Sew What?

This weekend I need to get started on a the newt quilt. Now that I have kind of changed my plan of attack, and am making the background at least 3 different colors, I may not need to go buy more fabric. We will see. I also need to sew my oldest niece’s pepper pants. She wanted a pair of pants with hot peppers on them, because of some fabric she found at my Mom’s house. There wasn’t enough fabric in that remnant, but I found some online. I have them cut out, just need to get them sewn together. Her family is coming out to Colorado to go skiing over Presidents’ Day weekend, so I will get the chance to have her try them on and see if they fit, will check how they fit on her sister, too, so maybe I can make her some fun pajama pants. I am envisioning them mostly as “lounge-around-the-house” pants but she has kind of an interesting fashion sense so she may wear them out of the house if her mother allows.

I had a kind of unusual fashion sense myself as a kid, (if you couldn’t tell from the improvised Wonder Woman costume). A lot of my clothes were hand-me-downs, thank goodness I had some older girl cousins. I also had a teacher in 8th grade who gave me some of her older clothes, enhancing my wardrobe greatly. I also had the ability to sew my own clothes, which was mostly where the “interesting” came in. I remember an outfit my junior year of high school, I probably sewed it over the summer for school that fall: Fuschia stirrup pants, a blue paisley shell, a purple/fuschia paisley long shirt that came down past my bottom, and then a really long blue paisley shirt that came down to just above my knees. I would combine these in various layers. I also shopped a lot in thrift stores, which I still love to do.

I was lucky enough to have a Mom who knew how to sew and who taught me. She still mends endless pairs of my Dad’s jeans, since he works outside with animals and tractors and engines all the time, he is hard on jeans. And she helps my nieces when they are out there, they are always putting on some show/production and want to sew costumes.

I haven’t sewn clothes for myself for a while. I have sewn some for the nieces/nephews, so maybe I will get back into it, and I may go on a roll with pajama pants if this 1st pair with peppers works out.

My Mom sewed our dresses and Dad and my brother’s shirts.

See that blue weather cottage on the wall behind us? That is why I had to buy one when I saw it at an antique store. The one I found is not blue, however. The quest continues.

This is the smock with the embroidered cartoon characters she made me for the 1st day of school (I have written about this one before.) Wade and Scratch the puppy also in the picture.

Something funny happened with this picture, but you can see Mom’s skirt – I had a matching one. They are still in her cedar chest. She thinks we should let the nieces play dress up with them, I think I should make them into a small quilt. We will see.

Pretty sure Mom made my night hat here – I was very into the Little House on the Prairie books at this time. Don’t remember if she sewed my nightgown or if that was a gift – if it was a gift, I am pretty sure it was from Aunt Connie. Aunt Connie, can you clear that up? Mom and I had matching nightgowns…this must have been 1976…..Anyway, I am very grateful to come from a family of women who sew – Mom, Aunt Connie, Aunt Eileen, Aunt Betty, and others I am sure I am leaving out, all contributed to MY wardrobe and my dolls’ wardrobe as I was going up, and taught me to be creative and make things for myself.

Is it Newty Enough?

I bet that very few people talk to gas pumps as much as I do. I’m sorry, but when they beep at me, I feel the need to talk back. Probably because they seem to beep excessively, with multiple beeps when only one beep would do. I am kind of reprimanding them for beeping rather than getting on with pumping gas. And they should be able to switch of the option that wants to know if you want a car wash when there are 20 inches of snow on the ground.

Here is the prototype for the next quilt. The colors will probably be a bit different, and I have consulted with an artist friend, and she thinks I need some horizontal interest in the background, instead of the triangle shaped tapestry. I will also probably make the jar taller and narrower, so the newt is right on one of the “rule of 3rds” lines.

I really like the newt’s bored expression, he looks like he is thinking, “Oh, YOU again.”

And people googling found my blog by searching for:
people laughing at table
artists who paint pictures of cakes or buns
country outhouse jigsaw puzzles

I can understand the last two, but “people laughing at table”? What did the poor table ever do?

