The Library Stack

It has been a long time since I contributed an entry to my ongoing series The Library Stack.

I took a hiatus from slogging home huge piles of books from my beloved Public Library and cozying up with a pot of tea. Instead I’ve been reading from my collection of craft magazines and books with my pot of tea.

But I could not stay away too long from my library and recently I slogged home a new pile of borrowed tomes:

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The 700s is my favorite Dewey Decimal section!

Novel Interiors

I’ve greatly enjoyed one of the books in the stack so far – Novel Interiors: Living in Enchanted Rooms Inspired by Literature, by Lisa Borgnes Giramonti (2014).

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Photo credit: amazon.com

I thought I would share a couple quotes from the book that made my smile:

“We don’t just read a great story, we inhabit it.” – Lisa Borgnes Giramonti

“Jo hurried to this quiet place, and curling herself up in the easy chair, devoured poetry, romance, history, travels, and pictures like a regular bookworm.” – Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

“If people do but know how to set about it, every comfort may be enjoyed in a cottage as in the most spacious dwelling.” – Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility

Yes this morning, I am enjoying the comfort of reading with my pot of tea in my cottage (we nicknamed our 1300 square foot abode “The Cottage”)!


Postscript

After going to the Deschutes County Fair (see post Deschutes County Fair) and finishing 3 of my 4 crafting project laid out in my studio, I thought I might revisit my Farm Girl Vintage blocks again. I  put them all up on the design wall in the hallway:

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But I am just not “feeling them” right now and I am going to take them back down. Watch for a future post to see what I’ve stuck up on the design wall instead!

Speaking of “Farm Girl” my little farm (backyard raised bed garden) had the most curious harvest: ONE zucchini. Yes you read correctly – only ONE zucchini. I might be the first person in history to have just ONE zucchini in their zucchini harvest.

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Usually people are trying to give away their zucchini harvest (a friend told me story of “zucchini drive-bys” where you drop bags of zucchini at the front porches of unsuspecting friends and neighbors) and I have only ONE.

So what did I do with my ONE zucchini (yes there are no more zucchinis on the horizon in my garden, I checked 4-5 times) – well, I made two loaves of zucchini bread!

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I stretched that ONE precious zucchini!


Check out Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer’s latest musings on her blog Schnauzer Snips. 

 

 

Deschutes County Fair

A couple weekends ago we went to the Deschutes County Fair (Deschutes County Fair & Rodeo) and this is a belated post to share some photos from the Fair.

The Deschutes County Fair is allegedly (according to their website) Oregon’s largest county fair and rodeo. We have attended a couple of times, and honestly we are always a little underwhelmed.

This could because we used to live in Seattle, WA and each year would go to the more impressive Pullayup Fair (Washington State Fair) or because we used to live in Houston, TX and would attend the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.  So perhaps the bar was set a little high on what we expect from a Fair/Livestock Show/Rodeo.

Lured by the Promise of “Carnival Eats”

We would have passed on the Deschutes County Fair this year, but Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH) got hooked on a show on the Cooking Channel called Carnival Eats.

Basically Carnival Eats is an extreme “food porn” show featuring the NAUGHTIEST fair/carnival food ever (we are talking bacon burgers stuffed with cheese set in a glazed Krispy Kreme donut bun) around the country. Some of the carnival food shown on the show makes you gasp and you imagine if you had one glorious bite you would just immediately drop dead of a heart attack from an extreme coronary blockage by fat. But you would die with a smile on your face!

TTQH and I in general eat fairly healthy but after binge watching a couple of the show with Terry, I thought it would be fun this year to go to the Deschutes County Fair and have one very naughty carnival food experience.

Alas, there was only the standard Fair/Carnival food at the Deschutes Country Fair (corn dogs, friend twinkies, elephant ears). Below is a photo of the most exciting offering they had, and we passed on it, It was just not naughty enough to spend the calories on:

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Wandering Around the Fair

Our coronary arteries probably thanked us, but we gave up on hopes of any naughty food experiences, grabbed a lemonade and wandered around the Fair. Here are some photos from the day.

