Sunday, September 9, 2018

Non Quilty Projects

A little recap on my rock work projects.
I met my goal of finishing the rock work on the hillside of my house. I even managed to get a few plants in the tubs.

I'm ahead of schedule on another hillside area I want to cover in rock. I didn't expect to tackle this until next year. This is the last major rock area I am putting in my yard.

I did a little walk around my garden. I still have some artichokes growing. I have harvested two so far and they were yummy. A little salt and lemon juice was all they needed for a delicious treat.

I was surprised to see some broccoli heads. Most of my plants I have let go to flower. I think I will eat these for my lunch.

My green cabbage was a disaster but my red cabbage did great. 

I have some tiny brussel sprouts.

I worked outside everyday last week but before I went to visit my parents in Washington we had almost two weeks of rain. I took on some blouse sewing. I had great success with this pattern in a size 10. I like version "D" with the long sleeves but made a straight edge instead of the diagonal cut. I made a new pattern with white tissue paper. I also took out some of the flare in the hips.

Here's a selfie of the top I made in a rayon batik. You do see a dog trying to photo bomb me. I can make this top in 2 hours. It just slips over my head. No buttons or zipper.

I saw another quilt blogger's blouse she made from this pattern and decided to try it. I went right for a size 10 and found it much too tight. Yipes! I have broad shoulders that can be a problem area for me in clothing but this was also very tight through the bust.

I really liked the pattern and went to Walmart and bought some fabric for 50 cents a yard. Made up the top in a size 14. I just made the short-sleeved version to get the fit right. 

I had a stash of a solid eggplant colored rayon batik that I bought from Cherrywood Fabrics twenty years ago. Really! I hope they will start making their rayon batiks again. Anyway...I found a printed batik rayon at a local quilt shop that I had to bring home. It matched the Cherrywood fabric. Sometimes that stash really comes in handy.

Love my latest top. 
I also added solid batik cuffs to the 3/4-length sleeves in the pattern since I prefer a full-length long sleeve for our winters.

I was definitely on a roll...
I've got another pattern to try. This will be a bit more time consuming. Buttons and collars. I am going to make the basic long sleeved blouse without pockets.

I made a mock up of this pattern too and turns out I needed a size 12 for it. Again, the mock up is just a short version that covers the areas I need to fit...shoulders and bust. Another cheap piece of fabric from Walmart.

It's not often my cutting table is clear so I took the time to cut out a dress I would like to smock and make for my niece's baby girl. I'm using a fabric with Alaskan forget-me-nots. I did a lot of smocking...very many years ago. I still have my pleater.

On my visit to my parents I gathered a few things to bring home. One was a quilted jacket I made for my mother at least 20 years ago. It fits me rather well...funny how that worked out! My mom found it a little on the hot side. I think it will be perfect for running around on my errands when the weather temps start dropping.

This was another project made from Cherrywook fabrics only this time with cotton. I have a lot of the cottons in other colorways in my stash too...maybe another jacket is in my future.

I was a garment seamstress before I started quilting. I even lined this lovely jacket. Button holes are very easy to make on my Bernina. Also did the fabric covered buttons to match. 

I still have the pattern.

I also found six other jacket patterns that are 20 years old...I made one of them and it was a flop. I bought all of these patterns at the Houston quilt show. I used to live in San Antonio so I made it to the quilt show every year.

None of the styles interest me anymore. Probably time for them to leave my stash.

The pretty day is calling to me to get off the computer.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Welcome to Alaska

 I was so pleased to get an invitation to join the fun of a blog party. I look forward to meeting some new folks in the blog world and introducing myself to you!

I'm Debbie Bailey. Mother of two grown sons who are professional pilots and wife to a professional pilot. I am a homemaker. I have sewn most of my life and would spend everyday quilting if life's responsibilities didn't demand my attention

I have been living in Eagle River, Alaska for 20 years with an unexpected 3-year stint in Paris due to a great opportunity for my husband with his job. It was a great experience to live in Europe but I missed Alaska. 

We have spectacular mountains and snow...

Glacier Tour for my birthday with my son, Zack, as my pilot and tour guide.

I can look right outside my door and see all kinds of unique scenes from wildlife. This is a grizzly that we have seen several summers. She was dubbed Fabio on our neighborhood Facebook page until she showed up with this cub last summer. Not a "he" as most assumed, but a "she" that is now called Fabia. 

