New Orleans House Project

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Let's Do the Time Warp Again!

I have succumbed to Barbara Brackman's latest quiltalong:  Stars in a Timewarp.  Every week she shares information about different styles or colors of fabrics and participants make a Sawtooth Star block to reflect the fabric discussed that week.  The QAL started in mid-January and I was able to resist the temptation to join in despite seeing star blocks all over blogland and Instagram every week.

Obviously, resistance is futile!  I especially liked the idea of making 4" stars (instead of the QAL's 6" stars) as shared by Barb of Fun with Barb.  I jumped in and started making blocks yesterday, trying to catch up.  Making these blocks in the 4" size is kind of like eating potato chips - one is not enough!

My first block was a practice block using random scraps.  It turned out so cute I might have to keep making these for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge!

I like to make my Flying Geese blocks using the no-waste method found on Marcia Hohn's Quilter's Cache (Speed Piecing Method B).  I needed a practice block to make sure I calculated the right measurements for cutting fabric.  I wound up with this recipe for my 4" Sawtooth Stars:

Main fabric
Block Center:  cut 1  2 1/2" square
Flying Geese Wings:  cut 4  1 7/8" squares
Background fabric
Flying Geese background:  cut 1  3 1/4" square
Corners: cut 4  1 1/2" squares

Use the Flying Geese Speed Piecing Method B to make 4 Flying Geese units.  Press carefully and trim dog ears (also trim units as needed to square up).  Arrange all the block units in order.  Stitch corner units to the top and bottom Flying Geese units.  Stitch side Flying Geese units to center block.  Join all three block units together and press.  Gather scraps and make another one!

Here are my Stars in a Timewarp blocks so far.  The next block calls for using overdyed green fabric, which has me a bit stymied.  I need to play with some fabric combinations and see if I can make it work.  

If you'd like to see more Stars in a Timewarp blocks, check out #starsinatimewarp on Instagram.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

RSC15: Where Sunflowers Go To Work

I was recently issued a new laptop computer for work.  It's the smallest laptop I've ever used, just a little larger than an iPad.  I've grown to really appreciate its portability, since I use my computer as I travel to different medical offices every day.  In the past, I've always used a rather large rolling computer bag to tote all my paraphernalia around, but this laptop is so small the rolling bag seems kind of overblown.  I've been experimenting with just using a large tote bag, and that's working well.  Except the laptop needs a padded cover to help protect it while I'm traveling.
Thanks to Dasha, I was reminded of an iPad sleeve tutorial by Amber of One Shabby Chick.  I made several of these sleeves a few years ago for various tablets and laptops in my household.   Dasha used yellow scraps for her sleeve, but when I started looking through my stash I found a great piece of sunflower fabric and knew I had to use it. 
Who wouldn't want this fabric greeting them on a work day?! "Sunny Side Up" by Rennie Rau Marquez for Hoffman International California Fabrics, 2012.
Amber's excellent instructions required me to make two quilted pieces for the outside of the sleeve.  I started doing just straight line quilting on my first piece, but decided it was too boring and this fabric was perfect for practicing some free motion quilting.
I learned I have a L O N G way to go to get proficient at free motion quilting, but this was fun.  If you really want to see my lack of proficiency, just click on the picture for a larger version.
Here's the finished bag, waiting to see if I adjusted the measurements correctly for my laptop.
Success!  It fits perfectly!
Closed up and ready for work.  I'm almost looking forward to Monday!  

Now I think I need a new tote bag - the one I've been using is my favorite for toting sewing projects.  I'll pass on making a tote bag, though.  For that I'm going to use the services of Cedar Key Canvas, a small Florida business I discovered years ago during a magical trip to Cedar Key.  I've been buying their bags for years and they never disappoint.  This is a perfect excuse for a new bag!

I'm not quite finished wrapping up my yellow Rainbow Scrap Challenge projects for the month.
If the wind ever dies down, I'll be outside spraying adhesive to complete this fabric-covered bulletin board.  I've never used an adhesive spray, so wish me luck!

There's still plenty more yellow Rainbow Scrap goodness to be found at this week's link up.  Hope you're inspired to be scrappy!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

RSC 15: Sugar Bowl Takes the Cake

It hasn't been much of a yellow scrappy week.  There was work, yummy fried chicken for a good cause, more work, stitching on the next eagle block, work and finally an escape to the camp for some R & R.
I did decide to go ahead and keep making more scrappy Sugar Bowl blocks.  I finished two pink blocks and a blue, with another blue block prepped for stitching.  These only finish at 8 inches, so I may go back and make a few more in each color so I have enough for a good size quilt at the end of the year.