The Livestock

The livestock was owned/managed by the adorable 4H and FFA (Future Farmers of America) kids. One kids asked me if I wanted to meet her goat,  how could I refuse?

The 4H or FFA kids had posted The Six Pillars of Character:

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The Quilts

What would a county fair be without the craft section? First here is a sampling of some the quilts:

And they had a room in which you could watch women hand quilt in various modified versions of quilting circles!

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The Fiber Arts

The also had knitting and weaving displays and juried winners:

The Rides (that there was no way in heck I was going on)

In case the signs were not enough to keep me away:

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Then the rides themselves accomplished that objective:

Yes, I am a wimp, and proud of it! (smile)

Leaving the Fair

Upon leaving the fair, I asked TTQH if he was less likely to eat meat after meeting all those farm animals. He replied: “That was very cute bacon and if I knew it’s name I would personally thank it while having breakfast”.

No vegetarianism in TTQH’s future!


Postscript

Returning to what originally drew us to the fair – the promise of naughty fair food, I looked around the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo’s website and discovered they had a list of their Fair Food – 2017 Carnival Food

Now, look at these delicacies we did not have access to at the Deschutes County Fair:

  • Flaming Hot Cheetos Roaster Corn & Flaming Hot Cheetos Corn in Cup
  • Nutella Funnel Cake & Oreo Churros with filling
  • Flaming Hot Cheetos Pizza
  • Deep Fried Tim Tams & Deep Fried Chocolate Covered Marshmallows
  • Bacon Nutella Pickle, Pickled Cheese-on-a-Stick, & Shrimp and Pickle Basket
  • Pork Chop-on-a-stick, Loaded Baked Potato Bites & Deep Fried Nachos

So right now your mouth is either watering or your stomach is turning!

We ended up having a nice late lunch after the fair at a local brewery.

What’s Off the Design Wall: Cozy Cobblestones

Finally the follow up post to What’s on the Design Wall: Cozy Cobblestones with the completed quilt top!

It is a quilt top measures approximately 60″ x 72″ and made with traditional piecing but not a with a traditional vibe.

I tried to photograph it using the back of my shed discussed in the post The Photoshoot Shed: Please Give Me Your Ideas, but I had a shadow from the top of my gate due to the position of the sun:

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So I moved it to the side of my house which was completely in shadow and got a better photo:

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I decided not to put a border on it because I plan to put it into the rotation of quilts I rotate through my living room. A border would make it too large for the space I want to hang it. It coordinates well with the colors in my living room!

So I am working on piecing a backing together with various 1 -2 yard pieces of browns I have (trying to use my stash) and then send it to a long-arm quilter. I will likely bind it in the Stonehenge fabric I was going to use for the border.

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I guess I need to work on the Medallion quilt in the photo below next as I have completed  #1, #2, and #4!

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Postscript 

Around this time last year I was posting about the sunflowers in my garden. Well they did not return this year and I did not plant sunflower seeds – so I am sunflowerless!

Luckily my neighbors on the corner have several raised bed boxes of sunflowers in their front yard for me to enjoy:

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I will be more diligent next Spring on planting sunflower seeds!

The Expenditure Tracking Experiment

I am still working on piecing together Cozy Cobblestones that I discussed in my previous post. The “Picnic Setting” is no picnic, and has several “Y” seams and must be pieced in a methodical way (or you are screwed!) Hopefully the next post will be to share my completed quilt top (unless I decided to throw in a post about our visit to the Deschutes County Fair a couple weekends ago…)

This post I wanted to share an interesting experiment I have committed to doing for a year and wondered if any of you have ever tried something like this – I am tracking ALL my expenditures for 1 year. Everything, even if I buy a $2 ice cream cone, etc.