Nautilus and New Pants

Wow, another short weekend. I spent a bunch of time quilting because I will be gone on travel next weekend, and the Wednesday after that is my Color Theory class, so I have to pretty much have the Nautilus/Tentacles quilt done by the time I leave on Tuesday morning. I may have a little time after I get back, on Monday and Tuesday evenings, to finish, but I am not counting on that. So I spent almost all morning on Saturday fusing everything down, and quilting the nautili and tentacles. Of course I had to listen to “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” on public radio, so I could only quilt on station breaks during that. So we went out to eat at Jack N Grill, because I was hungry for their posole, and was in no mood to cook.  Ken had a hamburger as big as his head. They have seriously large burgers, with homemade buns, there. We had their queso this time, too, it was also excellent.

More quilting in the afternoon. Then I had to run to JoAnn Fabric to get more fusible webbing, iron cleaner (needed after incidents with the former), and thread to quilt the background of the Nautilus piece. Did get Spaghetti with Parmesan and Bacon made for dinner. This is a Cooking Light recipe and is really good, and is excellent warmed up for lunches for the week. I will say, it does not need a whole teaspoon of pepper, a 1/2 tsp is fine.

Ken had to go into work this morning, and his alarm woke me up and I couldn’t go back to sleep. I had been having bad dreams anyway so I just got up. His alarm alternates between a buzzer and some religious station (because someone on that station is always speaking in a very EXHORTING tone) and I was exhorted right out of bed. He went off to work and I quilted on the background of the piece until a quarter to 11 – at 11 the mall opened, and I had to go clothes shopping.

I do not like clothes shopping. Currently I am not a small size. Designers do not usually chose wisely when they pick their designs to make in larger sizes. They do not look the same as they do on smaller women. The ones that would actually cute seem to be reserved for smaller sizes only. I really prefer to do my shopping at the thrift stores, but sometimes that is hit and miss, and sometimes you just need new stuff for work. And I felt like I had worn the same things to these meetings I am attending this week for four years in a row.

Well, I managed to get 12 different items for about $360. Believe me, I about went into shock spending that much on clothes in one day, but it had to be done. Between Coldwater Creek and Dillards, I got a blazer, 6 sweaters, 2 turtlenecks, 2 pairs of nice dress pants, and a white no-iron (we will see) dress shirt. So that is less than $30 per item, I still like to pay a lot less than that but sometimes you have to buy things that are work-worthy. That bad news was that I had to hem 2 pairs of pants, I really hate hemming. I did most of that during Iron Chef, so that was OK. PS Coldwater Creek is currently having 40% off their already on sale items, plus an additional $20 back if you spend over $80.

Ken had called while I was in the dressing room and said he was going to be at work for a while, so I had an Aunt Annie’s pretzel for lunch (that sounds healthy but I had the one with pepperoni on it, and had cheese dipping sauce, of course….). Also hit Forever 21 which does, surprisingly, have a Plus Size section. Usually I am greatly amused by most of what I see, and I find on thing that works for me, this time it was a belt, which I put on immediately, because my jeans were falling down.

So now I am carrying two very heavy clothing bags, and I stop by the calendar kiosk, because we haven’t been able to find a page-a-day calendar with cat cartoons (usually the New Yorker does one but not this year) so I bought us the Bad Cat calendar, for 75% off, so that was a good deal. I had no idea what day it was for the first part of this month, and we also like to use the daily sheets to make lists and notes on, so this was necessary.

Just to add to my heavy bags, then I go to Williams Sonoma to get a pizza stone. I had a gift card, and I also wanted a knife, of course they don’t have the knife, so I fill out a little card for them to call me when it comes in. Then I trudge all the way to my car with the pizza stone under one arm (huge) and the two bags in my other hand. My arms still hurt from that. Then when I got home, there was a message on the machine saying they found the knife after all and if I was still out shopping I could come get it. Grrrrrrrr. Very tempted to not get it there after all, now, since I am unimpressed with their inventory-finding skills.

I still beat Ken home. I had two pounds of hamburger thawed out, so I made that into meatloaf, knowing he could eat it for meals this week and we could also freeze part of it. (Sorry, no recipes today, I am about wiped out….).

