New Orleans House Project

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Still Feelin' Gifty

 In my last post, I shared some projects inspired by the upcoming gift-giving season.  I'm still in gift-making mode, but taking a short break for American Thanksgiving.  I've finished a few projects, but I'm still contemplating others.

I used an AccuQuilt die to cut the bear and moose appliques for these pillows.  I ironed Soft-Fuse to the fabrics before cutting the shapes, then fused them to the background fabric.  The raw edges are finished with machine blanket stitching.  I need to insert the pillow form into the black one and stitch the opening closed. 

I finished up three Merry & Bright Cushion Cover pillows to gift to some football-loving friends.

I admit, I got a little burned out on the hand embroidery, but I'm really pleased with the results!

Something new for me:  I used (pre-washed) cotton flannel in the quilt sandwich on these.  The pattern instructions call for embroidering through the batting, and the flannel worked great for that.  After completing the embroidery, I added white cotton fabric backing to the pillow top and did straight line machine quilting across the rows. 

I tried to use up the special fabrics I had ordered, so each pillow has a different back.
The Dallas Cowboys licensed fabric did not work for the scrappy squares on the pillow covers - the designs were too large.  Plus, the fabric was not a nice quality quilting fabric - more like a broadcloth.  It softened up after washing, but still, not something I'd want to put in a quilt.

That being said, I still had scraps to use up.  I got one zipper pouch made, but ran out of time before my self-imposed Thanksgiving break deadline.  I think this one needs to be fancied up a little with a dressy zipper pull.  (Sotak Handmade Essential Pouch - Large)
I also attempted a scrappy placemat idea.  This is resting on top of a piece of flannel, ready to be quilted after Thanksgiving.
I'm off on some Thanksgiving adventures, so I'll see you on the flip side.
For all who celebrate Thanksgiving, may you make lots of great new memories this year!

Friday, November 12, 2021

Gifty Inspiration Strikes

 I never seem to plan ahead when it comes to making gifty items - I just wait until inspiration strikes.

We are planning to see friends and family during the holiday season, and I'm happy to say that inspiration has struck!

I'm not sure all the items I've been stitching up will become gifts, but I'm sure they will eventually find new homes.  My quilt guild will have a "boutique" table at our show in April 2022, so some of the gifty goodies may wind up there.

I recently came across a couple pieces of this chocolate candy print in my stash - yummy scraps I was saving from a chocolate-themed quilt.  I decided they would work great as the focus fabric for a zipper bag or two.  I had all the necessary materials on hand, so it was easy to put my inspiration to work.
Two finished zipper bags!  The pattern is Svetlana Sotak's Essential Pouch.  The pattern includes measurements for different size bags, as well clear instructions with lots of pictures.  Fun and easy to make!
While I was making bags, I decided to try my hand at making a vinyl crossbody bag.  We will be attending a football game during the holidays, and American football stadiums require see-through handbags.  I made a see-through tote bag several years ago for this reason, but after using it, I thought a bag that was wearable at all times might be a better idea.
My inspiration was to make a zipper pouch with a shoulder strap.  The shoulder strap (currently inside the bag) is waiting for a slider buckle from Etsy.  Once I have the slider, the shoulder strap will be adjustable.
My next inspiration was to try this Moda pattern - Stripes and Three Stars Pillow - with Christmas fabrics.

This is the finished pillow top.  I'm not loving it. Maybe quilting will change my mind?  The pattern fits a 14" x 20" pillow form, which will have to be ordered through Amazon.  This is not a high priority for finishing right now.  On the other hand, I think a smaller version (with 4" stars) might just work.

Another pillow inspiration called to me, so I'm working on three versions of the Merry & Bright Cushion Cover by Amy Sinibaldi.

I made a school-themed version of the pillow for my youngest son last year, so I knew it was a quick and fun project. 

I've got the first pillow cover pieced and ready for embroidery.  All three of the pillows will be gifted to friends who are fans of the Dallas Cowboys football team.  The fabrics reflect the team colors and each embroidered message will reflect the recipient's favorite team cheer or saying.  

