Wednesday, August 3, 2022

My Palms, and Mr. Bismarck

I'm making progress on my improv log cabin blocks. I worked out how to join blocks without squaring them up first. I wanted all the seams on a freehand cut improv curve, and that's what I got.

In this close-up picture, you can see how I used striped fabric to make compensating strips so the blocks fit together.

The center diamond shape is complete and measures about 55" X 55" on the square. 

Now I'm working out how to put the neutral improv blocks in each of the four triangle-shaped corners.

Our August 13 Central Florida MQG meeting will be "Demo Day." I've been invited to demo how to make Kawandi, so I've begun prep work to have a couple in-progress examples to use as explanation. 

This novelty print of kitchen utensils is the backing of one Kawandi that's inspiration for the scrappy fabric colors - orange, purple, raspberry and green - that will be used on the front. I found five colors of #12 perle cotton to stitch with - four are Wonderfil Spagetti; one is Aurifil.

The second Kawandi will be made with more of my Grandma's vintage scraps. I have a box of 2½" and 3" cut squares. Before using, they needed washing... washing, rinsing, washing, and rinsing to clean away all the dirt, age, and dye. No doubt, when it's done I'll find another relative who will appreciate having this keepsake Kawandi. 

I haven't been buying fabric lately (Gosh, haven't prices gone up?!), prints in particular, but the cheery brightness of these 16 Deco Glo print by Guicy Guice are too cheerful to miss out on. I bought a little extra of the teal color (on the right). 

It seems that too many prints are flowery florals. Those aren't me. So when I find prints with graphic designs, it's time to make an investment. Deco Glo is made by Andover Fabrics. I bought this bundle from Stash Fabrics

No doubt you're getting as sick of seeing my Kantha as I am. I keep stitching. Every day. Even hubs has noticed that it always seems to be in my lap, saying "Aren't you about done with that thing yet?!" I'm trying! Hope to finish by the August 31 deadline. 

Book Recommendations
The Perfect Mother by Aimee Malloy is a book probably meant for the younger generation. It focuses on a "mommy group," something that wasn't a thing when I was a young mother. But the story is familiar and also plenty intriguing. As each young mom in this group of "May Mothers" (all the babies were born in the month of May) is handling new experiences - nighttime feedings, fussiness, keeping up with laundry, cooking, eeking out exercise time, and returning to work - they're meeting twice weekly at a neighborhood park to complain and encourage each other. 

When the May Mothers decide it's time to have their first evening out without babies, and Winnie's son, Midas, goes missing while in the care of a sitter, each mother realizes how little they truly know about one another. The police question each mother, and while the group continues to meet, secrets come to light. One mom is determined to find Midas, even if it's at the expense of her own family, and these friendships. 

Linda's score: 4.0/5.0

Tiny Little Thing by Beatriz Williams is about Tiny, a young woman who feels a compulsion to always do what people expect... whatever is the "right thing to do," Tiny does it, even when it goes against her personal desires.

When Tiny meets the man of her dreams, Frank, who will take her places with him as he aspires to higher and higher political offices, she dutifully follows him, becoming the ideal wife and partner. Yet she can't forget meeting Caspian, who came into her life just before she got married. When it comes to light that Caspian is Frank's cousin, and Caspian returns home from Vietnam as a hero, she remembers what she missed out on. Yet her duty remains to Frank and his family. 

Not for the first time, I was taken in, selecting this book as a stand-alone read. After the fact, I discovered that it's book #2 in the Schuyler Sisters series. 

Linda's score: 3.5/5.0

The Edge of Summer by Viola Shipman, is a book with good "sipping" quality. It's slow-paced (not a psychological thriller), and expects the reader to ponder and reflect. Profound thoughts and statements had me hitting replay to listen again.

Sutton Douglas was raised by her mother, Miss Mabel, in a cabin on a lake in the Ozarks. Miss Mabel sewed for income and loved buttons, collecting and using them. All her life, Sutton (her name rhymes with button) has wanted to know about her family's history, so when she has the chance, she follows clues on a search that takes her to Saugatauk, Michigan. There, the Dandy Button Company once made shell buttons (among other types) from clams harvested in Lake Michigan. Scenes that take place in Saugatauk-Douglas make me want to visit this charming area!
The whole book contains references to sewing, zippers, garment construction, and quilting. Miss Mabel's old Singer sewing machine is named Old Betsy.

