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. πŸ˜€ 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 InfatuationFor the Love of Geese, Alycia Quilts, and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

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. πŸ˜†

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.

A Week in the Life

I hadn't planned on doing any quilting last week since we were preparing for a weekend away. However, someone contacted me about quilting a baby quilt, so I did that Wednesday and returned it Thursday. It's quilted with Champagne Bubbles in lime green (Key Lime) Glide thread.

I also had to repair masks and make my son a few more since he is in Michigan with his grandparents this week. I spent forever on these and made many mistakes, probably because I felt rushed and didn't really want to do it in the first place.  I got these two all done, brought them to him to try on, and they were too small. Like the fabric barely covered his mouth. Ugh. I guess he's grown since I wrote down his measurements. These two went to my niece and nephews. Maybe they will fit them?

So I made three more. Guess what? These are a bit too big. πŸ™„ At this point, I am done. He can twist the elastic, I guess.

Friday night I had quilt guild. We did Christmas in July since we didn't meet in person most of last year. I've been running a block of the month program this year. I did two blocks this month since both my friend who is testing them and I have July birthdays. The July block is Wyoming Valley. This and Churn Dash are my favorites.

The bonus block is Rebel Patch. This one ended up much more challenging than I had expected.

Over the weekend we had our whirlwind trip to see my family (parents and sister & family). We haven't seen them in a year and a half. My son almost looks like a different person, so I'm sure that was odd to them. I was worried that my parents would look much older, but they didn't really. I did feel like their house seemed really small. I don't know why other than I haven't been much of anywhere other than my own house for so long. 

Not much along the route had changed much, but I did notice that almost every billboard in Michigan was advertising either gambling or marijuana, mostly marijuana.  Bleh. Didn't care for that change.

Anyway, we enjoyed our visit. I even got to see my aunts, uncle, half of my cousins, and a few of their kids. Everyone except the small kids are vaccinated.

My son got to stay and will split his time between my parents and my in-laws. My daughter had to come back home for class and work. It was really odd to leave one child behind, and the one that had to come home was not very happy. We'll be home for just over three days before heading back to the in-laws' to visit and retrieve my son.

I am still working on a secret project. I'll be able to show it in a few weeks (assuming I'm able to finish in time).

I also added borders to a panel for a donation quilt. It looked better in my head than in reality. Oh well. I got it quilted while working on the secret project. Just needs a binding now. The quilting pattern is one that came with my IntelliQuilter.

Our living room is getting slightly closer to completion. My husband built these cabinets. Looks like I took this picture before he was done adding crown molding. His dad is making the doors, so we will hopefully bring those back home with us after this next weekend. 

We still need to do a lot of cleaning up (the husband is not the tidiest worker), more wall painting, some electrical, all the trim installation and painting, and try to figure out carpet. It will be so nice when this is finally done. At that point we will probably need to start redoing things for maintenance. How fun. Not. This is the longest we've ever lived in one place.

I guess that's about it for this week. I really need to get out into the vegetable garden to weed and check on things. 

I'll leave you with this, courtesy of my daughter:

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

New Projects

My summer quilt-along projects are ready! 

First up are my fabric choices for the Macaron Mystery by Meadow Mist Designs. I shopped my stash, looked at the preview, and only needed to add one background, the backing, and a solid (since I cut the piece I was planning to use--oops).  The birds are going to be the backing and I'm planning to use them in the top too. It's not too late to join in--July is for choosing fabrics, August is for cutting, and the actual sewing doesn't start until September. The pace is very laid back and easy to keep up with.

Next up is the #Trending quilt by John at Art East Quilting. This is a mystery quilt that starts in September. The only block I have any idea on right now is the sloth. I ordered the kit from him and it came all the way from Nova Scotia!

I haven't started on my little koala block OMG yet. I've made a small amount of progress on my secret sewing project. I'm hoping to knock out a lot of my secret project this week.

I've worked on several quilts and had to spend a good bit of time on mask repair. The metal nosepieces I sewed in kept breaking, so I decided to make a pocket instead so that we can easily slide the metal piece out, either for washing or to replace. Even though my family is fully vaccinated, I do not feel safe walking around unmasked indoors, particularly when only 42% of eligible Hoosiers are vaccinated, yet only maybe 5% of people in stores are wearing a mask. Sheesh, have some care for your fellow citizens, people. Some of us have high-risk family members we'd like to visit without inadvertently bringing along cooties. And others of us have kids who are not yet eligible for shots. It hurts my heart that so many people care more about their personal "freedom" than about their fellow citizens. 😞

Anyway, I worked on some really cool projects this past week.

This is Charlene's baby quilt made with Tula Pink fabrics and quilted with Sweet Marmalade. I did not want to give this back.

Next is Janice's Bonnie Hunter Garden Party. This one had so many fun little snippets of fabric. I quilted it with In the Swirls.

And this t-shirt quilt belongs to Devon. I quilted it with Diagonal Plaid.

Not a whole lot is happening around here besides this. We had a break in the weather, so we dealt with spearmint removal in the lower garden again. Maybe in five years or so we'll have it all permanently removed. ha.

We will finally be visiting family this weekend after a long, 18-month absence.

Until next week...