A Trip to Iowa and July OMG is Complete

I got it done! It felt impossible, but here it is, done ahead of time. This is my Tall Tales quilt.

Next up is to create a pieced backing from many of the novelty prints that I had set aside for this quilt. I only used little pieces of them, so this will help reduce the stash. I'll just do an edge-to-edge on this one since it's one I plan to use.

What should I tackle for next month?

My husband and I traveled to Carroll, Iowa, last week to take a maintenance class from APQS maintenance guru Amy Stuart. Want to see what APQS headquarters looks like?

This was the first time I'd been to Iowa. My impression was corn, soybeans, wind turbines, and trains. There were very few political signs, which I found very refreshing. I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of wind turbines we saw. I did a bit of research since we spent many, many hours in the car. Wind power accounted for 57% of Iowa's power generation in 2020 and their goal is to be 100% renewable by 2050. I think this is totally awesome and I wish Indiana would make more of an effort. I also noticed a lot of trains. I found this juxtaposition interesting.
A train hauling coal with lots of wind turbines in the distance.

We did a bit of outdoor sightseeing as well. This is Elwood, the world's largest concrete gnome. He is housed in the Rieman gardens on the Iowa State University campus in Ames.

There was an exhibit at the gardens as well. Here are a few of the sculptures we enjoyed.

We took a trip to Audubon, Iowa, one evening to see Albert, the world's largest bull.

On our way out of Iowa, we drove toward Des Moines. This is a sculpture outside the library in Waukee.

We also visited the Pappajohn Sculpture Park. It was literally 100 degrees outside, so we walked very quickly around the block. Here are a few of my favorite photos.

Since we got back home in the middle of the night, we took a day to recover from the traveling. Then it was back to work for me. Here is one of Susan's quilts, quilted with More Square Drama.

Our carpet re-do part three was scheduled for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Monday they tore out the awful carpet from round two. Then we had some cleaning to do and also my husband had to fill lots of holes in the cement from the tack strips and the drill holes from who knows what.

They left fairly early, so I snuck in another quilt. This is Amber's, quilted with loopy meander. 

Yesterday was day one of the carpet replacement. I spent my time watching some Intelliquilter courses and following along with my tablet until the battery ran out. Then I cleaned and also worked on cutting a project I'm testing. The workers stayed quite late, 5:45 or so. They just snuck out without saying anything. Uh-oh, that brings back bad memories from round two. I sent my husband down to get some parsley from the indoor garden and he came back up and said it looks like they're done. πŸ€”

I went downstairs and it does, indeed, look like they're done. I don't see any hugely visible seams at the moment, but as you can see, it really needs to be vacuumed. So maybe this nine month nightmare is finally over. We'll see. If it all looks good, we can uncover the trim and finally get the slider door switched out and trimmed. And move our furniture back into the living room.

Out in the garden, things are looking jungle-like. My kids were supposed to water the veggies and harvest while we were gone. My son said he did the garden on Friday and he picked a cucumber. I went out Sunday morning and here is part of my harvest. I also had a few peas and a good handful or two of green beans. I'm like, "I thought you said nothing was ready." He's like, "I didn't see anything." I show him the harvest. Ummm....these things don't get this big in a day or two. LOL

My mother in law sent me a bunch of zinnia seeds. Here's one little patch.
Well, it's my birthday and I'm going to go do whatever I feel like. TBD. πŸ˜ƒ See you next week with next month's goal.

More Tall Tales

Woo! Indeed, woo hoo! All 70 of my Tall Tales blocks are ready to be sewn into a quilt top. I might just be able to get the whole top done this month. Here are all my cute little blocks.

I got four quilts quilted this week.

This baby quilt for Jess, including full binding.

Three quilts for Susan. This one is quilted with Beleaf it or Not.

Mike's Swoosh.
And Persephone 3. This one took me two days.
I made time to go out into the garden and harvested some green beans and a zucchini and a couple peas.

Then I went out again a few days later and got a few more peas, more green beans, and a cucumber. 

There are also a few more coolapenos, but I left those on the plant for now since I wasn't ready to use them yet.

We watched a bee pollinating all the cucumber flowers. There are lots and lots of baby cucumbers, so hopefully I'll be making more freezer pickles soon. And then some relish later on if there are enough. 

