Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Halloween in Ticky Tacky Town

The Mask

I don't really remember trick or treating when I was younger. I don't remember carving pumpkins or stuffing myself with candy or partying either. But I do remember one costume - a paper mache mask of Little Lulu. I think I was about four years old that year because I hadn't started school.  Dad blew up a balloon bigger than my head  and set it upright in a big bowl. He made flour and water paste and for weeks he pasted layer after layer of cut newspaper strips over the balloon until a thick layer was formed and dried. Then he popped the balloon, cut eye holes and painted it like Little Lulu. I was supposed to wear it over my head and traipse around who knows where to show off.  The big eye holes weren't properly spaced and I couldn't see all that well. Creepy! I didn't even know then who Little Lulu was but I did not like her or that mask.

October 31, 2004

I'll never forget the Halloween of 2004. My husband had cancer and was in the hospital with a high fever. The doctors did not know the cause of the fever after four days and a variety of tests. He slept most of the time. I was worried. Very worried. The doctors told me he might not make it through the chemo and the radiation and we were only at the midpoint of his treatment. I had taken time off work to stay there with him and spent some time crocheting baby booties, sweaters and hats because my daughter and my son's girlfriend were both pregnant and due soon.  I was worried not only about my husband but about my daughter too because she had preeclampsia.  The afternoon of October 31, 2004 the phone next to the bed rang because this was a time before cell phones- my daughter was in labor across town on the east campus of the same hospital.  I told the nurses, all dressed in costumes, that I would be at the east campus with my daughter should they need me and across town to the east campus I went. And then I waited and waited and waited some more. There were some complications but those of us in the waiting room were not told exactly what they were so we waited some more.  After several hours I was overjoyed to be holding a beautiful and perfectly healthy baby girl, my first granddaughter, Isabelle Alana.

The Haunted Barn

Down a couple of blocks and up the hill on the way to my friend's house was a big house with an old tumble down barn beside it. We could see it from the sidewalk and heard stories about a little old man with a shotgun who would chase away anyone who tried to get near his barn. And we heard the barn was haunted. We really, really, really wanted to peek into that barn. But we really, really, really didn't want the little old man with the shotgun to see us so we always just walked by and speculated as to what might be in that barn.   Strangely enough years and years and years later I found out that little old man was my husband's paternal grandfather. 

The Plan
The plan is to make a lap quilt with all the houses made of ticky tacky.  The houses may or may not be separated by alleys and streets (sashing).  The backing will contain some patches of house fabrics mixed with some patches of stories.  The houses finish at three inches so I have lots more to make. 

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 29, 2018

It's a Flimsy! Peppermint Twist

Peppermint Twist
50 x 62.5

The Peppermint Twist song was released in 1961 - the year I turned 9 years old.  My dad was manager of a cafeteria at that time and the cafeteria had a rec(reation) room with a juke box. Mom would sometimes take us kids in to eat dinner at the cafeteria and afterwards we would wait in the rec room for Dad to get off work.  I remember us dancing around to The Twist and The Peppermint Twist and the employees thought we were so cute. 

The Twist was good exercise. If I still did some twisting today I might be as skinny as my shadow. 

 Who knows when I started this. I found a couple of blocks and the peppermint fabrics in my Christmas project box back in January when I decided I wanted to try to use my holiday fabrics this year.  When I get some kind of what I think is a brilliant idea as to how to use certain fabrics I make a few blocks and put them with the fabrics so I don't forget my brilliant idea. 
I had a little problem finding peppermint go-with fabrics in my stash but managed. That green/red orange checked fabric was in with the Halloween fabrics. 

I made a large Dresden block and squared it off. 

 Now I have 80 pieces from the side trimmings I can play with.  I've sewn some of the pieces together and they measure about 13 inches in the center.  If I can find a suitable background or backgrounds (this one is already taken) I could maybe make large lemon peel blocks. Or they could be leaves on giant Jack in the Beanstalk columns of vines...
...or they could be a giant Peppermint Zinnia. But that kind of hurts my eyes right now. 

And speaking of peppermint...
Has anyone else had to drink peppermint extract (or peppermint if available) dissolved in hot water when you had a stomach ache? That was my dad's cure. I quit telling him when I had a stomach ache.  I don't like the taste of peppermint. 

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Secret Santa Sew Along

 Step 1
Step 2
Just a few of the 68 little nine patches. 

I don't often do Sew Alongs anymore especially if they are mysteries but I really wanted to use holiday fabrics this year and I love little blocks so...

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Ticky Tacky Town Additions

Greenhouses made from green scraps. And I see a bird house and a sunflower house too. 