I created a spreadsheet at the end of 2016, broken into as many categories as I could think of (though I had to keep adding categories as the year progressed) and starting January 1, 2017, I began recording anything I spent money on – from food to utilities.

Here is a screenshot of a section of my spreadsheet to date:

Screen Shot 2017-08-19 at 12.24.23 PM.pngOne of the most enlightening (actually shocking) things, was how much we spend on food (and there are only two humans in the household)!  Not to mention how many trips to the grocery store (and several different grocery stores) we make each month.

For example in July 2017, we went to one grocery store EIGHT (8) times! I am starting to wonder if my hobby is not quilting/crafting, but actually going to grocery stores! I wince at the $1.38 purchase listed above – whatever that was, why didn’t I get it during the grocery store visit in the $52.90 purchase above?

Well making a change can only come after gaining awareness that a change is needed. I thought I was a very thrifty “demi-minimalist” but my spreadsheet says I am an out of control food hoarder!

Besides the shocking amount of grocery store spending/visits I have made so far this year, I have learned a lot of valuable stuff about our spending habits and several positive changes have been made. Also it has become a game, where I will not buy something that I do not really need because I want to see if I can get the current month’s expenditures lower than the others.

One more cool thing about this (sometimes painful) spreadsheet, is I have a tool to use to discuss with Terry the Quilting Husband strategies to manages our expenses. We discussed the disaster that was July 2017 and made a conscious effort to keep the August grocery expenses under control!

I would love to hear if any of you have tried something like this.

Well that’s all for now, I got to go head out to the grocery store and pick something up 😉


Feature image photo credit: Sufi Nawaz, free images.com

 

 

What’s on the Design Wall: Cozy Cobblestones

This morning’s post is a follow up What’s on the Design Wall…a “Hot Mess”?

Yesterday I worked to turn the “hot mess” and former unfinished object (UFO) into something resembling a quilt top. I’ve named the quilt “Cozy Cobblestones” as the fabric is the Northcott Stonehenge Cobblestones line.

I promised better photos, however I was unable to keep my promise. Still struggling with the narrowness of my hallway, I had to take entire layout photos at an angle. Alas, this is one of the “cons” of having a design wall in a narrow hallway!

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From the right side

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From the left side

Here is one “head on” photo taken by smooshing myself against the opposite wall:

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“Smooshed” against the wall!

You are probably wincing at the lighting on the photos. Once I sew the blocks together, I am going to take the quilt outside for a proper photo!

I am likely going to “float” the quilt top in additional Stonehenge fabric (I think I have enough yardage to put a “float” border around it). Here is the fabric I might use (it is my only choice unless I go out and try to find some more):

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Next to a section of the blocks layout:

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Try and use your imagination of how cool this will look…

I might use the same fabric for the binding too as I am trying to use what I have in my stash. A contrasting binding might be nice but I would have to purchase it new (and I am taking a hiatus from buying fabric right now).

Speaking of my “stash”, I put the scraps and the two remaining fat quarters that I did not use up, in a future “Challenge Bag” (see post Basket of Challenges):

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I’m gonna be a future “Challenge Bag” – yay!

Inside the scrap bag you will see the blue scraps that I loved (from another Stonehenge line that a quilting friend donated) but could not work into the piece. We’ll see what I make in the future with this small bag of scraps.

The remaining scraps are fairly small as I worked hard to harvest any piece I could turn into a 2.5″ x 2.5″ block:

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Little squares, cutting so many little squares! (42 x 9 = 378)

Quilters reading this may wince, but I did not have enough length of any of the scraps from piecing the original 12″ blocks to make the 6′ nine-patch blocks using the quick “strip-piecing” method. Instead I had to cut out individual 2.5″ x 2.5″ pieces and sew them together to make 42 6-inch nine-patch blocks!  I did “chain-piece” the heck out the pieces after a while became a nine-patch block factory!

It was definitely an old school traditional piecing!