We were out on our nightly walk the other day and saw a beautiful rainbow. Then it started sprinkling even though it was sunny overhead. I didn't have my phone with me, but my husband got this shot of the full arc. This is one instance where it was so much better in real life than in his photo. I'm kind of laughing at whatever he did to get this photo because it looks like our construction outhouse is leaning.

There was also a secondary rainbow, which you can see a bit better if I turn down the light on the photo.

I'm hoping to be back next week with a completed top and almost completed basement carpeting. 😬

PS--did you get my Animal Crossing reference? It's a bit obscure.

Linking with For the Love of Geese.

They're Done!

I have reached the end of the block making for the Tall Tales quilt. I rewarded myself with sewing something different (more on that below). Here are my last few blocks. I'm proud to say that all of the polka dot background fabric is from quilt back trimmings and the spines of 99% of the blocks are from my scrap bins. 

My son helped me tear out all the foundations yesterday, so now I just have to add the block borders and assemble the top. And then make a backing, quilt, and bind.  And I have seven available sewing days left this month. No sweat. Yeah, right. Hopefully I can at least get the top done since that was my goal.

When I finished sewing the last of the blocks over the weekend, I did not want to deal with tearing out all the papers, so I switched back to my Chalk quilt to give myself a break. I have all the rows made now and am working on sewing them into rows. I really liked how these blocks in progress arranged themselves as they fell from my table.

I admire those of you who can start to finish one project at a time. I really just cannot work that way. I don't enjoy it. I need to do a little of this, a little of that. I think this is why I don't enjoy quilting retreats much either. I cannot just sit and sew for the entire day/days at a time. I also find it hard on my body to just sit all day. As part of my foundation removal avoidance, I also cleaned and rearranged my fabric closet a bit.

You've probably heard me mention Cheryl at Meadow Mist Designs' mystery quilts many, many times. She released the fabric requirements for the Melodic Mystery last week. I had fun shopping online for fabrics, and then reminded myself that I have plenty and I need to shop my stash first. I wasn't sure what I would find because I don't typically buy yardage of anything except neutrals and backings, but I thought I need to at least try.

Here is my fabric pull. A few of these might look familiar to you--3/4 of them are leftovers from my Flower Patch SAL. I added in the jade colored one--that was one I ordered for my art quilt that ended up looking nothing like it was pictured online, so I'm glad it will get a new life in this quilt. I'll figure out backing and binding in the future, but now I'm ready to start cutting when the August clue is revealed.

Meanwhile, I've been working like crazy on the quilting in anticipation of the upcoming seven day hiatus. 

This first one is a group project one of my guilds made. Quilted with Scribble Hearts.

Next up is Trish's quilt, quilted with Pretty Paisley.

Then one for Haley, quilted with A Fishy Tail. I partially bound this one as well.

Mary Ann's, quilted with Turtle. 

Elle's, quilted with More Square Drama.

And Charlene's, quilted with Champagne Bubbles.

Nothing much to report in the garden. I haven't been out much. We did get some much-needed rain Thursday and Friday. I harvested lettuce Saturday after all the rain. Probably should have waited til things dried out a bit. It (the lettuce) was so muddy. I noticed some of the baby zucchinis are rotting at the blossom end, so we removed those. We have a few coolapenos that are ready, but those are my husband's to deal with. There are some baby cucumbers on one of the plants and I should be able to harvest more green beans this week. The flower gardens need to be weeded. Every time I go outside and stand in one spot too long I get chigger bites, so the weeds can just be there for now.

My sweet new friend Trish brought me some fresh lavender from her garden when she picked up her quilt. πŸ₯°

Tune in next week to see if I get those block borders added before my hiatus.

July OMG

It's time to pick a goal for July. As always, so many options--a blessing and a curse, perhaps?

  • Finish SCQG BOM--still need to do the sashing and borders, but did order thread for quilting
  • Assemble Tall Tales blocks into a top--more below 
  • Create a pieced backing for Tall Tales
  • Grassy Creek border
  • Bind Flower Patch SAL
  • Finish binding Macaron Mystery--I'm half way, so this seems too easy of a goal
  • Make last two blocks for #Trending quilt/assemble top
  • Quilt apple quilt--custom
  • Finish blue & white plus quilt top--see below
  • Make two sets of napkins
  • Choose fabric for Meadow Mist's Melodic Mystery quilt--starts Thursday!!
My official goal is to assemble the Tall Tales blocks into a top. Here are all of the blocks I had completed as of last week.