One of the first things we did when we moved to the country over 30 years ago was build a greenhouse. It was a big one. I don't remember the dimensions right now but it was big enough to have two heaters in it, one on each end, and an industrial fan for air circulation and we had another water pump installed right outside so we could water easily.  We started all of our seeds in pots we made from newspaper. As a secondary source of income we sold quite a variety of different lettuces early in the spring at Farmer's Market. There was a small restaurant that bought a lot of lettuce from us every week.  As the season progressed we followed lettuce up with herbs - I can't believe the amount of basil we sold but we also sold a lot of oregano, sage, and rosemary too as well as some of our own herb blends for meat rubs and salad dressings.  Our biggest seller was everlasting flowers - mostly Statice and Gomphrena and Sweet Annie and Helichrysum but a lot of others too that I can't remember just now.   And we sold lots of varieties of hot peppers and heirloom tomatoes. In the winter we went to a couple of local craft fairs and sold dried flower wreaths and lavender wands and a few other things.  

And then my husband was sick for over a year. It was oropharyngeal cancer finally diagnosed at stage IV after numerous doctor visits. He received both radiation and chemo and had a G-tube for over a year (that fell out twice). We are thankful he is here now to tell the tale. I think a couple of granddaughters born five weeks apart at that time were the angels that gave him the will to live. 

But I digress. Anyway during that time we received a couple of big snows and I didn't go out to the greenhouse (you can't see if from the house because it's behind the barn) to turn on the heaters to melt the snow on the roof. I didn't even think about it between working and taking care of  and worrying about my husband and other things going on in our family at the time. In the spring when I went outside I was devastated to see the greenhouse roof caved in. I guess it was meant to be. The insurance on the greenhouse helped me with medical expenses. 

Sunflower Houses

When the kids were little I grew them some Sunflower Houses for them to play in.  Basically I just put down a big piece of plastic as big as the floor space I wanted.  Then the kids planted sunflower seeds all around the outside of the plastic leaving a space for where they wanted the door. In between the Sunflowers we planted Morning Glories to climb the Sunflowers and make a roof. I think I liked the Sunflower Houses more than they did because they had their own secret forts they made down in the woods to play in. 

I make my houses a little differently than the free pattern instructions at the Quilting Company but mine do finish at 3 inches. 

Thursday, October 25, 2018

It's a Flimsy! Log Cabin Lunacy

Log Cabin Lunacy
64 x 80

One inch wide scraps and four inch finished blocks. 

 I'll be the first to admit some seams don't line up perfectly so if it looks a little wonky that's because it is. 
 It starts with red centers. 
 I spy candy, birds, acorns, horseshoe, cards, jellybeans, eyeballs...

 ...ghosts, hot peppers, peppermints, jack-o-lanterns, candy corn, m&ms and fireflies. 

...ants, cats, gingerbread boy, boats, rabbit in a dress, flag, cherries...

 ...footprints, trees, apples, snowmen and some memories. 
That's what I like about quilts with little pieces - you never know what you will find when you take a closer look. Geometrics, novelties, florals, stripes, polka dots, tone on tones and holiday fabrics all seem to work together. 

George always likes to take a closer look at how to get it off the clothesline and under his tush and so this story ends. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

It's a Finish! Confetti Waves

Confetti Waves
48 x 64

Looks like from previous blog posts that I started on this in December 2015.  In that first post I blogged about how I was making these blocks from waste triangles. They are arranged like an Ocean Waves block which I was also making at that time.  I called it Confetti Waves because it looks to me like little pieces of confetti. 

I used waste triangles and bits and pieces of different red solids.  I just made blocks until I ran out of those red bits and pieces.  You really can't tell there are different reds in there but there are.  I didn't make a dent in the waste triangles but I do have a couple of other quilts in the works that use them. 

I quilted it on my DSM with some spirals. I thought that might give some motion like confetti twirling around. Or maybe I just imagine that. 

A kind soul gave me the backing fabric to use on donation quilts and since this will be donated I thought I would use it because it seems like the perfect backing for Confetti Waves. 

Monday, October 22, 2018

It's a Finish! The Owl and the Pussycat

 The Owl and the Pussycat
At sunrise
40 x 60
Machine quilted on my DSM with spirals

If I can find the old book Owl and the Pussycat (it's around here somewhere) I'll put it with the quilt in the hope chest for great grandchildren.  I've made several quilts that go with old children's books for the hope chest - Velveteen Rabbit, Ten Apples Up on Top and I think another one I can't remember right now. 

If I can't find the book (I have several bookcases full of children's books here and there throughout the house I need to check) I guess I could make a quilt label with the poem on it. 

I posted yesterday about flimsies I just made that used cat scraps. I actually started to try to use some cat and owl scraps back in March 2017 when I started making these Sawtooth Stars.  Sometimes things just get stalled around here. 

I used a piece of flannel I washed several times for the back. Flannel seems to shrink a lot. I had just enough of the polka dots for binding with just a little piece leftover. It was meant to be. 

You can kind of see the spiral quilting. Hey, I'm finally getting better at those spirals but I still need to work a little on consistent size and spacing. 