It's been good to have so much inspiration - now to have some timely finishes!


Sunday, October 31, 2021

Still Not a Mini

 Every month, Wendy at The Constant Quilter encourages quilters to make mini quilts.  I always have good intentions to make small quilts, especially using my reproduction fabric stash.  But, good intentions don't always equal finished projects - no surprise to anyone who makes quilts!

I did however, dig out an unfinished table runner and finish it up this month.

The appliqu├ęd sunflower blocks started as a practice project.  I made two blocks and set them aside to be used as pillows or something.  Last fall I rediscovered the blocks and decided to make a table runner using some ancient sunflower fabric I also rediscovered in the stash. 

I found enough matching fabric to make a third sunflower block, then added some orange Grunge and yellow batik sashing and cornerstones before finishing with a border of the sunflower print.

That sunflower print has been marinating in my stash a good long time.  There's no date on the selvedge, but the fabric was made by Cranston VIP Print Works.  I believe the company stopped using that name when they ceased printing fabric in the US in 2009.  I think this fabric is even older, probably from the mid to late 1990s. 

I had prepped the top for quilting last fall, but stalled out because I didn't have the right color threads for quilting it.  I pulled out the project last week, added some simple quilting and bound the whole thing with the sunflower fabric.  

Here's the finished runner, actually on a table.  I gave it a quick trip through the washer and dryer, so now it has that lovely crinkly look.

It's nice to have a UFO crossed off the list!


Friday, October 29, 2021

Life in the Scrap Pile

 Time spent with scraps is never wasted!

I added four more Easy Breezy blocks to my stack, bringing the total to 90.  I've been making these since last year, so I think it's probably time to start assembling them.
Framed squares are a new block project.  My 3.5 inch strip bin is over-flowing, so it was easy to pull some scraps and start making these.
These two fabrics had been tossed back in a drawer and were adjacent to each other - they looked like a good possibility for an Antique Tile block.  I'm not sure I love it now that it's made, but scraps are all about playing with new ideas!

On the other hand, I'm very happy with how this lime green Sugar Loaf block turned out!   The center seam is not sewn up, but I'll finish that in a minute.  
I still need five more blocks to complete the Flashes of Brilliance pattern as written.  I'm dreading the final quilt assembly on this one, as the directions call for cutting five of the blocks in half!  And not in half along the final seam line, but through the half-way point of the hexagon shape.  Yikes!
Remember earlier I mentioned my 3.5 inch strip bin was overflowing?  When I read about the Two and Four Quilt-Along on Wendy's blog, (The Constant Quilter) I thought it would be a great way to thin out more scraps.  I got off to a late start, so didn't really participate with the QAL as it was happening, but it hasn't taken long to work through the steps of the project.
The Two and Four quilt uses 3.5 inch squares and 3.5 x 6.5 inch strips to create columns of Rail Fence and Four Patch blocks.  The instructions are provided by Katy Quilts - the QAL starts here, but you can get a list of all the related posts by looking down the Archives of her blog for Two and Four QAL.
My next step is to assemble the Four Patches into columns, then sew all the columns together.  I can't say that I made all that big a dent in the strip bin, but I'm happy to have a fun and easy way to use up scraps!

Friday, October 22, 2021

Flying Mimosas?

 About a month ago, I shared a picture of some blocks for an HST Flying Geese quilt I was working on.

The quilt was inspired by a Triple Play video from the Missouri Star Quilt Company.  Jenny Doan called her quilt "Every Which Way But Goose" - which I guess was a reference to a Clint Eastwood movie from 1978.  I'm old enough to remember the movie, but I had to look up the date!

As I worked on the quilt, I tried to come up with a different name.  The quilt will eventually be gifted, and I thought it should have a more original name.  

Since the fabric line is called Mimosa and the quilt is made of Flying Geese blocks, the name "Flying Mimosas" popped in my head.  That's been my working name for the quilt, but I don't think it will be the final choice. 

