Monday, December 30, 2019

Put a Bird On It 2020

This blog began as documentation for a daily challenge and that was at the beginning of this decade.  I found a daily challenge to be a great way to generate new ideas and during that year I made the 52 small fused quilts. These gradually led to the last five years or so of animal quilts.

Also, with a daily challenge, I was a daily blogger and I would like to return to that.

The next challenge will be "Put a Bird On It" where one of twelve birds will be picked at random to become the focus for that month. Rather than use a computer to pick randomly, I chose a luddite approach...I made a hexie for each bird and will pull one out of a jar each month.

The birds of the month will be chicken, owl, penguin, parrot, woodpecker, flamingo, blue jay, pelican, puffin, hummingbird, toucan and vulture. And because I don't have vulture fabric (or can't find it), it's represented by a dead opossum, the turkey vulture's favorite food in Virginia.

And the winner for January is penguin!

I have enjoyed the comments about organization. And as a huge fan of irony, I howled when two of the most organized people on the planet commented I was too organized. I will respect their privacy, except for noting that one just posted about people coming over to sew on the first day of the Bonnie Hunter challenge and the other provided an amazing year in review with precise information on each quilt.   (Molly Kitten says the latter blog is run by a bot because it posts pictures of fake cats.)

I am showing my other storage unit of unsorted scraps that hold the greens, batiks and Kaffe scraps. I don't mind these because I can close them, and for that matter, see them. Before I cleaned up the other scrap bins, Molly and I had the following conversation:

Molly: I think there is a dead squirrel buried in that pile over there.

Me: If there were a dead squirrel, Buddy would eat it.

Molly: There is definitely a dead cat under that pile of scraps over there.

Me: Buddy will eat it eventually.

Molly: I'm positive that a burglar broke in and died and is buried in that pile over there. And I know Buddy would not eat people.

Me: Darn, now I'll have to make other funeral arrangements.

So if you haven't had a similar conversation with your cat, you do not have to worry about your scrap organization.

Saturday, December 28, 2019


Yes, my scrap bins are finally organized. I should have taken a before picture, but it was way too embarrassing. The greens have moved to a separate organizer along with the Kaffe and batik scraps.

Here are some microspools. As you can see, the sheep are still pinned to the design wall. Everyday, Molly takes a run at the design wall and pulls one down.

And here is the cover I use on my sewing machine. The goal is to keep Molly from grabbing the thread off the spool and eating it. Unfortunately, I noticed her sneak under it and enjoy being naughty in secrecy.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

No presents, only past and future

Are you ready for your annual review? For some reason, I think I didn't meet expectations.

And you might think this is Buddy after receiving his annual review...but this is Buddy's treat face. He was avoiding the camera until I brought out a treat to entice him towards the camera.

Meanwhile, let's look back to see where we left off on the quilting side of are the microspools...with the spool cut and matched with a background ready for the sewing machine.

Here are the strips of blue and gold for the fourth step of the Bonnie Hunter Frolic mystery. Yes, these are supposed to be cut into triangle pairs and half square triangles. I am hoping that this is the part where the mystery elves show up and complete the task for me.

And here is the back of the embroidery. I am running one direction with cool colors and then will have hot colors running cross ways to form the circles.

Meanwhile, I am looking into various projects for the new year. I will be starting "Put A Bird On It" on January 1...where I will pick a different bird for each month and have a daily challenge of making a design and/or object of that bird. Here is an example of a challenge that made owls daily for the entire year. (She has taken her website of owls private, but this is her interview with the Making Something 365 & Get Unstuck website).

I have also been wanting to make Afternoon Delight by Sue Garmin. I have the pattern and the fabric but have not had the temerity. As luck would have it, this is going to be the BOM for The Quilt Show this year.

I am open to participating in other play along quilt activities, in case I missed anything while I was hiding in my cave.

Monday, December 16, 2019


Maybe I have been in deep hibernation. And yes, I may be sleepwalking through the Bonnie Hunter Frolic mystery. That said, I am caught up on all three steps. And by my calculations, we are 25 percent of the way there.