More on the Tall Tales below. Hopefully I can get more than one thing crossed off this list, though I will be away from my sewing room for over a week in July due to APQS maintenance class and carpet install/redo part three.

This past week just didn't go as planned at all. The new furniture was delivered Friday, but as they unwrapped the couch, we noticed that two of the legs were damaged, so they took it back. Since the downstairs carpet isn't done, part of the old furniture is still upstairs since we're out of storage room downstairs. The new, repaired couch was redelivered yesterday. None of that is particularly bad, just weird. 

One of our neighbors puts on a huge fireworks show every year--we're talking pallets of explosives and at least 20 minutes non-stop. We talked about going over to the neighbors' driveway to watch it even though I was totally conflicted (I have a hard time with the noise and environmental concerns of fireworks in general, we are very dry outside, and I am not in any sort of celebratory mood). In the end, I developed a horrible headache and went to sleep while it was still light out. My family apparently did go watch. My daughter showed me videos and I have no idea how I slept through it. It was their biggest, probably loudest, display ever. And other neighbors were also shooting off fireworks too. Seriously, I never even heard any of it. I enjoyed my 10 hours of sleep that night. 🀷🏻‍♀️

Somehow I managed to get only three quilts quilted over the past week. I ran into issues--I had to order thread for Charlene's because our original combo didn't work out, so it was loaded and unloaded from the frame a few times. It looks perfect now. Quilted with Calder.

Keetah's quilt went off without a hitch. Quilted with Overlapping Crop Circles.

Then I found out that my Hobbs king batting is not actually 120" wide, but only 115". This photo shows, L - R, my standard roll of Hobbs, the king Hobbs, and the king Quilter's Dream Blend. {Note that Hobbs' response so far is to turn the roll of batting upside down so that it can stretch out. πŸ€” I will do as they asked, but πŸ€”.

I had to ask Janice to pick different batting since my Hobbs wasn't big enough. πŸ«€ Her huge, beautiful Rhododendron Trail quilt took two days to complete.  Quilted with Van Gogh.

Meanwhile, I was wracked with indecision on my Tall Tales quilt. I thought I'd made all but two blocks I needed for it by the end of last week. I was working out the math to make sure I had enough background fabric remaining to make the sashing. We started tossing around different layouts and discussing the size of each, and in the end decided that I need to make two more large blocks, 12 regular, and the two custom blocks. I made 10 blocks from last Wednesday to today. That leaves six regular blocks and two custom blocks to make before I can start all the sashing.

While I was waffling about it, I pulled out my blue and white plus top and sewed another few rows. Sometimes you just need some brainless sewing. My outfit even matched my project!

Switching over to garden news, I've still been harvesting a few green beans and a very few peas every few days. I think I've harvested all the lettuce that is currently available. We are in the middle of a heat wave/drought, so the plants are struggling. I do have three little zucchinis growing and one of the cucumber plants has blossoms. Did you know that green beans stick to your shirt? Modeled by my son. Please excuse my recycling bin in the background.

I harvested most of the basil from the indoor garden. I made pesto with it, which was much easier than I expected. I'd use either more basil or a bit less olive oil next time. I was unsure how to measure the basil--should I compact it or stack it loosely in the measuring cup? Some of the leaves were almost as big as my hand. When I planted the current group of pods, I was unsure if I even wanted to grow herbs, but at least now I have a use for basil.

I've been watching chipmunk(s) running around my retaining wall and my front porch with walnuts in their mouths. Guess I know who to blame for all the walnuts growing in my foundation plantings. Sorry I blamed you, squirrels. The hostas in my sewing room window well garden were full of pretty blooms until yesterday. I'm not sure what creature to blame that on. Deer, rabbit, chipmunk? That particular garden usually gets left alone. Sigh.

Here's to a productive week, and if we could get some rain and some relief from the heat, I'd be ever so appreciative.

Linking with My Quilt Infatuation.