Friday, July 29, 2011

Basting when it's beastly

This is the back of my woobie quilt that I pieced this morning.  (In the background you can see the roll of gorgeous Kaufman decorator fabric I scored at Hancocks.  I'm making some café curtains for Anna's office.  More on these in a later post.)

The big table on the screened porch is great for basting large quilts, so even though it's supposed to be 98 degrees today, I'm anxious to get started.  Thread basting takes a lot longer than pin basting, but with a quilt this large, thread basting is a must. I can work for about 20 or 30 minutes, then I have to go inside to cool off and drink gallons of water. And, yes, it is hot enough for me.

The upholstery needle doesn't show up in this picture, but that's what I use.  I'm planning to do the quilting pattern that Denyse Schmidt designed for the Single Girl pattern.  I got a thread that is in the same color family as the little dots on the background fabric--a sort of brown gold.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Camp Fisher: Missing its younger campers

When our children visited recently, I gave everyone one of these t-shirts.  They come from a great little company called Inkpixi.  We all have Fisher University shirts from them as well.  It characterized this visit-- relaxing, easy-going, family fun.  Right now, we older campers are really missing the younger ones. Craft fun is still going on in Safety Pin studio, however.
My birthday pennants have now taken up residence in the studio to keep me company. I couldn't put them away yet.

My "Single Girl"(design by Denyse Schmidtwoobie is all pieced and I will try to brave the heat to baste it on the screened porch tomorrow.  

Monday, July 25, 2011

Still hot...still cooking

Well, it's still hot, so I'm still cooking.  We had this wonderful savory summer pie when we were last with our great friends, the Penlands.  I've had all the ingredients in the pantry for weeks, but when we got such fantastic German Johnson tomatoes at the Farmers' Market, I took the plunge and made it for our lunch yesterday.  The recipe is from this month's issue of Our State magazine and they kindly shared it online.

The only thing I did that was different from the recipe was to use Pepper Jack cheese because that's what our friend Noni did when she made it.  Yummy! if I do say so myself.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Where I Sew

Pink Chalk Studio

Just read a post from Nova who blogs at a Cuppa and a Catch up, and I got in on Pink Chalk Studio's  Where I Sew virtual tour. (Nova was one of the organizers of the Single Girl Quilt Along.)  It's a great chance to see the work spaces of other quilters.  My link will take you to a virtual tour of Safety Pin Studio.
With the temperatures still hovering at or above the century mark, I've spent lots of time in the studio the last few days. Thanks to Kathy Mack at Pink Chalk Studio for the great idea.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Beating the heat by staying indoors

The forecast calls for 99 degrees that feels like over 100 here in the Piedmont today.  It's been one of those weeks when you thank your lucky stars you have AC.  While we got lots of porch-sitting in while Anna and Dan were here, I've been holed up indoors today... cooking!

First, I put a turkey carcass on to make stock.  I use Julia Child's basic stock recipe for fowl.  It smells heavenly and will probably become turkey soup with brown rice later.

Next, I put some red potatoes on the boil for potato salad to go with our Reubens at dinner.  Jim loves potato salad made using the Fannie Farmer recipe.  The panini press that Jim got me for my birthday is terrific and we made panini several times while Anna was here.  It also means we don't have to heat up the oven and thus the kitchen.

To those of you who are also experiencing this heat,  stay cool, and drink plenty of water.

Dana's new woobie: yet another Single Girl quilt

I know what you're thinking: When is she going to move on, already?  There is something very seductive about this Single Girl pattern that I'm finding hard to let go of, but I promise I am going to make other quilts.  The fabrics I chose for this quilt will go with the one I made for Jim.  There are even some repeats.  Fabrics from Anna's wedding quilt are also included.  Above is the first quarter of the ring. It's got a Liberty print and a great conversational fabric with pens and calligraphy on it.

This is the second quarter. Note the owl fabric.

Here's the third quarter.  It's got the Big Ben fabric and several fabrics from Anna's wedding quilt.

Now the final quarter which features a Paula Nadelstern fabric, fish fabric, and the background fabric from Jim's woobie quilt.

The first ring is completed.  I love using batiks for the background fabric because of the variance in color.  It makes such great visual texture.  No more now until it's all done, I promise.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Back in the, studio...again

Jim and I had a wonderful visit with Dan and Anna, highlighted by a trip to the International Civil Rights Museum and watching the last (sigh) Harry Potter film together.  We cooked together, watched movies, sat and read on the porch (thanks to a break in the weather), played Sporcle on the computer, put puzzles together, and talked and talked.  It was beyond wonderful.