And this could be the entrance to my hibernation cave, except its really where the new water main hooks up to my house. Out in the street, this line hooks up to the new water meter. Such excitement. Plus the rumors are true. Molly Kitten would not get out of her heated bed just because there was a jackhammer about 30 feet away (but out in the garage).

Meanwhile, for Sunday I did do some slow marking. I am participating in the 25 million stitches project to raise awareness for the global refugee crisis. The panels are 15 by 17 inches and the variety of panels that people are stitching are amazing.

This is the full panel. I realize this is a much more structured approach than a lot of participants are taking but I wanted to avoid making a hot mess.

And although the sun is out, it may be time to go back to hibernation.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Baaaad Jokes

The sheep are getting restless waiting for me to sew them into position for their first PartisanSheep debate. While they are waiting they are telling baaaad baaaad jokes. And I don't mean jokes that aren't funny...but jokes that are made at the expense of kittens. And yes, maybe on occasion Molly Kitten and I will make jokes at the expense of Buddy, but those are all personal and well-deserved.

Meanwhile, I'm making plans for the new year. On Monday I gave a talk for Northwest Quilters about my animal quilts. Happily, I could use this blog to figure out when I started each quilt and why. I also looked back at the first years of the blog when I was doing my "Make Something Everyday" challenge and realized I should try it again for next year. (And yes, making quilts.)

Because I moved to Portland, I'm going to go with the "Put a Bird On It" challenge. And to mix things up, I'll pick twelve birds (e.g. pileated woodpecker, vulture, toucan etc.) and randomly pick one for each month.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Emmies' Favorite Drink

Meet Mocha (short for grande hot half-caf skinny no whip cafe mocha). And now its time to put the sheep out to pasture.

Friday, December 6, 2019

Fabric Prepper

No Emmie. No Frolicking with Bonnie. No running water.

I know many of you may be worried about me. In the last few days I have posted several blocks of Emmie the Sheep. This means that my fabric stash/hoard has diminished. Similar to preppers who maintain survival levels of food and other essentials, my fabric stockpile was getting dangerously low.

Rest assured because I did take the opportunity to visit another quilter's estate sale. This time my sister was there to supervise (where supervise means "every man for themself"). These are some of the fabrics I picked up.

And here are some more. Given that I have been making sheep blocks, I thought I should pick up some bundles of wool too. The fabric at the top is a Japanese fabric sample book opened up to show some of the fabrics.

The house had lots of china and collectibles and art supplies. The quilter was also a weaver so there were lots of handwoven blankets and two floor looms (one full size). I was happy to pick up this toy mechanical elephant that spins the ball up and down while motoring along. When I picked it up a fellow warned me it wasn't authentic...but I'm kind of glad because a real circus elephant would be way too much work.

I was also very happy to find these cat slippers that had been advertised in the estate sale notice. I was happier to see that they were five dollars. They are crib slippers so they are quite small.

I asked Buddy to use his head for a size comparison but he refused to cooperate. He knows that he has a big head and didn't like my incentive structure (that is, no treats).

Thursday, December 5, 2019

The Golden Fleece

Meet Emmie, short for I'm a Lion (but not for I'm lyin'). One more to go...

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Calming Sheep

Meet Emmie (short for emollient) (not emolument).

Emmie was born defective with a malformed cheek and had to have corrective surgery. This suggested that the recent sheepment may have been defective...and yes they were. The surgeon was kept quite busy.

And now I think I will be heading off to visit Little Penguin Quilts because I think I may have the same water feature in my front yard as she had in hers. And yes, to investigate the water leak, I did make a trip to the crawl space at about 4AM, and this set off the SUPER LOUD Molly alarm system. All day.

Clarification: My water feature is a leak in the pipe coming into the house, and Little Penguin Quilts had problems with pipes going out. But I didn't want you to think that I was talking about snow! In any case, visit Little Penguin Quilts for the festive cheer.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

See the Sheep Frolic

Meet Emmie (short for Anemone).

Meet Frolic. These are some of the four patches from the Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt for this year. I was very happy with this step because it is using the two colors I chose based on my bedroom colors back when I was in high school in the 60s. I had bright blue drapes and a chartreuse shag rug. Groovy!

