Thursday, March 27, 2014

Sewing with Cat Assistants

 I enjoyed my day off of work by finishing the Charm Pack Cherry baby quilt today with LOTS of assistance from the cats.  They must have missed quilting during the time we were moving as much as I did.

Even if you do not have cat assistants, this is a super fun and super fast quilt to make.

In fact, it may be quicker to make without cat help.
Edgar Poe is alway a big help. Check out this post for his tutorial on pin basting a quilt. 

In this photo, he has all the pinned blocks stacked up and ready for me to sew.

Here he is listening to the gentle hum of my featherweight, or contemplating a snack, or getting ready for a snooze, or getting ready to pounce on something.  It could be any of these.


Zen sewing kitty

The second part of the pattern required Gomez's assistance.  Here he is supervising cutting the blocks are resewing them together.

Gomez excels at supervision. With his assistance, I successfully sewed all the blocks together without any duplicate patterns touching and with the castles and sailing ships right-side-up.

Looked who showed back up to take all the credit for the finished quilt.  It seems as though we may have another interloper assistant making an appearance.

Remy and Edgar are carefully checking out the seam allowance and making sure the edge stay-stitching is adequate.

One last photo before the whole gang jumps on the quilt.  I changed the pattern a little from the original.  I reversed the blocks in rows 2 and 4 so the motifs would be right-side-up.  I ordered the backing and binding so I could quilt this up soon and be ready way ahead of the August due date..  Another adventure with the cats, I am sure.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A New Project

My sewing space is still unorganized and full of boxes but after sorting through boxes of fabric and UFOs and missing my sewing friends back in Georgia, I decided it was high time for some sewing (mental health) therapy.

I decided to start on a new project with a deadline.  In August, a new niece or nephew is going to arrive!!  Yes, a new sibling for Mackenzie and Cameron who needs his/her own quilt.

Since I had just packed up (and moved) all of my fabric, I knew I did not have anything for a new baby quilt.  Really I didn't.  Hard to believe I know but nothing I had was suitable for a new baby quilt.

I was inspired by the Fat Quarter Shop's Charm Pack Cherry Quilt floating around in my favorite quilts blogs (click on the link for the free pattern).  The new Storybook line by Katie & Birdie for Moda is sweet and whimsical without being overly cutesy IMO.  I am pairing it with Moda Bella Solid in Off-White from my stash.
I watched the YouTube video yesterday and whipped up the first two steps between loads of laundry.  
I think this is going to be a great baby quilt and is a fun quick project to make.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Trip to Taos

How about some beautiful New Mexico scenery to start your week? These are photos from a day trip to Taos on February 15, 2014, that I haven't gotten around to blogging about until now.   

I may actually have quilty photos tomorrow if my day off goes as planned ;) 

One of the best things about moving to a completely different state/region/climate/altitude/topography/time zone is exploring. Since I had never visited the Southwest until we decided to move here, everything is new and exciting and exploration worthy.  One of the first places I wanted to go when I arrived was Taos Pueblo.  Mr. SBQ had already visited Santa Fe and Taos in 2002 but it was all new to me.

Sangre de Cristo Mountains from downtown Santa Fe
Mr. SBQ and I drove the High Road to Taos from Santa Fe. The High Road trends up through the Sangre de Cristo Mountains through Indian pueblos and historic Spanish villages.

El Santuario de Chimayó 

Our first stop was in the village of Chimayó.  The Santuario de Chimayó (left) was built between 1811 and 1816 and is now a Catholic pilgrimage site.  Interior photographs were not allowed but you can see the traditional painted wooden carvings and altarpiece on this page.

San José de Gracia Church, Las Trampas
Our next stop was the village of Las Trampas, established in 1751 by a Spanish Land Grant, and another stop at a Spanish Colonial church (right).  Built between 1760 and 1776, the San José de Gracia Church is characteristic of Spanish mission churches in New Mexico.  The adobe walls need to be continuously re-mudded to preserve the exterior.  It was not open the day we visited but the interior wood carvings, statues, and altarpiece can be seen here
San José de Gracia Church, Las Trampas

Here is a closeup of the front facade and painted, carved wood doors. 