I am feeling pleased with my progress on the “UFOs” in this photo, this quilt top is the #4 in the photo below:

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Once I get it all sewn together, I guess I need to work on the only remaining “UFO” – #3 (Medallion quilt) – but I am not feeling inspiration on that one yet!


Postscript

In addition to a push to complete my unfinished projects, I’ve recently experimented with a couple paper-crafting/card making projects in the paper-crafting/beading area I set up in my sunroom:

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Here are the two cards I made:

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I am not sure if the recipients of these cards actually liked them, but I had fun making them. I listened to a classical radio station on my new(ish) thrift shop radio and found card making very meditative.

Card making was actually my first official crafting hobby that I did with others.

My friend Michele got me started in the late 1990s. I think it opened my mind to starting quilting, which I learned shortly after. I still have many of my card making supplies from the late 1990s and early 2000s. I donated about 1/2 of those supplies to charity organizations but I still have some wonderful supplies to make more handmade cards (whether people want them or not – ha!)

What’s on the Design Wall…a “Hot Mess”?

On the large design wall in my hallway is something that resembles a “hot mess“.

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The hallway is narrow – it works great as a design wall, but is challenging for photography.

This “hot mess” actually represents quite a bit of progress. I struggled with what to do with the 20 blocks I made during a “traditional piecing” binge I went on October to November 2016 and discussed in the following series of posts:

A little background:

Prior to working these blocks, it seems like the last couple of years I was primarily focused on improvisational quilting. I was craving structure (and a break from designing my own quilts) and pulled out my old Ladies’ Art Company Block Tool by Connie Chunn (2007) and started making blocks using a jelly roll I found in my stash of Northcott Cobblestone Stonehenge; and some Stonehenge scraps another quilter gave me.

Unfortunately, I did not have enough of the blue Stonehenge scraps to use them in more than just one block so I had to return those to the fabric scrap basket.

(Now I could have titled this post “Revisiting Traditional Piecing…Part IV” but this binge of working on “traditional pieced blocks” has intermittently continued while I sporadically work on Farm Girl Vintage blocks.)

The dilemma – designing the final quilt layout

The reason why the 20 blocks pictured below got put aside after my “piecing binge” was that I could not find a pleasing way to lay them out. I auditioned many different ways of setting the blocks to include traditional ways such as lattice, putting them on pointing, floating them, and various ideas suggested by my readers (much appreciated!)

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I even thought about the unique and spectacular block layout that Martha Ginn shared in her Martha’s Blog post: Shapely Challenge Revealed.

(Martha and met through this quilt: She bought the green ombre setting fabric for this exquisite sampler quilt through my tierneycreates Etsy shop…glad I met her before I closed the shop!)

Alas, none of the numerous options I explored appealed to me.

Farm Girl Vintage Strikes!

My next venture into traditional-block-piecing-binging was with Lori Holt’s Farm Girl Vintage. In this book I discovered the perfect setting for my blocks! It is called the “Picnic Setting”

For copyright reasons I did not want to photograph the page in Farm Girl Vintage showing the setting, but I did find this photo on Pinterest, pinned by Deborah Thomas, of a quilt in the Picnic Setting:

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Photo credit: Deborah Thomas, Pinterest

The setting is a mixture of 12″ (finished) and 6″ (finished) blocks. The 6″ blocks are the setting for the 12″ blocks!

At first I thought of returning to the Ladies’ Art Company Block Tool and creating a bunch of different 6 inch pieced blocks. Thinking through this idea, I realized the quilt top would NEVER get done if headed down this path. How daunting to make 36 different 6″ blocks to set my 12″ blocks! I needed at least 36 of them to make the block setting work, and it would be 2020 before I posted about this quilt in progress again!.

Nine-Patch, an old stand-by

Finally I settled on making “old school” 6″ (finished) nine-patch blocks using up the scraps from the original jelly roll from piecing the 12″ blocks.

