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!