Monday, July 28, 2014

Bicycle Race, Zig Zag Progress

Our town hosted a big bicycle race this weekend.  It is a one-mile course on city streets, one of which is only 1/2 block from our house! Here they are whizzing by!

Enjoying the race, and the beautiful day: Nick (Gen's bf), their cute dog, Buddy, Gen, and Scott.

Buddy is a chihuahua-papillon mix, and he is so cute, and such a cuddler.  They have been staying with us for a week - I'll really miss them after they leave!

These garden shots are from my neighbor, Peg's, garden.  She is a Master Gardener!

The arching red blossoms are called Lucifer - Peg was very excited that they were blooming, as she planted them a year or two ago.

Zig zag quilt progress - I have made what seems like lots of HST's (half square triangles, in quilt-speak), but I'm sure I need at least half this many more.  

Another view - I'm liking the fabrics up close, but I wonder if I need more, busier prints? More variety? Must hit my stash - or the quilt store!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Color Challenge Quilt - Top Finished!

My color challenge quilt top, started two years ago, is finally finished! Shown below are just the blocks on my design wall - not sewn together yet.

Each block is a challenge (given by Victoria of 15 Minutes Play blog) to work with a certain "difficult to love" color - like mauve, dusty blue, and rust. Here are my finished blocks. Love that X-pattern block.
The next challenge - how to set them into a top. Simply, in 4 rows? With sashing? Or?

After trying several layouts, I was happy with this arrangement. Then I decided to add some - lots of - triangles - and had to plan something for all that empty space, and the corner blocks.

I auditioned several solid fabrics for these large areas, but they just "sat there". I used a number of different beiges and grays, with little inserts of my colors, and voila!

Love how this is coming along. But now - the corner blocks, what there? I decided on a New York Beauty block, which I drafted to be the correct size. I thought I knew exactly how I was going to make them! But plans can change.

I paper pieced the arcs, which worked great.

This is my failed plan - I thought I would use all of my "ugly" colors for the arcs of the block, but was not feeling the love.  So, I made fabric to fill each arc.

Much better. Each corner block has a different colored arc.

Finished quilt top! Sorry it is a little dark, it is a lovely day today, but overcast.  On the right is my favorite hydrangea plant, called Incrediball.

Dora had to get into the last picture.  I love how this turned out - lots of fun, learned a lot. Next step - sending it out for machine quilting!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Gift quilt re-do, new favorite sandwich, Texas kids update

So - I am not remaking Emily's quilt "disaster" (see previous post here).  Maybe disaster is too strong a word...but anyway, here I go on a NEW quilt for Emily.  Based on the ideas she showed me on pinterest, I made the example above, and she loved it! I will make a simple zigzag quilt, still using the bright beautiful colorful prints I love, balanced by the soft gray neutral that Emily prefers.  And, it will be a lap size, for a couch throw - also what Emily prefers.  

When we visited Sujata, she served us the most delicious lunch! This is my attempt to recreate it.  Sandwich is: brown and serve ciabatta rolls brushed with olive oil and balsamic mixture, and filled with fresh mozzarella, sliced heirloom tomatoes, grilled slices of zucchini, and fresh basil. 

Salad is:  corn, finely chopped onion and red pepper, minced parsley, and a simple olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette.  While my lunch was tasty, I am going to retry - after finding out Sujata's recipe.  Same as above, but: sandwich roll was brushed with a simple vinaigrette with salt and pepper; her salad also had finely chopped celery and orange peppers, and hers was dressed only with the juice of one lemon, plus salt and pepper. 

