Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Cookie Jar, Quilt Along Block #5

Have you ever been traveling down a road and suddenly been tempted to take a little side road just to see where it leads?

Happens to me all the time.

That little side road has always intrigued me. It knows my name. "Karen," it whispers. "Karen, come see what I can show you."  I'm always up to an adventure and I find these calls so hard to resist.  I've wandered off the main path over and over. I've left it on foot and in I've left it in my car. Sometimes there is nothing of interest of all, just a dead end, but you can never know unless you look.

Now and again, though that little path can lead a person right into a bog. Literally. Like the time I loaded up my mom's car with teenage friends and we went on an adventure! 

We were on the highway going nowhere in particular when one of the girls saw a small gravel road leading into some trees. With much encouragement from my giggling friends I slowed down and turned onto that gravel road. It did look interesting. 

This could have been us except my mom's '49 Ford was dark, forest green.
Soon we came upon an even narrower road. It was just a deeply rutted pat that wound through deep weeds. Of course, we simply had to see where it led. Where it led us was to a stop. We were suddenly mired deep in mud. Up the hubcaps! Soundly stuck. 

We couldn't just sit there, so we all piled out of the car and trudged through the muck, across a field, and up to the farmhouse to ask for help. The farmer eyes went to our mud-covered shoes and legs as he listened to our story. I'm sure I heard him snicker, but he just nodded, straight faced, and headed for his tractor.  He drove to our car, hauled it out of the field and pointed us back to the road. As we climbed back in the car he turned away shaking his head and mumbling something about "girls".

That's the one and only time I've been stuck in mud. But even that didn't cure my curiosity when I see an interesting path. The temptation to follow never leaves. More often than not, taking that turnoff has taken me somewhere wonderful - a beautiful meadow, an almost hidden fishing hole, a charming little town. 

"Ok, nice little story," you say. 

"But what does it have to do with the Quilt Along block?" 

It has everything to with the block! Truly. 

You see, I was planning to make a sewing machine. I had the sketch all planned out in my head. But, when I sat down at my desk I couldn't draw it. My mind kept wandering away from that idea. It wanted to explore some other direction. I didn't know where it all might lead, but I gave in and let my pencil doodle around. 

Before I knew it, I had drawn a cookie jar. 

A cookie jar? I had known from the beginning that I would make a cookie jar block some day, but I hadn't planned it for this block. It just happened. 

So I stitched it up, and here it is - a cookie jar for Block 5.

I filled it up with frosted sugar cookies because those are my grandson's absolute, all time, forever favorite cookies! 

In fact, when he was in first grade he begged me to bring frosted sugar cookies to share with everybody on Grandparents' Day.  My grandson proudly passed out cookies to all the students in his class and to the other visiting grandparents, too, all the while bragging that his grandma made the very best cookies ever.

Enough of the stories! I must be boring you to tears!

I think I'll go to the kitchen and bake some cookies. Frosted sugar cookies, of course. 

Want one?

Maybe I'll make a sewing machine next time. 
Maybe not.
Wherever the road leads...

Monday, April 14, 2014

Making a Summer Quilt

A couple of months ago, I was given a gift. A friend named Norah and a couple of others got together and gave me something really exciting.

It was an entire layer cake! Forty-two 10" x 10" squares of Moda's new "High Street" fabrics! Oh, wow! But what to do with this delightful group of fabrics?

I thought about it for weeks as I worked on mug rugs and my new yellow purse. It had to be something for summer, and not anything so small as a mug rug. First I thought to do a flip-flop quilt. I made one several years ago and people keep asking for the pattern. I do help them get started, but it's a McCalls pattern, not one of my own.

Did I want to make another flip-flop quilt, though? Really? Nope. Not exactly a unique idea.

But a quilt with a whole summer wardrobe ... 
That would be fun! 
A wardrobe for a summer at the beach.

So that's what I designed, and here it is.

Oh, my goodness, what fun this was to make!

That is, it was fun once I got the wrinkles ironed out. The first plan was to use unique blocks like these. 

It was a very pretty block and on paper it looked great. So I made six blocks and put them up on my design board. 

Something just wasn't working.

I called in the hubby for consultation. We tried another arrangement.

Definitely not!

So it was back to the drawing board.

"What's wrong with simple?" my better half asked. "Can't you just keep it really simple?"

Well, of course! 

Gotta love that man!

Nice and simple to showcase the fabrics. 

Perfectly square, straight sashings, easy to sew. 

I took the little quilt outside to our park and photographed it in the beautiful sunshine - even though it's only 33 degrees today and last night's snow still hasn't completely melted away. 

It looks nice an warm out there, so that's all that really matters.

I didn't have enough of the plain gray for the back, so had to innovate. So much more fun than a plain backing, don't you think?

Now, on to the next project!

Guess what!

I have scraps!