Sunday, September 20, 2015

Peonies' pretty texture

I quilted this piece for Betty at my church. I juxtaposed patterns - I let the daisy-like flowers in her outer border fabric lead me to a floral filler in the middle of the quilt. I did a lot of echoing with more petals, and they morphed into something like peonies, and I am IN LOVE with the texture they gave the quilt. This is a pattern I had seen demonstrated by one of my quilting idols, Angela Walters, and to be honest, I hadn't liked it much when I saw her stitching it. But once I started trying it, I fell hard and fast. It's just such a great texture-creator! And I let the quarter-log-cabin blocks in the interior of the quilt inspire me with interlocking squares in the outer border. Finished it up with a "wishbone" design in the thin inner border. Simple and straight-forward. I think the overall effect is nice!

Monsters Everywhere!

Norma from the Black Diamond Quilt Guild had me quilt this little darling for her. What a fun gift for a patient at Children's Hospital! I was inspired by the little hearts in the light purple inner border, so I did a variation on "ribbon candy" by making them little interlocking hearts. I picked up on the block shapes in the areas within the quilt, and did an interlocking blocks pattern in the dark purple outer border. Cheerful and sure to give a smile to a sick kid. Good job, Norma!

Carol's Inherited Gem

This quilt top came to a church-friend of mine when one of her friends past away. What a beauty to inherit! She let me practice on it, and she brought along a very high-loft batting, which really made my quilting stitches stand out. Fun! I attached the binding for her - this friend is very new to quilting - so that all she would have to do would be to take it home and hand-stitch the binding to the back of the quilt. Easy peasy!


Ordinarily I try not to post photos of a quilt until the customer has seen it in person first. This one was so hard to wait on! An old friend from vet school (her husband and my husband were students together, and we were in the "Auxiliary" together!) commissioned this quilt for her upcoming baby to go with their Superhero-themed nursery. It got shipped all the way to North Carolina, and I'm thrilled to see photos of the new little guy on Facebook from all these miles away! Welcome to the world, Baby Scott Hunter!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

How to NOT scrub your tub - Tips from a Lazy Housekeeper

I saw this on Pinterest, and whenever I see the word "hack" (which means, an easy way to achieve something), I'm a sucker. Usually it's a Pinterest Fail, but this one worked! And like I always say, work smarter, not harder.

Supplies needed: a spray bottle, 1/2 Cup white vinegar, 1/4 C blue Dawn dish soap, microwave

This is my "before" picture. You can see soap scum build-up on the floor of my shower. And also some black grime from the cheap black foam flip-flops I wore every day all summer. They even stained the bottoms of my feet!

I let the scum and grime build up longer than normal so you could really see it well. This was a service that I was obliged to provide for you, the reader. You're welcome. I would never normally let my house get this filthy. Nope. No way. Not a chance. This is totally unusual. (Looking this way and that. Whistling.) 

This recipe has smaller amounts of soap/vinegar than the original Pinterest post called for, and it seems like just the right amount to me. 

1/2 C white vinegar
Microwave on high for 60 seconds.
Add 1/4 C blue Dawn dish soap.

Pinterest said the vinegar MUST be hot, and who am I to argue? This does mean that you can't store any leftovers for next time. Which is another reason I reduced the recipe. I use it all up, every time.

Transfer to a spray bottle

Swirl around gently, but for the love of all that is holy, DON'T SHAKE IT. It becomes a huge frothiness of frothing frothy bubbles and makes it impossible to spray. My bottle even started to expand, like it was gonna blow up from all the steam and bubbles, so I quickly(!) unscrewed the top. That's just what I need: scalding hot vinegar and soap suds in my face and all over my house.

Spray, spray, spray. Squirt, squirt, squirt.

Get all the surfaces totally covered. Didn't really affect the tile and grout of the walls, so don't waste your time on those. But it will work miracles on the porcelain of the tub.

Let stand for several minutes - maybe even a half hour or so. I usually spray it down first thing when I wake up, then go about checking my email, getting a drink of wine milk, etc. Then just coincide the rinsing of the tub with my own bodily morning shower. Just PLEASE BE CAREFUL when you step into that tub - IT WILL BE SLIPPERY! The clean porcelain, the vinegar and soap yet to be rinsed away. It's lethal!

Here's my "after" pic. I didn't scrub or wipe ANYTHING! I just moved the shower head around until all the blue liquid had been washed away. But, wait!, you say. This pic has the benefit of shimmery, shiny immediate-post-shower wetness.

Here's the tub several hours later. Completely dry and still shiny - and clean!

Vinegar is amazing stuff. And every time I clean my tub I get hungry for Fiske Fries (you know what I'm talking about, Darke County Fair-goers). Enjoy!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Sarah's Flannel Feathers

My friend Sarah made this quilt expressly for me to practice on. Thanks, Sarah! She placed large blocks intermittently throughout the piece, just to give me some open space to play. I decided to do several variations on feathers...
- some very formal with perfect circle wreaths
- some flowing freely wherever they wanted to go
- some with pearls in the spine
- some with curly cues instead of backtracking "hump and bump" feathers
- some that looked like oak leaves
- some that looked like hearts

It was a very good practice piece, and I think I found some new motifs that I like. I just wish you could reach through the screen and FEEL these flannel fabrics. Like buttah!

Such silky soft flannels - one little quilter couldn't keep her hands off!

Sandy's Fresh and Funky Quilt

My new client and quilty friend, Sandy, brought me this quilt top that she put together for her brother- and sister-in-law. The colors are so youthful and fun. She wanted it NOT to look too girly. Now, the options for "manly" quilting motifs are lacking in most quilters' repertoires, including mine. Sandy looked through a sample book I put together several months ago and pinpointed a concentric squares pattern that, truthfully, I never liked. I had never even used it in a real quilt, but kept the fabric page in my sample book just to beef it up. I admit it! So when Sandy picked this design, I had internal reservations. But after some practice, I got to work, and BOY, am I glad she requested this design! It was the PERFECT choice for this quilt pattern - straight, square, sharp, crisp. And also masculine! Thanks, Sandy, for forcing me out of my comfort zone and into a new favorite quilting design. I mean it, I'm gonna start putting this stuff on everything!


Sylvia's Earthy Experiment

My dear friend Sylvia let me have my way with this one. I played with some rulers in the outer border, but the thing that I learned on this quilt was that I LOVE straight(ish) lines! I mean, part of me feels like it's a cop-out. What's so creative about straight, parallel lines? But the look of it... so clean, so classy, so COOL! And not necessarily easy, either. It took a lot of steady concentration to free-hand the serpentine lines in the sashing strips and border. I love the juxtaposition against the flowy, curvy ribbon candy and curly cues in the inner and outer borders. And can we just admire the warm fall colors from Sylvia's stash. It's certainly starting to feel like fall around here. Totally gorg!