Friday, October 31, 2014

Easy Granny Square Quilt

It's Finish It Up Friday over at Crazy Mom Quilts! And Fresh Sewing Day and Small Blog Meet at Lily's Quilts. This week, I have the wonderful, and easy peasy, Granny Square Quilt to show you. 

I think I'll Call this one November Girl, 'cause she reminds me of all that is good, and traditional, about late Fall. 

Admittedly, mostly Pie.

Pumpkin pies, Cherry pies, little hand held Apple pies, Mince pies that only I like to eat, pies made by your mom, by your church ladies, by strangers in aprons at holiday bazaars. 
Where I grew up, pie symbolized hospitality and the love and welcoming of others. The kind of place where everyone is welcomed like family, just like you and I. Is it any wonder that these little pastry cloaked delights are so evocative of the holiday season to come?

And like all of my quilts, this one has a story. Just a little heart-felt story of love and perseverance and faith in others and yourself. She's such a little nugget, just 176" around, so she'll grace the entranceway or snuggle with the cats on my lap as I work. 

The story of this quilt begins with my own advent into quilting. I was working at the Four Valleys School, an after school community school that ran all of the kids sports, adult sport classes and any and every manner of art class, in Girdwood, Alaska. The northernmost rainforest in Alaska, and the United States, is in Girdwood. So as a girl fresh from the beaches of New Jersey, I had alot of time on my hands, at least when I wasn't wrangling kids and their dogs. And their bikes. And their mittens. Lots of mittens!!! And can I tell you about the BOOTS!!!
Every single day when I was working, or at the post office, or at the merchantile, or walking through the forest with the dawg, folks would stop me and tell me that I should join the Goldstitchers. "The quilters, you'll love it!" 
Now, I hadn't quilted since just after gravity was invented, so all I remembered from it was endless tedious and hand numbing hours of cutting teeny patches and sewing them together, in not even mostly straight rows. My first and only quilt was in pink and black calico prints. I eventually made it into a blanket for the horse. The quilt kept her warm and toasty, and was eventually folded in half and handed down to the pony, so it must have been better made than I remember :) 
The pony's name was Hurricane. Being heavily influenced by Pippi Longstocking (to this day!) my sister and I once threw her a party in the kitchen, only realizing when we saw our mother pull up in the driveway, that we had no way of making her leave (The pony, not the mother)! And I can tell you, she sure did not want to go! But that's another story.
So, after much urging and cajoling by the townsfolk, I went to Walmart, bought the cheapest machine I could find (in case I hated quilting), and some white thread (goes with everything), and shyly attended my first meeting of the Goldstitchers. 

It's been several years now, and I've hardly missed a single Wednesday, since! Like quilt guilds everywhere, these ladies are my heart and soul. They provide support and laughter and straight talk when it's needed. They tell you your things are beautiful and then gently show you how to put them right. They laugh with you and cry with you and will listen to anything at all you have to say about the kids. Whatever would we do without each other??!

Little November Girl was the third quilt that I started under their tutelage. I don't know why she was set aside, but last quarter when I was rummaging through the closet for UFO's, there she was! I took her out, shook her off, inspected the stitching, and wonky rows, and decided her day to shine had finally come. And so it has. And every time I look at her, I don't see the white thread peeking through, or the wonky seams, or puckers at intersections. I see the sweetness and light that are Cleary, who even though she has MS and has every right to want to quit, is the most intelligent, funny, caring, persevering person I know; Liz who is fast, elegant, and smart and who is always trying something new; and Kathy who is sassy and straight and so deeply caring, and Kate who speaks to me of home and the heart just by being there; Rebecca who is sweet sophistication; Beth who is courageous, true and wonderful; and Ally who is so timeless that she seems straight from a New Zealand sunset surfing photo shoot; and Judy and Rorie, and Kathy and Marylyn who are strong and proud and true, and Donna who is my new speaks-my-same-language kindred sister. 

