Friday, February 14, 2014

February Flashback

First of all, Happy Valentine's Day! 

I hope you are spending the day, or at least part of it with someone special, two-legged or four. 

As the title implies, I will be flashing back to February of last year.  As I was getting ready to post this, I felt a twinge of guilt, because Lilly was watching me from the "window box".  I felt guilty, because I forgot to tell you all that not only is it Valentine's Day, but it's also Lilly's birthday! My sweet Princess Tiger Lilly turns 7 today! I can't believe it's been so long. (not the greatest pic. Blame the cell phone and the sun being behind her.)

So in keeping with the "flashback" theme.  Here's Lilly when we brought her home; she was 6 months old. 

The inspiration for this post was that I promised my friend Stella to send her pictures of my finished quilt, that I made in a class we took together, when I visited her in Phoenix last year. I flew on Valentine's day and stayed through President's Day. It was a fun, fast trip. We always have a great time when we get together. We've been friends since tenth grade and even though we don't get to see each other much, when we get together, it's almost as if no time has passed. She is my dearest, most treasured friend. She has more recently moved to NJ, so I'm excited about the possibility of a trip to visit there and see what kind of adventures we will have.
Stella is one of those fabulous people, who is creative, smart and fun. She is always up to date with stuff and of course, a terrific friend. She is into quilting, x-stitch (she taught me in high school), knitting, photography, travel and food (and more, but those I know for sure). I think she should have her own show, but I might be a little biased. 

 He we are (that's me on the left), at dinner on Friday night. 

Here is my finished quilt. The picture is much darker than the actual quilt. the lighting is bad. The only free wall space in the entire tiny house, happens to be right next to the bed. It measures approximately 44" x 58" We made the whole top in the class and even got to sandwich it. The instructor even taught us how to baste it with spray adhesive. I've never done so much in a 4 hour class.

Here's a close up of the quilting. It was an image I found on Pinterest. I had only tried to free motion quilt once before, so I cheated a little on this. 

I adjusted the size to what I wanted and arranged several on a page, and printed. Then I "traced" the image with my needle.  I didn't connect them, so there were a lot of thread tails to tie and tuck, but I like the way it came out.
Riley was supervising my work. I think he was wondering about those weird flat birds. 
The back. 

I just wanted to show you my thrifty smarts. I bought these 3M Command Strip Clips (I think I found them at Office Depot) to hang my quilt. I planned on using them to hang my design wall, and thought it would be good for photographing the quilts as well. The best part is, unlike the spendy, magnetic quilt hanger I bought, I can move these easily, without leaving holes in the walls. The quilt is still hanging there, and Bruce even admitted he liked having it there. We have nothing on the walls in there, but tons of furniture. And of course, critters. 

We took the class at this fantastic shop, in Mesa, called etc. Scrapbooks, fabric & more. And the name really does say it all.  They have lots of great stuff and a really nice classroom. Here are some of the goodies I got there.

On Monday, we did our own version of a shop hop. There were quite a few quilting stores in the area. I was so jealous! One of our stops was at Zoe's Trunk.

Another stop: 3 Dudes Quilting was wonderful.  They had free coffee and cookies and it just so happened that on that day, they had a free pattern and quick (really quick) tutorial on the pattern. They obviously knew we were coming.

And the final stop was 35th Ave Sew and Vac. They had a surprising amount of fabric and some good bundle deals. 
I found this cute sewing machine fabric, that I bought to recover my ironing board. Of course, it's still sitting in my drawer, waiting me for get to it. Maybe it will be my NewFO this month.....

There was more than quilting during my visit, but I've decided to make a second post, since there are a lot of pictures.

Thanks for stopping in! ~Amy

Saturday, February 1, 2014

January's projects update

Well that first month went by fast! I have been working on the projects I planned to, but didn't get as far on some as I'd hoped. We started out the new year being sick.  Bruce and I both were sick, from the Saturday after Christmas to the first weekend of January.  I used that week of sitting in my recliner, finishing up my mermaid blackwork project. So I started the year with a finish. Here's Marina
  The second week of January, we were feeling better and the forecast was calling for some cold weather. Quite nasty cold for us. People don't realize what a factor the humidity is down here. They call us wimps when we say it's cold. Granted we don't have feet of snow to deal with, but the dampness goes straight to your bones. Anyway, I was worried about my little stray cat, Diva at our shop.  I've been wanting to get her to the vet and tested for months and I decided (and somehow convinced Bruce), that she wasn't going to spend another day outside, especially with the cold coming.  Turns out, we got her on the right day. It got pretty bad the day we "adopted" her. When we got to the office, it had been raining and was windy.  I called for her, not really expecting her to come, but she did. As soon as she got to my feet, I hugged her and tried to stuff her in a carrier. Let's just say she wasn't real keen on the idea. But I didn't let go. As scared and confused as she was, she never hissed, clawed or tried to bite me. I stood there for a minute hugging her, near to tears, begging her to let me take her. Bruce came out and we managed to get her in the carrier. She yowled and meowed, but if I stuck my fingers through the door, she would rub them. The vet visit went smoothly. She was healthy and disease and pest free! And the Dr. shaved her tiny 7.5 lb belly to check if she was spayed. Her left ear is tipped, which is a sign of Trap Neuter Release programs. Isn't she pretty?