As I was listening to WWOZ, our local community access radio station, I did hear what might be the perfect name for just about any quilt.  It's an old chestnut of a song (first recorded in 1931), but it has fun lyrics and a great sentiment:  "Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams (and Dream Your Troubles Away).

Since this is a Crescent City blog, I'll leave you with a link to a version of the song by native son, Louis Armstrong!

Saturday, October 16, 2021

The Never-Ending Scraps

 The Rainbow Scrap Challenge trick or treats into October with a call to use lime green scraps.

I have already been digging through some lime green scraps for my flamingo fabric string piecing project, so it didn't take long to make some scrappy lime green blocks.

The top Antique Tile block contains some Tula Pink scraps I'm trying to use up.  The lime green is a bit different, but I went with it anyway.

The second block was inspired by some Kaffe Fassett Roman Glass fabric.  

I think I have some more Antique Tile blocks up my sleeve - the month isn't over yet!

When you have leftover flamingo fabrics, of course you try to incorporate them into as many scrap quilts as possible!

In fact, all of these fabrics are leftover from the Flamboyant Flamingos quilt. 
I've cut and prepped the strips for another Sugar Loaf block.  The strip sections are sub-cut at a 60 degree angle into 2-inch wide strips.  The strips all get background (white) triangles added to the outside edge, then all the pieces are assembled into the familiar star shape.  This process is best done when one is rested and energized for careful piecing!

Monday, October 11, 2021

Strings of Flamingos

I got to spend some time with my Singer Model 15 (treadle) sewing machine and a box of flamingo strings this weekend.

After making a hexie quilt featuring flamingo fabrics, I had lots of scraps.  I decided a string quilt was in order, and sliced lots of leftover fabric into 1.5 inch strips.  

I have made lots of string quilts, but never one using the diamond shape.  I cut the templates from a roll of newsprint-weight paper I had hanging around.
Once the strings were stitched onto the paper, I used an acrylic ruler and rotary cutter to trim the edges to fit the diamond template.

Before long, I had six diamonds pieced, enough for a string star!

I originally thought I would set the diamond shapes in herringbone-style strips, but after looking at the star setting I had some other inspirational thoughts.  I'm still working out my ideas, so we'll have to wait and see where inspiration leads!

Saturday, October 2, 2021

A Little September Scrappiness

 Yes indeed - it's already October, but I haven't shared my September scrappy stitching.

I'm still playing along with the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, using Angela's color cues to stitch up scraps into blocks and ultimately into quilts.  September's scrappy color was orange.

I started making Sugar Loaf blocks in January of 2021, with the goal of having enough blocks for the Flashes of Brilliance quilt by the end of the year.  I used the orange bandana print as my starting point for the fabrics in this block.

This one was inspired by the red and orange leaf print.  We don't have much in the way of autumn leaves here in south Louisiana, so this is as close as I'll get to leaf "peeping"! 

I still need seven more blocks, so I may not finish up by the end of the year.  
I added the Antique Tiles block to my RSC plans a couple of months ago.  This block is a great scrap buster!
I had no orange Easy Breezy blocks in the pile, so I added some of those as well.  I need to play with these blocks and see if I have enough for a quilt.  Maybe this will be a finish by year's end!


Wednesday, September 29, 2021

September Mini: Swamp Angel

 After seeing Wendy's Teeny Tiny Star mini in August, I really wanted to do a true mini quilt for September.  (BTW, this month's mini quilts are here)

I'd always wanted to play with the Swamp Angel quilt block (I think the reasons are obvious), so I made a 4.5 inch (finished) version as a practice block.  I used instructions from Judy Hopkins' 501 Rotary Cut Quilt Blocks, which did not utilize any speed piecing techniques and was therefore very fiddly to construct.

After making one block, I knew I needed to use some different piecing methods for the HSTs and Hourglass blocks AND I decided I needed to go up a block size to get the best results from my chosen focus fabric.  So much for making a "true" mini!

