a project

I’ve been doing so many things, so I’m going to have to do a whole bunch of catching up. I thought I’d start small, with one of my favorite things that I’ve made lately, although I didn’t actually make it by myself.

Years ago, my mother-in-law gave me a stack of quilt tops that had been handed down to her. She didn’t know exactly who in her family made them, but they came from Arkansas and West Virginia and were made in the 30’s and 40’s. I don’t know if they were made by the same person, or several different people. The fabrics are pretty amazing, but the workmanship is not the best.


I started on this particular quilt top ages ago. I started to hand quilt it, but it wasn’t anything close to being flat, so I gave up on that idea, and it has just been languishing. I pulled it out again and decided to just tie it, and not worry about all the puckering and bunching.


I kind of tied the crap out of it, but I absolutely love it. The fabrics are so fun to look at, and there are lots that I wish I had larger pieces of for my stash. I backed it with a 30’s inspired rose print and bound it with another stripe-y 30’s-like print, and I think they are just perfect with the colorful top.


The maker of the quilt top may not have been the most skilled seamstress, but the whole thing is hand stitched, and I think she had a great eye for color. I hope she would be happy with what I did, and be pleased that it is being used and loved.


There’s a certain melancholy to an unfinished project, isn’t there? I think about all my half-finished things laying around, and wonder if years from now someone will find something I’ve started and value it enough to finish. Or maybe I should just get it together and finish what I start.




Sometimes things just don't work out how I imagine them in my head. Flush from the success of my window patchwork and my corner office, I thought I'd teach myself how to do paper piecing. It was all going pretty well, and then I got to the second-to-last piece.

Paper piecing

Back to the drawing board. It seems that each piece can only have one seam, and I tried to do two. If any paper piecing experts are reading this, is that the case? I'm off to do a little more research. I just thought it would be good to share the failures along with the successes to keep me honest. 

books books books!

I have a book to give away here on the blog this week, and you can give away 20 books if you hurry! I'll tell you about mine last, because it's not as important or exciting as World Book Night! Have you heard about this? I should have mentioned it sooner, but I signed up at what I thought was the last minute and then didn't think about it again until I got an email the other day that I had been accepted and would get the opportunity to share twenty copies of a favorite book. 


So, what is this World Book Night thing, you may be asking? It started last year in the UK and has expanded to include the US and Ireland this year! It's a charity for the promotion of literacy and reading, which is very dear to my heart. Anyone in these three countries can apply to recieve twenty copies of a favorite book (you choose from a list of 30 very good books-I had to really think about which I wanted to share) to be given away in a location of your choosing-preferably to non-readers, on April 23. I chose Peace Like a River, which is that rare kind of book that stays with you for years and years. Narrated by a young boy whose voice has been compared to Scout Finch or  Huck Finn, it is the story of a family and a tragedy and miracles and goodness. I can't wait to share it!

Go apply right now, the deadline is Monday, February 6th at midnight EST. You don't have to write long essays for each question, just give succinct but thoughtful answers and I think you'll have a good chance at being accepted. At least that's what I did. 

Now for a little blog giveaway. It's been awhile since I've done one, but I just received a copy of the new paperback edition of Creative Quilting with Beads, which I contributed to a few years ago.

image from www.flickr.com

It's got lots of fun projects, and even if you don't want to replicate them exactly, it's good for inspiration for everything from bags to wall hangings to fridge magnets (I think theses are super cute and would make great little brooches). I recently cleaned out my bead stash, so I might even include an assortment of seed beads and a little sewing kit along with the book.   


To enter, just leave a comment and tell us about a favorite quilting project or beading project (links to pictures are encouraged!) you've done or dream of doing. I'll leave the comments open until next weekend. 

some things that will be finished soon

I'm having kind of a good time finishing some things that were started a long time ago. Here are just a few: 


A long ago thrift store find, this little display shelf was dusty, dark wood. I think it still needs one more coat of glossy paint, I just had some flat spray paint, but I love it so much more in white. It's nice to have a place to showcase some tiny treasures that I love. 


A simple appliquĂ© quilt I started long, long ago. I finished sewing the three big flowers and their stems, so now I just need to get some batting, figure out the backing, quilt, and bind the whole thing. I love the saturated colors of these batik fabrics. I know they're maybe not so modern and hip, but I don't care. I'll probably hand quilt it with lots more of the same bright colors. 

HemIt's nice and chilly in the evening, so I've picked up the knitting needles again! This is the Tea Leaves cardigan (Ravelry link) I started in March, and that is the bottom edge, just about ready to be cast off. Then I'll just have to do the sleeves and the button band, and I'll have a new sweater for this autumn!

