New Orleans House Project

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Antique Tiles Needs a Border

 My house has been in chaos for the past week as some much-needed updates and repairs are underway.  I still managed to find some time to sew, with an almost-complete flimsy to show for it.

 I took Cynthia's (wabi-sabi quilts) advice to try using white for the side and corner triangles.  I'm very pleased the results!  Thank goodness for the All-In-One Quilter's Reference Tool to keep me on track for the layout and cutting sizes.

The top currently measures about 60"x76".  I'd like to add a border to give it a little extra size and to help stabilize the edges.  I'm envisioning a narrow framing border followed by a wider white border.  I pulled a few fabrics from my stash to audition for the narrow border.


This stripe is my favorite, but I only have a scant half yard - maybe enough for a 1 1/2 inch border.

The colored dots look better in person than in the photo, but I think they get lost with all the strong colors in the blocks plus all the bright white.

I have plenty of this striped fabric, but I like it less because it has so much green.  It's probably what I'll end up using, unless some other fabric jumps out of the stash and insists on being used.  I have lots of fabrics that read as solids, so a calming blue or teal fabric might be a good choice.  I could even use that calming fabric for the binding.  Thoughts?


As I was assembling all those blocks and sashing strips and cornerstones, I needed a mindless leader-ender project to make the stitching easier.  My quilt guild friend Judy came to my aid, pointing out a great stash-buster project:  Twirling at the Disco.  She had already started assembling components for her own version of the quilt.

Last night she shared her version of the quilt at our guild meeting.   I love that she used green for her background fabric!  


Tuesday, January 24, 2023


Sadly, I don't have a lot of quilt making progress to report this week.  Dear Hubby and I are trying to wrangle some home remodeling projects, and that's cutting into my quilting time.  Last week was also the Gulf States Quilting Association quarterly meeting, and I was very involved in arrangements for that (I did get to meet a blog reader and fellow GSQA member - Hi Suzanne!).

Despite the distractions, I did make a start on adding sashing to the Antique Tile blocks.  The next step is to add the remaining white sashing, plus cornerstones in rainbow colors.  I have all the pieces cut, I just need to stitch everything together.  I'm debating what fabric to use for the side and end triangles.  With the white sashing, I may need to use something with a little contrast or the blocks will just be floating in a sea of white.


I did a little bag sewing prior to the holidays.  

I love the Lola Pouch pattern because it's easy to assemble and the finished bag is roomy enough for all kinds of stitching essentials.  I made two of them as Christmas gifts for quilting friends, but forgot to take pictures.  These flamingo bags will eventually go to my sisters.  


Dear Hubby made two of these wooden chests as good-bye gifts for co-workers. This is one he made for me many years ago - it still lives in my sewing room is handy for storing all sorts of paraphernalia.

He asked me to come up with a way to gift wrap the chests, so I made drawstring bags from some Christmas fabric in my stash.


An aside:  Dear Hubby retired at the end of December, after 40-something years in practice.  When he was cleaning out his desk, he came across this picture from the early days (no, I'm not in the picture).  The mustache is long gone, but he still looks the same! šŸ˜‰


Back in August, I took a class at my LQS (Mes Amis Quilt Shop) and came home with a Mondo Bag.  

What is a Mondo Bag?  It's a large, quilted tote bag, made with a fusible foundation that holds the fabric squares in place prior to stitching.  It's a fun way to use fabrics from jelly rolls, charm packs, or mini charm packs.  

I had so much fun making the first Mondo, I made another.  I used one jelly roll (Terrain by Kate Spain) for the two bags, plus yardage for the lining.  

I have another Mondo fusible sheet waiting for inspiration.  I've been envisioning a bag made with toile fabrics from my stash!

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

UFOs Are Calling

There's nothing like that New Year = New Projects feeling!  At the start of the new year, you look forward to entering your tidy and organized sewing space, ready to roll with an exciting new quilting project.

That does not describe my 2023 Quilting New Year.
Definitely not a tidy and organized sewing space - because there are too many UFOs!

Time to tackle the boxes and bins of projects that have been languishing.

First up:  Antique Tile blocks.  I started making these in late 2021 as a Rainbow Scrap Challenge project.  After laying out the blocks in different configurations, I decided to set them on point and use sashing and cornerstones to add some distance between the colors and fabrics.  

