Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

A close up of the Halloween Mixtape Quilt.
The very busy (but nice) front.  
Well, I got it done just as the last trick or treaters came to my door.  I still have to piece the back, but at least the front is all done and I can slowly start putting away my Halloween fabrics until next year.  I hope everyone had a lovely Halloween and that you are all happily eating leftover candy.  I'm going to blow out the candle in my pumpkin and close up shop for the night.  Uh oh, I think I've got more trick or treaters at the door.  I hope it isn't death like it was last year. Not cool.  Not cool at all.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween Eve Eve

Only 3 rows left to add to the front.
The candy remains well-guarded.
Sometimes I wonder what the neighbors think. 
My Halloween Mixtape Quilt is nearing completion.  I have six rows done and only three more to go, which only means that the front will be done, but it's a start.  I still will have to piece the back and figure out what I'm going to do for that, but check out the sashing above.  Maybe I should have gone for a brighter color, but I really liked the pale orange I found at Ruby Street Quilting.  It's from a Gee's Bend fabric line and the colors are so rich you just want to eat them with a spoon.  I bought some burgundy and some green from that line for a quilt for my brother.  They are amazingly beautiful  handsome colors and I think they will look wonderful in his quilt.  His quilt is the next one I plan to work on and I'll have to start putting all the materials together  - including finding the pattern he picked out for it in June.

At any rate, Halloween is upon us and I decided to liven things up around here by putting skeletons around the place and leaving the spiders alone for a few days to get the "natural" spooky look.  I even cleaned up the front lawn today so I could plant headstones.  I don't normally have Halloween decorations - a combination of me being incredibly cheap and having limited storage space precludes getting too fancy for Halloween.  This year, however, I bought the zombie gift basket at Pumpkin Palooza.  If you guessed that Pumpkin Palooza is the annual Senate fundraiser for the Thurston County food bank that involves gift baskets, a bake sale, and a carved pumpkin contest, you'd be correct.  If you guessed that I usually bake and spend the week before begging people to help out, you'd also be correct.  Every year I say I won't do it and every year I get pulled back in.  It's like the mafia but with fewer horses' heads.  

So, we raised some money, I got some things to scare the neighbors, and we all won.  I also got my second zombie jello mold, but I gave that away yesterday because I honestly believe that if you are at a point in your life where you need more than one zombie jello mold you really need to take some time and reassess your life choices.  

Monday, October 25, 2010

Random photos from the weekend

Five minutes after I took this picture Scout moved to a different quilt and threw up on it. 

Sam wisely chooses my sewing chair to take a nap in.  

Fuschias from the fuschia garden at Point Defiance. 
Today was my furlough day from work.  I thought I would get some quilting done, but the cat army has gone into overdrive to thwart my efforts.  It is just as well, I needed to watch some TV with a cat on my lap anyway.  These are some random pictures from the weekend.  You will see that the piecing is going quite nicely on my Halloween quilt and is at the stage that requires cat monitoring.  The fuschia is from Point Defiance Park in Tacoma - I went there on Saturday to look at (and buy) the glass pumpkins on display there.  It really was an amazing display - hundreds of brightly colored glass pumpkins in the pagoda at Point Defiance.  Simply amazing.  I have no pictures of those pumpkins because it was insanely crowded and I would have only captured people looking at pumpkins which isn't as exciting as you would think.

I also took advantage of my furlough to finally talk to my doctor about the heartburn that has been plaguing me since spring.  It's gone into overdrive and I thought I should finally fess up that the tums aren't doing the job.  I can't believe that I now have a prescription to address GERD.  Sigh - I feel like I've just lost my stoic midwesterner card.  And don't even get me started on the fact that I have to eliminate chocolate, soda and alcohol from my diet.  This being a grown up thing kind of sucks.  I'm off to grab a cat and drink some water while curled up on my freshly laundered quilt.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Halloween Mixtape quilt - Pairs 6 & 7

Pair #6

Pair #7
I finished the final pairs and now need to add the sashing strips.  I really like Pair #7.  I wasn't going to make a Halloween quilt this year, but I went to Bayside Quilting and saw the black fabric with the orange and green dots and had to have it.  It was sad.  I grabbed it and carried it around the store for awhile so no one else could get some while I decided what to do with it.  All I know is that I needed it. Now that I've got this far, I have to say that my on the spot moment of madness was worth it.  I'm also not allowing myself to go back there "just to look around" any more.  