I already had the perfect Swamp Angel fabric in my stash...

Did you know there multiple ways to arrange the fabrics in a Swamp Angel block?  I could've spent days trying out all the different configurations, but since I was aiming for a small quilt, I kept it simple.
Final Swamp Angel, with machine quilted fans.  Finished size:  20 inches by 20 inches.

The backing fabric also came from the stash. 

I had a little fun with the label.  It turns out, there were two alligator stories associated with Hurricane Ida, and since alligators are definitely swamp critters (and I have a fondness for them), I thought I should include one.

First, let me say that alligators are a fact of life around here.  Even though New Orleans is an urban environment, they have found ways to make themselves at home in our midst.  Since we're surrounded by water, it's not difficult to imagine how alligators find their way into the city.  Every park and golf course with a water feature is bound to have resident alligators.  Our city is crisscrossed with canals, providing another habitat for gators.  It's not common to come across an alligator as you go about your daily business, but when you do happen to see one, it's not unusual, either.

New Orleanians and gators co-exist pretty peacefully most of the time.  Every now and then a gator will become a nuisance to pets or people, and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will send a licensed gator hunter out to trap or kill the animal.  BTW, alligator hunting is illegal in Louisiana (except during gator season, and then can only be done by hunters with permission from LDWF), so you can't just shoot a gator if he shows up in your backyard.

The first Hurricane Ida gator story does not have a happy ending, but I include it because it's so unusual.  After the storm, a man was killed and eaten by a gator.  This happened in a more rural part of a New Orleans suburb, but it could've happened anywhere around here.  I'll leave out the details because they're not pleasant (the story is easily Googled), but it's just very atypical for a gator to attack a human.  The LDWF did eventually hunt down the gator - he turned out to be 12 feet long!

The other story is already legendary in New Orleans - the memes are endless and I've seen t-shirts and stickers commemorating the event.

First, a bit of a timeline.
Not long after the hurricane passed, this picture started making the rounds on social media.  It's pizza dough that was discarded in a dumpster as the storm approached.  Once the storm passed, the heat and humidity worked its magic on the discarded dough, which overflowed the dumpster.  Stressful times call for humor, and this image spawned all kinds of jokes and memes.
A few days later, yet another dumpster picture started making the rounds.  This one involved a large dead alligator tossed into a demolition dumpster in an uptown New Orleans neighborhood.  No one seems to know where the gator came from, but speculation is someone shot him illegally and disposed of him in the chaos after the storm.
Again, the jokes and memes have made the rounds, and I'm sure this image will show up again as part of a float when Mardi Gras rolls around!




Saturday, September 25, 2021

Cleaning and Stitching

Happy Autumn Equinox!  (OK, I'm a few days late, but does it really matter if fall is truly in the air?!) 

When last we spoke, I was in Florida, waiting for the effects of Hurricane Ida to subside enough so I could go home.

We stayed in Florida for almost a week, then returned to our camp in Mississippi.  Our camp home was undamaged and never even lost power.  However, due to rain and storm surge, we had about two feet of flooding from the tidal inlet our house sits next to.  Once the water went down, we drove back and commenced cleaning up the mess.

Our camp is meant for outdoor living, so we have lots of patio and decking space.  Everything under the house was covered with a layer of dried silt, with another layer of mold/mildew underneath.  As you can see, the floodwaters moved our rolling planters, and pushed the veggie planters right off the deck!

The decking closest to the water had the most silt, while the grass and fig tree were covered with it, too.
Just like everyone else in the neighborhood, the power washer was our friend!
It took DH and I several days to get everything cleaned up and set right.

Ten days after Hurricane Ida hit, our power was restored in New Orleans.  We were able to return to an undamaged house and do more clean up!  Our neighborhood has lots of huge Live Oak trees, so there was leaf and limb debris all over. 

