>Decisions, decisions….

>Yesterday I made 18 more blocks. Now it is decision time. How big do I want this to be? Right now it is 64″ square. If I want it to be twin bed size (64″ x 96″) it would need 4 more rows or 32 more blocks. If I add 2 more rows and make it 80″ long it is too short for a bed, but pretty large for a throw size. I have enough strips already sewn for 4 patches for 2 more rows. Another decision I need to make: do I leave it just random the way the colors are placed, or do I play with the blocks and see if I want a. light in the center, b. sky at top, stream at bottom, with green between, c. each color in its own area? Now while I wait to make my decision, should I start a new quilt???? I already know what the next one is going to be.

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>Milestones

>Two important (to me) things are going to be happening soon. I started my blog on July 4, 2007 so my first anniversary is coming up. I’m going to have a give-away but I haven’t finalized any plans yet. Stay tuned! The other thing: I added Sitemeter to my blog on July 15th, 2007. TODAY sometime in the afternoon, my 50,000th visitor will stop by. I will be watching the stats and will post where you are from, what server you use, and which browser you have. Also if you link here from somewhere else, I will mention that too. I WILL HAVE A PRIZE FOR YOU IF YOU IDENTIFY YOURSELF. I will announce it this afternoon as soon as I see it. Whew, now that the important announcements are over, let’s get on with the regular stuff. In the picture above are a few more strips ready to sew.

I made a bunch of blocks yesterday. I had been using only batiks in the beginning so yesterday I added a bunch of green, leafy regular fabrics. This is not my final layout, just how they got plopped up on the wall.

This is the bonus tray. I cut one 4.5″ strip and one 2.5″ strip from each fabric. The 2.5″ strip will make 4 blocks if I want that many of that fabric combination. The 4.5″ strip has enough squares to make 8 blocks. Since one set of 4 patches gets paired with the 2 dark squares and the next with 2 light squares, I have anywhere from 4-6 squares left over. On some decorating sites and in some mail order catalogs they will have quilts displayed/for sale and they are just made of squares. We can spend a lot of time looking for a complicated design to make but nothing says “quilt” any better than all squares. I will be making one from all of these squares.

Added a few minutes later: Thanks everyone for the great comments about lists and list making. I enjoyed so much seeing how you all deal with it. I like KS’s theory that at 2 x 30 or 3 x 20 we should be able to get 2 times or 3 times as much done at 60+.

>Lists over the years

>When I mentioned making a list of priority UFO’s I received several comments about lists. I remember when I was in my 20’s and early 30’s and I was a seamstress working out of my home. I also had 2 small children and helped out in the family business when I was needed. Whatever the client brought to my house, I sewed it. It was anywhere from childrensplaywear to chiffon or velvet bridesmaid dresses. I also did the altering for a menswear store for 4 years. (Plus I made all of my own clothes and most of my kids’ clothes.) I used to make list of what I thought I could accomplish each day. I would make the list for each day of the week all at one time. I would usually finish everything for the first day and a couple second day things on the first day. The second day I would finish that day’s list and do a few of tomorrow’s list, and so it went through the week creating a free day eventually because I always accomplished more than I thought I could.

Fast forward to being in my 60’s: I make a disjointed, hard to decipher list and I’m lucky if I accomplish half of what is on the list. Either I don’t make very good lists anymore or I don’t have the energy of a 20-30 year old any more. Maybe it’s a little of both, but mostly the latter. LOL.

Here are the blocks so far on the latest quilt. I need to add a lot more green back in, but it does still have the feel of a cool summer day. Click on it for a clearer view of the fabrics.

>Ready for rain

>Yesterday after I got home from grocery shopping for my parents, my grandson and a friend came over and got the gutters cleaned out for me. There were little trees growing up there! Now the rain can come and I won’t have a waterfall over the edge of the gutter. They also got my last 2 storm windows down and screens up. I can do some of the smaller windows but the storm windows seem to get heavier each year. At least I only have a one story house so it doesn’t involve a ladder. A branch that always hit my house in the wind also got clipped off. I’m so glad these things are done.