The Texas kids are doing great! They each bought a car (Emily a white Jetta, Matt a black BMW, his first car ever!), and are making strides in unpacking and making their townhouse a home.  Emily is still researching job possibilities in Austin.
Matt started his new job this week, and seems to be enjoying it - including the relaxed dress code!
And Cohen continues to be his usual charming self. 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

East Coast Trip - part two

Lucky me! I got to finally meet - face to face - my friend, Sujata of The Root Connection ! We became friends in blogland - where we had shared stories about family and quilting - and we were able to stop for a visit on our East Coast trip.  She showed us many of her quilts, which were even more beautiful in person!  This was truly a highlight of our trip! Thank you Sujata for your warm welcome - looking forward to more visits in the future, we hope!
Sujata and her beautiful quilt, Kavita's Garden. 

4th of July at the Fairfax, VA, parade!  My family has a long history of 4th of July parades - growing up, our town's parade went right past our house, so every year was a big family reunion-parade-potluck dinner-carnival-fireworks day! As a result, it's not "the 4th" without a parade, and family and friends.  This is my brother and sister-in-law, Chuck and Jean.

Military honor guard.  

Another big highlight - meeting our newest family member, Hudson!  My daughter, Hannah, looks pretty happy, doesn't she? Such a sweet boy - and named for us, what an honor!

I can't stop looking at this picture - I just LOVED holding him and talking to him, I could have done it all day. We were talking about how he wants to take piano lessons some day.  :)

Another favorite photo - Scott and my nephew, Nathan (Hudson's daddy).  It just kind of tells a story, doesn't it?  Just a great family day, lots of fun, lots of great stories told and shared.  Just wish we could see these great people more often!

Next day - sightseeing day! Hannah and her bf Danny, who had never visited D.C. before.  So - we did a big walking tour of the monuments, starting with the Washington Monument.

Scott, Danny, Hannah, and nephew, Evan, at the Jefferson Memorial.  Great family day!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Quilter's remorse, East Coast trip, and Texas adventure

So - after all the work involved in piecing a queen-sized quilt top, I am not happy with this! Although I was going for a multi-print look, and I love all of the fabrics, it is just TOO bright, and TOO busy!
Not only that, but this is a special gift for my daughter, Emily - she just earned her MBA so I wanted to make her a special quilt.  I showed it to her, and she did say it was pretty...but I could tell that she was not thrilled.  It is just not her style - it is more my style!  Have any of you done that? I think it is hard to make a quilt for someone else sometimes - trying to go for their style, or colors, rather than what I would choose.

Close up - I do like how I added a different fabric (the black background print) for the sash intersection stars, but again, just TOO busy.  When I found the chartreuse print for the sashing - and I looked for it all over my local shops - I was so sure this was it!!  It is beautiful, but it is just TOO MUCH of a good thing!
Not sure what I am going to do with apart, make into a table runner, or ?  BUT - I have now ASKED EMILY for her ideas and input, and she likes totally different designs! She spent some time on pinterest, and chose - you guessed it, modern quilts, with clean lines, and lots of white or light gray background.  But, she DOES like blues, purples, and greens.  So maybe I can use some of these fabrics, but in a MUCH more toned-down pattern, with white? She also requested a throw, or couch-size, rather than bed-size, quilt.  Back to the drawing board!
We just took a week's vacation to the East Coast, and this was our first stop!  We stayed with our friend, Marianne, in her charming Oakhurst, New Jersey home - just a couple of miles from the Jersey shore!

We're not in Illinois any more!  It was a gorgeous, blue-sky day, with those lovely ocean breezes!  We just sat and visited, lots of catching up to do!  And of course a nice walk along the beach. 
Tent homes in Ocean Grove, NJ.

Fun selfie, during our tour of Ocean Grove, NJ - full of the cutest Victorian houses, and also little tent homes. More vacation pictures to come!

Other big news - my daughter, Emily, and her BF, Matt, just moved to Austin, Texas!  They both just graduated with their MBA's in May, and Matt landed a great job down in Austin, so off they went.  Now they are both busy getting settled into their (rented) townhouse, and Emily is searching for her job.  Big adventure for them!

Hannah and Danny's wedding shower, Walk for our Lives

   We had a pretty day in early March for Hannah and Danny's wedding shower, held at our local park district's golf course clu...