New Orleans House Project

Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Days of August

My neglected blog has been calling my name all day today.  Stitching has taken a back seat to some other activities over the past few weeks, although the Quilt Muse has not been completely quiet.  In the meantime, I'll share some of the other miscellany that has filled my days.

We had a new floor installed at our camp.  Although we didn't do the actual installation, we had to pack up and move lots of stuff in preparation.  Now we get to put everything back!  The new floor is engineered plank, which I guess is the latest term for vinyl flooring.  It is supposed to be impervious to doggie wear & tear and if covered with flood waters, able to dry out and be re-installed without problem.  I hope I never have to report on how it holds up to flooding, but I will report on the doggie wear & tear in a couple of months!

Last weekend, while rummaging in the closet for Quilty 365 fabrics, I had a fit of organization and straightened several fabric drawers that had become totally unruly.  It was great therapy to pet all kinds of fabric and discover several forgotten friends!
The drawer of brights/tropicals was out of control, so I did my best to get everyone to play together nicely.
 I'm especially proud of the blue drawer.  This one is always overflowing, so I moved all the really dark blues to another drawer and sorted these by multi-colored prints and shades.  Woo-hoo! I can actually find what I'm looking for in this drawer now.

A little estate-saling happened last weekend.  I scored some vintage napkins, a linen tea towel with rabbits and a Lily Pulitzer drawstring bag.  The napkins could easily find new life as tote bags.  Not sure about re-purposing the drawstring bag, but Lily fabrics are a favorite, so it had to come home with me. 

It turns out one of my all-time favorite recordings was made 60 years ago this week.  Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong went into a recording studio on August 16th and along with some other extremely talented musicians, set down all the tracks for this recording in one live session!   There is really no video here, just the recording in its entirety.  Take a listen as you stitch or when you're unwinding from a long day.  They don't make 'em like this any more!

Are you still reading? Well thanks for sticking with me!

You may have heard we had some rain and flooding here in South Louisiana over the past week.  The flooding occurred (and continues to occur) to the west and south of New Orleans.  The areas hit by unprecedented rainfall are not prone to flooding - in fact, some of the areas are considered high ground - so most of the residents do not have flood insurance.  Not only have folks lost their homes and all belongings, but in many cases, their workplaces were severely affected, too.  

The company I work for is headquartered in Baton Rouge, one of the affected areas.  Fortunately, the company offices were not directly impacted, so employees all have jobs to return to.  Unfortunately, many of my co-workers have been affected and are dealing with ruined homes and vehicles, loss of simple necessities like clothing & food and the infrastructure of their neighborhoods is shot.  

Louisianians are tough and resilient folks.  We've been through this before and we'll survive, but it's going to take time to heal everything.  Please keep us in your prayers!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Quilty 365 Loves Summer Vacation

Many of this month's Quilty 365 circles are inspired by Summer Vacation activities.  Not that I actually did much in the way of vacation fun, but I was inspired by it nonetheless!  
And Pink.  Lots of pink inspiration this month - thanks to the color of the month for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.

I've laid out my blocks to mimic the calendar page for July.  I started in early November and I'm up to 270 blocks now.

One reason I didn't have a lot of vacation fun of my own is that I did a lot of dog-sitting so my sons could vacation.  Hence the two circles with dog fabrics.

These two circles represent some July milestones.  My oldest son went hiking/camping along the Pacific Crest Trail in California.   This was his first really long-distance hike (he did about 70 miles) and he came home with a grin from ear to ear!  Another milestone was Dear Husband and I celebrating 37 years of marriage.  We had a wonderful dinner at a cozy French bistro here in town.

Summer vacation wouldn't be complete without 4th of July fireworks.  We had plenty of those, both in New Orleans and at our camp.  And we had added patriotic flourishes this year thanks to the presidential primary conventions.

I used lots of pink for this month's circles, but these are some of my favorites.  The pink sewing machine marks a Friday night I got to stay home alone and sew!  The sunglasses are a reminder of a fun Saturday DH and I had, crusin' the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  I always love a good pink flamingo fabric, and one day I just needed some nostalgic pink fabric therapy! 

Just a little more than 3 months left for Quilty 365.  I plan to keep going until the end, but almost all other hand-stitched projects have come to a halt while I focus on my circle journal.  I've been daydreaming about what hand-stitching project(s) I'll focus on next.

There are more Quilty 365 circles at the monthly link-up hosted by Audrey!



Saturday, July 30, 2016

More Scrappy Stars...and a Scrap Jar Finish

I'm blaming it on July and hot summer weather.  My brain has been in Finish It! mode for the past few weeks, so I've been focused on trying to complete some projects.  Maybe so I can feel less guilt over starting some new quilty projects when cooler fall weather starts to appear?