This is the first book I've read since the pandemic that happens during and after the pandemic, with conversation about COVID-19 deaths, and the mental and emotional aftermath of quarantine.

After completing The Edge of Summer, I Googled Voila Shipman and learned that the author is a man, Wade Roush, who selected the pen name to honor his grandmother. He learned about sewing while watching both his grandmothers sew. The author, who definitely has a soft side, wrote a story that will touch the heart of anyone who's ever sewed or quilted. Just keep in mind that it's very slow-paced.

Linda's score: 4.0/5.0

I read 13 books during the month of July! I was pretty astounded to realize that and tallied the audiobooks to determine how many hours I spent listening: 119 hours 8 minutes spent on 11 audiobooks! Two books were E-books.


So much listening is pretty indicative of the amount of time I've spent hand stitching that Kantha quilt. Well yes, I listen to books while power walking, and doing weekly housework too, but the bulk of listening time was spent with a quilt on my lap. My goodness. Won't I be grateful when that darned quilt is finished?!

As many of you know, we made the decision to keep the Bismarck palm that's in the middle of our front yard, though it's a bit overwhelming on that small plot of land. A tree trimmer came Saturday afternoon to give Mr. Bismarck a spiffing-up. 

The trimmer chained-sawed off lower fronds, and pulled out chunks of dead palm fronds that were stuck in the herringbone pattern of the trunk.

Lastly, long branches of seed pods were sawed off at the base. Now the crown is more open. 

Initially, as we watched, we were a bit startled to see the huge fronds being lopped off and falling to the ground. But as the trimmer went along, we could see the overall improvement of the palm's appearance. Mr. Bismarck is very healthy! Hopefully we'll need to do this only once a year now. 

This is now my view from my aqua sewing room chair. Not bad at all. 

Hoping to leave you with a smile...


Jenny said...

So pleased Dr Seuss loves quilting too!

Susie Q said...

Cute Seuss play on words.

Susie Q said...

Really happy about the Bismark, it is a beautiful plant. Perhaps the $$$ cut can be every two years..... time will tell.

Susie Q said...

As I was watching this I thought of YOU.... hope I have cut and pasted properly.

Anne / Springleaf Studios said...

Your log cabin blocks look terrific. Love that you avoided straight seams piecing them together. Well done. Wish I could sit in on your Kawandi demo although I don't know that I'll ever try it. Handwork isn't my thing. But unlike you, floral prints are. Love me a good floral print. Modern. Traditional. Vintage. Florals are what originally drew me to quilting and still remain a draw when shopping fabrics. Working on some soft floral blocks right now.

Patty said...

Curvy improv looks awesome - really like the colors!

Linda @ kokaquilts said...

Ah Dr Seuss had me gigling! Loving your progress on the improv log cabin, so very you! The b&w stripe is a super way to add interest.

Anonymous said...

Lately my comments haven't been able to post, but I'll try it again.
I loved loved this post! It was like such a great visit with you. Keep going on the Kawandi quilts--each one is a treasure, especially those with your heritage fabrics from your family. So nice of you to use those fabrics; I'll bet memories slide into your mind as you work on them.

The Bismarck looks great now that it's all spruced up. I know they require upkeep, but how beautiful it is now. So glad you kept it.

Bu the best part is that beautiful and stunning Log Cabin, with the striped compensating strips. I love the colorful section as well as the white section. Such a lovely creation! Can't wait to see how it finishes.
And thanks for your book reviews--I always appreciate them.

Live a Colorful Life said...

Your improv log cabin blocks are FABULOUS!!

Debbie said...

oh I am very tempted by Deco Glo as well! I bought just two pieces to use in my QIS challenge piece, but agree, they are really nice!
Your palm looks great- so glad you get to keep it!

Mary said...

Hi Linda! Glad you were able to have the tree trimmed instead of taking it down. And the log cabin quilt is looking great!

Michele said...

I love your recent fabric purchases. No wonder you couldn't resist them. I probably wouldn't have been able to either.

Nancy @ Grace and Peace Quilting said...

I love the new view from your studio--the freshened up palm!!!


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