Saturday, April 28, 2018

Back From Texas

If you noticed my blogging hiatus, you are observant. From early Tuesday morning, April 17, to 12:30 AM Thursday, April 26, I was away from home. I visited our son and his family in Austin, Texas.

I've never been a good flyer, so it always takes me many prayers and considerable courage to board a plane. Those take-offs, bumpy flights, and landings - how is it possible that such a heavy machine remains in the air?! I always pray for my pilots, traffic control personnel, and the mechanics who take care of these sky wonders.

I flew on Southwest Airlines the same day the explosion occurred on another Southwest flight, killing a woman who was struck by a fan blade from an engine. The whole 20-minute scene sounds nightmarish. Yet, on my return-to-Florida flight I felt more safe than before, knowing that Southwest had run checks on all their aircraft following that incident. Still, I'm always grateful to return to terra firma. God knows.

Austin and Luke appeared to like the turtles I made for them (here). By the way, this picture was taken in the guest room. The wall hanging and quilt on the bed were made by me as wedding presents to Brent and Lyn who lived in Florida at the time.

We went to The Salt Lick, in Driftwood - my all-time favorite barbecue restaurant. The fire pit is amazing - the aromas! I ate my "usual" which is a half-pound of pulled pork followed by blackberry cobbler รก la mode.

And speaking of food... my sweet tooth seems to go extra crazy when I'm around DIL Lyn who likes the same things I do. The day after I arrived, I made a pecan pie using Texas-grown Kiowa pecans. She and I ate pecan pie for four days! When that was gone, I made Pavlova. They had never eaten it.

This is the Pav fresh from the oven - a crumbly meringue cake.

This is it heaped with fresh-whipped cream, and topped with strawberries and bananas. Even the boys, who are very picky eaters, liked it.

Both boys had soccer on Saturday. Austin is a pretty good player. 

Four year-old Luke... not so much. He runs around, following the other kids who are chasing the ball. At that age, that's pretty much all they do - run around. My sister calls it best: it's amoeba-ball. 

We went on a Sunday excursion to Pace Bend Park in Spicewood, Texas. Limestone cliffs, a lake, hiking trails, and a glorious day. I took this picture using the timer on my Canon camera.

We hiked for more than an hour. Both boys kept up, though Luke needed a little urging. 

It was a treat to get to see the prickly pear cactus in bloom.

Austin played hooky from school on Monday. We went to San Marcos to ride a glass bottom boat on Aquarena Springs, at the Meadows Center on the campus of Texas State University. I'm glad I had a chance to compare this to my previous glass bottom boat rides at Silver Spring State Park in Florida. Many similarities. I won't ever tire of appreciating the clear water of a fresh spring. 

Luke didn't like having his picture taken. 

I used the timer on my camera timer to take this picture too - another beautiful day.

My visit wasn't entirely without quilt-y stuff. Lyn and I went to Valli and Kim, a Dripping Springs quilt shop. I didn't buy any fabric, and you can imagine what kind of challenge that was for me in a modern quilt shop! I'm sticking to my no fabric-buying goal, though I did buy The Tunic Bible.

Lyn and I worked on "Texas Forever", her first big quilt. She had pieced the 45" X 45" top and was a bit reluctant to piece the backing so the prints aligned. We did that together, then made the quilt sandwich and got it pin-basted. Before I left, she made a couple walking foot quilting passes across the quilt top to make sure she knows what she's doing. She does.

This is what I accomplished - a couple more of 20 small medallions needed for the perimeter of my English paper-pieced Tula Nova quilt - the one I'm calling Linda Nova. Slow progress, but that's fine by me.

Since returning home I've been writing every day. I'm working on an article for the next issue of Curated Quilts magazine! Yep. I'm freelance writing again. The piece will be 750 words on the topic of triangles. It feels good to be writing - professionally - again.

You might just see this picture in my article. A triangle. A slice of pie. You do see the similarities, don't you?
Texas Pie Company, Kyle, Texas

Friday, April 6, 2018

Some Happy Things

On Thursday I received good news... my Triangle Mini Challenge Quilt was accepted, and will appear in the next issue - #4 - of Curated Quilts magazine!

Because I was asked for the quilt name, for publication, I had to come up with something! I named it "Always Add Orange," based on the fact that I include orange in almost every quilt I make, and in my home decor.
15" X 15"

It looks like 111 quilts were submitted for the challenge - you can see all of them here - though I don't know how many have been chosen to appear in the magazine. I only know I'm honored and thrilled!

For Easter Sunday dinner we were invited to the neighbor's house. After the yummy meal, I watched Dave, the hubs, pull on a sweatshirt because he felt cold, I suggested that he might like one of my quilts. I explained that they were brightly colored, and might not suit their home decor, but he said he was interested.

