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My Little Koala

My goal for July was to create a koala mini using a pattern by Quiet Play.

I was able to complete it over the past week. I even took pictures in progress, which I rarely remember to do.

Some of these pieces are so tiny!

Moving right along...

Wow, this looks weird. I'm going to trust the process.

This is looking so cute!

But I feel like it needs something. I looked on Instagram and found an image where someone had turned it into a Polaroid-looking block. I thought I'd try to replicate it.

First few inner strips. They are approximately 1/4" finished.

I spent a bunch of time looking up the original, 80s-style, Polaroid size and crunching numbers to get a similar look. Ratios are so useful.  However, once I was 3/4 done sewing on my white pieces, I realized I'd forgotten to add seam allowances. I decided to just add the same size border to the bottom and call it good.

I decided that this was the perfect opportunity to try out invisible thread (Superior MonoPoly). It took a while to get it to work properly. I watched the APQS video and I had to loosen my tension significantly more than Dawn demonstrated. Like, so much that I was worried the knob was going to fall off the machine. I had a hard time keeping my invisible thread on my thread break sensor too. But I got it done and I'm happy with it for a first attempt. The quilting pattern is Keryn's Chevron.

Here's a funny thing: I trimmed my Frolic quilt and used the trimmings not only for the white borders, but for the backing as well. I didn't want to chop up a nice, long, usable piece, so I rolled the whole thing onto my frame to minimize waste. Unrolled, it runs almost the length of my 12' frame! I didn't realize it was quite that long.  LOL

The widescreen fabric that I used for my inner border and binding were also backing trimmings (from my Postcard from Sweden quilt ages ago).

Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Goal - July Finish Link-up

I thought I'd be able to share my secret project today as well, but I misread the date, so that will be here on the blog next week, and this week Friday on Instagram if all goes to plan.

I quilted Sara's quilt the other day using Saffron Blossom. It looks pretty cool.

I bought a few pounds of blueberries while we were in Michigan and I made blueberry coffee cake. I took it out of the oven and my husband told me it looked flat. It took a lot longer to cook than I expected too. Turns out I'd left the baking powder out. It still tasted good, but the texture was rubbery.

So I tried again. The second time worked as expected. They look so different from each other. Moral of the story: I need to pay more attention to what I am doing.

I've still been freaking out about school starting next week. I've done what I could by contacting the superintendent and the school board, asking them to follow AAP and CDC recommendations and do what they can to help keep my baby (and everyone else's) safe. I watched the live-stream of the board meeting last night (my birthday). They did not actually announce what the policy would be, and after watching the rather contentious, lacking valid scientific data, community comments, that was probably a good call. They did post the re-entry metrics on the website after the board approved them, and I am happy to say that all students and unvaccinated staff will be required to wear a mask at all times while in the buildings. My county is in the "substantial" spread metric according to CDC, so according to that, all people should be wearing masks. I'm feeling relieved, but still anxious. 

In the meantime, I'll be quilting, quilting, quilting, trying to tamp down my anxiety, and thinking about what next month's goal will be. I'm going to try my hand at some improv piecing in August. This technique is one I haven't tried before. I struggle with the no rules kinda thing--I have a degree in math. But I'm feeling pretty confident and have a great teacher. 😀 I think my linked up goal may be another chunk of Grassy Creek. I really need to finish that and move on.

I'll leave you with this image of the setting sun I took while walking the other night. It looked amazing in person, but it is unfortunately a side effect of raging wildfires.

Linking with My Quilt Infatuation and For the Love of Geese.

More Travels

We headed back to Michigan last weekend, this time to my in-laws'. We encountered heavy rain once we were in Michigan. Our plan was to take I-94 across and then cut up, but I was not relishing the idea of being on 94 in the heavy rain. 94 is risky on a good day. We saw that it was really backed up and there were lots of flashing lights, so we decided to stay on 69 and cut through the country instead. There are lots of sandhill cranes in the farm fields in that area. I was really surprised when one literally ran across the road in front of us! I wish I could have caught that on camera.

We visited an animal park while we were in Michigan. It's really grown since the last time we were there. My kids always enjoy feeding the animals, especially the giraffes and the budgies.

I enjoyed watching the lemurs' antics. This guy was chewing his own tail.

Goats are always fun. Always.

