New Orleans House Project

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!