There are a couple more projects in the works, and all this suits my ADD style just fine. I've also managed to hem my living room drapes, which have been hanging there un-hemmed for longer than I'd like to admit. There's also another porch project that I hope to finish this weekend that I think is going to be very cute. 


Luckily, Winston keeps me company in my little house studio as I work on all these projects. It really must be fall, his summer haircut is growing out quite nicely! 

catch up

I had no intention of disappearing for three weeks, but I guess that's just what I did. I've been both busy and lazy. Well, not so much lazy, just worn out from the busy. And there was a bit of a cold somewhere in that time too. Last week I decided to enter a contest at Veer.com to win a MacBook Pro. I knew the competition was going to be tough, but I forced myself to try anyway. Veer is a stock photo/illustration/design site, so most users are professional graphic designers. So the contest was to step away from the computer and recreate their logo with real materials. Multiple entries were allowed, so I did three: a mini quilt, a papercut, and a candy mosaic. 


 Veer Papercut 

 Veer Candy 

The winner was pretty darn cool, and the ten runners-up were also really great. I'm still happy I went without sleep and ate too much orange candy in my attempts. I do love my papercut one, although that was my first attempt at papercutting, and it was not easy. I want to try it out with different kinds of paper, because everything looked terrible when I tried to use a blade. I ended up using paper scissors in the end. I think I'll remove the letters from the quilt and turn it into a little doll quilt, I love the bright, juicy oranges. 

I've been doing a little cooking as well, and had myself a little tea party one afternoon, while watching Howard's End. You don't really notice the food in that movie unless you watch it hungry. I speak from experience. So I was prepared this time. One of my favorite scones ever are the ginger scones I would get at Teaism, when I lived in Alexandria, Virginia. So I used a cream scone recipe and added finely chopped crystallized ginger and they may not have looked like much, but they were just perfect. I recommend that you try this sometime. 


My former boss is an avid fisherman, and brought back a whole lot of yellow fin tuna from a recent trip. So I decided to use some to make fish & chips, but with a little Asian twist. I cut the chunk of tuna into fat sticks, dipped them in beaten egg, and then coated them with panko crumbs. Then I fried them in a little oil (maybe a half inch deep), turning so that all the sides got nice and brown. I made two dipping sauces instead of tarter sauce. The first was my usual wasabi cream sauce and the other with a spicy mayonnaise, which was simply mayo with some srirachi chili sauce (also known as Rooster sauce), and a little squeeze of lemon. Yum! It was delicious and really easy. 


Now I'm hungry, and we are out of bacon, so I think I'm going to get myself dressed and head over to the local diner for breakfast. 



chicken thieves

Hey, hi! Remember me? I know, I know, it's been awhile. So. I mentioned this in passing on twitter, but in case you missed it, someone climbed over our fence last weekend and stole eleven of my chickens. Why would someone do something so terrible? I've been completely heartbroken over the whole thing, and not sleeping too much, worried that they'll be back for the remaining six. Those six, by the way, seem pretty traumatized by the whole thing themselves. They stopped laying completely for a few days. In fact I've only found four eggs the last couple days. Of my six newer chicks, they took four. One of the two has lost all her friends and wanders around the yard alone most of the time. I hope the thieves just fell on hard times and really wanted some laying hens so they could have eggs to eat, but I know the chances are slim that any of them are still alive. I feel sick just typing that. In the meantime, I've put a padlock on the chicken coop, and they get locked up tight every night now. The dogs were unusually agitated for several nights in a row, and I think the robbers may have come one night to case the joint, and then dogs may have chased them away before they could get all the chickens. We reported it to the sheriff, but I don't expect much will come from that.

Anyway, I haven't felt too creative lately, as you might imagine. I did have to make a couple quilt blocks for a co-worker who is having a baby. Several other co-workers organized a friendship quilt-a-long, which is so great! I got a square of blue gingham, which I cut up to piece together this little house block.


It's not too exciting, but cute enough I think.

I've also been writing app reviews for an iPhone blog called Appmodo. So far, mostly just games, but I hope to get to try out all sorts of different apps eventually. I want to work on building a portfolio of my writing, so this will be a good addition. Plus, free apps for me! Of course, I've been using all my writing mojo up, and haven't had any leftover for my own little blog. I'm starting to get more into the swing of it, though, so I should be back here regularly now.


I like giraffes, don't you? Maybe it's because they are tall that I find them so appealing. I do not, however, have quite as long a neck.


This is from my trip to the Boise Zoo last month. It's a nice little zoo, and I had fun getting photography tips from my brother as we walked around. It was like we had our own little photo safari.

I've been working on my jelly roll quilt. 126 triangles down, 78 more to go. I've started putting pieces up on my design wall and I think I'm going to love this quilt. I really like creating my own originals, sorting through fabric and finding just the right combination, but sometimes it's so nice to just let someone else do all the thinking work, and just enjoy the patchwork zone that I get into, cutting, sewing and pressing.