You know I love my flamingos. These are Chilean flamingos. They are near threatened in the wild. They seem to be common in zoos.

Once we got back from the zoo, we were able to visit briefly with my sister- and brother-in-law. My BIL is a respiratory therapist at the hospital, so he's been in the thick of the COVID action this whole time. He said that if you get to the point of needing a ventilator, your chances of leaving the hospital are 20%, regardless of your age. That was really sobering. 

He also said that people who get to that point are asking for the vaccination. It's too late by then. I was a bit more surprised, but not really, when I read about a doctor from Alabama saying many of the same things that he did. I'm sure most any doctor in any state has had the same experiences. It's so heartbreaking and could have been prevented.

It's almost time for my son to go back to school in person. I felt good about the decision last spring. He'd had his vaccination and things were looking a little better. Plus, the only way he was going to receive his advanced coursework was to return to in-person. However, now that school starts in two weeks, I'm really uneasy. Only 18% of eligible kids in my county have had the vaccination and the school has not yet outlined what the mask policy will be. We have the delta variant circulating in our community. We had school transmission last year without delta and with a masking policy. I shudder to think what it will be like if they decide against mandatory masking. I hate that I have to put my son's health at risk. I hate that this whole situation makes teachers' jobs even more difficult. I hate that people don't care more for one another.

Also, karma came to visit me. I was complaining about having to repair and sew more masks. I managed to lose one of my masks in the 50 feet or so from the Target lobby to my vehicle. So I will be making at least one more.

Moving on to much happier things, I quilted Amber's bargello quilt last week. She loves color and cats. I love that she liked one of the more unusual options I presented her for the quilting. It is so fun! The design is called Hiding Out.

I haven't had much time to sew other than that which I dedicated to my secret project. I got all the blocks pieced and sewn into a top. I'm hoping to quilt it tomorrow. If all goes well, I'll be able to share it, fully finished, next week.

I needed backing right away, so I headed to JoAnn to find something inexpensive. I didn't bring any of the fabric with me, so I guessed at what might go. I narrowed it down to these two choices:

Which one do you think I will pick?

I also saw the most adorable little bee fabric. It was on a tube instead of a bolt and it actually felt like decent fabric. I noticed it had a pink sticker that said "PINK" on it, so I thought maybe it was 60% off according to their labels. It was more like 75% off--it rang up at $2.39/yard. I originally was going to get six yards to use as a backing. The lady told me she thought there were eight yards on there, so I said ok. She got to eight and there was still more, but I decided that was crossing over into hoarder status and stopped there. 😆

This week I got Sandy's quilt quilted. I'm planning to do the binding and finish it up today. Quilting is Ginger Snap.

I did get a few pictures of the quilt that I donated to the Community Quilts program. Here it is. Glad it's out of here. Hope it will make its recipient happy and warm.

I want to share this amazing quilt I will be working on soon. Someone turned this in to the Treasure Shop, which is where guild members donate unwanted quilting fabrics, notions, and patterns. The guild then sells these items as a fundraiser during the quilt show. Anyway, one of the people working on organizing the Treasure Shop was able to rescue this top and I'll be quilting it for her. It is just so wonderful and I am amazed that someone got rid of it. The new owner trimmed it down to around 90 x 90.

Meanwhile, in the garden things are weird. I have neglected the vegetable garden this year. My husband and kids weeded and cleaned things up this week. The lettuce and peas were a flop this year. I planted cucumbers three times and they never grew. The chives sprouted, but looked like grass. My husband weeded them.

The tomato looks like this:

The tag said 24-36 inches, but we are obviously waaaayyy past that. If we could pull that part on the ground back up, it is more like 4-5 feet. My husband staked part of it onto the pea support and had to zip tie the hoop to the support to keep it in the soil.

The pole beans are huge and just starting to produce.  This is the very top of the plant and it  is spreading all along two sides of the enclosure.

The peppers are starting to produce too. I think the "Better than Schrute's" baby beets are not so baby and are heaving out of the ground (oops). The regular ones are okay.

I still have some pears! Maybe 20? When do I harvest them? No idea, never had any before.

And here's my lower garden. The Joe Pye Weed is pretty spectacular. 

Looking forward to sharing my quilt next week. Maybe I will have started July's OMG by then too? Cutting it close!

Linking with For the Love of Geese and My Quilt Infatuation.