Although New Orleans is well on the road to recovery at this point, things aren't so rosy for the areas of the state that experienced the eye of the hurricane.  Thousands of people have been left homeless by the storm, with little housing relief in sight.  Local charities are stepping up to help, and if you're interested in contributing, I wholeheartedly recommend The Greater New Orleans Foundation and/or Second Harvest Food Bank.  Both organizations have been around for years, make excellent use of their financial resources, and serve the entire hurricane-affected area. 
OK, I do have some quilt-related content!
I have managed to work on a few things, although I'm struggling to stay focused on any one project for long. 

I started playing with these blocks after returning home, but as easy as the blocks are, I haven't made much progress.
I saw the pattern demonstrated on a Missouri Star Quilt Company "Triple Play" video.  Jenny Doan made her blocks using pre-cut 5-inch squares of 1930s style repro fabrics.  The Flying Geese blocks are made from HSTs.  When I saw her blocks, I immediately thought of a fat quarter bundle that had been aging in my stash.  Instead of cutting the FQs into squares, I just cut 4.5-inch strips and used the Easy Angle ruler to cut my HST pairs.  There are about 25 fabrics in the FQ bundle that will wind up going into the quilt.  I've worked through most of the red and orange fabrics - the rest are green and aqua, with a little gray thrown in.
Sorry for the yucky picture - I'm beginning to wonder if I need a new camera.  Or maybe I should give up on the camera and just use my phone!


Monday, August 30, 2021

Hurricane Ida Update and August Sort-of Mini

Hi Fellow Quilters!  I wrote the post below several days ago and planned to use the auto-post feature to publish it today.  That was before we evacuated ahead of Hurricane Ida.  

After securing our home in New Orleans and our camp in Mississippi, we loaded our vehicles with the usual evacuation goodies and headed for my mom's house in Florida.  We left in the very early hours of Saturday morning, so we missed all the traffic jams you may have seen on TV.

Several friends opted to stay behind and ride out the storm in the New Orleans area.  We have been in constant touch with them through text messages and social media.  Everyone we know has weathered the storm OK, although they're a little shell-shocked by the length and intensity of the storm.  As the roads get cleared of debris and downed power lines, we're hopeful someone will be able to check on our house.

Per the electric company outage map, our camp in Mississippi apparently still has power.  We know from our neighbor's outdoor camera that water came up under the house, but since the water is still rising, we don't know the extent of the flood damage.  Our camp is elevated about 17 feet off the ground on pilings, and our whole yard is about 7 feet above the river.  Probably only a couple of feet of flooding, but it will be a mess to clean up!

As of this morning, almost the entire state is doing damage assessment.  The areas passed over by the eye of the hurricane will be heavily damaged; I'm hopeful there will not be great loss of life as well.  New Orleans had "catastrophic" damage to major power lines, so the entire city is without power (except for those with generators).  It's going to be a long road to recovery, but thank goodness the levees didn't fail (at least that we know of!) and the city won't have post-Katrina type flooding.  

We are still in watchful waiting mode.  Without power it will be difficult to live in our New Orleans home, but we may be able to live at our camp.  Time will tell.

For anyone interested, I'm sure there will soon be lots of information coming through on how you can help with storm recovery efforts.  I'll be happy to share that information as it becomes available.

And on a happier note, one of our family friends has a front-page byline in the New York Times this morning!  I don't know if the Times is dropping their paywall for coverage of Hurricane Ida, but here's the link if you're interested.  

OK, yes, there's some fabric-related content here.  I didn't actually finish an August mini this month, but I did stitch up two bags.  Not exactly quilt-related, but it's all I got!

I have a small stash of Tula Pink's Hushabye fabrics.  I originally used them to make a baby quilt, and wound up with a fair number of scrappy chunks.  They don't really play well with other fabrics, so the scraps haven't gotten used up.

I had cut and prepped the fabrics for Sotak Handmade's Devon Pouch last fall, but came to a screeching halt when I didn't have the right size zippers on hand.  While I waited for zippers to arrive from Zipit, the project got pushed aside.  

