Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Finally Transferring From Feedburner

For those of you that follow your favorite bloggers by email, you have probably gotten notices from others that we have to transfer to new services to notify you of our latest posts.  Like many others, I formerly relied on Feedburner through Google to notify you of my new posts but that service is no longer being offered as of tomorrow.  

So I have switched to using the service called "".  If you were receiving my blog posts by email previously, you should continue to get them but now it will come from that source.  The email may look a little different and the content will only show the opening of the post.  You will have to "click through" to the blog to read the full post and to leave comments.  This change will have no affect on those that pick up my posts from Bloglovin'.

If you suddenly stop getting notices of my posts, there is a new "Get Posts By Email" link for "" on my sidebar.  Try entering your email information there and then let me know if you do begin getting the posts again so I'll know that it works.  

By the same token, since this is also a new service for me, let me know if you have any problems with it.  Let's hope this new bit of technology will be a help and not a hinderance!

Friday, June 25, 2021

Finished Or Not Friday: May and June Recap

I am happy to be once again joining in over at Alycia's weekly "Finished or Not Friday" link up!  As I had reported earlier this week, I had spent May and June away from blogging but not from quilting!  What follows is a review of the things I have been working on in the last two months.

For the "Finished":

I had a good time participating in Frédérique's  ABC Quilt Challenge for the month of April.  Needing to find blog topics for each day and each letter of the alphabet not only let me look back at completed projects from the past but it also encouraged me to get back to work on a long over due UFO project.  So as a result of the challenge, I finally finished up my "Bouncing Colorblocks" quilt in May!  Woo hoo!!

In my post on "Swapping Blocks", I talked about this quilt that had been started all the way back in 2009 when Margaret Solomon Gunn hosted the “Four Seasons Summer Block Swap” and provided a tutorial for the block to be used for submissions.  I did manage to get the top made up the next year and finally started to quilt it in 2012.  However, the main reason I didn't get the quilting done was that I wanted to do this:

It was hard to get a clear shot of it.... here's a close up.

My plan from the beginning was to quilt the blocks in the same color thread on both the front and on the solid white backing I used.  My confidence in my ability to do that was just not there in 2012 or in the subsequent years!!  However, by now enough time had passed that I was finally ready to just go for it!  I'm happy to say I think it came out pretty good.  Now the back is a calming contrast to the busy front but you still get the effect of all the colors used.  I finished the quilt with a scrappy binding pieced from the same solid fabrics I had used for the sashing squares in the front.  It is a big load off my UFO list to finally put this one to bed!

In the last of the April ABC Challenge posts, I tackled the topic of "Zippered Accessories".  Not too long before the challenge I had seen a cute pattern for a sewing accessories tote and decided to make it for this topic.  So this was my version of Teresa Weaver's (of  Your Sewing Friend) "Catch-All Cutie" .

I loved the way it came out but also thought it could use just one more thing.  A while back, my MIL had made me a Pincushion Jar and I thought it would be the perfect addition to the "Cutie" carrier.  

However, when I put it in, I felt the jar was just a little too tall for the tote.  I also realized that it might not be a good idea to take a glass jar out in my travels.  So the challenge then became finding a smaller jar made of plastic to use instead.  I found just what I needed at Joann's,,,,

....and using this tutorial, crafted this!

Exactly what I was looking for.  I even had the perfect print to fussy cut the word "Pincushion" for the top of it, LOL!!  

In June we were supposed to travel down to visit my MIL.  I had planned to take a hand work project to sew on during the drive down.  Well, that prompted me to take a look at another of  Teresa's patterns:  a travel caddy for the car!  

This is the Travel Sewing Caddy, another of Teresa's easy-to-make sewing accessory designs.  The strap is held by your glove compartment so the caddy can hang open for access as you sit and stitch.  The parachute buckle clasp allows you to also loop the strap around a headrest if you are sitting in the back seat of a car or on a bus.  

I even purchased  little pink embroidery scissors to use in the scissor loop next to the pin cushion in the caddy.  The caddy instructions say that the scissors will fall out of the loop when you fold the caddy up so should be stored in the zippered pocket while in transit.  Since they are sharp it meant it was time to make another one of these:

I had made the green  Mini Scissor Case  from a Bernina-We All Sew tutorial back in January after my last trip to see my MIL in December.  I had traveled by train that trip and took a felt applique hand work project for the ride down.  Afterwards, I wished I had a sheath for the serrated scissors I had carried on that trip and found it in this tutorial.  Since the pink embroidery scissors are smaller, I used my printer to reduce the original pattern template to make it fit the smaller scissors.  Now the embroidery scissors can be safely stored in the pocket!

In other travel sewing:  In May I got to go for an overnight weekend visit at the home of a long-time friend.  We both celebrated 60th birthdays this year and we have another friend that will also reach that milestone later this summer.  So I decided to make us all a little gift for the occasion after I saw this Ruby Star Society "Pep Talk" panel back in March:

Since I was going to see one of the friends in person, I decided that now was the time to make up these tote bags for the three of us.  

Mine of course is the one on the right, LOL!!

The Etsy vendor I purchased the panel from also had the perfect coordinates for the backs and insides of the bags and the handles in coordinating webbing were sourced from Joann's.