We also see moose pretty regularly. Both of these wildlife photos were taken on the road in front of my house. You might be surprised to know that moose are more deadly than bears in Alaska. 

But these are my favorite critters, our Gordon Setters, Logan and McKinley.

But you came here to see quilts!

My preferred quilting designs are patchwork with batiks. I have a 17" Nolting Fun Quilter that I use for machine quilting. Here's a little look at a quilt I designed on the software EQ, titled, "Paris Flower Shop." I made this in my little Paris sewing room. My intention was to design a quilt involving 2 1/2-inch strips. 

I'm rather known in my quilting sphere for being a bit obsessed with taking the scrap Half Square Triangles from quilt projects with 2 1/2-inch strips and making a new quilt. The finished size of the HSTs are 1 1/4-inches.

One of my current favorite quilts came from a panel challenge my Material Girls quilting group organized last year. Below is a peek of it getting blocked. I had a set of Hoffman Batik Hawaiian Applique-looking 10-inch squares. I had been coveting them for years trying to decide how to put them in a quilt. The background fabric was a batik piece I had in my stash for even longer that I bought at an adorable quilt shop on Kauai. The challenge was just what I needed to marry everything together. 

I use my blog as a journal to keep track of my projects.
I do more than quilt. 

Gardening and Landscape Projects

Bucilla Christmas kits

Santa cross stitch ornaments

And every now and then a little travel adventure.
 Hard to top my Bali trip in 2013. 
Black plastic bags full of batik fabric I bought at $2 a yard.

Now it's time for you to meet more bloggers in the quilt world. And don't forget to enter the fabric give away. Just click on the linked box below to visit with more fun quilters.

And click again to enter for the Grand Prize.

Hope you will visit again.

Friday, August 24, 2018

State Fair Results

The Alaska State Fair opened yesterday. It was really the only afternoon I had free to run to the fair this year...and it was the worst weather. Good thing quilts are an "indoor" activity.

I was very excited to see my Radiant Zinnias quilt won its division. Love getting a division ribbon.

My Hawaiian Faux Applique quilt got an Honorable Mention and my other little wall hanging was nicely ribbon.

It is always so fun to see all the beautiful quilts. 

Though I have not attended Breakfast Club this summer, I immediately recognized one from the club. In May, the group took a set if flower panels designed by an Alaskan artist as the inspiration for their quilts. This is Marge's quilt. I have a special connection to her now...her grand daughter is marrying my son in November.

I really enjoy all the landscaping that is completely new every year at the fair. There is a large circular area that was very appropriate for our record-breaking rainy August...a water feature. Orca whales with a kayak adventurer. 

One of the longest lines at the State Fair was a coffee vendor. It was downright horrible weather.

Eli was nice and warm. He always has to be in the middle of any sewing room project. I am trying to get some blouses made.

Hoping to finish a few sewing projects this weekend. I'm traveling to Washington next week to visit my parents. I sure hope I see some sunshine on my travels.

Monday, August 13, 2018

I'm Working On It

Almost time for the state fair so I spent a few days last week blocking three quilts and making sure all the dog and cat hair was removed. My quilt, "Radiant Zinnias," has definitely been my favorite quilt I've made in the past year.  Hope she does well at the fair.

I used the insulation boards that are my design wall to get the blocking done. I laid two boards on my cutting table and pinned the quilt in place after spraying it with water on both sides. 

We have rain in the forecast for much of this week and boy do I need to spend some time attending to "inside chores." Big on my list is to update my blog banner. I'm taking part in a Blog Hop for all of September so I really need to address some issues!

I hope to get some sewing done but am not doing any quilting until I get some new tops sewn for myself. I have such pretty cuts of rayon batiks. They shouldn't "age" like most of my quilt fabrics. I need to make some muslin mock ups first...not fun but I already wasted one cut of fabric on a pattern that didn't work. 

Just a quick update. Need to get back to work.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Quilt and Garden Projects

Well...some quilts just demand more attention than others! I usually wash quilts before adding the binding...just in case I want my binding to be perfect if I enter it in the state fair. Entries are due next weekend. I am have a horrible time with the black dyes bleeding into the colors. I have soaked it in hot water with Dawn dishwashing detergent for six, 8 to 10 hour sessions. Three times I thought it was good and put it in the dryer and it was horrible!!! This time I am letting it air dry. 

