I wiped away the weeds & foam. / I fetched my sea-born treasures home... Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, February 25, 2019

February Show and Tell: String Baskets, Sajou, A Year

Hi! February is almost over and I have made great progress on my ongoing projects this past month. I have to admit I am quite pleased with myself, which is a nice change from feeling overwhelmed by too much to do and no time or even interest.

I have a teeny tiny urge to wail, "But there's a whole week left!" as February has a few more days to go. But my Feb String Baskets are finished and today is the day to link up to Lori's Stringalong on Humble Quilts. I'll put the link at the end of this post.

Blue Baskets

I made seven blocks this month, for a total of eleven made. I am estimating 25 in total. Unlike some strict-planning sewers I am not giving myself  a quota each month. If I get the quilt done and the sewalong is ongoing, I will start my Stringy Pineapples and continue to participate.

These blocks are sooo fun. The string portions go together so fast, I was tempted to make all at once. Even the Cheddar handles are easy and fun. [see?  I keep saying ''fun''! Yay!] But the rest of the block is a bit of a puzzle, a smidge finicky, especially as I am mixing in a few random other backgrounds. So I plan to make about six at a time.
I added just a hint of cheddar/ indigo plaid in one baskets. I like it.

I used my Christmas gift card to buy a little Sunbeam iron. It sits to the right of my sewing machine on a quilted pad. It has steam! And has already proved so helpful in keeping the Strings crisp and smooth.

I couldn't resist planning a setting, actually a necessity as it makes a difference in how many blocks I will need. Here the blocks are laid out with a white ground/ black sprig calico. I think I have three yards. I like how it looks, but this is the background I planned to use for Hideous, so, hmmm.... tough luck, Hiddy?

 I can't do a traditional zigzag setting, too much white, not enough fabric;

...instead I'll do a trellis setting which gives a zigzag look if there are no cornerstones, I hate trellis settings but I think it will disappear into the background in this case.  Then a narrow cheddar border, then a 4" sprig border if I have enough fabric.

Hideous will have to get the off white pompom calico. It's important to me that the Blue Baskets get a true white ground [unless I switch to blue check] for an authentic vintage look; Hideous can manage with the much more prevalent off white sold currently. [If anyone knows of a current white ground/ black or dark navy sprigged calico pls tell me.]

Binding will be scrappy blue plaid. Though this is all just playtime planning, I also considered a blue strings piano keys border. But no, too fussy, too much work that could be invested in the Boardwalks Blues design instead.


Next I have Sajou, my once Petite Sajou is now Ma Grande Sajou at 40 plus inches square so far, another Humble Quilts project. I sewed the last Wild Geese border on Saturday. I was so pleased, a FINISH.

But then I taped her up in the living room.

Uh oh. She says she is not done after all. Hint: see the red cabinet to the left?

 Yes a wide bold red red red border. Perhaps with little purple stepping stones in the corners.

 Stash search, internet search.

I put Sajou away! For now.

Side note: this quilt is wildly bright. I carefully chose each and every fabric for its brilliance, interest, saturated colors and or dainty French-ness. It is not a scrap quilt***. I was very inspired by the appearance of the Paris shop that this project was named after , Sajou here.

Groupe Facebook Concours Je Brode Sajou février 2019


Year in the Country

I prepped February and March and if it snows on Wednesday I'll get the appliques sewed down. After Sajou's rebellion, I turned to my Sarah Sporrer BOM project, which I call A Year in the Country. [Yes, Mel, I know it should be my images and be a Year at the Beach! Someday....]

This is intended to be, like When the Wild Geese and also Pokeberry, a no-stress project. I'll machine applique some pieces, hand sew others. Sometimes it's faster to handsew a little detail than it is to make a new bobbin, re-thread the machine and do the bit mechanically.  The fabrics will be wools with cottons and even velvets mixed in now and then; most grounds will be splotchilly tea dyed.

I'm noting the  writing/ embroidery but plan to start that in May when Mo and I can sew outside. Unless I can get my friend L to do it! I'm not a fan of embroidery, do I even own a hoop anymore? Penny, who  gifted the patterns to me, pointed out that the embroideries are done in a variety of thread colors, a hint that I had not noticed but like.

I love the designs! Isn't the Crow so cute! This block gets white * snowflakes embroidered all over it. It's a bit less gaudy in person, darker.

This is March, Mr. Robin. See how photos are useful? Here I have fallen into my bugaboo habit , choosing for color not value. He is too pale! But I love the soft velvet tummy so maybe he'll stay.

A Giveaway!

***Speaking of scrap quilts. As you may know I am not in favor of hoarding fabric scraps and/ or finding pride and pleasure in utilizing every stamp sized bit instead of using up the fabric that we all own to excess. I usually do not even have scraps, but I was searching for backgrounds for  A Year and found a bin that had a few baggies of yes, true scraps.

The bad news is they are really really scraps, crappy scraps! 

The good news is there's vintage-y 30s housedress fabrics and some earlier 1800s antique fabrics in there, plus a few antique but not gorgeous quilt blocks, c. 1890s? If you love scraps and want this bag, about the volume of a Medium Flat Rate Box, USPS, leave me a comment here saying so.

If you win, pls don't be offended by being mailed a box of [s]crap. LOL. I'll choose the recipient, if any, on Mo's fifth birthday, March 19th, so new friends from Lori's linky will get a chance, if indeed a chance is wanted. Good luck?


We had a ''clear storm'' today, bright sun but winds as high as 65 mph. Too windy to run non essential errands or go to the beach. Mo's walks were curtailed as the sand harms his eyes and hurts him. Pugs' eyes are very vulnerable, so I err on the side of caution and encourage him to use his deck potty and play out there too.  He was good with his potty but he was scared by the blowing metal deck chairs! Hurricane winds.

