Sunday, November 27, 2011

Happy Scrappy!

or is it - Scrappy Happy?

All I know is that I have been working on this project for awhile, but the scraps seem to be growing....hmm

What to do with all of these scraps!  I hate throwing out scraps, but they are taking up too much space!  The  bags are multiplying!  It's time to use them up and get some storage space back.  So my mission this winter is to use up all of these scraps.

For some reason, most of my scraps are long strips so using this foundation pattern works well for using up all those scrappy strips.  It is a 6 1/2 inch block so the scraps can be pretty small.  Yes, I'm bad about saving the very small pieces.  I think after this quilt is finished, I will use a larger block size and get rid of the larger scraps.

I love using paper piecing.  No measuring or miscalculations!  Well, okay...sometimes I underestimate the size of fabric and end up short when I fold it over.  But that rarely happens now.  After a few of those mistakes, I double check and when in doubt - I look for a larger piece!  I've got plenty of them!
older pattern from Quiltmaker (sorry, I don't which issue)
I separated the scraps by colors.  Two colors per bag.  Yellows/oranges in one bag. Reds/purples in another.  Blues/greens in a third.  Whites/blacks in a fourth and centers for fussy cutting.  Oh yea, plenty of scraps to work with on this project!

I picked out a center and decided to start with the reds and purples.
All the fabric will be placed on the backside of the paper.  I placed the foundation paper face down on the light box* so I can see the pattern through the paper.  I place the center scrap face up and the second scrap face down on top of the center.  Just like sewing two pieces together except there is paper attached to them and the seams don't have to line up.

I make sure there is a little over 1/4 inch of fabric over the guide line I will be sewing on.  I pin parallel and away from the line using a pin with a flat flower head* for less bulk.

*I added links to a couple of my tools so you can see what I am talking about.
 I always shorten the length so the needle will punch more holes per inch in the paper.
Flip the paper over so the foundation pattern is facing up.  This is where the flower flat head pin comes in handy.  The paper lies almost flat.  Sew on the guide line between 1 and 2 spaces.

I like to sew over the lines to help anchor the thread in place.  Sometimes removing the paper pulls the threads loose.

For trimming the extra material, I use a ruler called "Add-A-Quarter"*.  It has a ridge measuring 1/4 inch.  I have two rulers for different lengths - 6 inch and 12 inch long.  I started with the smaller one and found out it doesn't work too well on larger foundation projects.  

There's a 1/8 inch add-on ruler for miniature foundation quilts, but I refuse to go that small just because I would have doubled my scrap bags!
 With the paper pattern face up.
 Fold the paper back along the sewing line.
 Give the paper a good crease.
 Slide the ruler's ridge up against the paper and over the material.  Keep it snug against the paper
 Trim away the extra fabric.
 Turn it over.  Take out the pin.
 Iron the second scrap flat.
All right!  2 down and only 15 more to go!  But it goes fast.  Often I will do 4 to 6 blocks at a time depending on the large selection of scraps.
This shows the fabric's seams.
 Now, you start to repeat from here.  Foundation faces down on the light box.  Place third scrap on top of center covering the guide line between 1 and 3.
 Pin in place.
 Double check to make sure there is enough overhanging for a 1/4 inch seam.  Make sure the scrap is long enough to cover both ends with 1/4 inch seam allowance.
 Foundation facing up for sewing.
 Trim the excess.
 Iron and there is the third scrap.
 It doesn't look so good now, but gets better as I keep adding the scraps.

 Okay, this one is done and now it needs to be trimmed down to the 6 1/2 inch square.

Back to the cutting board.  Using a regular ruler, I line it up to add in the seam allowance.  I trim paper and material together.
Showing the seam allowance
All excess paper and material trimmed away.  I have a block!
To remove the rest of the paper, I start with the outside and work my way in.  I weaken the paper by folding back on the seam and rubbing the crease with my thumb or the with the side of scissors.

I usually save all the blocks for TV time.  I can watch a favorite show and tear paper (and make a mess) at the same time - aren't I multi-talented?  LOL!
When I tear the paper, I stay close to the seam so I do not loosen the threads or pull them out.
Finished block!
Won't these blocks will make a bright and cheerful quilt for Project Linus?
Here are some more free foundation patterns at Quiltmaker.

Just a quick note:  We had a wonderful visit with our son Shaun.  I wish he could have stayed longer since he can't make it back for Christmas.

Well!  Back to sewing!  Happy Quilting All!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Family Time (Patagonia, AZ)

 We are having a great visit with our son, Shaun.  Thanksgiving dinner was good.  The hardest part was trying to find room for the leftovers - in the refrigerator not our stomachs..

Shaun and Dan walked the cats while I cooked.  Here are a few of the birds that came to visit.