And with any mystery, half the fun is guessing how it ends. We are about 4 percent into this challenge and I think we can safely forecast that we are making a medallion quilt with a postage stamp center. I report this confidently, because I have an unblemished record for 0 percent correct forecasts for Bonnie Hunter mysteries.

In case you are missing the micro spools, here's a handful. And speaking of handful...Molly.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Sheep Continued

We are now moving on to left sided sheep. The remaining four sheep are already cut (not sheared) and ready to be sewn. And I am making Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt this year, but since I don't have an instagram account, I will post my progress here. I have the strips sewn (blue and lime green) and just need to cut and sew to make four patches.

And Buddy would like to tell you about his Black Friday experience but his version of the story does not meet my very minimal journalistic standards. My version begins with staff indulging in pistachio nuts and thoughtlessly discarding the shells into a small bag with a handle. Staff did not have sufficient safeguards against feline criminality, and this allowed Buddy to stick his head in the bag to steal a pistachio shell. Only Buddy knows why he chose to stick his head through the bag handle...

With guilty conscience and a pistachio-monster-bag threatening to strangle him, Buddy made a fast and furious get-away, but the monster bag was just as fast as Buddy, the fastest cat on the planet. Thankfully, the bag finally ripped apart and loosened its grip as Buddy sought shelter under the bed. 

And yes, I now feel guilty for exposing Buddy to needless danger by trying to contain the pistachio shells in a bag. In the future, I will merely throw them randomly throughout the house, cutting out the middle man (I mean, cat).

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Monday, November 25, 2019

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Sewing Saturday

I coaxed all of the sheep up on the design wall, and chose the obvious layout: The PartisanSheep Divide. To use this layout, however, I need to make three right-leaning sheep and five left-leaning sheep. And now that this fellow is finished, I only need to make two right-leaning sheep.

And these are the last of the pinwheels I needed to finish up my "Chantal's Pinwheel." And if I am super lucky, I will be able to post this on the Rainbow Scrappy Challenge. I think I have finally figured out why I have had trouble with links and comments.

And yes, Molly has forgiven me for forgetting that you can't demote the center of the universe. I think she was feeling sorry for me so she let me watch bird videos with her on youtube. Buddy came along and was washing her face. Then he grabbed her ear in his mouth and tugged...and Molly squeaked. Combined with chewing on computer cords, he is doubly demoted.

Buddy says he can't help it, because he likes spicy food.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Cat Competition

The last time I laid this quilt out I realized I was missing a couple of blocks. I also decided that I didn't want to lay out the smaller blocks, so I put four blocks into diamonds. I just tried to have a hot, bright triangle and a dark triangle in each set of blocks. Then when I laid these out, I discovered I was missing two large blocks. Buddy explained that really it had been 4 by 5 and now I was trying to make it 5 by 5, so I really have extra blocks. (And I discovered that Julie K is putting her Chantal Pinwheel quilt together too.)

Here is Molly. She is either reflecting on the loss of her squirrel, disappointed with my incompetence, or tired of me taking her photo.

Buddy was an excellent sport, so I demoted Molly to least beloved kitten in this household, and made Buddy my favorite. Then Buddy started chewing on a computer cord and I demoted him so that he is tied with Molly. Tomorrow is another day.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019


Remember the ostriches? I had made five rows of ostriches.

And now they are connected. I will probably give it a bit of a border using the background fabric...then decide whether to bind with gray or background.

And yesterday I had a bit of excitement. I heard a pop and then the power went out. I checked the electric company outage map and it mentioned that 93 people in my area were out of power. The cause was under investigation with an estimate that the power would be restored within a couple of hours. Happily, I had already prepared my coffee, so no problem.