One day this week provided the perfect opportunity to assemble the pouch, and following the great pattern instructions I quickly finished the project.

I love the owl figure in the pink and brown fabric!  This will go into the gift-giving bin.  
Just playing with the Hushabye scraps gave me some new ideas for using them up - hopefully it won't take me a year to cut into them.  

I've mentioned before I have a large bin full of worn and raggedy denim jeans.  I recently cut up some of them to make Rail Fence blocks, but there's still quite a bit of denim waiting to be used.
I had some big chunks of khaki and black denim, so I used them to make a large tote bag.  The finished bag measures approximately 19" x 16".  No pattern, I just looked at a favorite tote bag and used what I know about bag construction to make my own design.

I only used supplies on hand, so the handles are denim (as opposed to webbing) and the thread is 40wt cotton/poly.  I'd go with a heavier thread next time so the topstitching shows up better.

I didn't want a lining in the bag, so that meant no fusible interfacing on the denim.  The bag turned out soft and kinda floppy, which is great for folding and stashing it when empty.  

I also didn't want to wrestle with hemming the top opening of the bag, so I used bias fabric strips as a hem facing.  

Now I've got a sturdy tote bag for taking quilting projects on the road!

Friday, August 27, 2021

Don't Forget the Scraps!

 I've been focused on other quilting projects this month, but I still found some time to work on Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks.

The RSC color for August was teal/aqua.  I found lots of scraps and chunks to use, but I also cut into some yardage and made new scraps.

Taking inspiration from Gayle at Mangofeet and Cathy at Sane, Crazy, Crumby Quilting, I started making some Antique Tile blocks.  These are great scrap busters!  You can find instructions and more inspiration at Generations Quilt Patterns.

I'm still making Sugar Loaf blocks using the instructions from American Patchwork and Quilting October 2015.

I used some previously uncut Bonnie and Camille yardage for this block.  It felt good to cut into some fabric that had been marinating for a long time!

Talk about fortuitous use of scraps - the outer print in this block is leftovers from a pillowcase I had just made to hold a gifted quilt.  It's a neat print of tropical birds and foliage, but with a watercolor painting-like feel.

Looking through my stack of Easy Breezy blocks, I noticed there were almost no aqua/teal blocks.  That was quickly remedied.

Two other scrappy projects crossed my path this month - lotto blocks from a newly joined local quilting group.  

New Orleans doesn't really have a city-wide quilting guild.  Instead, we have the region-wide Gulf States Quilting Association, which covers Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida (mostly just the panhandle area).  The group sponsors quilt shows, quilting education, and meets quarterly in different locations throughout the Gulf Coast.

Under the Association's umbrella, different localities have their own quilting organizations.  Some are large, traditional quilt guilds, others are smaller, informal gatherings.  New Orleans and the surrounding area has multiple small gatherings/groups.  I was recently invited to join one of these groups; they keep the membership around 20 members due to meeting place size constraints.  I attended my first meeting at the end of July.  I look forward to getting to know the group better!

They do lotto blocks every month.  Each month, a different member chooses the lotto block and provides instructions and background fabric.
The July block was this spool pattern.  I made mine retro-actively.

For August, the lotto blocks had a New Orleans twist.  

The lotto leader wanted to decrease her large stash of New Orleans-themed fabric scraps, so she chose the Jenny Lane house blocks pattern from Missouri Star Quilt Company.  

The leader provided all the pre-cut fabrics instead of just the background fabric.  My fabrics included illustrations of New Orleans shotgun houses and a plate of Cafe du Monde beignets.  The winner of the lotto blocks will receive everyone's house blocks, plus a copy of the Jenny Lane pattern, so they can assemble the entire quilt.  

We are in hurricane prep mode.  The National Hurricane Center says Ida has the potential to be a Category 3 storm at landfall.  Whatever happens, we're probably in for some rough weather over the next couple of days.  As our governor says, we plan for the worst and hope for the best!