So this week I walked over with four of my quilts, ready to give away whichever one he chose. He picked "Wiggle Me Colourful." The quilt's strips of color were made with saved-up pre-cut 2-1/2" squares, and pieced on my kid-sized aqua Janome machine during numerous Big Cypress Quilters meetings.

This quilt was my first finish in 2017, and it's been in the top of the closet since then.
57" X 65"
I was happy to give it to Dave, and appreciated seeing it in use in this picture sent by his wife.

This week I used a freshly-made batch of homemade basting spray to sandwich the first wedges quilt I put together. After posting this picture to Instagram, and mentioning that the quilt needs a name, I received several suggestions. Stephie in Kalamazoo, Michigan suggested "Roulette" and I'm rolling (ha!) with it. 

The first quilting stitches are in. So far I've used three colors of Aurifil 50-weight threads: white, silver gray, and turquoise.

For quilting I'm using both my Bernina Aurora 440, and Janome 1600p machines - the Bernina because I prefer its walking foot that I used to quilt the large curves; and the Janome because it has a larger harp (9-1/2") for ruler work. The 1" circles were free motion quilted on the Janome. 

I might be adding quite a bit more straight line quilting because this is such a busy design already. Certainly, quilting days are ahead.

I'm also going to make a book recommendation: "The Woman in the Window," by A. J. Finn. I've been listening to it in audiobook format, and I'm spellbound! It has a sort of "Rear Window" (the movie) feel to it. I can't wait to take another long walk or fold laundry, so I can listen more! Linda

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

April's First Makes

Didn't April start nicely? It was wonderful to celebrate Easter, and if I do say so myself, our choir sounded good! We sang "He is Risen" (Martin Hambyl) at two services. The link is NOT to our choir! :-)

Now that PBStudio's Mad for Solids competition is over - Did you see that my friend Elizabeth Eastmond @opquilt won?! I'm so happy for her! - I'm able to return to projects as desired. For my part in the Mad for Solids competition, though my Tiffany Lights color bundle didn't win I'm using it to make a wedge quilt.

The nine-degree wedge sections are sewn together, and I inserted a pieced center.... pieced with two different grays because I didn't have either gray in a single large piece! I'm calling this quilt Spin Art because it reminds me of the fun and result of pouring different paint colors over a spinning board.

This is also the quilt top that forced me to order fabric - on March 30 - in spite of my 2018 goal to not buy fabric!

But I'm sort of not counting it against myself. The 10-yard bolt of Painter's Palette Solid white that's coming from will allow me to finish the outside/background of this quilt top, as well as have enough white to continue sewing from stash. I will just continue to work around my limited stash of grays.

With grandchildren in mind, I made two more "Shell Shelters" (by Java House Quilts) soft turtles for two grandsons in Texas. Each turtle's shell is Elizabeth Haugh's Rhoda Ruth fabric.

I still think this is a good gift for kids, because of the zippered "treasure storage" area in the belly.

Blocks for Leila's "Year of Scrappy Triangles," which she releases every Tuesday on her blog (SewnbyLeila), were piling up, so I took care of that. I print each block onto Carol Doak foundation paper, and save them for a few hours of sewing. I'm now caught up to week 26, which should be about half-way through all the blocks. These are the latest six blocks.

I like that I can work strictly from my scrap bins to come up with what's needed for each one. Of course, my anything-goes approach to colors and prints is apparent!

I've also tackled a long-time need... a new cover for my ironing board. My ironing board is quite literally that - a 30" X 48" oak board. It's covered with a piece of quilted ironing board fabric, with an outer covering of plain white duck. It's the plain white that I'm replacing, even to the point of reusing the white bias binding into which will go new elastic.

I like having a plain white ironing surface because it's a nice, oftenly-used background for photos.

Today finds me prepping to sandwich and baste a quilt - the circular wedges quilt top I showed here. (It needs a name!) The first step for me meant making, this morning, another batch of homemade basting spray. It sprays nicely from a re-used Mary Ellen's Best Pressed spray bottle, with a little leftover. 

All pictures I've shown (above) in this post were taken with my new iPhone 8, which is a late (March) birthday present from Dan.

You see, on Monday I turned in my iPhone 5 which held up well to three years and eight months of continuous use and abuse. It was literally worn out as the volume buttons didn't work (without "twisting" the phone), and a screen message would occasionally pop up "Are you sure you want to shut down?" Ha. I don't think that iPhone 5 would have lasted many more days. 

Besides the fact that the iPhone 8 takes better photos, I appreciate that it holds a longer battery charge, and seemingly has better connectivity with our home wireless. I can now read Instagram from bed!

And check out this glittery "waterfall" cell phone cover for my 8. It's like a lava lamp with sparkles!

I'm a happy (un)birthday girl. Linda


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