Friday, July 31, 2009

Before and after

Every time I go to get a haircut I think there will be a magical transformation, but it never happens. I always look exactly the same when I come home. Terry Grant refers to this phenomenon as “helmet hair.” My experience last Thursday once again showed that I was doomed to have the same hairdo forever. I always ask for something new and fun but, no matter the establishment or operator, the result looks just the same in a few days.

The block today is really for last Thursday, July 23, but I didn’t get it finished that day.

For some reason my new scanner is distorting the blocks – I really don’t sew that crookedly. I do make mistakes sometimes but these scans exaggerate any flaws. I’ve been going back and forth with Epson tech support but I don’t dare tell them that I am putting fabric in the machine. I just tell them that I am putting 4.5-inch square pictures on the flatbed and they are not coming out square. I’ve tried putting the blocks right in the middle of the bed but they still come out longer than they should. My old HP scanner does not distort the blocks, however the color is not as good.
Anyway, should you have any desire to make a 4-inch paper pieced block of my hairdo, Before & After, click on the small graphic below and you will be taken to a full size set of foundations to print out for your own personal use.

I have a lot of work to do today to make up for the days I missed. I think I will do some very simple blocks to fill out the rest of July. This block-a-day project has been fun. I would like a complete calendar for the month.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I missed the trees, too

I enjoy the tall pine trees and the scent of the woods when we visit Nevada County, California for our annual family barbecue in July.

I’ve had an idea for a "tree trunks" block in the back of my mind, so I made it today.

Even though we missed the trees and all the fun this year, I will have this little block to remind me of 20 years of family barbecues. I was lucky enough to have a little bit of Frieda Anderson’s hand dyed Blackened Multi-Stripe fabric left over from another project. I hoped to capture the feeling of the sun on the ground and the tree trunks stretching up to the blue sky.
If you have some fabric that shades from one color to another you might want to experiment with this block. I have only little scraps left over from my Anderson fabric.
You can make a 4-inch paper pieced trees block by clicking on the small graphic below. It will lead you to foundations to print out for you own personal use.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Last Friday, we were going to drive up River Road

We were going to drive along the Sacramento River up to the foothills for our annual family barbecue. I love River Road.
Well, we didn’t go. I went to the hospital for tests Friday and Saturday. I’m home again and everything seems fine. I am back making a block a day. I have two blocks for today. The first one is called “Up River Road.”

I missed the drive back down River Road to home, too.

Thus, I made another block to commemorate the round trip we didn’t take. It is called, naturally, “Down River Road.” You only have to switch the blue water to the other side. Pretty simple.
If you would like to make a 4-inch paper pieced river road block, or two of them for the whole trip, click on the small graphic below and you will find a page with foundations to print out for your personal use.

I have to make up for my missing blocks so I can complete the month of July. I’m not too inspired by making hospital blocks so I might try something more cheerful.

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Friday, July 24, 2009

I'll take a day off

I am going to take a day off.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Wake up call

We don’t need to set our alarm clock anymore. We get a personal wake up call.
Our new neighbor, C.C. Myers, starts pile driving at precisely 7:01 a.m. -- bang, bang, bang. The construction of the new Bethel Island bridge is scheduled to go on for 19 more months. We do need a new bridge and I don’t suppose they will be driving piles for the entire project period.

I knew right away when my eyes opened that I would make an alarm clock block for today.

If the numbers seem a little wonky, that’s because my early morning eyes saw them that way.

That really isn’t true; I am just learning to do the satin stitch on my Janome Jem. I have lots of practicing to do before I can sew nice straight lines and join up corners. It is good to learn new skills.
You can make a 4-inch paper pieced alarm clock block by clicking on the small graphic below. It will lead you to a foundation to print out for you own personal use. There is a guide for the numbers, too. I am sure your numbers will be much better than mine.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Blackberry muffins

Robert picked some wild blackberries at the back of our yard this morning.

He made blackberry muffins for breakfast. Very good. It was easy to figure out my block for today – a muffin.

Now you can make 4-inch muffin blocks or even cupcakes (if you frost them) using this simple paper piecing foundation. Click on the small graphic below and it will take you to a full-size foundation to print out for your personal use.

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Monday, July 20, 2009


The annual meeting of our small mutual water company was held today. There was not a quorum so no business was transacted. The mutual water company serves 40 households and all members are requested to attend the July meeting. Two of the directors were out of town, thus the lack of a quorum. Three directors showed up but no members.

Robert, the volunteer president, has often joked, “If we want people to show up at our meetings we should turn off the water on the day the meeting is held.” Things have been running smoothly for the past several months so we figure that everyone stayed home and took a shower to cool down on this hot day.

My block for the day is a shower. I don’t know if you can see the “water” streaming out from the head. I stitched lines with white thread. I removed the paper foundation from the block before I added the machine stitching. There is a foundation for the block available for printing out. Click on the small graphic below to find a full-size 4-inch foundation to use. There is a quarter inch seam allowance all around.

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Back to the 50s

Here on our island you can always drive your Chevy to the levee.