My calculations told me I needed to make some additional blocks to get 5 rows of 4 blocks and 4 rows of 3 blocks (got that?).  Since my 2 inch strip bin was overflowing, it didn't take long to assemble the block components.  I found additional background fabric in my stash, so I should be good to go for the sashing and side triangles.  Can I finish up this flimsy by the end of the month?

Another Rainbow Scrap Challeng (RSC) project that got set aside:  Blackford's Beauty blocks.  I started these just to play with the block construction, but I didn't have a specific layout or finish in mind.  I love the chain effect created by the four-patch blocks, so I think I'll speed up my production of these and go for a large-ish quilt (the blocks finish at 16 inches).  The RSC color for January is blue - brights and darks - and I've already prepped two blue blocks.

And then there are the Blackford's Beauty blocks in reproduction fabric scraps.  These might languish a bit longer, mostly because my repro scrap stash is not huge.  I'm thinking this will be a smaller project - wallhanging size, for example.

Then there's this good-sized bin of purple, green, and gold/yellow scraps left over from the Mardi Gras Memories quilt.  I'd much rather use up as much of this fabric as possible than return it to the shelves.

What do do when you want to use up lots of scraps?  Pull out your AccuQuilt 5 inch tumbler die, of course!  

That's just scratching the UFO surface, but these should keep me busy for a couple of weeks!

Monday, January 9, 2023

As the Needle Sews

 Hi quilting friends!

I thought my quilt blogging days might be over as I lost my blogging mojo somewhere during the second half of 2022.  I decided to take a break from blogging and see if I was well and truly finished with the medium.  It's only been in the last few days I've thought about giving the blog a visit.

I don't know how my blogging efforts will carry out in 2023, but I'm going to make a start and see what happens.

Even though I lost my blogging mojo, I didn't lose any quilting mojo!  Here are a few finished projects from 2022.


I finished this mini quilt in June, 2022 with plans to share it for Wendy's  (The Constant Quilter) monthly mini challenge.  I never got around to posting it, as I got called away to help my mom move to an independent living facility.  The selvedge basket blocks were made in 2016 for a blog hop celebrating Diane Knott's first book, Scrap Quilt Secrets.  It doesn't show up in the pictures, but I hand quilted some flowers inside the basket handle, then machine quilted the basket outline.  Now I have the perfect Easter wall hanging!

Yay!  I finally finished Blackbird Designs' Gathered Harvest quilt!  Well, it's still waiting for binding, sleeve, and label, but I should have that finished by the end of January.

Undercover in Chicago V - a mystery quilt by Debbie Caffrey.  My local quilt guild does a mystery quilt every year.  As a new member, this was my first year to participate.  The goal is to finish the quilt and share it at our annual Christmas meeting in December.  I'm happy to say I met the goal!  I still need to add a label, so I'll share more pictures when that's done.

Bonnie Hunter's Carolina Chain.  The blocks were made as a Rainbow Scrap Challenge project and finally assembled late last summer.  The finished quilt has already been gifted (and I forgot to take more pictures!).

Another Rainbow Scrap Challenge project - Burgoyne Surrounded - which got started in 2017.  The picture only shows the block arrangement prior to assembly, but they got assembled and are awaiting their turn to be quilted.

 Mardi Gras Memories, pattern by Diane Knott.  My regional quilt guild - Gulf States Quilting Association - will be holding their quarterly meeting this month in New Orleans.  My local guild (Cotton Pickin' Quilters šŸ˜) is co-hosting the meeting, and our theme is Mardi Gras (Mardi Gras will be celebrated February 21 this year).  The call went out for Mardi Gras-themed quilts to decorate the meeting venue, so of course I had to contribute.  Fortunately, I had started the quilt much earlier in the year, so it wasn't a huge hurdle to finish. 

OK, that's enough for now!  I still have some holiday projects to talk about, and then there's that pesky planning for 2023 quilts.  Maybe the blogging mojo is returning?


Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Red, White, and Blue Twister Quilt Finish

 I'm still trying to stay focused on finishing my Gathered Harvest appliquĆ© quilt, but I managed to sneak in some binding on a long standing UFO.

According to a previous blog post, I started the quilt in early June, 2012!


I loved collecting all the red, white, and blue fabrics for the quilt, but didn't love the resulting quilt top and put it away to marinate. 

