's the second quilt, made of regular cotton on the front and flannel on the back. 
The cat fabric was donated to our quilt group.  There were yards and yards of different prints.  Our leaders divided it up into half yard pieces, and handed them out as a challenge, to make a quilt for charity.  I cut all these cats out of the half yard Colleen gave me, and framed them with 2.5 in. strips from the scrap bins and baskets.
Success!  This one is a yard square!  I hope the recipient likes cats, because ...
the back is a flannel cat print from my stash.  There's no way to get away from cats with this quilt.
I'm linking up with Busy Hands Quilts, Crazy Mom Quilts, and Can I Get A Whoop Whoop this week.  It is so inspiring seeing what other people are making.
Well, back to the applesauce.  Happy fall!

Friday, October 6, 2017

Christmas is Coming

Is anybody ever really ready for Christmas?  We know it's coming, all year long, so how does it manage to sneak up on us? 
At least I've got something done, although this isn't for me.  This is my charity quilt homework from our quilt group.  Nancy P., our fearless leader, made up this kit with directions, and I took it home.
Check out the corners!  There were only 3 fabrics, but Nancy made the most of them by turning the stripes the other direction.
Here's her diagram, liberally scribbled on by me.
It was hard to get a good photo today, it's so dark and gloomy outside.  We had a thunder storm last night and it looks like it could rain any minute.
Here's the back, a Christmas print I bought at an antique store.  The binding is two different prints of a maroon color to go with the red/maroon in the green snowman print.
This quilt finishes at a good size, about 49 x 58, and will probably go to a child as a Christmas gift.  We donate to our local Volunteer Center, and they do the distributions.
So that's got me thinking about Christmas.  I promised my youngest daughter I'd make her a Christmas quilt to replace the one I made for her as a child, which finally wore out.
I got these scrap bags at quilt sales last spring/summer.  The price was right ($1 each!) so let's see what we've got.
Cowabunga!  This is a real big mess. 
I brought down the Christmas yardage too, to help me get ideas.  It's stacked in the background.
Sorting this took forever.  I was actually thinking of leaving it for a while and cleaning the bathrooms instead.  Nevertheless, I persisted.
Here it is, sorted out into something that might be manageable.  The strips on the left are narrow, and I set them aside for string blocks.  There is a long strip of green binding, sewn from several fabrics, plus some commercial binding in the center of the table.  If the strips were a regular size (like 2.5 in., 3.5 in, etc.) I stacked them (on the right).  If not, they went into the wooden bread tray to be pressed and cut.  The bigger pieces got their own pile.
There were LOTS of triangles in several sizes, and a nice stack of 2.5 in. squares.
Now, what am I going to do with this?
What would YOU do?  I would love to know! 
Cheers and Merry Christmas!

Join me at the link ups at
Busy Hands Quilts, Crazy Mom Quilts, and Can I Get a Whoop Whoop!