For dinner, I had a tri-tip steak marinating since last night, and put that on the grill. Tri-tip is one of those steaks that you grill and then slice against the grain, it would be too tough to eat just as a regular steak. I think this is a new venture for my Mom and Dad’s butcher, I don’t think I have seen one of those from him before. It was good. Of course, when I planned the menus for this weekend, I thought it was going to be nice, and I thought I was going to be making the tri-tip for lunch. Well, even at lunchtime it was 40 degrees and wind gusts up to 50 mph, so all in all a lovely day, but I got it grilled. Also made Shepherd’s Potatoes, these are excellent, one of my go-to potato recipes now.

I give my mom a bad time about writing every detail of life in her diary each day, but I guess I have inherited those tendencies. Although I don’t have two delightful children to write about. From Mom’s diary – “Caught W. biting the cat today because G. told him to.” Brother W. doesn’t listen to me nearly so well as he did in 1972.

Ancient History in The Quilting Department

While I was looking for the stamps that I bought last year for Christmas letters (they may, in fact, not exist, we may have used them over the year), (I ran out of gumption on the letters and not everybody got one), I did discover a pile of pictures of projects from the pre-digital-camera age.

Of course that means the colors are quite funky in some of these, but you can get the idea.

This is the cross stitch quilt for my oldest niece, this close up turned out well but the picture of the whole quilt is really dark. I hand quilted this one.

Sorry for the quality there but you can see what the whole thing looks like.

This is my oldest niece’s pieced quilt – this is made from the same colors and fabrics as the quilt I made for her parents as their wedding quilt. (I have not found the pictures of that yet.) I tied this one, not being skilled at quilting yet.

I think this is my oldest niece’s crocheted blanket – it might be the 2nd oldest’s instead, I didn’t label these well, and this was 11 years ago now, I don’t remember. Pink center w/white edging, you can’t see the color very well in this one.

This one shows the color a little more.

Pieced quilt for my 2nd oldest niece. I was learning a little more, moving into triangles.

I machine quilted this one, and used a cotton batt so it would shrink up and look more old fashioned.

Again, not a very good pic, this one is a little better.

I think I hand quilted this one too. Obviously we need to get pics of these again (we don’t live very close to these nieces) with the digital camera.

Tentacles and Nautili and Enchilada Casserole

I realized sometime last week that I had two weekends in which to get my project for color class done AND get the house ready for my Mom to visit (hopefully) in the first week in February, as I will be on business travel one of the remaining weekends in January.

So I got busy on Saturday and bought some more fabric, needed some blue-green and some red-orange. February’s project is an analgous quilt – a run of colors that are next to each other on the color wheel, but only including ONE primary color. My color run is red-orange, orange, yellow-orange, yellow, yellow-green, green, blue-green. I am using one of the designs I developed in the Quick Design class I took last week, but with different colors.

For some reason I could not get motivated to actually get to cutting things out on Saturday, but I got all my fabrics organized, and then cut pieces and got them ready to fuse/applique. Various parts of the wall hanging went through several iterations as I went along.

I am going to email it to my teacher and see if she has any suggestions on the binding. So next weekend I just have to get it all fused down (the small things are fused down to the larger pieces already) and quilt it.

This is the first piece that I have come up with in my own head and designed on my own. I am not sure it is art but I like it.

I was gone a few nights this last week for work so I made one of Ken’s favorites: Enchilada Casserole. This may rightfully be called Burrito Casserole, but I made this up at least 15 years ago and that is what we have always called it.

It gets a little spattery in the oven.

Enchilada Casserole

1 lb ground beef
1 packet taco seasoning
½ c. water
1 can enchilada sauce
1 can refried beans
5-6 tortillas (soft taco size works well but if you have bigger ones, you can rip them up)
As much shredded cheese as you think won’t give you a heart attack (between 1 cup (4 oz) shredded and 2 cups (8oz) shredded

Brown the ground beef. Drain the fat. Add the taco seasoning and the water, re-heat until most of the water has boiled off. In a straight sided casserole dish (or wing it, whatever) start layering like lasagna: meat, tortilla, beans, ench. Sauce, tortilla, meat, cheese, until you run out of ingredients. Make sure you have some sauce for the very top. Save some cheese to put on after it has mostly baked to melt on top.