Then it slowly came to me that 93 houses isn't that big of an area which meant the problem was probably close by. And yes it was...right in my driveway. So rather than continue to check online, I went out into real life. Scary, I know. Because these trees were trimmed within the last few months, it is likely that there was some intermediary involvement. The electric company blamed a squirrel, but Molly will not believe it until she gets to inspect the evidence.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Blue Scrappy Star Quilt Top

I made a red version of this string diamond last year and you can find the blog post here including a link to the inspiration quilt at the Mingei Museum. I made enough of the string diamonds to make two quilts. And yes, if you look very closely at the bottom left corner of the quilt, you will see that there are disruptive forces in my sewing room that make it hard to hang quilts straight...or do anything really.

Here is another view of the disruptive force, this time contained within an orb that used to be a bed for Molly. Molly now refers to it as "An Orb within an Orb."

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Ostrich Formation

It took me way too long to get to this point. Admittedly, ostriches ask a lot of stupid questions, but that wasn't the problem. I started these guys back in Virginia and have uncovered them many times. At one point, I had the fabric that I was using all together. Then the fabric was refiled when I decided not to make this quilt. Then I changed my mind. Again. I found all of the fabric except the dark gray fabric...and I had bits and pieces, but not enough to add a fifth row. Long story longer, I had pulled the dark gray fabric out to audition it for sheep. (Don't judge...some sheep like to dress up in ostrich feathers...and that's their choice).

Anyway, I'm going to have these maniacal birds staring at me until they tell me what I need to do next.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Digging Out

I guess if you start digging, you should expect to find an ostrich head or two. I also found three cows that had wondered off. I wasn't looking for it...but I also found Buddy's self-portrait.

I started moving quilts out of a cedar closet to give them a better home in the hall closet, and that meant digging stuff out of the hall closet. I found a tub that had lots of chickens, monkeys and singletons of a vulture, eagle, flamingo, raccoon, finch, blue jay etc. These had gotten separated from a bin of other experiments and works in progress.

In any case, I know I have pulled the ostriches out a couple of times now trying to remember what I had planned for them. If I make them into totem poles with a connector between the neck and the top of the head, the background would make a nice geometric.

And here is another explanation about the Frolic (Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt for 2019) colors...the paint chips looked blue but Bonnie's fabric selection looked shaded to the purple with a couple of selections heading toward violet. I went to Lowe's to get the paint cards because I thought my monitor could be off. And yes, I could find paint cards in many versions of blue, and those two versions of violet (far right), but there wasn't a paint card for purple or blue-purple (like the hydrangeas).  Apparently Sherwin Williams does not sell paint to unicorns.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Frolic Fabric

So here is where I landed for my Bonnie Hunter Frolic fabric selection. Or maybe I should say my selection of hue...the fabric selection is an ongoing process. I did go to Lowe's and pick up paint chips because I got a bit confused that Bonnie's paint card looked navy, but her fabric selection appeared purple. When I was looking at the paint display at Lowe's though, I realized that if you want to paint your room purple, Sherwin Williams is looking out for you and is offering you every color but purple.

That was a diversion, however, so I explored other clues. Based on the yardage, the blue/purple and fuchsia are the main colors with green and aqua and light blue as accents. One third of the quilt is white, one third accents, and one third the key colors. Fascinating, but another diversion.

Going to the color wheel, the choice this year isn't an obvious color harmony, but I still mimicked Bonnie's choice. As I took a turn around the color wheel I was looking for two of the key colors that I would most want to work with...which brought me to bright blue and lime green. Yes, when I was in high school my mother let me decorate my room...and true to the 60s, I picked a lime green shag rug and bright blue curtains.

Still following Bonnie's color harmony, I moved around the color wheel to the corresponding accent and orange.

My other big decision was to use Kaffe fabrics as much as possible, because that will make the process a lot more enjoyable. Last year my choices were very static--almost solids--and yikes, I went down in flames.

And I know that you are seeing the major omission in my choices so far...where's the cat fabric? One year, Bonnie admitted that every mystery quilt has some cat fabric, so that is certainly one rule I always adhere to.

Unfortunately, Molly was trying to enjoy her heated bed and did not want to deal with any of my nonsense...especially taking her picture. And yes, last night as trick or treaters came to the door and rang the doorbell, she sat in her bed and took it all in. Buddy would run off and hide.

Buddy has been enjoying Molly's other bed. He runs inside, attacks the inside and then races away.