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Halloween Mixtape quilt - Pairs #4 & 5

Pair #4

Pair #5
Two more pairs down and two more to go.  I really like the spooky wallpaper design in pair #4.  It actually feels a little haunted.  And, I have to admit that I caught Pair #5 out of the corner of my eye and gasped because I clearly have a bug problem in the house.  That may or may not be the reaction you want of people when they look at your quilts.  I thought about using glow in the dark thread for the quilting, but that reminds me of the time I used glow in the dark nail polish when I was a kid and scared the crap out of myself when I went to bed that night.  Probably best to stay away from that here.

Marmots, foxes, and frost - oh my!

Skyline Trail at Paradise.

Fuzzy ice.

A mini-marmot.

Fall color.

Yesterday's hike was at Paradise on the Skyline Trail at Mt. Rainier.  It was a chilly day - probably about 40 degrees the whole time, but it wasn't raining or snowing and that is pretty amazing for October on the mountain.  We were greeted in the parking lot by a fox who was probably used to getting handouts, but failed to persuade us and left empty handed.  The hike was gorgeous and we saw lots of fall color and three marmots.  I have a feeling my next hike will be much wetter.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday night sew-in - October Edition. The results.

Pair #1

Angry Bob insists on his director's cut.

Pair #2

Pair #3
Friday night quilting is over for me.  I finished three sets for the Halloween Mixtape quilt and I like how they are looking.  I'm off to post them on the Friday night sew-in Flickr page page and see if anyone else has posted their results.  I really enjoy these Friday night sew-ins because it is fun to imagine all the other people hard at work on their projects. (And, I'm also impressed that I managed to finish three sets, so there's that.)  I'm off to gather up my "winter"hiking gear because I'm heading to the mountain tomorrow and it looks to be in the low 40's there.  I have a feeling I am really going to enjoy the heated leather seats in my car after my hike at Paradise.

The Dutch Windmill Quilt is complete.

The Dutch Windmill quilt. 

The back. 

A close up of the black thread on black and the gold/pink variegated thread on the windmills. 
Conditions were right tonight for a photo shoot.  My friends helpfully held the quilt while their cat sniffed it. You can see him in lower right corner of the first photo; he's black so he blends right in and I'm sure wants this for his own.  I'm so very happy with how this turned out. The next step will be to figure out where to hang it.  I'd like to put it in the stairway here, but I don't know if I will be able to do that without killing myself.  Adversity builds character as they say.  (I know this because I am a Packer fan.)

Friday, October 8, 2010

Another day on the long-arm

Dutch Windmill quilt in progress.
I finished quilting the Dutch Windmill quilt today.  It took about five hours on the long-arm which included the break I took to have a slice of pizza (bacon tomato) with a friend at Old School Pizza which is conveniently located across the street from Bayside Quilting.  (Don't you just love how long I'm making these sentences?) I used black thread for the background and gold/pink variegated for the windmills.  It looks pretty darned good and I need to bind it and then it will be done.  I'll put up pictures when I finish the binding.

So, the black thread.... Part of the reason it took five hours is that the flippin' black thread kept breaking every 5 inches or so.  We finally took it off the long-arm and used a different brand (King Tut) which then worked beautifully.  I honestly am never going to machine quilt with something other than King Tut ever again. I can't even describe how frustrating it is to have the darned thread continually break when you are getting into that quilting groove.