And the "...Or Not Finished":

I had hoped to be putting the finishing touches on a seasonal decorating quilt finish by today.  This project got started because I had hoped to make good on a long held desire to make a bunch of log cabin quilts this year.  To start it off, I decided to make the Hometown USA wall hanging by Country Threads for decorating during the summer season:

An example of my "Planning" Word of the Year

To get this one in gear, I decided to add it to the "Daily Blocks" sewing I was already doing.  Back in March, Pat Sloan had done her "Hope" project by sewing up one block a day for one month.  Since the block she used was similar to a block I was interested in using for a scrappy project, I decided to do my smaller blocks the same way but make mine a year long project.   I had gotten the idea for making the block from Cathy over at Sane, Crazy Crumby Quilting and then was further inspired by her and a few posts at Vireya's blog to also finally get in gear on APQ's Trail Mix design and added that to the daily sewing mix too.  

Well, in for a penny, in for a pound!  In April I added the CT log cabin blocks to the daily queue. I started by pulling any red squares and white or blue strips I already had in my Log Cabin Strips storage box.  Then I added to that with more strips cut with my Log Cabin Die using scraps or fabrics from my RWB/Quilts of Valor stash.  Believe it or not it was not all that difficult to make one block for each project each day since they all could be sewn as leader/enders to each other.

The good news was that by the end of April, I had all the log cabin blocks I needed for this wall hanging.  The plan was to spend the first week of May making the remaining house blocks for the project.  However, I wound up getting those done in one day (!) and then taking a second day to make the flag block.  The next week I layered it up and started on the quilting.  However, I then stalled because I envisioned feathers in those blue and white areas and the first attempt using Paisley Feathers turned out to require way more dense stitching than I preferred to do.  It has taken me until this week to re-group and get it back in gear but another stab at stitching a different type of feather still isn't floating my boat. So alas, this one is still sitting under the needle.      

Now I need to decide whether to rip, or work around what was already stitched.  Unfortunately, I will not get back to work on it until next week since I will be starting on a new project:  Tonight I will be preparing for Gudrun Erla's "Hey June" Quilt Along going on all day tomorrow.  Having done her "Elvira" and "Hope" QALs last year, I can't wait to load up her Spotify playlist and check in every few hours for construction tips and guest interviews as I get to make up another fun GE Designs project.  Should be a blast!

Once I'm set up, I'll be heading back over to Alycia Quilts and see how everyone else's "Finished Or Not Friday" week went!

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Hey June!

The post title refers both to Gudrun Erla's latest GE Designs Quilt Along coming up this weekend (and yes, I look forward to taking part in it!) and also a return to the blog after a too long away break.  I never expected after posting daily in April for Frédérique's  ABC Quilt Challenge that I would not have posted anything more for almost two months!  Admittedly though, after focusing on the blog for all of April, life pushed its way back in for May and June and kept me too preoccupied to post.  

For starters, the weekend before the last day of the challenge was the opening day for our community garden's 2021 growing season.  Each year we hold a parade and opening day activities in partnership with the Little League whose fields are next door to our garden.  There was also a pop-up pantry distribution set up outside our two lots that day.  

The report on the day's events from our community paper.

In addition, this is a big Mayoral election year in NYC (I voted in the primary this morning) and there was also an election for new terms for the people serving on our community's Co-op Board.  So there were plenty of city and community candidates at the garden event and then many candidate forums to attend (virtually) or watch in the weeks that followed. 

In the first week of May, DH and I picked up the plants ordered from Grow NYC for our community garden.

Among them (left front corner of the cart) are this year's plant starts for our community garden to grow Serrano Peppers for Small Axe Peppers.  What we grow and harvest will go towards making their Serrano Hot Sauce.  For the last three years we have been one of many community gardens in our city that are paid to grow peppers for the company.  In the last couple of years the company has also expanded their community garden growers program nationally.  Our garden uses our earnings to buy the sauce at cost which we then sell as a fundraiser at our garden events.  

This year, our garden has also been hosting the Ecology Club of a new charter school in our community.  They first visited us back in April and then set up to come on Friday afternoons since the start of May and until the school year ends in June.  We gave them their own garden bed to use as a growing lab and they help us with general garden maintenance tasks.  I and another member supervised them in helping to plant the pepper plant starts we had picked up.  

May also meant many celebration days too with Mother's Day and a milestone birthday for me (the big 6-0!).  June brought in Father's Day and the same big birthday for my DH.  Also in May, I got to make my first post-vaccination, in-person, overnight weekend visit to a good friend in New Jersey (who had also celebrated the same milestone birthday this year). We had a good time that weekend only marred by having our car engine seize up when DH came out to pick me up!   

The good news is that it turns out to be a known issue with our model of car and the company covers replacement of the engine under a warranty.  So while the repairs cost us nothing, the weeks it took to get a new engine and get it installed wound up completely upending our plans to travel down to my MIL's in North Carolina for DH's two week vacation that we had scheduled for this month.  We were supposed to spend his birthday weekend down there but alas that did not come to be!  

The worse part was that the cancellation of our trip meant that the second Quilt Retreat my MIL and I had looked forward to having during our stay was also nixed!  So all this goodness will have to be unpacked and put to use at home in the coming weeks instead.

All packed up for a retreat and no way to go!

This is not to say I haven't sewn or quilted at all during this time --- how else would I keep my sanity with all of this going on?!?  I do have a few finishes (one is in the picture above and another that I'm am working on now) that I'll hopefully get to report in a "Finished Or Not Friday" post later this week.  There's also a lot of stuff that I want to spend this week catching up on.  

So there will be plenty more things to report on as the summer continues to unfold.  Here's to hoping that the rest of the summer can be just a little more "quilt focused" going forward!