First, some Sawtooth Star blocks.  I use these blocks as leader-enders and always keep a stack of component parts near the sewing machine.  Because I've had Finish It-itis, I went ahead and prepped all the components for additional RSC hues we haven't used yet this year.  I may have even made up more STS in those colors, but they're not ready to make their debut yet.
All of this month's pink Sawtooth Star blocks.  I still have plenty of pink scraps if I decide I need more pink stars!
I counted up all the scrappy stars I've made so far.  I'm just shy of 100 blocks, so by the time we finish all the RSC colors for the year, I will have lots of STS blocks to put to use.   

The Scrap Jar Stars also received the Finish It! treatment.   I worked out the final arrangement for the stars and cornerstones, then spent most of last weekend sewing everything together.  Instead of sewing the blocks in rows, I tried sewing them in sections.  This approach made the quilt a little easier to handle, at least until stitching the final sections together.  I think it also helped cut down on the fraying and loose threads that needed trimming when all the piecing was done.  
It's hard to get the colors to really show up, at least with indoor lighting.  I look forward to taking some outdoor shots when the quilting and binding are finished. 

If you need more pink scraps, there's more inspiration to be found at the Rainbow Scrap Challenge link-up today. 


Saturday, July 16, 2016

More Scrappy Stars...with a Finish in Sight!

There was plenty of scrappy stitching this week, but the color pink (the Rainbow Scrap Challenge color for July) was only a minor player.
I keep making these 4" Sawtooth Stars in each month's RSC color.  These scraps came from the 2 1/2" scrap bin, and once I have the pieces cut, I sew them as Leader-Enders.  I've almost completed a full cycle of colors, so these may be the next project to get turned into a quilt.

As I mentioned with last week's Scrap Jar Star block, I was feeling inclined to get the piecing finished on this particular quilt.

So I dug through my repro scraps and came up with parts and pieces to make red and gold SJS blocks.  
The completed blocks are now pinned on the design wall, although this is not the final configuration.  I've already cut a stack of scrappy cornerstones, so once I cut the sashing I'll be able to assemble all the blocks.  If I can keep from being distracted by other projects, I might even finish the flimsy by the end of July! 

Since I didn't do much scrappy pink stitching this week, I'll be getting my pink fix by checking out the other RSC projects in this week's linky party.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Old-Fashioned Pink Stars

This week's Rainbow Scrap project was to make a Scrap Jar Star using reproduction-style pink fabrics.  I ran out of the original background fabric for these stars, so this block has a replacement fabric. 

That makes 3 repro pink Scrap Jar Stars.  My plan for this SJS quilt is 25 blocks.  I've got 23 blocks - I just need one more gold block and one more red block.  Maybe I should just go ahead and make them without waiting for the RSC color month.  Then I might get the quilt top assembled before the end of the year!

It's Rainbow Scrap Saturday, so check out more scrappy pink inspiration over at Angela's Soscrappy blog.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Don't Blink - It's a Quick Fix of Pink!

It's a new month and a new color for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge: pink (with a dash of lime for those so inclined).  I had all my pink and white scraps ready to go, so I had the white blocks with pink centers stitched up in no time.  I added them to last year's RSC pink 9 patches and did a happy dance!  This project is almost finished - only two more colors needed to round out all the white blocks I have in mind for the quilt.  I'm even thinking I might have enough blocks for two quilts!

When Angela announced the colors for this month's RSC, I was reminded of some fabrics that have been marinating in the stash.  I don't know if I will actually begin a project with any of these fabrics this month, but they are definitely fun to think about!
This batch of fat quarters is from a quilt shop hop several years ago.  I love the colors, but I'm not overwhelmed with ideas just yet.

I think I've mentioned before - I love flamingos and have a nice collection of flamingo fabrics.  This is a relatively new acquisition, and I've been admiring it for the past several weeks.  Lime and pink seem natural for a flamingo colorway, yet it's kind of unusual - most flamingo fabrics tend toward pink, blue and aqua.  
Check out the flamingos on the selvege.  I might have to get more yardage just for the selvege! 

There's more pink (and maybe some lime) scrappy inspiration at Angela's blog today.  Maybe I'll get some ideas for using my pink and lime fabrics!

Friday, July 1, 2016

Quilty 365 Loves Teal

Happy July 1st!  
Time for a few more Quilty 365 circles.  As usual, I'm a little behind on getting my circles appliqued, but the last batch just need a little more prep and they can be stitched.  I'm sure I'll find some stitching time on this lazy (for us) holiday weekend.  With this month's batch, I'm up to 239 circles.  

