Saturday, December 28, 2013

Lazy Caturday

We don't call him "Leeroy LongPaws" for nothin'.

You with the sad eye, don't be discouraged...I see your true color shining through.
Willie relaxes with a big yawn as Leeroy gives him an afternoon bath while they are relaxing in their favorite box.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Moving Along on the Quilt-Along

Before I checked out for a few days for a wonderful weekend I had taken the time to snap a few photos of my W.i.P. quilt top for the Penny Patch quilt-along.  I'm still a tiny bit unsure about this quilt.  I really wanted something soft and I had a few fabrics I really wanted to include but the colors are just sooooo different from something I would have otherwise picked. I'm working on getting used to it and I can't wait to start the quilting!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly PiecedPenny Patch Quilt-Along

Thankful For Nothing

Yep, that's right, NOTHING.

As in, Mark and I did NOTHING all weekend and it was wonderful!  We both had things we could have done, but we chose to spend this holiday weekend just laying around.  Johnny and Wifi joined us for Thanksgiving and even though there were only three of us eating (plus one tiny dog and big cat eating turkey and another cat who just wanted to roll in the olives) there was still a lot of cooking to be done.  So in the week leading up to the big day I prepped all the food and made my desserts so there would be little to do on the actual day.  The sweet potato pie was amazing and despite a small springform pan malfunction with the cheesecake everything turned out great!
Oops, good thing I made an extra large cheesecake so there was still enough batter in the pan to make a full size cake.

Our guests, arrived around 3:00, we ate around 6:30 and by 8 we were all feeling sleepy and our guests headed for home.  This is where the true nothing began.  We had a fridge full of leftovers and nowhere to be until Monday.  NOTHING, it was amazing.  Thanksgiving turned out to be our coldest day yet since we've been here so I got to wear capris and a comfy long sleeve shirt and Mark and I spent the evening somewhere between napping and watching the football game while snuggled under one of my unfinished quilts.  So its only partially quilted and the rest is held together by safety pins? Who cares, we are in the middle of doing nothing.   The rest of our weekend involved a lot of Netflix went something like this:

SUNDAY: NOTHING, with an excursion to Ft. Zach where we did nothing which included laying on a beach towel under the shade of the trees and nearly falling asleep then relocating to the rock from where we watched the boat races and reading books.

What a great holiday.

If your holiday was not like mine I suggest next year you plan your holiday so that you will have NOTHING to be thankful for too!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Briney, Happy People

In my last post I showed you some of my favorite blue fabric and told you I was going to make something exciting with it - and I did!  I made a dress! A dress with pictures of little children on it wearing traditional outfits from cultures around the world.  Everyone needs one of those, right?


This is the first piece of clothing I've made in years!  I used Simplicity Pattern 1668A and it was easy.  I ended up making a smaller size than the measurements on the back recommended and ended up shortening it a bit.  When I make another I will probably not shorten it quite as much because this is just a bit risque when bending over.  Even at this length is is a great house and beach dress.  So, on our weekly trip to Ft.  Zach last Sunday I made Mark take a few photos of me modeling my dress.  He was so excited.

I've already worn the dress a bunch and the only change I wish I could make is that I would like the fabric to be softer.  I used regular quilting weight cotton which is a bit heavier than the fabrics recommended by the pattern so I'm not getting a nice soft drape and the skirt edging is pretty stiff. This gives me a reason to experiment with something I came across on the internet long ago - brining. So, as I type this, my dress is sitting on the counter in a plastic bag full of salt water where it will remain for the next 3 days.  

I'll let you know how it comes out!

Have you ever brined anything before? Ever known anyone who has?