Here are 6 new blocks with 3 from the group yesterday. I am adding in blue for sky and water along with all of the greens. A little pink and purple will peek in.
Here is a group of fabrics that I have pulled to cut today. My friends I used to work with are coming today. Monday’s group always meets in my basement but this group meets on the main level of the house so I spent a good portion of yesterday trying to get the studio cleaned up enough for 5 people to be able to work in there and the kitchen area.
We have had the most beautiful weather the last few days. It has been cool, a little breeze, low humidity, and sunshine. This morning it is only 68 degrees but it will warm up. I wish we could have weather like this all summer.

>I’m all better now

>I just needed a good dose of inspiration and variety and common sense talk among friends to get over the slump. Mary G. gave us a free psychiatric session letting us just gaze at the beauty of her little pieces sewn together into an array of bigger pieces to be used someday (maybe). After enjoying the beauty of them we all forgot our troubles and were smiling. Thank you Mary.After my group was gone yesterday I enjoyed reading some blogs. I found out I am not the only one who likes to start things, even though the pile of UFO’s is calling. Nicole and Jacquie also talked about the pull to start new things. Check out their blogs. I have really been enjoying them.

I started the new double 4 patch, with all of my new energy last night. After I piece the 2 strips together and press, I stack them staggered by 1″ increments on my cutting board. Here I am doing 4 sets. I usually do 8 sets or more at a time. When they are staggered their seam lines aren’t on top of each other and it is easy to cut through all at once. I am all for time saving steps.

Then I do the clean up cut which gets rid of the selvedges.
Then I cut my 2.5″ sections.
I chain sew to save time and thread.
And Voila! The first four blocks are done. This quilt is going to feel like a summer day.
Happy quilting everyone!!!!!!

>Top done, yard views

>The quilt top is done!!! I made the last four 4 patches from leftover strip piecing so it is 4 different fabrics in them instead of 2 like the others. It ended up 56″ x 72″. For those of you who thought my back yard looked big, I took that picture from side to side through the yard, not front to back. This is my view from one end with the lot line on the left where the biggest trees in the left side are.
This is from the other end. I just have this one strip of grass in the back yard and all of the rest is the shade garden and peonies. That white spot in the back right is my back neighbor’s garage.
Here is the path from the other end. Like Jacquie said, it is kind of like a secret garden. I just have to ignore the fact that if they were looking, the neighbors could see me from all 3 of their yards. And here is part of the peony bed getting ready to bloom. They are planted 3 rows deep.
To answer a few questions from yesterday, no the yard is not fenced in, yes I do most of the work myself. My neighbor (bless him) mows my grass. I usually go out and pull weeds for about 15 minutes a few nights a week. I did more planting this year, did very little last year. I don’t like heat and humidity so I am definitely a fair weather gardener. The one great thing about perennials is that you don’t have to do a bunch of planting every year. Just filling in bare spots is necessary.

>48 blocks

>For Lyn, my commenter the other day, yes I only have 24 hours a day too, LOL. I have taken advantage of the fact that my mother only had 2 dr. appointments this week plus I did their grocery shopping, so that left a lot of hours for ME. My concentration level is way down when she has so many appointments and I have to be watching the clock all of the time. This week I was able to concentrate on my projects. I finished the other 26 blocks yesterday (it was raining so I had to stay inside) and I used 48 of the 52 blocks to do this layout. If I sewed it together now it would only be 48″ x 64″. I do want to do a similar border to the one in the magazine so that would add 8″ to each of those measurements. I definitely have enough fabric to make more blocks, but with my short attention span, I think I may be off and running for the next idea, another one with the chains in 2 different directions. These are the 4 leftovers currently but I need to work that upper right one into the quilt. That leaf print is one of the “Nancy Crow for John Kaldor” fabrics from the early 1990’s. I have that print in most of the colors and it is one of my very favorite fabrics.
My first peony bush bloomed yesterday. It is really more of a burgundy red than this picture (taken with my old camera). When I moved into this house in 1972 there were 43 peony bushes in neat rows taking up half of the back yard. There were 42 different varieties, only one repeat. I have dug out and given away some, moved some to other areas, but I still have at least 37 bushes.
The peonies usually bloom before Memorial Day but we had a cool spring so they are taking their time blooming this year.

Since I still live within 25 miles of where I was born, I only know one area of the country well. I didn’t know that there weren’t the pretty blue jays everywhere in the US. It is so neat to have all of the blogs to visit and commenters to help me learn about the other areas. I have been to FL and NC and CO, WY, and MT but I can’t say that I had my eyes wide open when it came to nature. Thank you everyone for helping me to see more.