I rediscovered the quilt top about 2 years ago, and inspiration struck.  I added the white (white on white scattered stars) and blue (Moda Grunge) borders and was happy with the result.

After some starry quilting by Diane Knott (Butterfly Threads Quilting), all that was needed was binding, a hanging sleeve, and a label.

 I'm still working out the label idea, but the binding and sleeve are done.
The quilt design reminds me of fireworks, so I think the name will be Illuminations - inspired by John Adams' thoughts on how American Independence should be celebrated.  In a letter to his wife Abigail, he wrote:
I am apt to believe it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as a great anniversary Festival.  It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn acts of Devotion to God Almighty.  It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.

Monday, May 30, 2022

May Mini: Green Gumbo

 May's mini quilt was inspired by Wendy's (The Constant Quilter) April mini quilt.

When I saw Wendy's charming mini, it reminded me of the Two and Four Quilt - another quilt she inspired me to make.  

I already had the green reproduction scraps out to choose fabrics for a Blackford's Beauty block, so I decided to try my hand at Wendy's mini quilt.

Thanks to Barb's (Fun with Barb) helpful Nine Patch Tutorial, I had the nine patch blocks made in a twinkling.  The remaining strippy construction didn't take much longer and soon I had a mini quilt top!

As I was assembling all those little green scraps, I wondered what name I could give the quilt.  It struck me that all those green fabric bits were like the ingredients for green gumbo, or Gumbo Z'herbes (zahb). 


Gumbo Z'herbes is a traditional dish often served during Lent.  It's made with a minimum of at least five leafy greens.  More varieties may be used, but one must always have an uneven number of greens for the pot.  A good Creole cook might include mustard greens, collard greens, turnip greens, cabbage, lettuce, spinach, scallions, etc.

Traditional Gumbo Z'herbes is meatless, but over the past couple of years, versions with meat have become popular.  One of the most well-known versions was made by Chef Leah Chase, and served on Holy Thursday at her family's restaurant, Dooky Chase.   

Dear Hubby and I recently learned to make this wonderful gumbo, and it has become a family favorite!

I did some quilting in the ditch and added a dark, leafy green single binding.  Cutting board courtesy of Dear Hubby.

The backing fabric is an ancient one from the stash - I'm not even sure how old it is.  I love the print, but with the blue and yellow accents, it just never played well with other fabrics.  It's perfect for gumbo, though!

Friday, May 27, 2022

Just a Few Green Scraps

 I haven't cheated on my devotion to UFOs...these Rainbow Scrap Challenge projects were all completed earlier this month. šŸ˜€

The RSC color(s) for May were sage and forest green.  

I have been making two Blackford's Beauty blocks each month, one in reproduction fabric scraps and one in bright modern fabric scraps.  I decided to just make the reproduction block this month.  When the RSC focus is on bright greens I'll use the modern green scraps for another block.

Most of these scraps came from making Stars in a Time Warp blocks and from a Halloween table runner that still needs quilting.  Oh no - two more UFOs!


I did pull some sage and forest green scraps from the modern fabric bins to make 2.5 inch squares for checkerboard blocks.  I only made two blocks, but will make more when the RSC focus is on bright greens.


While I was digging through the scrap bins, I went back and pulled scraps in previous 2022 RSC colors and cut those 2.5 inch squares as well.  Now I'll have plenty of leader-ender blocks to stitch up as I'm working on other projects.


See?  They work up just that quickly!



Friday, May 20, 2022

Gathered Harvest(s)

 As I discussed last week, I have been sticking with my plan of devotion to UFOs.

The hand quilting is going slowly, mostly because I'm reluctant to stitch more than 20 - 30  minutes at a stretch.  Longer stitching times lead to hand and wrist discomfort - as in carpal tunnel symptoms.  One eagle is almost completely quilted, so that's something! 

I finished machine appliquĆ©ing the first vine block of four needed finish the Gathered Harvest BOM.  The block still needs a good soak, then blocking and trimming.


I immediately started the prep work for the next block.  

I have a system worked out for prepping the appliquĆ© pieces.  I lower my ironing board so I can sit while I'm working, and cover the surface with a large piece of cotton canvas fabric.  The fabric soaks up excess starch, and protects the ironing board cover from scorching.  I can just move the fabric around when I need a "clean" work area.