Also,  I really enjoy this title since the dress has little people on it and they are being brined and presumably will be happier when they are softer.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Fast Boats and Slow Quilts

One of the benefits of living in a destination city is that there is always something going on.   Close down the streets for a concert on Wednesday at 1? Sure!  A parade Monday at 11? Why not?!  The unique makeup of the people here means there really is no difference between the week and the weekends.  First you have a lot of rich folks who are retired and don't really work at all, then you have the working class who support the tourism industry who work at all hours of the day in the various restaurants, bars and hotels and then, of course, said tourists who are here on vacation - this mix really makes the Monday-Friday, 9-5 workday the exception rather than the rule.  All these people with attention to give and money to spend 24/7 attracts a lot of neat events.  This week?  It was the world powerboat racing championships.  Yep, really fast speedboats!  It was nice because as we made our usual Sunday morning trip to Ft. Zack and we passed all the traffic waiting in line on our bikes.
The beach was pretty empty since everyone was over on the rocks watching the races.

The race is about to start!

No worries though, after all this action I made sure to spend plenty of time this week quilting.  I've got my Penny Patch Quilt-A-Long top all laid out.  The quilt-a-long is focused on beginners and so the pace is nice and SLOW.  This gives me time to work on all of my projects!

Penny Patch all laid out.

Oh no!  What happened?
This cuteness happened.
A bit of FMQ on Night Circus.
Something exciting is going to happen with this.  You'll just have to wait and see!
Linking Up With...

WIP Wednesday at Freshly PiecedPenny Patch Quilt-Along

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Winter is Coming: I Must Quilt (And Snorkle)

Fantasy Fest has come and gone, everyone's boobs and tiny genital hats are put away, the body paint has been washed away save for a few smudged stains left on hotel sheets and winter is setting in here in Key West (it only went up to 80 yesterday - but don't worry it was just a front coming through).

No worries though, Mark and I are making the most of it.  Last Saturday we went to Bahia Honda State Park which is about an hour east of us.  In 1992 it was voted the best beach in America!

Photos of Bahia Honda State Park and Beach, Big Pine Key
This photo of Bahia Honda State Park and Beach is courtesy of TripAdvisor

It was really different from our usual beach at Ft. Zach.  Bahia Honda was sandy and crystal clear.  We snorkeled for over an hour straight.

Thanks to our friend Dave who brought his underwater camera.
 We saw our first coral, our first living star fish, a few tiny harmless jellies and lots of horned puffers (There was part of me that really wanted to harass these fish so they would "puff" but I know that while it's cute for me its scary for the fish and I like fish and don't want to be mean to them - so I didn't.)

 We saw lots of conch shells with GIANT hermit-type crabs living inside.

 Little shy crab who hid for the picture.
An even in the relatively shallow waters we came upon a few GIANT permit. 
These were estimated to be nearly 5 ft. long from nose to tail.
We saw a few super adorable reef squid.

Oh no!  I'm not sure why this one has a green eye.
 We even came across a medium size hogfish which are very popular for dinner around here.

While it is very exciting to see all of these things in their natural habitat I think it is kind of scary because I feel so exposed!  There we are just floating belly-side-down unprotected.  I'm sure people that live their whole lives on the coast would think I'm crazy but I'm just a land-lubber from Ohio, what do I know.

Anyway, after such an exciting Saturday afternoon we headed home, cleaned for about an hour and then, since it was Mark's birthday weekend ( he turned 31 on Nov.3) we began celebrating it by spending the rest of the weekend being as lazy as possible. 

Mark was so excited about the hot sauce collection I gave him that this was the best picture I could get.
 This gave me LOTS of time to quilt!

I have been participating in the 2013 Finish-A-Long for the 3 quarters now and I haven't made a ton of finishes, BUT this quarter will be different!  I really was at a loss for finishing my Weekend in the Country Quilt and Night Candy  because I was at a loss for backing fabric.  I just couldn't find what I was looking for.  Then, I don't know if it was because I was listening to the Persian Pickle Club, where they used what ever fabric they had around and re-purposed things or if it was because we now live in a much smaller apartment and I just don't have room for things I'm not using - but inspiration struck.  I have a nice assortment of bedsheets and duvet covers for when I feel like switching things up and I had a Bladvass duvet from IKEA that I just don't really use anymore as I have two others I much prefer.  One of those preferred ones is the  black and white Fjalltag from IKEA, and while it is my current favorite and is on my bed now I never use the decorative pillow covers.  Do you see where this is going?  The  Bladvass duvet was cut apart and will now be used as the backing of Weekend in the Country.