And in an effort to have no scrap left behind...
I usually like to make Flying Geese for the star points on Sawtooth Stars but for some reason I used the flippy corner method to make these stars.  When I do that I just eyeball the 1/4 inch seam and lop off the extra. I figure no need to actually measure because the seam is already sewn and I don't care if the extra fabric left is cut accurately at 1/4 inch or not.  And I don't like to take the time to sew a 1/4 inch seam to make a bonus HST.  So, I'm left with lots of "waste triangles".  I sometimes throw them in with crumbs if they are big enough or keep them separately in a waste triangle box.   At any rate... I'm trying to use up scraps now as they are made so I put the eight waste triangles with a center 3 inch square in order to make some Wonky Stars when the urge strikes.   I have to cut yardage for the 8 three inch pieces for the rest of the star.    And when I'm finished with the three inch pieces I'll cut those scraps in half and put them in the 1.5 inch scrap bin since three  inches is not a size of scrap I keep in a bin. I normally don't have a lot of 3 inch scraps. I have a few projects in the works that use the 1.5 inch scraps.  

So that's just a little about how scraps get made, used and stored and then used around here. 

Wonky Stars. 
They finish at 7.5 inches.

And they are fun and easy to make. 
I'll have enough for a small quilt in no time!

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Cat Scrap Fever

 Five Flimsies.  

I was the lucky winner this quarter of the Stashbuster Yahoo Group's UFO Challenge. The prize was 40 fat quarters.  When they arrived I sorted them into various project boxes and a lot of brights and tone on tones ended up in the fabrics I set aside to use in donation quilts. With the fabric refresh and win I really felt like I should share the bounty and make some donation quilts. But what to make...what to make? 

Then the bout of Cat Scrap Fever hit and  I had an overwhelming urge to dig into the cat themed novelty scraps (pieces less than a FQ).  Scraps were ends of fabric, pieces leftover from making other quilts, charms from a variety of swaps and some pieces from the thrift store. 

Puss in the Corner 
60 x 75

 I started with the bigger scraps.  These are 9.5 inch centers and brights. I made what else but... Puss in the Corner blocks!  The blocks ended up at 15 inches finished. 
Puss in the Corner
40 x 60

These Puss in the Corner blocks have 6.5 inch colorful cats in the centers and the blocks finish at 10 inches. 

Happy Cats
40 x 60
 While I was in the brights and 6.5 inch pieces I made some Happy Blocks to add to a few Happy Blocks with cats made long ago.   The blocks finish at 10 inches.  
Cats in Neutral Territory
60 x 80

  This block is also called Puss in the Corner.  I used some of the less colorful 6.5 inch cat scraps and some black, brown and gray bits and pieces for frames.  The blocks finish at 10 inches. 
Mendota Cats
40 x 60

Working my way down in scrap size I used just three old pieces of fabric to frame these 5 inch centers in a 10 inch block.  The Sunshine Online Quilt guild has named this block Mendota.  It is a block they are making now for quilts to be assembled at a 2019 retreat in Mendota, MN.  Quilts will go to Wrap-A-Smile or Quilts Beyond Borders when finished. 
The Cat Scrap Fever subsided before I had the urge to work with any scraps smaller than 5 inches.  

I'm glad Cat Scrap Fever is not a CATastrophic illness. 

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Green Scraps

 I just started making these HRTs last month from 4.5 inch scraps. 
 I also started making Fractured Rails blocks from 4.5 inch scraps in the color of the month mixed with a tone on tone in a complementary color..  
These blocks I make from 1.5 or 2.5 inch scraps.  The little pieces are 1.5 x 2.5. 

Thursday, October 18, 2018

It's a Flimsy!

 Framed 30s Four Patches
72 x 88

I had forty-four eight inch blocks from a 2007 swap- 30s fabrics in the four patches framed with white on white.  After I finished my Ocean Waves flimsy earlier this month I had a lot of 2.5 inch scraps left over so decided to move this UFO forward and made fifty-five more blocks for a twin sized quilt. I'm not really a fan of a lot of white in quilts anymore but decided I might as well get it to flimsy stage instead of letting the blocks sit around any longer.  

I put this on my list to finish before the end of the year. I was going to machine quilt it with vertical lines closely spaced. Now that I see it I think it would make a nice summer quilt - backing with no batting - with some minimal big stitch quilting with white perle #12 which I happen to have on hand and maybe a tie in the middle of the four patches.  So maybe it won't be finished by year end. 

I still have a lot of 2.5 inch 30s scraps. I usually keep 30s and civil war repro scraps separate from other scraps. I guess they are a snobby bunch.  I'm considering mixing them in with the rest of the 2.5 inch scraps or I'll make some nine patches.  

I do know I will cut a 1.5 inch piece off the end of each and make a few of these Whatchamacallits that I've been making as a Rainbow Scrap Challenge project.  I've been trying not to repeat any fabrics in these blocks and I haven't used any 30s yet. I want a total of 84 blocks and so welcome the new scraps to make these.