That is the extent of my scrappy sewing this week, but I'm still looking forward to seeing what the other Rainbow Scrap Challenge quilters have gotten into this week.  Head over to Angela's SoScrappy blog for plenty of scrappiness!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

RSC 15: Searching for Sunshine

I can't believe the month of March is half-way over already!  It was a long and dreary week here - overcast, foggy and rainy EVERY day, although the sun did manage to appear for a little while yesterday.  The weather is back to dreary and overcast again today - hence the need for sunshine!  Thank goodness the Rainbow Scrap Challenge color for March is yellow.

A few yellow Maverick Stars provided a little sunshine.  I have been re-thinking how I want to set these into a quilt.  My original plan was to set them on point with alternating, low-volume string-pieced squares.  I've discovered I don't like the way these stars look when set on point, so I'm contemplating some straight set layouts instead.

I had to create some scraps for this month's Scrap Jar Stars.  I had almost no reproduction yellow fabrics or scraps, but I solved that problem with a trip to my LQS.  I was hoping to be able to use some Chrome Yellow, as described in Barbara Brackman's latest entry in Stars in a Time Warp.  Unfortunately, my LQS only had one fabric that fit the bill, and it stood out too much from the other fabrics.
I'll be watching for more gold & yellow reproduction fabrics in the future - a quilter's gotta have a well-rounded palette, right?

Four additional 9 patch variation blocks were added to the pile.
The pile of blocks is still small enough that it doesn't take long to hang them all together on the design wall.  This is one of those simple, but satisfying quilts!

I'm not ready to give up playing with yellow, so I've been contemplating more Sugar Bowl blocks, as well as some applique flowers.   There will also be lots more yellow inspiration over at the Rainbow Scrap Challenge link-up for today, so if you need a little sunshine, go check it out!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

RSC 15: Inspired by Yellow

The Rainbow Scrap Challenge color for March is yellow - hurray! Indicative of sunshine, the color yellow is a perfect inspiration for these last dreary days of winter!
I had a ready stash of 2 1/2 inch strips and squares, so making some 9 patch blocks went quickly.  I need 4 more blocks to meet my monthly goal, but I want to make some new yellow scraps before I assemble more blocks.

The 9 patch blocks are going to make a fun quilt, but they're kind of boring to blog about every week.  The yellow scraps were calling out to me for more creative playtime, so I decided to try a block that has been on my quilting bucket list for a few years.
Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns identifies this block as Sugar Bowl.  How could I not want to make this block?  Louisiana is one of the largest producers of sugarcane and refined sugar in the United States.  Etienne de Bore', a planter of French descent, developed the first method for refining granulated sugar at his plantation which is now the site of New Orleans' Audubon Park.  And every New Year's Day for the past 75 years New Orleans has hosted the Sugar Bowl, a college football championship game.

The block was simple enough to construct using 2 1/2 inch strips, 4 1/2 inch strips and the Easy Angle ruler.  It can be made in a variety of sizes, but I chose an 8 inch finished block.  Now I need to decide if I want to keep making these in the RSC monthly colors (reminiscent of Depression glass?) or make some more yellow examples and maybe add some appliqued flowers to herald Spring?  

While I'm thinking about that, I'll be over at Angela's Soscrappy blog, enjoying more sunny yellow inspiration!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

RSC 15: One Final Pink Project

While enjoying Beach Music and birds at the camp last weekend, I discovered a forgotten project.  During last year's month of RSC pink, I finished a Lemoyne Star doll quilt made with some well-aged Robyn Pandolph fabrics.  That quilt didn't use up all the RP fabrics, so I decided to do the prep work for another doll quilt, this one featuring the Broken Dishes quilt block.  The resulting package of pre-cut HSTs got taken to the camp and forgotten.  When I discovered it last weekend, I knew it would be the perfect project to wrap up a month of pink scrappy playtime!
I was able to sew all the HSTs together during the week and sew the blocks into rows last night.  The scraps were pretty random, so I didn't worry too much about setting the blocks together in any particular order.  I found some scraps from my Austen Family Album project for the border and machine quilted everything today.  I had just enough the the pink RP fabric for the binding.  The final quilt measures 15" x 15".  If I can find something to watch on Netflix, maybe I can get the binding stitched down tonight.

I'll also be enjoying everyone's last day of pink playtime over at Angela's Soscrappy blog - go take a look for some scrappy inspiration!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Sunday at the Camp with Birds and Beach Music

Dear Hubby and I retreated to our camp this weekend.  We were both in need of some R & R and the weather was some of the best we've had in months.  We spent most of the day out on our deck, watching the birds scarf down at the birdie buffet!  You can't really see them in this cell phone picture, but we had flocks of finches as well as our resident cardinals and blue jays.  A pair of bluebirds even stopped by to check out the bird house.  
We didn't exactly have a bright, sunny day, but the natural daylight was better for hand stitching than sitting in the house under the Ott light!  
I basted the head and wings for the first block of my 4 block eagle quilt.  After basting, I appliqued the head and most of one wing.  A little more stitching time this evening should result in two appliqued wings.