This weekend, the island held its 22nd annual 50’s Bash. There were lots of old cars displayed around town. I tried to think of things typical of the 50’s for my block today. I finally decided on pedal pushers (nowadays known by other names). The perfect colors were Chevy blue with a bubblegum pink background.
The island always seems to be a town set back in time. The illusion was enhanced by the old cars parked on the main street.
There was a dog show too. The critters were awarded prizes in categories such as “the tallest dog’ and “the dog with the best tail.” There were many winners. I don’t think a single dog went home without a prize.
If you are thinking about the 50’s, you can make a 4-inch Pedal Pusher paper pieced block by clicking on the small graphic below. It will take you to foundations to print out for your own block. The block is a smaller and rougher version of one of the wardrobe pieces in my Kate & Friends pattern.

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Saturday, July 18, 2009

A day to do something good

Nelson Mandela celebrated his 91st birthday today. In honor of the occasion South Africans have been celebrating the country's first Mandela Day. People have been marking the day by taking part in charity work and community activities. Mr. Mandela said, "Mandela Day will not be a holiday but a day devoted to service.”

The idea seems to have caught on around the world. Many people are celebrating Mandela’s birthday. Mark it on your calendars for next year – July 18 – and plan a service project. It will be held on the former president's birthday every year from now on.

I was impressed when I saw the South African flag. It was adopted in the year 1994. Today’s block is a paper pieced South Africa flag.
If you want to make a 4-inch paper pieced South Africa flag block, click on the small graphic below and you will find full-sized foundations to print out. Be sure and mark the colors on your foundations, it can get confusing.

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Three watch cats

When we went walking today, our three cats watched us go up and down the lane. Two of them, Blackie and Feather, walked along with us until they got tired. Aucuba, our 16 year old cat, has never been enthused about exercise. She sits at the top of the steps and looks at us as we pass by. The cats have been doing this since February, 2007.

It is late tonight, but I did want to post my block-of –the-day before midnight.

If you would like to make a 4-inch paper pieced Three Cats block, click on the small graphic below and you will find foundations to print out.

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

All squared away

I just looked up at our house corner and remembered that I had not reported on the repair. Our neighbor and licensed contractor friend, Troy Wise, repaired the corner for us.
It looks just fine now.
I felt it was not fair to skip the satisfactory ending to our tale of woe which I posted as Ripped off. The garbage company sent a very nice fellow to our house to sooth us. He picked up a copy of Troy’s estimate and assured us Oakley Disposal would handle the payment. All’s well that ends well in this case.

This leads me to today’s block which I call Squared Away. It uses folded fabric to represent the house siding. I’ve been wanting to make a block or quilt with folded fabric in it. This was my chance to experiment.
I drew lines for folding on the back of my white fabric.
I folded the fabric and pressed the folds. I ran a running stitch 1/8” from the edge to hold the folds in place. I used the folded fabric as patch #1 on my foundation when I put it together.
If you would like to make a 4-inch paper pieced Squared Away block (with or without the folded fabric), click on the small graphic below and you will find a foundation to print out for your use.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A gentle breeze

It wasn’t too hot today – only 98 degrees Fahrenheit. We had a slight Delta breeze so the air conditioner did not work too hard. The house fan maintained a pleasant temperature. When San Francisco and the Bay Area are foggy in the morning, the cool air comes right up the river and kisses our island.

Speaking of breezes and fans; today’s block is a fan. The block combines paper piecing and appliqué.

You can print out the fan foundation by clicking on the graphic below.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

It was a two Popsicle day

I knew it was going to be hot today. I wondered what quilt block I could make to represent heat. I thought of doing a sun, but I was not inspired.

While checking out a few of my favorite blogs on the web, I came across a perfect hot weather block at Sophie Junction in her post titled Popsicle Quilt Blocks. The best news was that it was a free block from Quiltmaker for a Project Linus quilt called Lotsa Pops.

I reduced their 6-inch block to a 4-inch paper piecing foundation for my personal use. The popsicles looked like Creamsicles to me. I used to love those frozen treats with ice cream inside. I could not decide whether to make my all time favorite – orange, or my second place choice – raspberry. I had the perfect fabrics for both of them in my stash. Naturally, I made two. I can save one of them for National Creamsicle Day on August 14.

Click on the small diagram below and you will go to a PDF from Quiltmaker to print out your own pattern.

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Monday, July 13, 2009

Clean living

We are all cleaned up here at home (at least for today). The cleaning ladies came this morning and buzzed around the house. We went out for a walk while they were here. Our house is too small to contain five busy people at one time.

The ladies bring all their own equipment and supplies. They wear rubber gloves and big aprons. Their activity motivated me to make a yellow rubber glove and sponge block today.

The 4-inch paper pieced block is one I’ve had on my pattern site for a long time. It is called Heart in Hand and it is free to print out. I modified the block today by extending the bottom of the hand straight down to make it look like a glove. I just drew lines on the block with a Pigma fabric pen instead of making separate fingers as shown in the original pattern. The sponge will be sewn on the block when the whole quilt is quilted; it is temporarily tacked on right now. It should be washable.

You can get the basic pattern foundations by clicking on the small diagram below. It will take you to the free pattern which you can print out.
Our friend Lilia started her housekeeping business way back in the 1980s. She and her ladies have been coming to our house, on and off, for 24 years.

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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Everything is peachy pie here

Our neighbor, Mary Mac, brought us some fresh picked peaches yesterday. They were good and they inspired my quilting block for today.
Robert made a peach pie, and this morning I had pie for breakfast. I love pie for breakfast, especially peach pie. I am sure it must be very good for me because it fulfills part of my daily dietary requirement for fruit.
If you want to make a 4-inch paper pieced pie block, click on the small diagram below and you will go to a full size foundation which you can print out for your personal project

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