I made a big pot of marinara sauce; I have meatballs in the freezer, plus some fresh arugula/ parm raviolis, so we should have cozy warm-tummy foods for a few days. Oddly TJ's does not sell tomato paste? I used these tomatoes instead, squished them in my mini Cuisinart.

Aren't the cans beautiful. My colors! I plan to Mod Podge the labels and use the cans for spring herbs seed starts, or even tiny Easter plants like primroses. Recycling at its most charming.

The cluster of spices made me think of my mom---her sauce recipe of course, but also every so often she'd get out all her herbs and her clean sterile Smucker's jelly jars and she'd make spice mixes, all measured [by eye] and mixed ahead of time, so she didn't need to drag out a bunch of jars every time she cooked. She made one version for Italian, another for roasts, stews, steaks and marinades. So efficient! I wonder how she knew the proportions. She told me once she learned to make the mixes ahead in one of her gourmet cooking classes she enjoyed. She said, "We made herbes de provence, how useless...."

Have good week! Snow coming?




gone to the beach.....

Paperwhites at week four:

Friday, February 22, 2019

The Stay-Home Shopper

Hi! What's up on this sorta-cold but not too awful Friday? I'm writing my blog for an hour before Mo's bedtime walk.

The past few days have been very productive in my little quilt room---I'll show you all on Monday. Now of course it's still wintery here and though I like to get out and see real humans [kids are away] but in many ways in this age of Amazon it's so much more efficient to stay home and shop online. Recently I went to CVS [drugstore/ pharmacy] with a long list of stock ups for winter, nothing glam, Tylenol, cold pills, Clorox, and Kleenex. Shampoo. I had a shopping cart FULL, got to the front to pay---not a cashier in the store.

Only self checkout.

No humans.

I stood there a moment, bewildered---I could roll my unpaid cart right out of the store and into my friend's double parked Jeep! Or I could leave it the aisle  in silent protest. Of course I left it, maybe $150.oo worth of ''sundries'' and toiletries, what my ex DH used to call beauty aids.  CVS has lost a faithful customer.

"If I wanted to do my own checkout, I'd stay home and shop on Amazon." I explained the tee shirt saying to my friend.

There are some things you don't think to order online. Today I ordered a new Dustbuster, mine has died.  The local vacuum shop had no parking; we couldn't find vacuums at Target or Costco. Amazon, go for it! It'll be here tomorrow morning, how simple is that.

Then there's things that are really great to buy online, like used books, either from Amazon or eBay.

I have a standing search for old books by quilt designers I like. The heyday of primitive quilting, maybe all quilting, seems to have been the eighties and especially the mid-90s. These are books and patterns I had no time to enjoy back then.  A find:

I have the Jackolantern book somewhere, so I'll resell it. But the second book is a rare early Cheri Payne book of small prim quilts that I love. Also has adorable pen sketches on the pages, good for inspiration.

A steal at 5.00 for both and free shipping. Cheri fans failed to see this bec the Halloween book was the eBay photo thumbnail. This book can sell for over $100.oo!

Then another 90s pattern,  recc by Humble Quilts' Lori. She has a darling winter quilt that is called Wear Warm Clothes---how cute for cold winters.

The pattern is here in this book along with some other fun designs. Well worth the less than 15.oo price.

Somehow I always thought this was Santa's clothes! But there is no Santa suit? Good bec it is then not a Christmas quilt, but I kinda loved the idea of Santa's longjohns and  mittens etc.

Last a gifted book, from a friend:

Gorgeous. All the blues I love.

I stayed here! But I am pretty sure it is grey not blue.

Some pages are very high style and far too fancy, but interesting.

Other pages are just, well, perfect.


Another thing I enjoy looking for and buying online is fabric. I have no access to a real quilt shop, the closest is many miles away--maybe Broolyn?  Or out east. Hopeless. This was my winter treat to myself. I was as frugal as possible buying absolutely only things I need, hahaha. None of that no new fabric in 2019 crap for me.

 A group of batiks and a pineapple print, for a bed linens project for  a client to look through.Going for softly pale eclectic / serene but interesting. Touches of blue.

I'll keep the pineapples for myself, pillow cases, if they don't like.

A few daffodil yellow touches, for my living room, in late March.

The photos above  don't do the choices justice. The yellow really sings and is so sunny and happy.

Cute black and white irons and wash labels prints to give my ironing boards a spring makeover. I'm tired of using old sheet remnants.

Funny dishtowels for quilt backs or gifts,

Stash refresh---red, brown.

I love this brown, so vibrant and interesting. How about......Autumn pillow cases, or an apron, or tablecloth? Quilt backing?

Oh okay, the Mushrooms. Hadta have them though.Too too  cute.


I did get to Costco for the Must Have tulips in the tall glass forcing jar.

Usually Costco doesn't take care of their live plants but these were lovely.

Mine are red with yellow fringed edges.

And TJ's for veggies and cheese. Look at the forsythia in the TJ galvanized bucket! If I was a rich girl I d just take the whole bucket and all the flowers on home with me!

As we loaded up the car, there on the mainland--the new Costco is built on a wetlands marsh [?!]---the sun was shining and the air had a softness. "Do you feel a hint of spring?" I asked L. She just shook her head:"Storm on Sunday." Oh well. Good thing I like winter. How about you?

Back to my little Sajou French quilt. Its finish-by date is February 28.

PS On Monday when we reveal our string quilts' progress, I am going to offer a bag of quilt scraps to anyone who wants them. Stay tuned.



gone to the beach.....

Remember the drifted bushel baskets I couldn't carry home? Still haven't been back to the beach to try to save them, high winds etc, trucks. But here are previous finds from a few years ago. The disks are about 16-18" diameter. Maybe tomorrow if I neglect Sajou.