I cannot say enough good things about the International Civil Rights Museum--the exhibits are state-of-the-art, but at the the same time, actually walking into the Woolworth's lunch counter where the sit-in took place transports one back to the 1960's in a segregated country.  If you are anywhere nearby, you need to come and visit.

Millions of words have already been written about the Harry Potter films, but just let me say that I think this series of movies is a very special achievement.  They certainly don't replace the books, but they definitely captured the world that Jo Rowling  so lovingly created.  I'm happy that I will always have the books and the films to draw me back into that world.

Now that things are quiet again, I'm back to the studio to work on my woobie quilt and, hopefully, finish the Brownies quilt. Happy July to ya'll from the hot and steamy Piedmont.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A new sofa cushion cover

The sofa on the screened porch finally has a proper foam cushion and that cushion now has a cover.  Using a combination of a sale and a great coupon, I was able to get the foam for about half price--a huge help.  I found some decorator fabric at Hancock's that was a very close match to the pillows I'd already made, so I was ready to go.

With the fabric doubled and wrong sides out, I drew around the foam for the top and bottom pieces.

The side piece was cut and seamed so that it is like a ring.  I needed continuous bias binding and cording for top and bottom edges.  The Quilter's Strip Ticket provided the correct large square size.  Above, the square is now resewn and ready to be cut into a strip.

Cording goes into the bias binding and is then pinned to the edges of both the top and bottom pieces.

Using a zipper foot on the machine, piping is sewn to the edges of both the top and bottom pieces. All corners are rounded making application of the continuous piping easier.

Next, the side piece is pinned to the top piece over the piping.

Here's the top piece with the side piece attached to it all the way around.

Then the bottom piece and the side are sewn together, leaving the back open to insert the foam.

The foam is inserted into the cover and pinned closed.

Back seam is hand stitched closed.  All finished.

Dan was lucky enough to get to meet little Demos last week and took an iPhone picture of him and his lovely mommy with his new quilt.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

What a birthday!

Well, my sixty-second birthday was quite a show.  Anna brought these great little pennants from Paper Source to open the celebration and also made me a birthday cake.  There was a major stack of presents, and beautiful flowers from my dear husband.

Look at some the lovely gifts I got--a panini maker from Jim,  a wonderful bag filled with rubber stamps, ink, colorful cards, stencils, coasters, and ecological sandwich bags from Anna, a gorgeous pashmina from Dan, and a beautiful bag from my dear friend, Diane (Flora's grandma).

From our friends, the Penlands, I got this amazing carnivourous plant,

this lush fern,

and these snappy, pink geraniums.

Of course, the very best present was having my dear children and my darling husband with me to celebrate the day.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Recovering the kitchen chairs

Starting out with a photo of the finished product makes for a more interesting picture in the various RSS formats I use, so I'll cheat a little.  Every three years or so, I get the bug to change up the covers on the kitchen chairs.  I was shopping for fabric for another house project and saw this wonderful (and irresistible) poppy fabric.  The old covers were getting a little sad, so I added this project to the list.

Now to go back and show the tasks in order:  first, I use my trusty cordless drill to remove the screws on the bottom of the chair that secure the cushion in place. ( Jim always jokes that I get more excited about getting tools for presents than jewelry.)

Next, using my staple remover, I take off the old covers and cording.

I reuse the cording and employ the first old cushion cover as a pattern to cut the new ones--good reverse engineering tricks to insure that you cut the fabric big enough to stretch over the seat and make the bias cord covers long enough.

Measuring the length of one of the cord covers, I use the wonderful Quilter's Strip ticket to make enough continuous bias binding for all four chairs.  (As I've said before, the best "less-than-six-dollars" you will ever spend.)

Switching out the quarter-inch foot for the zipper foot, I stitch the cording inside the bias binding.

Next, the new covers are stapled on the seat (wooden base covered by thin layer of foam).

Once the seat cover is in place, the cording covered with the binding is ready to go around the edges.

The cording is stapled down and then the seat is ready to be reinstalled on the chair. This is an easy job if you have the right tools.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Flora's Quilt: In the home stretch

Hand quilting is now completed on Miss Flora's quilt and the continuous bias binding is finished.

Edges were cleanly trimmed and hand basting was removed after the binding was machine sewn on the front side. You can look at this older post for more details of that process.

Now the binding needs to be turned to the back, pinned, and hand sewn.  This should be accomplished by tomorrow night as we watch the last of the new Hercule Poirot's on PBS Masterpiece.  Right now I'm finishing up some house projects before the children arrive on Monday and Tuesday.  More on that tomorrow.