These are my quilting ladies. And there's always room for more! So if you're free of a Wednesday, stop on by. There'll be tea and an amazing spread of eats, and some mighty good storytelling. 
And pie:)


If you haven't made one of these lovely little quilts because it looks like you have to cut and piece a bajillion little teeny tiny pieces, never fear!! These quilts are made entirely by piecing strips of fabric together, piling them up, and slicing them into the widths you want. Then all it takes is to chain piece the first to the second piece, the third to the fourth, and on. If you would like, I will make you a lovely tutorial on how to do it. You won't even need a chick flick or chocolate to get you through it! :)


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Granny Square Quilt and Other Fabulous WIPs

It's WIP Wednesday!! And time to share a little more of what has been going on since my return to the sewing room and making. Woohoo!!! 

We've had our first snowfalls, and the most recent one has stuck around, so we've been out every day playing and rolling in it!! 

The days are still just shy of 12 hours, and we have night again. The night is Cold enough to nip your cheek, and just right for taking walks and stargazing. Don't peek in the neighbors windows!! They haven't gotten used to the dark yet, and haven't learned to close their blinds again with this new season ;) 

I'm finishing quilting the Granny Squares Quilt. It's nice to spend some time each day, working on each project, in succession... First this, 

Then This ( the quilt! Not the guy!! Well, he sure doesn't hurt;)

Then, This...

Since I put the Bikini Quilt into a leaders and enders position, I have really been booking along with it. Soon, my lovelies!!

And, finally, THIS...

I moved the Sewing Room over into this guy's room...

Because he's doing an internship in LA and job hunting. So very proud of him!! He and his girlfriend, Madison, are really taking great care of themselves and their budgets, even though they are on 
opposite sides of the continent. You go, kids!!!!! We've got their backs, but they haven't even needed it:)

But the real reason I moved my sewing room across the hall, was to have room for my desk and work area in the same place as I sew. Because...

I am writing a book!!!!!

Are you so excited??!!

I am!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Now, I don't usually go to Nora Roberts for life advice, but she sure has nailed it.

And if I can do it, so can you!!!

So, I urge you, TODAY, to step out of your comfort zone and take a step towards one of your dreams. 

You can do it!!!!!!!!!!!


Linking up with:

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Scrap Quilt Mania

It's  still SCRAPTASTIC TUESDAY over at She Can Quilt and Mrs. Sew and Sow. Head on over and check out the linky party if you haven't already. Such awesome and amazing work out there in blogland!! 

Since I am clearly another Alaskan Rogue, I had posted Really Random Thursday there, earlier this month, accidentally. And since I don't know how to remove it, I am now posting my real, actual, intended SCRAPTASTIC works in progress. Aren't you psyched??!!!

The first is the Fall-ing in Love Quilt. I love Fall. I love Quilting. I love messing around with bits of fabric. So this is a natural fit :)

This is 28 blocks, and I have 52 done now. One quarter of the way done! Wooo!!!

Trimming is so rewarding after assembly!!

I am really enjoying taking my time while assembling these triangle block components. I have my scraps divided up by value, in shoe boxes with the back boards of charm packs as dividers. 
My idea is to have a nice blush of colors from lighter to darker progress out towards the points
on the arms of the triangles. Each arm of the triangle is a different part of the Fall season. The right is earlier in Fall when we have indian summer, winding towards sparkling chilly nights, but with long sunlit days.  The left is later in the season with fallen leaves and plaids as we look towards Halloween and pumpkins and apple cider goodness!

You can see that more clearly, here. What do you think? I like the glow it imparts. But what I really like is the dark Kona Navy background. Yum!!

Come on back to Scraptastic Tuesday each month to see what quilters are doin' with their scraps! I've got quite a few projects in the works!


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Really Random Thursday: Alaska and Arctic Edition 2!