Winston is laying on his back, paws in the air, and just started wagging his tail for no apparent reason. He's such a happy dog, I can't help but smile when I'm around him. Yesterday morning I was loading the car with bags for Good Will. I left it open while I went back in the house to get ready for work. When I cam back out to leave, a good 20 minutes later, there he was, sitting in the driver's seat, ready to go! I was tempted to take him with me to work, but it wouldn't have been much fun for him to lay under my desk all day.

too much stuff

Too much stuff on my to-do list, too much stuff to make, and too much stuff in my house. That's the theme for this weekend, I think. I will have to clean the bathroom and do the laundry and hopefully clean out the dresser and send some things to Goodwill, but mostly what I want to do is make things, so let's just talk about the fun, creative stuff, shall we?

Actually, despite the fact that for some reason, this week I haven't done much more than come home from work and sit like a zombie on the couch while watching Netflix dvds, I have one finished project to share (finished a while ago, actually):


It's this little baby jacket from Debbie Bliss. Stash yarn from I don't even know how long ago, and a scrap of fabric for the flower. It was a quick little knit for my new niece, and I hope to see her in it this Winter. Baby knits are so perfect for Summer knitting: small, quick and portable! Which reminds me that I really need to go to the beach sometime soon, before Summer is over (the portable part of that last sentence is what made me think of that, in case you were wondering how my mind works and what knitting has to do with the beach).


I decided to be a little less lazy last night, and pulled out my orange sweater to work on while watching the last season (sniff!) of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I had started the first sleeve, but stopped because extreme laziness prevented me from reading how to do the M1L and M1R stitches that I needed to do to move on to the next row. It turns out those increases were not as difficult as I remembered, and now I'm nearly done with the first sleeve. Here's hoping I'll have pictures of a finished sweater soon! One more sleeve and it's all done. Just in time, too, since the new Interweave Knits just arrived, and I really need to make a couple sweaters from it (Rosamund's cardigan and the Nordique
, in case you were interested).

Besides knitting, I've got some serious quilting to do. I have a commission for a baby quilt and the only requirements were pink and brown. I can add another color and do any design I want. I have an idea what I'm going to do, but this one is a little challenging. Brown is not usually on my list of color choices. I went to the 1930's reproductions for inspiration, since I especially like those pinks, and here's what I've decided to work with:


I love the light brown polka dots. The plan for this weekend is to get a few squares done. At the other end of the spectrum, I picked up a jelly roll while visiting my favorite quilt shop in Boise earlier this month. Then I found this pattern, and thought it was quite adorable, and started slicing and stitching away. Sometimes it's nice to have someone else do all the work planning and thinking, and to just sit and sew.


greedy gardener

I think I'm going to have to get over my box building frustration sooner rather than later. I seem to have filled my first box right up! I'm feeling a little greedy, and want to grow everything! I planted some seeds, but also went on a little shopping spree at my favorite nursery. They had so many varieties of tomatoes. I had space for four, but the selection was so overwhelming that I ended up with a yellow (Lemon Boy), a purple (Cherokee Purple), and two red cherry tomatoes (Sweet Million and Red Currant), but I think I really ought to have a couple more reds, oughtn't I? And maybe a green. I want to be able to can some for the Winter.


Peppers are posing the same problem, I got a jalapeno, a bell pepper, and a cherry red, but there are so many fun varieties, and those three seem rather ordinary. I'm very excited about the French Sorrel, which was a complete impulse buy, but I tasted a leaf and love the citrus-y tart taste. It's a perennial, so hopefully it will spread a little, maybe into two square feet, from the one it's now it. It can be divided, as well, so if it does like the conditions here, I'll definitely spread it around.

Here's the view from our back fence. As you can see, I have plenty of room for a lot more boxes. I'd like to grow some berries against the fence to the right, and maybe put in a few fruit trees.


Nothing has happened yet in my potato cans, no signs of green, although most of the potatoes definitely had sprouts in their eyes, so I'm expecting to see something soon. I also planted a green globe artichoke next to the potatoes. I love artichokes! For prettiness, I planted one square of my box with candy cane zinnia seeds, and another with a tiny dianthus from the sale table. I planted some basil seeds, but also brought home a flowering basil because they were filled with bees at the nursery. I can't seem to find the tag for it, but I think it's cinnamon basil. There's also a Japanese eggplant and a couple zucchini plants. Other seeds I planted include peas, two kinds of beans, two kinds of cucumber, radishes and cilantro. And yet I need more. I think it's already too hot for any sort of lettuces or greens, but I have seeds for all sorts of kales and chards and lettuces that I might start toward the end of Summer for Fall planting.