After lunch in the town of Taos, we continued on to Taos Pueblo. One of the oldest continuously inhabited places in the United States (approximately 1,000 years old), Taos Pueblo is one of only 21 UNESCO World Heritage sites in the U.S
Taos Pueblo, North Building
[I took the above photo with my iPhone 5s with no filter or touch-up or alteration of any kind. I just love how it turned out.]

I don't even know how to begin describing Taos Pueblo; it's one of the places that needs to be experienced in person to get the full sense of space, architecture, and environment.  Here is a link to the pueblo's website for some basic information and history. 

Taos Pueblo, South Building
We took a guided tour and walked around the village on our own.  The pueblo has two buildings on either side of a large open space and creek. 

The pueblo has remained unchanged in modern times, there is no running water, electricity, or indoor plumbing. 

It is a living community with approx. 150 people living full time in the pueblo and approx. 1900 people living in the surrounding pueblo lands in modern and adobe houses.

People living in the pueblo still retrieve water from the creek and many cook in traditional horno ovens (beehive-shaped, outdoor, adobe ovens).

Pueblo dog 
You can see a horno oven in this photo. 

The adobe walls are remudded twice a year.

St. Jerome Church (or San Geronimo)
The present day St. Jerome church dates from 1850 and replaced an earlier church that dated from 1619.

Some of the rooms are open to the public as shop spaces selling jewelry, pottery, and baked goods. 
I couldn't resist a blueberry-raspberry fried pie made in a horno that morning.  I did share with Mr. SBQ after having him hold it for a photo. 

We went to the town of Taos for a bit of walking around the plaza and seeing the shops.  There was a quilt shop there and gift shops but nothing caught my eye.  The town of Taos is famous for its art galleries, ski valley, and wealthy residential areas--all of which we bypassed on this trip.

Our last stop of the day was the community of Rancho de Taos and the famous San Francisco de Asis mission church.  Built between 1772 and 1816 on the plaza, the church was made famous in paintings by Georgia O'Keefe and photographs by Ansel Adams.
 Here is the front of the church but it is more recognizable by the rear facade (below), the subject of paintings and photographs (and favorite bird perch on the day we visited).
We took the "Low Road" or River Road back to Santa Fe, which follows the Rio Grande river valley and is a much quicker route home.  I must have been tired because I didn't take a single photo on the way back.   

Friday, March 21, 2014

A Friday Finish and a Feline Friday Photo

Spring is here!  The sun is shining and the birds are singing.  I am looking forward to seeing what spring is like in Santa Fe.  Hopefully, I will not have the same problem with spring allergies as I did in Atlanta.

I am still trying to get situated here.  The house still has boxes--mostly my sewing stuff that I have no where to put.  Sigh.  It's just about time to start sewing something though because I'm tired of unpacking and I want to sew.

I still have a full email-inbox to wade through so if you commented on my previous posts or emailed me THANK YOU and I will respond soon-ish.

I am just behind on things.

Recently, I managed to hand sew the binding on Mr. SBQ's "Mad Men" quilt while watching True Detective (a riveting show! anyone else see it???).  I finished the top last February and quilted it myself using the easy wavy stitch in horizontal rows while I was in Georgia at the end of the year.  The backing is a dark green Kona solid.

Mr. SBQ is very happy to have his quilt finished--just in time for Mad Men to start back up again soon.

He is also doing an excellent job of being a quilt holder on a windy day.

Here is another view in our driveway.  It's a good size quilt and will be perfect for the bed in the guest room/sewing room or for watching TV on a cool evening.  
And for Feline Friday, here is a cutemous photo of Remy in his new favorite spot.  I put quilts on my purple upholstered Victorian chair to keep cat hair off of it and the chair has become the new favorite cat evening sleeping spot in the living room.

Remy likes having his toys nearby.

The "Black Cat" quilt is a Country Threads pattern that I made way back in 2005.