White-breasted Nuthatch

Lesser Goldfinch

House Finch
 We went for a couple of walks on the Preserve.  We had to walk off all those calories and show-off our backyard.  He got to see the owl, but no luck in seeing a Javalina.  I'm so glad the fall colors are still here for him to see.
Gnarly old Cottonwood

Fall colors at Sonoita Creek

 Shaun will be leaving soon, so I am going to keep this blog short.  I'll be sorry to see him go.  I hope the rest of everyone's weekend is relaxing and filled with lots of leftovers
Dan & Shaun

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Old Cottonwood
I hope everyone is having a wonderful Thanksgiving.  We are waiting for our son, Shaun to drive down from Albuquerque today, so we are going to have our turkey on Friday.  Yes, I can roast a turkey in our roaster oven.  I can also bake Croissants in it.  It is electric and it can sit outside on the picnic table while it is roasting.  Later, the oven can be my warming oven.  I'm using a crockpot for our mashed potatoes.

I'll probably get most of the dinner prepared while waiting for Shaun to get here.  Small space so I have to do some careful planning and I might be able to make two dishes at a time - depending on what is involved.

Here are some pictures I have taken since we settled into our winter home - Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve.  One morning I took a walk with frost on the ground.  The birds seem a lot busier in the mornings.  Flying all over the fields, but I managed to catch one resting before he realized I was taking his photo.
Good Morning Sunshine!
 There is a resident Western-Screech Owl living in one of the tall Cottonwood trees.  He was catching some morning sunshine when I stopped by to take his photo.  He is the first Owl I have ever seen.
Western-Screech Owl
Yes, I am keeping one eye on you
 They have a walking trail that is about 2 miles long depending which loops are taken.  I plan to walk as much as possible while here.  I have been so lazy about exercising lately.  So, this seems like the perfect place to start getting back into shape.

Tarantula - one of many 

Sonoita Creek

The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Excellent book!  Now you are probably wondering how I finished another book so fast.  Well, I was listening to this one on my iPod.  (Yes, while reading the other book.)  There are four narrators which is quite different from most audio books with one or two narrators.  Their southern accents were perfect.

Most of you probably know the story already thanks to the movie being released.  I hear it is very good too.  I can't wait to see it, but I'll wait until the DVD is available.  I prefer to sew while watching a movie.

There are three main characters.  There is Skeeter, a young white woman raised by and closer to a black maid then by her mother.  She has a college education, but is not encouraged to find a job half as much as she is encouraged to find herself a man to marry.

There is Aibilene, an older, very experienced, and very observant black maid with a big heart.  She helped raise 17 white children.

And there is Minny, a younger black maid always getting herself in trouble just because she speaks her mind.

These three women give you a walk-in-my-shoes view of what the South was like living in the 1960s during the Civil Rights movement. A troubling time not just for the Southern Blacks, but for any Southern White person willing to agree that it was time to change.

I'm not doing a plug and I am not getting anything for telling you this.  My brother told me about this great membership club to help me save money on audible books. is a great source for finding audible books for a decent price and they are affiliated with  Instead of paying $25 and up, as a member, you only pay a monthly fee $14.95.  In return, you receive 1 Credit and with the 1 Credit you can download 1 book to my iTunes.  So for $14.95, you can download a book.  They often have special deals for their members.  Such as getting 3 Credits for under $11.  Or getting a $10 reward if you buy 4 books within a month's time.  Not bad for the new releases and over 10,000 books to enjoy.

I use my iPod to listen to my books.  I haven't tried burning a disc, but I'm sure that too can be done if you are wanting to listen to a book in your car.  iTunes, of course, saves everything so I never have to worry about losing my books if my computer crashes....Knock on Wood! 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Thanksgiving Tuesday Treasury

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I would like to thank the following Artists for adding my Mug Rugs to their treasures.  If you see something you like, please click on the item and you will go right to the shop.

Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Morning Walk with Javalinas?

Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve
Patagonia, AZ
We woke up to frost on the ground a couple of days ago.  When the sun started warming the earth, I decided to take a very early walk. Crispy morning air, so bright and clear!

 The fields had a golden look to them.  I saw a couple of deer in the tall grass, but no luck getting their picture.  As a matter of fact, they seem to be the masters of evading my camera.  I can only see their heads above the grass and then they duck down.  They blend into the woods so well that I hear them before I see them and forget about the camera! By the time I have it up and ready - they are gone!  I'll get a photo of one  sooner or later.

The walk is about 2 miles round trip and it had been pretty quiet until I heard some crashing in the underbrush just below the pathway.  I thought it was deer, but I wasn't seeing them.  Then, I saw the Javalinas.   I stopped to get a photo, but the ravine was too dark and one of the Javalinas started to make grunting noises and blowing loudly through his nose.  Time to move on!  I kept an eye on them just to be sure they were staying put and not watching where I was going.  Yea, big mistake!  This guy was on the path right in front of me!
Okay!  Time to turn around and go the other direction!  I'm glad I did change directions to follow the spring-fed creek trail.  The sun was hitting it just right to cause steam to rise up.  So enchanting!  I looked for Frodo and Sam, but I did not see either Hobbit.  Darn!
Instead, I ran into the three little Javalinas.  They were munching until I started taking their picture.  They all stopped to stare back at me.  Yep, you guessed it - time to move on....

The rest of my walk was uneventful, but very relaxing.  I took this last photo with my Fish-eye lens just for fun.  I hope you enjoyed my walk and photos.

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