I found teal to be the most consistent color for this month's circles - inspired by the Rainbow Scrap Challenge color for June.  These are all fairly "modern" teal fabrics, but I worked in a few reproduction-style teals as well.

Family and friends in Florida were affected by Tropical Storm Colin in June.  I did some fussy-cutting on a bit of Jason Yenter fabric to remind me of the storm.

I was also inspired to snip into my collection of red, white and blue/Americana fabrics.  Abraham Lincoln (top) was inspired by an episode of the Washington Post podcast "Presidential" (recommended!).  The vintage children saluting the flag were to commemorate Flag Day in the US.  I've got lots more Americana fabrics, so I'm sure they will pop up in July as well.
I'm excited about the July 4th holiday and the likelihood I'll get to spend a fair amount of time sewing.  Our sons are off to Colorado for the holiday weekend, so it will be just DH and I celebrating.  We're pretty low key, especially since our dogs are terrified by fireworks.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

A Few More Sawtooth Stars in Aqua...and Napkins

The Rainbow Scrap Challenge is still focused on aqua, teal or turquoise - colors that remind me of past trips to islands in the Caribbean!  I stitched up a few more Sawtooth Stars this week, thanks to the parts and pieces I prepped a few weeks ago.
I think I've just about used up all the bits of that brush-stroke aqua fabric in the upper left.

And here are all of this month's stars together.  My current plan is to set all these 4" RSC stars medallion-style, maybe with some bright folk-art applique in the center.

My sewing plan for today was to make some new cloth napkins.  I've been making and using cloth napkins since my boys went off to college.  I try to keep a good stash on hand, but lately my oldest son's dog has been stealing them from the table and chewing them to bits.
The stripe and paisley fabrics had been in the stash for a long time, and I decided I'd probably never use them in a quilt.  The moose novelty fabric was at my husband's request.  My weekday dishes are a brown transferware, so these colors all work just fine.   If you're interested in making your own napkins, a good tutorial can be found here.  Starch is very useful in making crisp mitered corners on these!

Time to go help DH with dinner preparations - we're making pizza on the grill tonight with basil and tomatoes from our garden.  In between preparations, I'll be checking out all the other aqua RSC inspiration at Angela's blog.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Scrappy Red, White & Blue

Since I had an unexpected all-day sew-a-thon on Saturday due to rainy weather, one project that got some attention was a scrappy red, white & blue Scrap Jar Star quilt.  I started cutting up scraps and piecing the 16-patch centers last July, but the project got stalled after I pieced a huge batch of HSTs to form the Sawtooth Star portion of the block.

For past SJS blocks, I made totally scrappy stars, pairing fabrics for the star points, but using different fabrics for each set of points.  To my dismay, that really didn't work with all the RWB prints.  The resulting stars were just way too busy and jarring to look at.

Since I already had a huge pile of HSTs made, I decided to make the star points match on each block in an effort to tone down the craziness.  I also decided to use consistent fabrics for the corner squares in each block.
I'm happier with the result, but it's still on the busy side.  The 16-patch centers don't look like they belong.  I'm not crazy about the center fabric for the secondary 9-patch where the block corners meet, either.  That will probably be easy to fix.  I'm not sure about the SJS blocks themselves.  I'm going to leave them pinned to the design wall for now and see if they grow on me.  Since I only have 4 blocks pieced so far, I figure it would be easy to swap out the 16-patch centers with a simpler block (pinwheel?) and go from there.

Any thoughts or ideas cheerfully accepted!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Rainbow Scraps and Selveges

I've been utilizing spare moments over the past few weeks to work on border blocks for my Rainbow Scrap Challenge Maverick Star quilt top.  I was determined to finish all the piecing before this weekend ended and when I woke up to thunder and pouring rain today, I knew I had the perfect opportunity for guilt-free stitching!
 So now my quilt top is a little too large for a wall hanging, but a little too small for a twin-size quilt.  I'm thinking of adding a 4" white border and finishing it off with a scrappy, pieced binding.  
Since the Rainbow Scrap Challenge color for June is aqua, I did add a few selvege blocks in that colorway. 

And while I was working on the borders for the Maverick Star quilt, I stitched up a few aqua Sawtooth Star blocks as leader-enders.  These will go in the collection of Sawtooth Star blocks and eventually become another starry quilt!

I thought the thunderstorms were about to end, but now the sky has clouded up again and I'm hearing thunder not too far away.  I have to decide if I'm going to stay home and sew some more or pack up and go to the camp.  I think the storms are percolating up there, too, so it will be a rainy afternoon wherever.  That will be a good excuse to spend lots of time looking at other RSC projects over at Angela's blog.