Hi Folks!
It's time for another edition of Really Random Thursday, Arctic Areas. Oh my goodness! It is so much fun finding odd and unusual news from around the Arctic to share with you! 

Windfall Mountain... smoking...for no reason!
First up is Windfall Mountain. Windfall Mountain is NOT a volcano, even though it sure is smoking like one. And noone knows why!! 
The acrid smoke was first noticed in September of 2012. At first, scientists thought the most likely cause of the smoke was that oily rock or coal deposits had caught fire. Coal deposits can catch fire just from sunlight shining on them. Did you know that? I sure didn't!! 
But, NO! Linda Stromquist, a geologist for the National Park Service has been studying the mountain, and has discovered that the rock there has 'unremarkable' amounts of flammable components. Stromquist has shared information on the mountain with a half dozen geologists, including two who wrote their doctoral dissertations on rocks of the area. The meeting of minds might solve the mystery of Windfall Mountain. Or it might not, she said. "Science is like that — you can't tie it up with a bow most of the time."
Which is exactly the opposite of what most folks think Science does. I love it that mystery in so many forms still remains in our world!

And Second up are radioactive reindeer!!

The Chernobyl disaster occurred in 1986.  That explosion sent radioactive Cesium-137 particles into the atmosphere, eventually drifting into Norway where they landed and absorbed into the soil.

Traces of the radioactive isotopes pop up every summer in the plant life -- particularly the gypsy mushroom, a delicacy for both humans and reindeer. The mushroom acts as a sponge for leaching Cesium-137 out of the soil and scientists are certain it’s the cause of the spike this year.

The jump this year was significant: This September the reading was 8,200 becquerel of Cesium-137 per kilogram, versus September 2012 when the reindeer were averaging 1,500 becquerel of Cesium-137 per kilogram.

“You have some peak years, in ’88 and in the ‘90s, where there were summers with lots of mushrooms,” says Eikelmann. “It’s different year to year -- the amount of mushrooms is very weather dependent. When you have humidity and long summers you get more mushrooms than if it’s dry and cold.”

“We have two different ways of getting rid of the Cesium from the food system. One is that you are unable to slaughter [the reindeer] now -- you have to wait until November because the Cesium has a half-life in the animal. In 30 days they will get rid of the Cesium they have eaten,” says Eikelmann. “And the second way is [to give] them ‘clean food’ so they are eating food with less radioactivity for one or two months so their reading goes down below the limit and then we can slaughter them.”

So far, studies have shown the reindeer are not suffering any health effects from the higher-than-normal radioactivity readings. However there hasn’t been much research done on the effects of eating radioactive reindeer meat -- an issue that, if there are any dangers, would likely affect the Sami communities first because of their reindeer-rich diets.

The Cesium-137 particles are set to reach their half-life expectancy in 2016 -- a milestone that renders them half as radioactive as when they first landed in 1986 -- but “it will take a very long time before the last part of it goes,” says Eikelmann. “It will never be zero.”

Fortunately, in Alaska, Reindeer sausage only needs to contain 10% Reindeer meat in order to be labelled as such. So munch on, intrepid snackers!!

And, finally, I leave you with an Alaskan's point of view on travel to Adak, a remote Aleutian island. This is an excerpt. Please check out the article and come on back and tell me what you think!!


Captain Pat Kelly Air Terminal, 5 p.m.: Walk off your Alaska Airlines jet onto a rusty ramp and into the dimly lit terminal. Inside is the police chief, who pitches in with bag inspection, plus the guy who rents cars, the city manager and former state legislator and Adak booster Clem Tillion, who is waiting to fly out on the jet you flew in on. Give 89-year-old Tillion a few minutes to warm up and he'll tell you the story about that time he cut off a Japanese soldier's...