This summer's  major rock project is done. I found a few plants drastically reduced in price at some nurseries so I was able to put some greenery in my tubs.

I still need to add edging all around my rock work. Yipes...will it ever end?

But just like any normal quilter...a lull in one project meant I moved onto another one.
 Last year's growing season I outlined a second raised perennial bed. In April my husband and I placed two pallets of bagged garden soil from Lowe's in the bed. 

There just weren't enough hours in the day after working on the rock in front of the house and my vegetable garden so the second perennial bed was ignored. No planting as I didn't have the soil in place. It was still in bags thrown into the bed in April with grass and weeds growing around them...not a pretty sight. I got all the bags of dirt dumped (67, water logged bags) and covered the new soil with black plastic. It is too late to plant the bed this summer and I don't want any more weeds or grass taking over so I am covering the soil with black plastic until the growing season in 2019. I made it halfway through the bed on Tuesday.

It was three days ago that I worked in the bed and since then I have a nasty rash on one arm which is very much like a bad burn. It is starting to blister. 

I was removing a lot of cow parsnip plants. I knew the plant can give people rashes but I was trying very hard to be careful. I had gloves on but only a sleeveless shirt as I was very hot working that day.

The plant is actually very pretty. Huge leaves with clusters of white flowers. The flowers on the one pictured below have already died .

It looks an awful lot like devil's club which has sharp spikes along the spines and red berries. I have it in my yard too but didn't run into any when weeding the perennial bed. 

I started working on the perennial bed today but got stung twice by wasps from a nest hanging in this little skinny birch tree. That was enough combat gardening for me today. I will try to take out the wasp nest later tonight or tomorrow morning. The back yard is looking pretty decent.

I still have a lot of rock to move and it is currently blocking entry to my front porch. I had another area on my wish list of rock work and that is around theses three trees and the stump, pictured below that are along our driveway. Just enough elevation and sparse sunlight to make grass a poor choice for ground cover. It would look so good with ferns and a few rocks.

Have to share a photo of an artichoke that is finally showing itself! When it gets another inch wider I am picking it. I was reading that this plant is a perennial...but not in Alaska.

As I rushed to my Jazzercise class one morning this week, I had to take a minute to snap a photo of this bull moose crossing the road. I was sitting at a stop sign. He wasn't bothered by me or my car at all.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Going in Circles

I wanted so much to share a finished quilt...but as I was about to pull the quilt off the frame I spied a bad area of tension on the backside. Quilting with black thread on black fabric is very tough on the eyes. It was so frustrating to not notice the problem until I thought I was done!!! It was an area of small circles...or pebbling. It took me 6 hours over three days to carefully rip out the bad areas.

Done venting.

I do have a tip. With regular blackboard chalk I sharpened in a manual pencil sharpener,  I drew a white chalk outline around the remaining good areas quilted in black thread so I know where to fill in with my pebbling.

Mostly, I've been working on my landscaping project. 

I have planted the blueberry bushes and three currants, red, black and white. Lots of new leaves on all the plants. So happy! I pulled all the flower buds off as advised by the University of Alaska Fairbanks agricultural program. No berries for the first year...just getting established.

 I have one span of ground left to fill... 

more metal bins. 

This has to be my signature landscape prop. 
I am planning to fill the metal bins with perennials like bleeding hearts, ferns, astilbe, hostas, ligularia, and columbine. Mostly a shady area but it does get some sun.

Below is my metal bin retaining wall...still looking great after three years. We had a really cold start to our winter with no snow cover...very tough on perennials and shrubs. I replaced five of the shrubs that looked pretty bad this spring, which means I might give a little more attention this fall to mulching the plants to give them some added protection. 

And a set of free-standing tubs. Annual flowers love these metal bins. This set of metal bins have been in use every summer for over 15 years. Love them. Recently, I have only been able to find nice large bins sturdy enough to sit outside at Home Depot. They sell for just under $20 locally. Some of my older metal bins came from Walmart and Lowes giving me a bit of variety in sizes. FYI,  I drill four holes in the bottom for drainage. 

I have been so sparse in posting on my blog this summer.
Since I use my blog to help me keep track of my progress I need to say that I had to get another 12,000 pounds of fractured rock for my landscaping project...

 and now I am needing another load of gravel. 
I have one more area I want to tackle before closing up the 2018 growing season. 
It's a pretty small long as I don't get carried away...