The binding will have to wait.  I have potatoes, leeks, scallions, and prosciutto in the house which means that soup needs to be made.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Halloween Mixtape quilt

Halloween Fabric

A demonstration that my copier isn't that great, but the pattern is.  
I love Halloween.  I love everything about Halloween.  I love candy, pumpkin baked goods (especially those with cream cheese frosting), spooky decorations, and costumes (but not the slutty costumes - ladies, Halloween is about getting candy not about getting laid and setting the feminist movement back fifty years). I love how my cats start getting cold because I am cheap and I refuse to have the heat on at a comfortable temperature and how this forces them to cling to me for warmth.  I love how the History Channel tries to get in on the act and shows the same documentaries about Vlad the Impaler year after year.  (Didn't know this post was going to mention the origin of the Dracula myth, but oh yeah, I went there.) I love hard cider - both the pear and the apple varieties.  In short, without a hint of hyperbole, Halloween is the greatest holiday ever.  Because of all of this, it is no wonder then that I am making my second Halloween quilt.  (Technically, this is not correct.  My previous quilt was a Day of the Dead quilt, but close enough for my purposes. I also love the Day of the Dead, but that mostly involves how much I love pretty skulls and skeletons and I don't think we want to pursue that train of thought for too long.)

Having said all that, it's time to get quilting.  I'm using the Oh, Fransson Mixtape quilt pattern and will of course be using the Halloween fabrics featured above.  By the way, I love Oh, Fransson!'s patterns and her blog.  She shows her current projects and offers some amazing tutorials which I have found so useful that I want to buy her a drink and complement her shoes.  I was going to do her quilt along Tokyo Subway quilt project but have decided to wait awhile before doing that because it is Halloween and I want to focus on the holiday that makes it acceptable to keep Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and 100 grand bars in the house.  (The kids in my neighborhood get the good candy.)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Dutch quilt - Piecing is complete!

The lovely front.  

The sophisticated back.
The piecing is done on my Dutch windmill quilt.  The pictures are pretty bad, sorry about that.  I will quilt this on Friday and then bind it and I'll take some pictures outside.  Apparently, my house is very dark and using the flash on dark satiny fabric results in a lot of flashback.  It looks amazing, in my humble opinion.  Can't wait to get this quilted.  For now, I'm off to have a celebratory glass of wine!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

This is what you get for going off trail.

Spray Park.  At the end of this trail is a meadow and at the end of the meadow is a very large black bear. 

Mowich Lake, which is where you go to after you see a large black bear.

A lovely lunch spot.  
Yesterday CF and I decided to go hiking.  We debated where to go but decided that we should go to Mt. Rainier National Park because it is bear season and we don't want to be one of those lucky hikers who are mistaken for a bear, shot, and put over someone's mantel.  We decided on Spray Park because it has an amazing meadow with lots of wildflowers when the season is right and, as was the case, lots of fall color when the season is fall.  We hiked the three miles to Spray Park, hiked on a side trail, hiked slightly off that trail so we could see the pretty meadow (you aren't supposed to hike off trail, it's bad for the vegetation and you might get lost which would result in an embarrassing rescue and probably a feature on the local television media), and saw a large black bear at the end of the meadow.  Here is a verbatim transcript of this scene:

Me:  "It's so beautiful up here."
CF: "It really is."
Me, noticing the black bear: "Uh, okay, straight ahead."
CF:  "Okay, we have to go."
Me: "Yes, let's go."

For the record, I turned around and walked away as if Freddy, Jason, and Chucky were after me.  Some people like seeing large predators in the woods.  Those people aren't me.  I kept saying, to justify my cowardice, "To be fair, it was a really large bear." (This is also my behavior with spiders.)

At any rate, we had a lovely hike on a warm fall day.  We ate lunch and admired the mountain and then hiked around Mowich Lake a bit because it seemed like 6 miles just wasn't enough.  More pictures here, but there are no pictures of the bear.  Cowards live to fight another day.