Friday, January 27, 2017

Whatever Works!!!

Paul: Are you still blogging?
Me: No, I am reading the comments on my blogpost.
Paul: What is the difference?
Me (Ignoring his last remark): Such sweet comments. Did you read my blog?
Paul: Not yet. Come snuggle with me.
Me: I will snuggle with you if you read my blog.
Paul: I will read your blog after you snuggle with me.
Me: Coming...

That was a short conversation. Finished to satisfy both parties.
Whatever Works!!!

Speaking of finishing something - I did not finish anything that I started in January. But I do have a finish to share.

And as a quilter - a finish is a finish and is better than a UFO/WIP.

A quilt is like a conversation - between the fabric and thread, between the quilter and the pattern, between the sewing machine and all other distractions.

Here is the resulting story from my conversations with fabric, thread, and the sewing machine, distractions notwithstanding.  I am calling this one - Whatever Works. What do you think? Does the name suit?

Honestly, there is always a scrap vortex quilt in the works - actively.  Whatever scraps are left over from cutting fabric (for the main quilt) are being sewed in twos, at the same time as the principal quilt is being pieced - much like leaders and enders.

Like the side conversations at the main conference.

One fine day those side conversations, cross talks and whisperings will come together to become something meaningful.

Hey, I am not complaining. Whatever works. Right?


Remember those JR Twists from January?  They were my DREAMi moments and before I could finish them, I had another DREAMi moment - dreamier than before.

I blame it on Mary Huey. Thanks to her, I got the bird flu or shall I say bird flew :-D
Her blog led me to the tutorial

As soon as I started reading the tutorial, I realized - oh no. There is a (slightly) better way of making these birds. Instead of making one, make two birds - mirror images.

Of course, I did not stop there. There are over 60 birds in the making.

I have not been able to stop. Somebody help me.

One leg. Two legs.

This is Chipotle Chilebird. Yes, naming them is super-fun too. Also something I learned from Mary Huey. If you are wondering where are the rest of them, well they are hatchlings. Will share when they become fully-grown birds...Ha Ha Ha.

It is only logical to dream about spring and summer when one is the middle of winter.  Look what I found. This is the Summer Solids FQ Bundle from Connecting Threads.

And this is the Spring Solids FQ Bundle. 14 FQs for under $18. You are welcome!

Love these solids - so many possibilities. What would you do? I will probably mix them up - the bright summer colors contrast well with the pastel spring-y ones.

Speaking of supplies, did you hear about the Craftsy sale?

I will be linking with One Monthly Goal, Sandra's Dreami party and all my other usual (but favorite) linky parties.

This blogpost contains affiliated links.

Monday, January 16, 2017

We made a Baby!!!

We all made babies - from play dough.

Play Dough Babies

It was one of the fun games at the baby shower on Saturday.

The Invitation

The mom-to-be chose the winners.

The Parents-to-be

Harry and Sally (not their real names) got married in July 2014 at the gurudwara (Sikh temple) in Washington DC, followed by the Quaker wedding ceremony in a church. Harry is a Sikh and Sally is a Quaker. And they made such a lovely couple. 

Wedding in the Gurudwara
Paul and I were fortunate to attend the ceremony. And I had so much fun - dressing up for the occasion, dancing in the baraat (wedding procession), enjoying the sumptuous food and wishing all the best to the couple.
When they announced that they were going to have a baby, I immediately dived into my stash to pick out fabrics to make a baby quilt. The theme was animals and a special request from the baby's aunt (my friend Manveen) - to incorporate Snoopy. Snoopy was the favorite cartoon character of the father-to-be.

For Harry & Sally's baby

Step 1 - Choose Fabrics

I wanted to make sure that the quilt was gender-neutral, since Harry and Sally chose to not find out the sex of the baby. The colorful turtle fabric was an obvious choice, just as the tossed owls and the fire-breathing dragons. The cat fabric is rather dull and grey and not my usual style. But I chose to incorporate it because of Flower - Harry and Sally's beloved cat who passed away a few years ago.

