Friday, January 27, 2012

Private Swap with Jacey

Jacey and I arranged a private swap last year and we both had such a good time with it that we decided to give it another go this year.

Jacey asked me for a little selvage goodness and I was happy to oblige.   I started with a mini quilt.  I'm a sucker for ROYGBIV and I've been lovin' on the Plus Quilts that are all over Flickr, so decided to combine the two.  I really love how it came out.  The pluses aren't all perfectly defined, but the flow of the top to bottom rainbow makes up for that.

I quilted it with some very dense X-shaped straight-line quilting.  I typically lean towards less dense quilting than this, but I am so in love with the look , and I hope that Jacey is, too.

From there,  I made Jacey some selvage potholders.  I've drooled (more than once) over a lot of her delicious dishes, so I know she cooks.  I hope she likes having these in her kitchen.

I threw in a few extras to complete her package and sent it off.  Jacey is maybe one of the sweetest people I've never met and it was such a pleasure to sew for her.   I'm a bit early in sending off my parcel, but I was too excited to wait before sending it off.  I know that whatever Jacey sends back is going to be awesome, but sometimes it's so much fun to give a gift that getting one in return is gravy.  

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Winter Gardening

This is the first year that I've gardened and while my summer garden was a hit, I fear that I put my winter garden down way too late, even for my toasty warm Zone 10 climate.  The garden has been slow-going, but nearly three months after planing my winter seeds, I'm finally starting to see the fruits of my labors. 

Of the billions of broccoli seeds I planted, I have a single head ready to be harvested.  There are a few more that look promising.  Broccoli is one of the few green veggies that both of my kids will eat, so I'm looking forward to this harvest.

The carrots have been great and plentiful.  My son has never eaten so many carrots in his life as he has this winter.  He gets such a kick out of dangling them out of his mouth and asking "What's up, Doc?" in his best Bugs Bunny voice.  We've already just put down some more carrot seeds in the hope of getting a second winter harvest of these sweet, crunchy gems.  If we get a big enough harvest, I might consider trying to pickle some of them.  

The pumpkins are trying to make a good showing, but the hard freeze we got early last month seems to have taken it's toll on them.  We finally have a tiny fruit forming.  I'm not sure if it'll ever ripen fully.  We'll see.

And lastly, the blueberries are starting to bud.  I planted four plants last summer, each a different varietal and plan to put a few more plants in this year.  I envision a proper blueberry orchard in my wee backyard... 


I'm already looking towards spring and summer veggies - the new seeds will be ready to go down in just another month or so.  Bean has requested that we grow peanuts (that's what I get for giving him the Burpee catalogue and asking him what he'd like to grow) and Sprout wants tomatoes - the one thing that failed to thrive last summer.  As for me, I'm looking forward to lots of peas and asparagus this year.  How about you?

Friday, January 6, 2012

Out With the Old, In With the New

The Rainbow Fence Quilt was my last of 2011.  It had been sitting in my WIP bin for a few months - just waiting for me to quilt and bind it.  But there were holidays and related sewing and before I knew it, I was staring down the end of the year.  I really wanted to finish this one up (as my 14th start-to-finish quilt for 2011) so powered through the quilting and binding with just hours to go in 2011.

I used up tons of scraps from my scrap bin that I had cut into strips earlier in the year, as well as some purples that I had to trade for, as my stash is woefully short on purple.  This is my second rainbow quilt of the year using those scrappy strips, and I love it tons.  It's so bright and cheery and every little scrap has a story to tell.

I bought some new fabric for the back - all from JoAnns and most on clearance.  I feel like the back is the perfect compliment to the front.  It's lightly quilted in a chevron pattern - I'm finding lately that as much as I love the look of stippling, I really, really, really like the drape of light straight-line quilting.  It's bound in some KJR stripes and finished size after a run through the dryer is 40”X59”.  It’s listed in the shop.

And with the completion of the Rainbow Fence quilt came the beginning of Laura’s quilt.  A dear friend, the woman who introduced me to my husband, is expecting her first child next month.  She’s one of the nicest people I know and is going to make such an awesome mama.  I really wanted to make something special for her babe.  She’s decorating the nursery with an African animal theme, so this is what I made for her.

I used two Michael Miller animal prints as my jumping point and continued from there.  I love the colors in this quilt – I had been worried that the animal theme might start to get too twee, but I feel like this group of colors keeps the quilt looking sophisticated and modern.  My inspiration for the quilt was this - I love on pointe squares.  The finished size after drying is 40"x48" - perfect for a new baby but big enough to grow with him.  That's my six year old holding it up in the photo above  - it's just about as tall as he is now.  Congratulations, Laura!

I'm excited to have my first start-to-finish quilt of the year done already with 359 more days of quilting ahead of me.  Next on the docket - Jacey's mini (I know you're reading this, J!).