Bake 45 minutes at 350°. Put more cheese on top, put back in oven until cheese melts. Let sit a few minutes before serving, as the refried beans are like molten lava.

Serve w/tortilla chips if desired.

You can use as hot as enchilada sauce as you want, or add shrimp to the meat, or add jalapenos. Ken likes it like this. It is even better as leftovers.

You don’t have enough cat pictures on your blog

It was a long weekend of quilting. I finished up what I could do on the paper pieced poppy/poinsettia on Friday night. Also on Friday, I had stopped at the local quilt store (fortunately got out of work a little early) because they were closing at 6:00 and wouldn’t open again until the 3rd of January, and I knew I needed a few more fabrics to complete my range of colors.

This still needs something, I am going to take it to Color Theory class tomorrow night and see what my instructor and the other students suggest. I am thinking some fancy braided sections on the sides, in greens? It is supposed to be complementary colors, but right now it is just mostly red, and the greens are just a background. (This was supposed to be done for class in December, but I had to miss that class because of conflicts.) I like it, I think it is pretty cool, I hadn’t done anything with paper piecing that complicated, but I don’t know where to go next with it.

The OTHER quilt was to be a double complement – pick a color, use its complement, but you also use a color next to that color on the color wheel, and its complement. So I picked orange and blue and yellow-orange and blue-violet. I had seen a quilt made with big half square triangles (HSTs) on the internet, and I liked it. Since the Broncos lost on Sunday, maybe we will call it the Colorado Sunset, but what it really should be called is “Now I remember why I hate working with triangles.” Matching up points. Ugh.

Here are my fabrics. I decided two of them had too much blue-green in them and didn’t use them, otherwise I used all of them, plus three from my own collection.

Here are the first pieces on the wall (just the wall in my craft room covered with white flannel like a giant flannel graph board) (anyone else remember flannel graphs from Sunday School? We thought they were pretty cool. Can’t imagine what my Ipad packing nieces would think…)

(Another digression: when I said I was going to cover one wall in the craft room with flannel, Ken thought I meant something like red plaid flannel. He was relieved to discover I meant WHITE flannel.)

Anyway, I used a “quick” method to make 8 HSTs at once, so this was just the first ones, in only two colors.

It kept growing. I think I worked on it about 8 hours on Saturday.

Close to 9-10 hours on Sunday, I think.

And another 9 hours at least on Monday. So, I have determined that I cannot make a whole quilt in a 3-day weekend (at least not a very complicated one) and get it pieced as well as quilted. So I just have the top done for class.

And I have no desire to work that much on one project in one weekend. That is why I have so many projects, so I can alternate. But I wanted to make a bigger project this time, and I have been gone and/or busy with Christmas sewing, so as Ken said, “You bit off more than you could chew?”

I do like this quilt a lot, but now I think that I have the diamond, the focal point, too high and to the left, because I made my quilt bigger than the one I saw on the internet. So I might add some more blocks to the top and left side to make it bigger and put the focus more in the top third rather than right in the corner.

Our next project will be “split complement” and I am hoping to figure out what I am doing before class tomorrow night so I can get some fabric at the Golden Quilt Store where the class is held, if I need to.

We bought a new comforter last week. I know, I know, I am a quilter, I should make one, but the chances of that happening any time soon are slim. Now that we don’t have a cat that barfs all the time, I wanted something nice on the bed. Pho 78 is right next to Bed, Bath, and Beyond, and I had a coupon, and we had to go in there to replace the Brita pitcher I broke anyway.

(Part of it had melted SOMEHOW, I can’t imagine how that would happen in my kitchen, and when I tried to jam it back together, it apparently experienced structural overload.)

So we found a lovely comforter, mostly brown, but a reddish brown, with stripes, that goes OK with the poppy picture. Between it and the new flannel sheets, Ken claims he doesn’t need the electric mattress pad any more, I have been keeping my side turned down quite a bit.

Leo wants you to know he approves. And he wants you to rub his belly. This picture brought to you by Ken, who said “You don’t have enough cat pictures on your blog,”  – I bet that is the first time that sentence was ever uttered by a male in the history of the world.

Later this week, lots of food pictures and recipes, because when I wasn’t quilting, I was cooking so we would have plenty of leftovers for lunches this week.