Owls and Turtles

Monkeys are my favorite. Swinging from the branches - they sure know how to have fun.  Can you find the giraffe?

I heart monkeys

Birds and Bees too.  The sole light purple square came from the scraps leftover from an outfit of Harry's mom.  I like to think that includes grandma's blessings in the baby quilt.

Birds and the Bees

Step 2 - Choose the pattern

Since the fabric was the major attraction, I did not want to cut the squares smaller than five inches.
Therefore, I chose a simple 9-patch layout with bright green sashing.

Smiling Fish, Lounging Puppies

I made nine 9-batch blocks. Some with colorful hearts on a black background and others with a cream background with the birds/red haired girl. Since Sally has red hair, it seems to work.

Green sashing

Step 3 - Piece

This part does require some playing around on the design wall, making sure that two similar squares are not adjacent to each other.  More importantly, there should be enough contrast between adjacent squares.

Yoga Cats

Yoga cats, orange puppies and bright colors make my day.  The yellow fabric with animal frames was gift from my quilty buddy - Sylvia.

Bright Turtles

Step 4 - Layer, Quilt, Bind and Enjoy

I used the same green for sashing and binding.

A finish!!!

The backing is this adorable Snoopy fabric. 

Charlie Brown with Snoopy

I had been looking for Snoopy fabric and it came to me when I least expected it. I found it in Georgia (visiting Paul's parents), the day after Thanksgiving when I chose to go for some Black Friday shopping. And there it was :-D happily waiting for me.

No, I did not forget to label it.


So the final step is to enjoy the compliments, take pictures of happy parents and pose for pictures with dear friends.

Harry & Sally

Love the smiles!!!

So glad they loved it!

This is my first finish of 2017 and I am very happy with it.

with Manveen 

Manveen was the gracious hostess, as usual. We had a great time and we wish Harry and Sally all the very best of luck as they welcome the new bundle of joy into their lives.

Thank you for inviting us!!!

So, we did not make that kind of a baby.  But I am glad someone did - and that gave me a reason to make another baby quilt!!!

I will be linking with all my favorite linky parties and as usual, I'd love to hear from you.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Hello 2017!!!

Just got back from India.  OK, it was last week but the jet lag and the exhaustion distorts time perception.

Christmas tree in the background

In general, the weather was pleasant, Mom is mobile and road rage is unchanged.

Sunny Days

Specifically, we threw a Christmas Party - for Paul.

See the Santa?

Mom got a little tree with small decorations.

Lalit, (our dedicated driver) decorated a larger live tree with lights.  Paul made the star using aluminum foil, a pencil and some cardboard.

with Nishant

Meetu, my sister's friend, brought the food - vegetarian and non-vegetarian, plus ice-cream.
Kababs, Fish, Shahi Paneer, Butter Chicken and Dal Makhani

Anju and her husband brought cake - black forest cake, which is my favorite.
Paul was the guest of honor

I had brought homemade cookies.

Paul also received a gift card for Outback Steakhouse. Since he cannot get any beef in India, I wanted to give him - a promise of beef! It was a bittersweet moment. The man loves cow and he got a gift card for it - sweet.  That he could not get any beef for days together - bitter.

Anju and Dr. S loved the quilt.

Everybody fawns over Paul.  The friends, relatives and neighbors - all trying to please him.  Tarun (the teenage boy next door) invited Paul to his house for dinner.

with Tarun
Paul still only speaks five phrases in Hindi, can hardly eat any Indian food (with the exception of alu paratha - potato stuffed flatbread) and struggles with the culture that has no concept of privacy.

Alu Paratha (with butter) at Tarun's house
Kids took pictures with Paul, which were quickly posted on FB and shared on Whatsapp and they were thrilled when there were tons of likes and comments.