And the two Fjalltag pillow cases were perfect for the Night Candy backing! 

Willie inspects the quilt back.  Also, the coffee table is on the couch to make enough room to lay this out.

Yeah!  I am making progress!  This feels especially good on the Weekend in the Country because I really didn't think I was going to go anywhere with it and I'm soooooo ready to have it complete!

Oh, and did I mention I started a new project?
I joined the Penny Patch QAL (see the button in my sidebar) and started a new quilt.  I'm going in a totally different direction than usual and just making a baby sized quilt from a mix of new and vintage/reclaimed fabrics that are pastel and feminine! 
Just a preview.  Leeroy didn't like the layout.
 Linking up to WiP Wednesday!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

While you are here don't forget to hop on over to the Blogger's Quilt Festival at Amy's Creative Side and, of course, vote for me if you'd like!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Homesick Ohio

A few weeks back I posted about how I was feeling a little homesick after moving away from home to begin an adventure in Key West, Florida.  The same day I wrote that post I also worked up a little craft project to make myself feel better.  There is no better time to share it with you than now as I am entering the Blogger's Quilt Festival, hosted by Amy's Creative Side, in the Wall Hanging category.  Excitingly enough I also recently entered this happy little quilt in the Quilt Your Happiness Challenge hosted by my friends at  Craftster.  You can go HERE to vote for me if you'd like.

For the Quilt Your Happiness Challange I wrote a post that I'd like to share with you here:

Quilting My Happiness: Homesick Ohio
I love quilting.  I love everything about it. I love that I can spend all day looking at beautiful fabric, never actually make anything, and still be satisfied.  I love that I can get in the "zone" and be in a world where it's just me and my quilt (and usually a good audio book).  I love that I can spend hours, weeks and even months or years on a giant quilt but on a particularly homesick Monday, in just a few hours, I can quilt up a little happiness to brighten my day.

So I just moved here:

I know, I know and I'm homesick!? Already?!

Well Ohio, specifically Cincinnati is my home and I love it. It has my family and my friends.  Oh, and it has fall (not that I'm complaining about the beautiful weather here).  This past Monday morning I was feeling particularly homesick so I put on an audio book and  whipped up a mini-quilt to lighten my load.

Ohio has such a fun shape and I just love looking at maps of it divided up into its 88 counties so I just googled up a map and printed it out.  I was lucky and the printed map was pretty much exactly the size I wanted.

From there I made my quilt "sandwich" and pinned all the layers together with the map placed where I wanted it on top.  Then I did a bit of free-motion quilting and just traced all the lines - this was very relaxing.
Elna (eXcellence 740) really seemed to enjoy this.

Once every thing was traced I used my seam ripper to remove the perforated bits of paper.

Then I trimmed, turned under and finished the edges of my blue "ohio" fabric, added a few concentric circles in the background and bound it!  Oh, and I added a little red heart right where I left mine behind.

I <3 Cincinnati.

And don't forget to head over to the Blogger's Quilt Festival to check out some of the other entries!

 Note:  Don't miss my Full Signal entry into the Doll/Mini Quilt section as well!

Bloggers Quilt Festival: Full Signal

I know you all have already seen this little quilt here, but today I'm posting it as an entry into the Blogger's Quilt Festival hosted by Amy's Creative Side.

At only 24 inches x 24 inches, just big enough for a small dog, this quilt is being entered into the Doll/Mini Quilt Category.  This quilt was really fun to make - and quick too!  I used a few old scraps of blue and used traditional needle turn applique methods to sew them right on to a piece of Kona White.  I then used my girl elna (eXcellence 740) to add a little machine quilting and voila!

Make sure to check out some of the other great entries (and my competition) at the Blogger's Quilt Festival.

Note:  I am entering a second category!  My Homesick Ohio quilt is entered in the Wall Hanging category.