Before sitting down at the ironing board, I've already traced, cut and pressed the freezer paper appliquĆ© patterns/shapes to the wrong side of the different fabrics being used.  I use my trusty Karen Kaye Buckley 4 inch Perfect Fabric Scissors to trim around the appliquĆ© shapes, leaving just the right amount of seam allowance.

I mix my own starch solution using liquid starch and water.  I have no favorite starch brand, I just use whatever I can get at the local grocery store.  I mix the starch solution in the black sprayer bottle,  then spray small amounts of it in the little plastic medicine cup.  Using a very small paintbrush, I brush the starch solution around the seam allowance of the appliquĆ© piece.

Once the appliquĆ© piece has been starched, and while the starch is still wet, I use the cuticle stick and the Clover Mini Iron to press the seam allowance to the wrong side of the appliquĆ© piece.  The starch helps hold the seam allowance in place after the freezer paper has been removed.

After working diligently yesterday, I've got most of the pieces prepped for the next block - even the circles!

To help keep me motivated, I cleared off the design wall and pinned up the completed appliquĆ© blocks.  The pattern is Gathered Harvest from the book Fresh Picked by Barb Adams and Alma Allen, aka Blackbird Designs.


In other gathered harvest news, we are already in the throes of summer here, with daytime temps in the upper 80s and low 90s.  Very little rain, so we've been watering our container gardens faithfully.  

The peppers seem happy with the weather, as they've been producing like crazy!  This is just a 2 - 3 day harvest of banana and jalapeno peppers.  I sliced them all up and pickled them; wound up with 3 pints of each type of pepper.  I wish the tomatoes would come in so I could make some salsa!

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Devoted to UFOs

 Two UFOs have been clamoring for attention (again).

I have blogged several times about my good intentions to finish up these quilts, but somehow life and other quilt projects (dare I say Squirrels?!) seem to get in the way.

I've come to the conclusion that it's time to focus on these two projects exclusively from now until they are finished. 

I started the 4-block eagle quilt in 2015.  It was my first major hand appliquĆ© project.  I finished the appliquĆ© fairly quickly, but I procrastinated on starting the hand quilting until last year.  

The background quilting is complete, so now I need to quilt all four eagles, as well as the HSTs in the quilt border.  If I quilt a little bit every day, I'll get it done in no time, right?


The other unfinished project demanding attention is Gathered Harvest - a BOM I started in January, 2018.  

The quilt is made up of nine blocks, five of which are complete.  Now I need to make four of these flowery vine blocks - identical except for different fabric placements.  Yes, each block has twenty appliquĆ©d berries/circles!

Since snapping the above picture this morning, I've finished prepping all the leaves, berries and bias strips.  I'm using the freezer paper and starch method to prep the appliquĆ© shapes.  

Next up, a little fabric glue and lots of machine appliquĆ©.  

If it weren't for those pesky oak leaves, I could probably knock out the four blocks pretty quickly.  Those oak leaves take a little more concentration than your typical appliquĆ© leaves, although I'm getting quicker at prepping them.  By the time I finish all the blocks, I'll probably be able to do them with my eyes closed!


Saturday, April 30, 2022

Pink Scrappy Fun!

 How can playing with pink scraps not be fun?!

This month's color for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge was pink.  I had plenty of fun stitching up pink scrappy blocks, and even started a new scrap project.

The oldest batch of blocks in my current RSC collection are Antique Tiles blocks.

Blackford's Beauty was an unexpected RSC 2022 block.  I didn't think I had enough scrappy variety for multiple blocks, but one block per month (in each fabric style) still uses up a bunch of scraps!

Modern Blackford's Beauty

Reproduction Blackford's Beauty.

And thanks to Pat Sloan - I started up another RSC project.

These are 36-patch blocks, constructed of 2.5 inch squares.  After seeing Pat Sloan talk about this on a YouTube video, I pulled out my Accuquilt and started cutting.

All my see-through project boxes are currently occupied (imagine that!), so I pulled out a tin and a wooden cigar box to keep the pieces tamed.  As soon as the next RSC color is announced, I'll cut another batch of squares and pair them up with light squares to use as leader-enders.

I've been waiting for just the right project to use this Crabtree & Evelyn tin.  This makes me smile every time I see it!