Tuesday, June 28, 2011

It's off the wall...

and on the floor, awaiting the addition of batting and backing.  Laying it out, I made a final check on the placement of all those half-square triangles.

I only found one HST block that was a repeat (the same block twice with only one row between them). I've since replaced it to keep the layout random looking.

Since it was so gorgeous here yesterday, I tried to take some photos of the quilt top outdoors.   As you can see, it's large enough to be a bed-size quilt, which makes me really happy.

While we were hanging out in our yard, we decided to check up on the little family that's living in one of our trees.  Amazing that just over a week ago, these babies had no feathers and their eyes hadn't opened yet (and I thought that my babies grew up fast)!
My sons were keeping track of the comings and goings of the parents and marvelling at the appetites of those baby robins.    Hmmm... offspring with huge appetites.  Sounds rather familiar. ;o)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

I'm seeing half square triangles in my sleep.

Just a few days ago, this was all I had pieced and I wondered if I'd have enough scraps to make even a lap-sized quilt.  I thought I may have to resort to adding a border or two.

 I kept cutting and piecing, roaming through my stash, looking for whatever I thought might work.  I managed to re purpose the last bits remaining from a couple of dresses I made years ago along with pieces from a few shirts ( okay, Nicolette, I did end up grabbing some fabric from my plaid shirt stash... but only a little; nevertheless, you were wise to suggest this ;o).
I'm rather amazed when I look at it now.  I took those few rows of HSTs and I've managed to cobble together enough to double their length, and I nearly doubled the total number of rows (here's an in progress comparison...the rows now are almost the height of my wall!).
 There will be 19 rows, with 24 HSTs in each row when I'm finished piecing.   Whew.
 It has really helped being able to see the rows together on the wall as I'm sewing along.  The trick was to try to keep the various shades of blue from "clumping" as I wanted the layout to make the eye travel with the zig zag pattern the blocks make.

The end is in sight! I'm piecing the last two rows and then I will have 4 completed rows to add to the ones pictured above, making the total 19.  If I can, I may even add one more row to bring things to an even 20.   Now, I laugh, to think I was concerned I would run out of blues before I could make a bed sized quilt.  My face is a little red even to admit this. Sheesh. LOL  Sometimes it's nice to be wrong. ;o)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Making Triangle Spanakopitas

Here's a yummy little something that will fuel you while you quilt (works for me!) and it's a great way to use your spinach crop. ;o)  I warn you that you won't be able to eat just one and you can count yourself lucky if you have leftovers.  If you don't like having leftovers, I could send you my two hollow legged teens to take care of your leftovers. No? ;o) 

  • 2 bunches of fresh spinach (trim stems and wash thoroughly)
  • 3 whole eggs, lightly beaten
  • 8oz. (240g) feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped *sometimes I sautee my onion and let it cool before I add to the filling, but using the onion raw works as they will cook when you bake the spanakopitas
  • 1tsp. dried oregano
  • fresh ground black pepper (to taste)
  • 1 package of filo pastry* (available frozen from most supermarkets or fresh at specialty shops)
  • olive oil (and a pastry brush for spreading oil on filo) *if using frozen, thaw in the refrigerator overnight

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Triangle love continues

It started out innocently enough.  I had a few squares left from other projects and thought I could just add a few more pieces from my stash and make a block to test out an idea (which you will recognize me showing yesterday).

 One block became two...
 and somehow I found myself with extra squares, cut and ready to sew. Can't leave it at that, right?
  I started sewing my half square triangle blocks and laying them out next to one another. The zig zag layout caught my fancy.
 Pretty soon, those pleasingly arranged HSTs were carefully labelled with green painter's tape and stitched together into a few rows.  Still all rather experimental.  Then the real trouble began when I hung those rows up and stood back to take a look at them.  I liked them. A LOT.
 More cutting, sewing, labelling and sewing ensued.  So caught up in the making that I haven't bothered to remove the painter's tape (or finish pressing each seam or even sew those rows together yet...I will though, I promise).
My innocent "testing" has lead me this far in and now I need to decide where I'm going with this.  Do I have enough to make this into a bed sized quilt or do I stop and make it lap-sized? Part of me really wants to see this on a bed... but although that means more cutting and sewing, I'm only concerned I may run out of fabric (if my menfolk read this they would certainly have a good laugh... they seem to think I have an impressive amount of fabric... but to me, the key to making this design work, has been the variety of blues and white/off whites and I'm steadily dwindling those stocks).  What would you think of  bordering those zig zag blocks in another fabric in order to make this bed-sized? 
While I'm contemplating my options, I'll keep sewing as many blocks as I can.  Basically, I'm just wrapped up in the love of all those triangles and how they have elevated the look of those leftover or odd sundry bits of fabric I had laying around into an attractive design ( um... attractive minus all my green painter's tape labelling ;o).

PS. As requested, I'll share the recipe for my triangle spanakopitas soon.