Of course, I brought back some fabric.  I paid about $3 per meter.
100% Cotton Fabrics from India

Someday inspiration will strike and I will cut up these beauties. Petting only for now.

I am sure Paul lost over 10 lbs. in two weeks. We went to Outback Steakhouse at the first opportunity to set things right.

The urge to begin something new is so much stronger than the need to finish an incomplete project.
Do you ever have that problem?
I have zero desire to quilt. But I want to cut and sew :-D

Fortunately, there is plenty of temptation in the blogland. Thank you Molli for the Honey Pot Bee.

Light, Dark and Medium too

It was fun (and a bit messy) to dive into my scrap basket.

Totally Scrappy

Pink Strawberry Squares

If one is good, two must be better.
Red Strawberry - in process

The tutorial tells you to press seams. Whether you should press them open or press to alternate sides, it does not say. I chose to press seams open when stitching the little 2" suckers squares together.

stem and leaf

I followed the tutorial - mostly. But, instead of using two 2" squares for the stem, I used one 2" by 3.5" rectangle.

completed rows

When I said aloud - I am making these strawberry blocks and I cannot stop, Paul gave me a raspberry!!!

My Strawberries - Dignified Red and Outta Control Fat Juicy Pink

Here is my warning to all the impatient quilters in the world - these blocks are pretty but they are not quick. If you are in the habit of scant quarter inch seams, you must trim after each seam. If not, you end up with a juicy fat strawberry, like the pink one on the right.

I made the pink one first.  Then I made the red one - so much more dignified.

There is an orange one in the making.

Orange Strawberry in process

Where are my purple scraps?
Purple Strawberry Squares

Also, I decided to make the Jelly Roll Twist quilt (tops only for now) from the Fat Quarter Shop tutorial.  Here are my fabric choices.

Color Theory by Moda

I have had this jelly roll (Color Theory by Vanessa Christenson by Moda) for over two years now. The Jelly Roll Twist seemed to be the perfect pattern for it. But (there is always a but), the white charm pack did not seem to work with most of these fabrics.  Too dull, in my opinion.

So, I picked out a few solids from my stash to add a dash of color and pizzaz.

A dash of matching solids

Also, in my opinion, the FQ shop's patterns are a bit wasteful. The tutorial suggests using 34 strips to make 42 blocks. Actually, you can make 42 blocks from just 28 strips.

Blocks in Motion

I went a step further. I divided the jelly roll in half and made two smaller quilt tops. I used 20 strips to make 30 blocks and arranged them into 5 by 6 layout.

Finished Flimsy

The finished flimsy measures about 43" by 51.5".  That is a crib size and I am darn pleased with it.
Now, a sane person would have proceeded to find suitable backing and then layer, baste and quilt.

Since this is my year of doing whatever pleases me, I picked up the rest of the 20 jelly roll strips and proceeded to make the second flimsy.

I chose my solids for the 5" squares.
Matching Solids

I cut up my jelly roll pairs judiciously, so that each strip set would give me three blocks.
5" and 9" sections

 I am loving these colors.
Color Theory by Moda

I matched the jelly roll pairs with the solid squares, allowing for some variety.
Playing matchmaker

And here are my first few blocks.
Second Flimsy, First Blocks

And here is the finished flimsy.
Finished Flimsy

I don't think using all white charms would have created this brightness.  What do you think?
Blue Green Teal and Navy Party

Blue, Green, Teal and Navy went to a party.  Guess what, even gray and white decided to come out of their shells and enjoy the merry-making.
Oh so bright and happy!

Since I am linking with Elm Street Quilt's One Monthly Goal, you must be wondering - Do I even have a monthly goal for January?
Well, staying warm is really high on my priority list.

And if I can turn any of the above two flimsies into a finished quilt, that will do very nicely too!!!

When many quilter/bloggers are setting goals and priorities for 2017, I am throwing all caution to the winds. No resolutions, no goals and absolutely no to-do lists. This is my year of living dangerously.  Let's see what happens.  Are you with me?