 Once home, she spent a few hours in the bathroom, while I readied her "apartment" (a covered dog crate with a nesting box, litter box and food bowls), in the living room.  This method has worked with all the other cats so far, in getting them accustomed to the sites, sounds and smells of our family. At first, all the other cats were hissing at her, but after the first two days, she was the one doing all the hissing. And still is. She now has complete free run of the house and is learning all the routines. The smallest furball in the house and she's got everyone afraid of her. She's living up to her name.

She's still learning to trust Bruce, so here he is, trying to bond with her. 

And another shot of her in the "cat and craft" room. She's settling in.

#1 Arnie Quilt

          Applique -  cat feet, flower centers 
          Finish embroidery - mouse eyes & tails, cat nails
          Assemble top
          Buy backing and batting
          Add eyes and embellishments to cats

There was a lot more to do that I originally realized, but I'm plugging away at it. Usually at night, after dinner, in front of the TV.  I have decided that I want to try to use hot fix crystals for the eyes of the mice. I've never used them before, but I went and bought the tool and some crystals.  Here are some of the mice. Oliver and Riley make excellent lap warmers while I work on projects in my recliner.

 #2 Mom's Pot Cover - I've decided that I need to go make a pattern. I saw Mom last weekend, for her birthday, but we both forgot about it, so next time I go, I will trace it.

#3 Dog Vests   COMPLETE (x3)       

I'm linking up to Cat Patches for the January NewFO Linky party.

#4 Hello Moon 
I'm using this as my NewFO for January.  I made the last four blocks for this free BOM.  I still have to finish embroidering the details on them, but the rules just say you have to START something new!  

The September block, had a dog (more likely a wolf, but I saw a dog), so I cheated and used one of my favorite breeds. I cut the Dalmatian out of some scrap fabric I saved.

  October's block had an adorable little gray cat, and since I too, now have an adorable little gray cat, I kept it as it was.

For November there was a cute little owl. I am pleased with myself for finding the flower fabric in my scraps, that I used for his body. Don't they look like feathers?

 December's Block had a cute little fox. I thought it should have been something more holiday or new year related, but the fox was a good challenge for me. I think he turned out pretty good!

#5 Kitchen Renovations
          Install new door
          Repair walls
          Paint walls
          Prepare floor
          Install new floor tiles
So, not much got done in the kitchen, with being sick, bringing home the new girl, Bruce's new toy (he bought a radio controlled quad copter), and the icky weather, neither one of us has felt very inspired to work on it. We had planned on putting in the door, the day we brought little Diva home, but it got cold fast that day and we ended up waiting until the weekend, which turned out to be a good thing. Instead of a 2-3 hour job, it took us all day and into the night. The removal went fast. We cleaned up the opening. It's really disheartening how they did thing when they built this house. I guess in 1972, they were just throwing stuff together in this neighborhood, to get all the snowbirds to buy their seasonal houses. It explains a lot. Each time we update something or try, we discover some shortcut or cheaply done workmanship.  In the end, we get it fixed and are happy with our work, so I guess that's really what matters.  I guess this is a NewFO too!

Here's the opening after we got the old door out and the edges nice and clean and level. 

 Here's the old "Battleship" door. It's hollow aluminum with jalousie windows.  It did it's job for 41 years. Can't ask for more than that. 

 The new door, ready to be installed.

TA DA!! Yeah, I know, it's not finished (still isn't), but it took us forever to get it to hang properly and close without getting stuck. It's amazing that even when you follow the instructions and have someone handy, like Bruce doing the work, how sometimes stuff just doesn't want to go right. The opening was much larger than we expected, considering it's a standard 32" wide door (that's what came out). We are still trying to figure out what kind of trim we want to put around it, but it's sealed, warm and quiet. So much more so than the old door, that we didn't know what was happening a few nights after we installed it, because we heard a sound from our front windows and were shocked to discover it was raining.  With the old door, we could hear the rain hitting the patio and the difference is amazing. I can't wait until we can do the windows too! Unfortunately, I have to. But this is a nice start.

So, now that I've bored you to sleep, oh wait, that's Oliver. Yes, he fell asleep like this in my lap the other day, and I couldn't resist taking pictures.
I'm hoping to get more work done on my projects from my January list. February is going to be short and we're starting to get busy at work preparing for March events, but I am determined to do my "fun stuff" a little every week.
Thanks for stopping in! ~Amy