We also had a lovely Beach Music concert while we enjoyed our time on the deck.  Our oldest son turned us on to a music app (for smartphones, iPads and all computers) called Songza.  It has an amazing selection of music - for free!  We dialed in a "channel" called Under the Boardwalk and listened to hours of golden oldie R&B music.  All in all, a wonderfully relaxing day!

I'm linking up with Slow Sunday Stitching at Kathy's Quilts.  I'm so happy to have had a hand stitching day today!


Saturday, February 21, 2015

RSC-15: Perfectly Pink

Thank goodness there has been some perfectly pink scrappy fun this month!  It has been a great antidote to winter weather and job-related stress.  I managed to work in a little pink playtime on all my Rainbow Scrap Challenge projects this week.
I finished my scheduled number of pink 9 patch blocks...
...and admired them grouped together with last month's blue blocks.

I also completed two Scrap Jar Star blocks using reproduction fabrics.  After reading Barbara Brackman's Stars in a Time Warp blog entry for this week, I wish had added more double pink fabrics scraps to my stash before making these!

Some pink Maverick Stars were also added to the ongoing collection.  I hope to have enough of them for a quilt by the end of the year.

That wraps up my scrappy perfectly pink projects for the month.  If time allows this week, maybe I can find some other pink project that needs my attention!  In the meantime, I'm going to go enjoy all kinds of perfectly pink positivity at Angela's Soscrappy blog.


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Jane Austen and Eagles - All On A Mardi Gras Day

In my book it has been a good Mardi Gras.  The weather was cold (for New Orleans!) and overcast, but we were snug at home enjoying a Tuesday off from work and watching all the festivities on television.  As my friend called it - "Jammie Gras"!  Best of all, our oldest son came by and joined us for ceremonial cheeseburgers as our farewell to rich food before the abstinence of Lent.  (We often have a steak feast on Mardi Gras, but we did that on Thursday with our youngest son who flew in for the crazy weekend before Mardi Gras.)

I added the outer borders to the brown version of the Austen Family Album quilt.  The final border is a damask-type floral print.  I like the soft finish to this version.  As I worked on the the border, I wondered if Jane Austen would enjoy Mardi Gras.  I decided she would find the culture and traditions (and snobbery) as amusing as Regency England.  
Here's a close-up to give a better picture of the sashing and border.

Once I had the Austen Family Album borders tackled, I was ready for my main Mardi Gras project:  prepping block one of my Quilt Like An Eagle quilt project.
I will be out of town for some new job training for the next few days, necessitating some nights in a hotel.  I wanted to get the block all prepped for applique, so I'd have something to do after work.  I used the freezer paper and starch methods to get all his raw edges turned under and ready for stitching.  He's not pinned or basted at this point, but that will be easy to do tomorrow evening.  He has two different color talons because I couldn't decide which color I preferred.  I think I'll go with blue.  I'm pretty excited to finally have this project under way - I just hope I have the energy to work on him for the next couple of nights!

Mardi Gras will be over soon - the festivities traditionally end at midnight when the courts of Rex, King of Carnival (above) and Comus, another of the oldest Mardi Gras krewes, meet and salute each other.  In the French Quarter, police on horseback ride abreast down Bourbon Street, ceremoniously announcing "Mardi Gras is over!"  
Me, I'll be fast asleep and dreaming of quilts to come.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Paisley Parade: Finished!

Just in time for Presidents' Day - I finished hand-sewing the binding on my Paisley Parade quilt.
The weather has not been good for outdoor photography, so I settled for an indoor shot.  With the camera on my new phone.  Needless to say,  I have much to learn about using this new phone camera!
Here's a detail shot of some of the fabrics.  The quilt and the backing (a blue plaid) are both pretty busy, and it was impossible to get a good picture of the quilting.  It's a variation on a fleur de lis design, beautifully done by my local longarm quilter, Cindy Braiwick.

The quilt is from a Minick & Simpson pattern:  Paisley Parade.  It was offered as a kit when the pattern appeared in Quilt Sampler Magazine in 2008.  I finished the quilt top in 2013 and it has been sitting in the binding queue for a l o n g time!  The finished quilt measures 56" x 56", which will fit perfectly on the quilt display rack at the camp.

Although it is Presidents' Day everywhere in the U. S., in New Orleans it is also Lundi Gras, the day before Mardi Gras.  It's only been in the past decade or so that Lundi Gras has become firmly entrenched in the scheme of Mardi Gras.  We don't really do much to celebrate, except take the day off from work.  The weather forecast is calling for stormy weather later this evening, so it will be a good night to stay home and do some binge-watching on Netflix while I start stitching the binding on the next quilt in the queue!