Who else is working on a vegetable garden? Share what you're growing, I want to know!

I got myself good and worn out doing all that planting on Saturday, not to mention dirty and sweaty after weeding along one side of the box. I plan to lay down weed cloth and mulch and possibly some stepping stones this week. I think I need a chair or two out there, to sit and enjoy the plants in the evening. If only this one wasn't sold out everywhere.

After all that activity I did a lot of resting today, and did a little hand sewing while watching Last Chance Harvey this evening (it was sweet, but I love Emma Thompson, so I like everything she's in). I am trying to come up with some more pincushions, and I think I'm on the right track, but it needs just a little something more. I used the same fabric I used for my headscarf, but maybe I need to stick to smaller prints? I'm going to have to think about it, but I really want to get some things in my shop, it's looking so sad and barren at the moment.


I also decided to start un-picking and re-stitching the latest quilt top from my mother-in-law. She said that her mother started it when she found out she was pregnant with her, but she wasn't much of a sewer or quilter. I love these fabrics so much, and the yellow solid is so nice, and unusual. As I was getting started and looked at the back I realized that she must have used paper to piece it, there are all these little bits.


As I'm unpicking I can feel the frustration and impatience the seamstress must have had. There are places where the sewing machine was obviously acting up, and she seems to have just plowed on through. None of the points are anywhere near meeting, and the seam allowances are 1/8" in some places and well over 1/4" in others. So she may not have had much skill for needlework, but she did at least have an eye for color, I hope she won't mind my re-doing and finishing her quilt.



Preparations are underway for the arrival of the beehive (in case you missed it, that mysterious implement a couple posts ago was a smoker, to use on bees when you inspect the hive). I've been re-reading all the bee-related books I've collected over the past couple years and I think I'm ready. The beekeeper arrives with my hive on Saturday morning. I found him via craigslist, and sent him an email asking if I could buy a hive from him. He's re-queened a nice hive of very calm bees just for me.  I might need to get this hive and make the bees move eventually. How cute would that be once it's painted white and the copper top has developed a nice patina? I am also weighing my options and trying to select a hive tool. I could go with the standard, economical, and utilitarian model, or I can get the cheery yellow, flashy Italian model for twice the price, which looks like the Ferrari of hive tools. It's a dilemma.

In other minor, daily news, chicks are being fed, watered, held and smooched morning and evening, and games of fetch are played with the adorable dogs. Lest you think it's all cute fuzzy chicks and teddy-bear like dog noses around here, this is the state of the living room as of this morning.


I have strategically not captured the carpet close up. I suppose I should be happy that the surest sign of Spring-the prolific shedding of dog hair-is apparent in clumps and handfuls everywhere I go. I really should get that vacuum out tonight-there was that whole vacuum more often goal I set at the beginning of the year. But that will cut into my chick cuddling time. Also my Buffy the Vampire Slayer watching time. Also, I still need to hem my curtains and slipcover my chair. I just thought I'd keep it real here at chez Lucy. That morning light sure is pretty though, don't you think?


On the last visit to my mother-in-law I brought home not only a mandolin, but also another quilt top. This one was made by her mother when she was expecting. My mother-in-law has always said that her mother was never very good at sewing or needlework of any kind, and I have to say, I kind of agree. I may have to take this one apart and re-assemble it, but I love the big yellow pinwheel shapes, and all the sweet fabric prints.

I'm all over the place tonight, but one more thing, because I need your opinion: You may have noticed that I switched my comments to the new Typepad system. About the same time I made that switch I finally figured out how to connect my heylucy.net email to my gmail account. I think this is all good stuff, but it's taking me awhile to adjust to this new workflow (sorry for the technical term, but I do have this job, you know, where I sometimes have to use that office-speak). Before all these changes I would get comments in my email, which was web-based. Unfortunately, the company I use has a really crappy webmail service and I would have to load the messages every time I logged in. That would often take a good 5 minutes because their spam filter was completely useless and so my inbox would be full of 90% spam and 10% actual mail. Half the time the whole thing would just lock up and I couldn't even get to my email. So that is much better, now that it just goes straight to gmail. This is kind of boring, sorry about that. I never know if anyone cares about these long explanations, but I do have a point, so please bare with me!

Previously, when I would get a comment, I could just reply to the email notification I got. I really like responding to comments as much as possible, because I think this is really a conversation, not just me talking at you. Now, however, when I reply to a comment email, the reply is posted directly under the comment for everyone to read. I mostly like this, but I would like it if the reply was also sent as an email to the person who left the comment. I will have to investigate to see if that's possible, because otherwise you have to keep coming back here to see replies to your comments and I don't think anyone has the time to do that very often. The whole point to this uninteresting and long-winded explanation is that I want to know your opinion! