Thursday, June 30, 2011

Organic Chemistry Quilt

Well, here it is, as of today:  Not quite finished...  I have the blocks all sewn together, but as I was cutting out the borders, I decided I needed to make them a bit different that I'd originally planned, and then I decided to piece together the back with all of the left over fabric that I had made the front with, which is proving to be a bit time consuming.

Then last night, DS1 broke his glasses (luckily an easy fix), so we had to go to the eye place today.  Short story long, it won't be in the modern quilt guild's contest, but now that the pressure's off, I may very well get the back pieced together and put it away until fall.  We'll see.  As I ironed the piece yesterday, I was once again reminded of why I just don't do much quilting in the summer!!  It's just too hot!!

Truth be told, I already started a few more fabric postcards today (a much more suitable summer project), and have totally enjoyed having a few "down" days with my boys.  I think we're all glad to be able to stay in one place for a while!!

Oh, and in case you notice, I know that there are a few "mistakes" on the quilt... a result I'm afraid more of using permanent ink to draw out the molecules than anything else.  Lesson learned.  I'm happy with how it turned out, glad I did it, but it isn't quite as I envisioned it.  It sure is one of a kind though LOL!  Glad I finally got something out of that organic chemistry class I took many years ago!!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

WIP Wed., Organic Chemistry Quilt, and vacation

Over the last 2 weeks, our family drove from Eastern Oregon to Chicago and back, mainly to see family and friends, but we also took in many of our country's natural beauties along the way.  We tried to stay off the interstates, and camped all but 2 nights (or stayed in family or friends' homes).  We covered almost 5000 miles, and were in our truck almost 90 hours!  I'm afraid my pictures weren't that great, especially since we got a lot of rain on our trip, and since many of the pictures were taken from a truck moving 55-70 mph.  Here's our favorite camping spot that we found on our trip... It's just outside the Soldier Creek Wilderness Area, in NW Nebraska.  I joked that we had a million dollar view for only $8.  We had the small campground all to ourselves, if you don't count the multitude of birds.  Some of our favorite spots, other than the homes of our loved ones, were City of Rocks Rec Area in Southern Idaho, NW Wyoming, LaCrosse, WI and surrounding areas, Lake Superior and the NE corner of Minnesota, and the mountains of Western Montana and Northern Idaho.

Another view of our view...
Lake Superior.

 Mountains of Montana.
 We also had the unfortunate opportunity to drive through Minot, ND the day after the town had been evacuated due to flooding.  It was devastating to see so many houses already underwater, and to see the desperation of those trying to save what was left.  We tried to avoid the area, but all US roads to the north were closed.  We saw a tremendous amount of flooding, in North Dakota, but also in Eastern Montana and Southern Minnesota.  So so sad!

Today is also Wednesday, so I though I'd link up with Freshly Pieced Blog's WIL WED and share my progress on my "molecule", or "Organic Chemistry" Quilt.  I was hoping to get it done in time to enter into the Modern Quilt Guild contest, but am not holding my breath.  I've all but come to the conclusion, after trying to enter 3 of these contests, that 3 months just isn't enough time for me to create an original quilt and make it.  This quilt has taken more time than just about any quilt I've made, mostly because I have hand embroidered so much of it.  I did most of it in our truck on the road, and only have 1 or 2 blocks left, so there's still hope, but another problem with it is that it's not going to photograph very well.  But here's a picture of my "Estrogen" molecule, and a detail.  I hope to have a finished quilt, or at least quilt top to show soon!  With the weather getting hot, my time on my sewing machine is becoming limited...

I hope all of you are having a great summer so far!!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

WIP Wed: Not your typical "hexie"

It's Wednesday, so I'm linking up with Freshly Pieced WIP Wed today!

I've been spending the last of my kid-free time trying to get my molecule quilt blocks all ready to hand embroider.  This project has turned into quite a time hog, but I'm really really enjoying it!  Once again, it combines my nerdy science love with my fabric quilty love... a wonderful match for me!!  I don't have a ton of time (only 5 hours, 30 minutes left of school, but who's counting), so this will be just a few quick pictures.  I'll try to describe more of my process later, which may be a lot later, since we'll be doing some camping, and kids will be home 24/7, and we only have one good computer here...
I LOVE the background fabric I found... It's from Moda, and it looks like notebook paper!!  Perfect for this quilt!

I also got a few fabric postcards done for friends, and have all but finished my Sisters Quilt Show challenge quilt block.  I just need to stitch it down.  I loved the blue circle fabric, and as I was trying to figure out what to do, I thought about the Grateful Dead's lyrics "The sky was yellow and the sun was blue", from their song "Scarlet Begonias".  Do you think this will be the first Grateful Dead-inspired quilt block there? LOL  I'm a fan of theirs, and have been to 2 of their shows, in New Orleans and Eugene, OR, many years ago.  I was much more of a spectator at the shows than a participant, if you know what I mean, but love their music! Here's the before and after pictures...

Lastly, we ate our first food from the garden last night!!! Salad!  Isnt' it beautiful?!?!  Also, our okra started sprouting!!  This makes me so incredibly happy!  It's been so hard to get fresh okra ever since I moved away from Louisiana, and the best way is to grow it!!

If you don't hear from me for a while, you'll know that life is keeping me busy!!  Enjoy!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Molecules Awaiting Assembly!

Here's what my ironing board looks like right now!  I have all of my hexagons and pentagons all cut out, pressed, and waiting assembly.  There's even some of my Kona solids there, from Gen-X's swap back in February.  I'm hoping to get them all appliqued onto the quilt this week, so I can work on the embroidery soon (wish my luck LOL).  I had so much fun picking out the fabrics for each molecule, most of which I already had in my stash.  I did have to buy the main fabric for the quilt.  I was tempted to travel an hour to one of my favorite fabric stores for the 4 yards I need, but with gas prices being what they are, I decided to stay local, and luckily our LQS had the most perfect fabric for this quilt!  I can't wait to show you, hopefully tomorrow.  My boys have one last week of school, and we spent a warm wonderful week-end doing household/yard/garden stuff.  I'm hoping to really be able to crank out some sewing this last kid-free week.  I also hope to mail off a few more postcards that are almost done.  I don't want to spoil a surprise though, so I'll keep them under wraps :-).

Probably the biggest news this week-end is that I FINALLY am wearing shorts!  The local newspaper reported today that this May was the coldest ever recorded in this part of Oregon, and the 3rd wettest.  We got snow in the foothills this week (I took this picture Friday).  It's wonderful to finally have some spring-like weather.  It's amazing how fast our garden is responding to the yummy warmth.  I hope it lasts!!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

WIP wed: Garden and Biochemistry

"Don't Call Me Betsy" is hosting this week's WIP Wed!  Come join us over there.

Last Wednesday on WIP Wed over at Freshly Pieced's blog, I once again admired all of the lovely hexagon quilts there.  I made my first one last week, my "Caffeine molecule hexie".  This set in motion a whole new quilt idea using hexies and biochemicals.  In college, Organic Chemistry was one of my hardest, least favorite subjects, but in the lab, it was incredibly important.  In practice, in the lab, it was much different than in theory, so it's been a long, long time since I thought about bonds and elements, rings and chains.  I must admit that researching these for a potential quilt has been much more fun than years ago studying for classwork.

I'm hoping to get all of the fabric picked out and the hexie part of the blocks done before an upcoming road trip.  After struggling to get my machine to do the bonds and letters of the elements in the right places for my caffeine molecule, I decided I'm going to try to hand embroider (!) these in my quilt!  Any ideas on how to do it, or what stitches or floss to use would be much appreciated!!  I have the usual DMC floss, a hoop, and needles... I'm hoping to do the embroidery during the time in the truck on the road.

I also got my fabric and packet in the mail from the Sisters Quilt Show Quilt Block Contest for Sisters Oregon Quilt Show.  I already have an idea for that too, but am not quite ready to share.

We spent the long week-end getting our garden all ready, a major WIP (hmmm maybe I should make a garden quilt next LOL).  My husband has outdone himself this year!  He likes to create with wood, and cut and made a bunch of trellises and supports for our tomatoes, beans, cucumbers, and squash. 

He also set up a new method of growing potatoes... each bin has them planted in the bottom, and as they grow, the idea is to keep covering them up with mulch and straw (and soil?) so they grow up to the top.  When they're ready to harvest, you just open up the bin and there they are (or so we hope).  I helped plant seeds and set up the irrigation, and also spent a great deal of time removing "rockscaping" in our yard to make planting beds.  Backbreaking work! 

I actually haven't touched my sewing machine in almost a week, so I'm hoping to get back at it today!  I can't wait to see what everyone else is working on over at Don't Call Me Betsy!