Friday, June 17, 2011

A triangle addiction seems to have taken over

my kitchen in the form of my homemade spanakopitas (have to remember to make more of these yummies treats to keep ahead of the hollow legged teens that live and  EAT here ;o).   I think I may have been born a Greek in another lifetime because I just can't get enough of these. lol

Across from the kitchen, more triangles  are showing up in my sewing room as I play with HST blocks.
 One block inevitably leads to at least two, because I just can't stop playing with fabric (even when I should go to bed before I make an assembly mess-up... like in the top block below ;o)
 At this moment, my sewing space has become half-square triangle headquarters.  Lots of cutting, stitching and pressing going on here with little trails of triangle bits being tracked throughout the house as further evidence of what I've been sewing.  My sons say this is how they know where to find me...
they just look for a trail of threads and fabric bits on the floor.  This time it's my triangle snipped bits that are the pointing the way to where I am.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The last of my lavender

Remember I said I found a few completed crochet projects that I had packed away? Here's part of what I rediscovered in amongst my crochet supplies.  All three of these doilies were crocheted from threads that belonged to my great-grandmother, which makes them extra special to me.  Originally I crocheted these to be used as jar toppers, but never got around to adding the ribbon to them before we moved in the summer of 2008.  Since then, I had forgotten all about them. Then I borrowed an inspiring crochet book from the library, went into my stash, searching for crochet threads and found them there, waiting. Since I had been sewing with linen so much lately, it's probably no surprise what I decided to do next. Given my love of linen, it made sense to mix the doilies and linen together and add another favourite of mine, lavender.

For years, I grew lavender in our first yard in Kelowna.  I would harvest as much as I could, make lavender bottles while it was fresh, and then dry as many stems as I could for future use.  I would use the lavender bottles (once dry) in our linen closet and in the seasonal clothes which were boxed up. The loose lavender would be used in my homemade potpourri mixes or in sachets (ones especially made so that I could toss  them in the clothes dryer  with our laundry, during the months when I didn't have the use of our clothesline).   I was lavender crazy! The best thing is, it just so happened that I had a wonderful surplus of lavender that I have held onto.  Since my home grown lavender has been stored in an air-tight container and out of direct sunlight, it still has it's wonderful aroma.  Here are the last of the lavender bottles I made a few years back (without any ribbon which adds a lovely touch for gift giving),

with the last of the loose lavender being used to fill my doily sachets.

One of my dreams is to be living where I can grow my own lavender again.  Until then, I will be savouring the scent from the last of my lavender in these simple sachets.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

I'm immersed...

 in the scent of these blooms floating in through the open window (they smell as sweet as they look),

 the bounty of these free sewing treasures (keeping an eye on ads on kijiji really can pay off!)
 and in the details involved in sewing clothes (I just have to add press snaps to finish this shirt for my oldest son).
What are you "immersed" in today?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Outside my kitchen window

colour and beauty are bursting forth.  The simple pleasure of this view adds an extra touch of joy to my day.

Especially when I consider that  only a month ago, these same branches looked like this....
Wishing you joy and beauty today.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

I bet you knew

from my sneak peek photos, that I was using those charms of Picnic and Fairgrounds to make another pillow cover.   What's with all the pillow covers I keep making?  What can I say, I believe the linen I was gifted is really what started it all.... ;o)
I just can't resist linen and patchwork (obviously, right?).  

 This pillow is destined for our living room, so with oyster coloured upholstery as the backdrop, I thought a darker print for the flip side of the pillow would be a good choice.
Once again I used my invisible zipper foot attachment on my Singer 15-91.  Not only does adding a zipper make the cover easy to remove, it also uses less fabric for the pillow's back than other styles of closure use.  Although, I will admit that sewing in an invisible zipper gets trickier when there's piping involved, but I still think it's worth trying.
Four pillow covers into this, I'm not sure I'm ready to stop, but I bet you knew this too. After all, I still have some bits of linen begging to be used.  ;o)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Having a ball with Picnic and Fairgrounds...

I mentioned yesterday that I couldn't resist those Denyse Schmidt fabrics that Chase sent me.  I've been cutting, sewing, cutting some more, then quilting

making piping

and stitching on some vintage buttons.  More fun than the other things I have going on here at the moment. ;o)
Thanks for your sympathy over the flooding we had in our basement.  Fortunately, only two rooms were affected and it missed doing any major damage.   Since the only room in our basement with floor covering is my oldest son's bedroom ( newly laid hardwood flooring - thanks to my husband), we were lucky that the flooding just missed his room.  However, it did accumulate in my fitness room and in our storage room.  I was relieved that my treadmill, which was in a lake of its own, survived even though it was plugged in at the time (I just happened to have plugged it in so that the cord wasn't laying on the floor, which probably spared it).  The worst mess was in the storage room.  I'm still dealing with the aftermath of that.  We had to move it all upstairs - first to save what we could and then separate wet from dry - so the mess of dry boxes (and their contents) has taken over half of the living room and the wet ones have cluttered up the garage. Yuck.  In the grand scheme of things, this is all just inconvenience, I really don't have anything to whine about.  We caught the flood before it had time to saturate everything (perhaps all the boxes in the storage room were why my son's room didn't flood, if that's the case, I'm glad they were in the way and got wet instead of the water flooding his room).  We had a powerful wet vac to remove the water (waaaaaaay faster than me using my hand mop) and a huge fan for drying things after the water was removed.  We had the man power to haul our belongings out of harms way quickly.  For all that I'm thankful.  Although, having been through this (and not wanting to repeat this experience), I'm really suspicious that the flooding may have something to do with our neighbour's downspouts - especially the one that is directed towards our house. The land we're on, slopes away from our house, and from the looks of the basement, flooding isn't something that has been happening here for years.  Hmmm.  Would really like to figure this out before I start getting twitchy about flooding every time it rains. ;o)

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