Sweeper Cove, 7 p.m.: Take a walk down the street through one of Adak's largely abandoned clusters of homes to one of the island's pristine sand beaches. Take a dip in the chilly Bering Sea and enjoy some of the Pendleton whiskey, a favored beverage of Adak residents, that you brought with you.
Amchitka Circle, 9 p.m.: Fire up the diesel heater in the vacation home that belongs to a couple from Texas, who are friends with one of your friends, then cook your dinner of pasta and sausage on a fully functioning electric stove. Forgot that the water was already shut off for the winter? That's fine: Walk a few doors down to the rental unit where the guy who exports crab to Dubai is staying. His water works.

Bay Five, 10 a.m.: Just 100 people live in Adak, year-round, but that's still enough to keep a Mexican restaurant afloat. Thank God, especially if you're still feeling the Pendleton from the night before. Bay Five may not have Taco King's salsa bar, but it does have large portions and a great hot sauce selection. Buy a breakfast burrito or the enchiladas and top off with the Unexploded Ordnance, which is a Snickers bar fried in something like an egg roll wrapper..."

And on it goes. A highly entertaining, and occasionally appalling, look at a remote Alaskan island through the eyes of a whiskey drinkin' ex-New Yorker.  Find the full article here. Enjoy!


Linking up with Scraptastic Tuesday at She Can Quilt

And Really Random Thursdays at Liveacolorfullife.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Finish Along 4: The Next Generation!!

It's time for Finish Along 4 at The Littlest Thistle with Katy Cameron!

Now, I know that you noticed that I didn't post my finishes for the FAL3. And I would like to say that I didn't post because I have been winning alot of things lately and I felt selfish asking for more, which is true. 

But, the real reason that I didn't post is because ever since The Kid moved out, and we've had the house to ourselves, The Hubster and I have been having too much fun together, and the time just slipped by. 

So shoot me;) Lol! 

Here are my projected projects to be finished by December 31st.
I hear you laughing, Smarty Pants. You'll see, this is a completely realistic list...

I am loving how the Golden Yellows of Late Summer are blending and melding with the Plaids and deeper, richer Values of Fall.
Item 1: Fall-ing in Love web string quilt

I am thinking a 'totem' or slashed column improv quilt! Woo!
Item 2: The Chick-a-Dee-Dee-Dee Lap Quilt

I say 'Holiday' Quilt because I tend to leave my decorations
up from Thanksgiving until, say, ... March!! This quilt will

be inspired by Amanda Jean's Sunday Morning Quilts, and 

Jera Brandvig's Quilt as You Go Made Modern. I've been 
Wanting to learn this technique, and now I'm going to! So it's a 
two-fer, and who doesn't love that??! I am joining a 
Quilt Along for this quilt at Quilting in the Rain. Come join us!!
Item 3:  Red and White Holiday Quilt

Item 4: Pillows, Mug Rugs and Table Runners

Have you seen my sewing room??!!! It is filled to over flowing with bins of scraps, sorted by

size, waiting to be used. But instead, I think I am going to use the scraps from these projects
(above) and make pillows, mug rugs and/or table runners to go along with them. The scraps can wait. I'm pretty sure they don't mind, because I am also pretty sure they multiply when I'm not looking...

I am finishing this TODAY. If it kills me. Which it might.
Item 5: Fall Granny Square Quilt

And Lastly,

Because I think I'm gonna need it!

I hope you are having a wonder-filled Fall or Spring!!

PS, Yes, I am still going to finish the Bikini Quilt, Bind Sarah's Quilt, and maybe, hopefully, gratefully quilt and bind Kirsten's Quilt. Along with all of the sundries from my FAL3 list. But I won't enter them in the FAL. Unless they're completely fabulous... which is possible... you know!!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Fall-ing in Love

Here is Alaska, we spend July in a gluttony of strawberry face jamming, perennial flower cacophony, and salad green stuffage. 