Here is the beginning of playing with the layout as I make the nine-patch blocks:

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There will not be a lot of contrast, and that is intentional. I want the quilt top to have the feel of looking at a stone floor and the patterns and the colors of the stones flowing into one another.

More to come as I progress on the quilt top (perhaps even better photos, but do not get your hopes up!)


Postscript

Decorating with Pillows

A quick follow up to my previous post – Petite Pillow Power! – here is a little vignette in my living room with one of the new pillow, a batik basket I made (the top one),  a lidded store bought basket, and a Longaberger basket someone gave me as a gift 20 years ago:

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Quilting Meets Couture

In case you’d like to learn more about the project that got me started on my art quilting journey, check out this post on the collaborative website I have with Betty Anne Guadalupe, Improvisational Textiles:  

Quilting Meets Couture

You can also check out the new page on Improvisational Textiles that showcases the entire Quilting Meets Couture collection:

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Check out the Improvisational Textiles blog if you would like to follow our collaborative improvisational art quilting journey.

Petite Pillow Power!

Last post I shared this photo of semi-simultaneous unfinished crafting project work:

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I recently finished #2 (see post I hurried); and this weekend I finished up #1 – little pillows made from scrap shot cottons, previously discussed in these posts:

Finishing out the Challenge Bag of shot cottons

Originally I had planned to hand quilt all the little pillows tops:

In reality, I only ended up hand quilting the paper pieced one (I finished this up a couple weeks ago while watching TV in the evening):

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Hand quilted (basic, basic, basic hand quilting!)

The rest of the little pillows I machine quilted this weekend:

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Petite Pillow Power Photoshoot!

When I remembered, I added in a tierneycreates label which I shared in post Embracing Orange. My tierneycreates Etsy shop is closed but I still have all these labels I might as well use them!

Except for the paper pieced pillow which has a solid light tan back, here is the fabric I used on the back of the pillows:

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This petite pillow for some reason is my favorite –  I stuck it in my bookcase:

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Tierney loves me best

Petite Pillow Power!

What’s next? Well I am going to start on #4 (Revisiting Traditional Piecing: The Blocks Part III) – I finally…9 months later…figured out the layout/setting for the blocks!


Postscript

Thank you so much for all the suggestions on my post  The Photoshoot Shed: Please Give Me Your Ideas– so many of you came through with some fantastic ideas!

It has been very warm in Central Oregon, and once it drops below skin-searing temperatures, I am going to fiddle around the back of the shed and decide which idea to implement.

I have a bunch of these from a failed small curtain hanging experiment and I am thinking of using these with some type of rod or heavy tension wire:

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Photo credit – Home Depot

Additionally, I appreciate the great photo tips provided in the comments!

I hurried.

No the feature photo is not of anyone I know, it is courtesy of freeimages.com and the photographer is Alex LA. 

Today I have a shocking update to my previous post on 07/31/17, Everything is Accomplished (What’s On the Design Wall) .

I actually finished (quilted, binding done and hung on the wall) the wallhanging I started in an appliqué class in May 2016, inspired by Lao Tzu’s quote:

“NATURE DOES NOT HURRY, YET EVERYTHING IS ACCOMPLISHED.” ~LAO TZU

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Finished, quilted, hanging on the wall!

I am not sure what came over me, as I really was going to continue following Nature’s example and not hurry – ha! I figured in another year or so I would get it finished. Instead I finished it under a week.

Shocking.


Postscript

A couple of days ago I snapped this photo in my studio. I was laughing to myself at how many projects I had in progress, at the same time, in the same area.

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I assigned numbers and below is a link to the most recent blog posts on each ongoing project. I am on a push to complete open projects!

  1. Decorative small pillows – Finishing out the Challenge Bag of shot cottons
  2. Applique Project (this post)
  3. Medallion wallhanging – What’s on the Design Wall: Scrappy Improvisational Medallion
  4. Traditional quilt block piecing with non traditional fabrics – Revisiting Traditional Piecing: The Blocks Part III

Well, as of today I am one down!