As our Earth begins to tilt us away from our endless Summer Sun, August brings us our first dive into darkness and her star spangled wonders, in three months. Three long months filled quite literally to overflowing with sun, joy, friendship and bluegrass music. In other places, people mourn the loss of summer, but, here, we rejoice in the return of so many things unseen for so long.  

My Rudbeckia have really hit their stride and make excellent cut flowers, too :)

August brings Night back to us. Night with her silky darkness, her spangled gauze of stars, and the Aurora Borealis. Dark, Clear, crisp, colder nights in which to slow the pace, enjoy being together where you are, and look back with satisfaction upon a season well used, and not yet done. 
The Moon is met and happily followed in her phases. August is a time to stand in the back yard and look towards the Heavens and be content, and then be suddenly surprised and delighted by green flashes of brilliance that magically dance across the curtain of stars above you. We have Full-Moon lit nights in which to wander trails well known in daylight, and mystically silvered and mysterious, now. 

I live right below O'Malley Peak, the sharply pointed one! 
And August brings us a time of Plenty. A time of Harvest. The rivers and ocean are filled with five different species of salmon, each named for its fleshly delighted color, or its use: Red, Silver, Pink, Dog and Chum. Guess which your fourlegged friend gets to eat all winter? 
Blueberries and Crowberries and Nagoon berries flood the bushes, high and low. Cranberries and Currents tempt us to make jellies. Salmon eggs harvested from the fish as we catch them, are salted and put up in jars, or eaten in a delicately delicious omelette, but only for a week, before they’re gone. Beluga whales now routinely forage in and out of Turnagain Arm, the flash of their milky backs surprising and delighting tourists and locals alike; for they all stop to wonder that such a marvel still exists.

I like to take an early morning wander and see who has been there before me. Living their secret lives throughout the night. 

It is time to bring in the honey. Nectar sweet golden summer tinted delight, it represents all that has been, and holds promise for all that will come. Thoughts of Blueberry studded buckwheat pancakes, piled high, steaming under a drizzle of this nature’s delight, and a catch-up with the neighbor over a cuppa joe, warm the morning.

Carrots from the Farmer's Market. Next year I will put in raised beds and grow my own. Deelish!!!
August means a return to Quilting and the symphony and concerts; all abandoned for Summer’s pressing necessity to garden, entertain and travel.

September brings us yellow, gold and firey red tinted wonder, briefly, stunningly, startingly quickly. The mountains flush beginning with their fireweed laden toes, and proceed in a stately manner, after an initial maidenly blush, to adorn themselves with maroon, red, chartreuse and sun splashed yellows. The air begins to smell of fallen leaves. An apple-crisp wind brushes the seed heads of the shoulder high grasses, who then whisper sweet nothings into your golden sun drenched ear. We have Long, surprisingly warm, sunny days in which to wander our world and consider the grace and glory in which we live.

A Blessing of days. A Time to remember those who are not here, and be Grateful for all that we have, and rest before the busyness of Life returns.

I have been using my rest time to surf among the Stash, and ponder Fall inspired quilts. Do you think I can get them done in time for the end of the third quarter of the Finish Along? ;)
I don't seem to be done with Yellow and Blue, quite yet!!

A Quilt to celebrate the Fall return of the chickadees. Woohoo!

Happy Fall!! 
I hope you have a moment today that brings you Joy,


Ps, Craftsy is having a Halloween sale. I mean really, just too cute! Here's the link to the Jillibean Soup Halloween Kit...

Jillibean Soup Halloween Kit
(sponsored post)

Halloween is just around the corner. Get ready for spooky fun with one of Craftsy’s NEW paper crafting kits
Work with your frightfully fun kit and learn how to create stylish Halloween decor projects with exclusive video lessons. Paper crafts expert Ronda Palazzari will show you how to use Jillibean Soup's paper pads, black glitter beanboard alphas and festive embellishments to create a witch’s hat, pumpkin centerpieces and even a spooky banner! 
Hee Hee! So much Fun!!

Linking up with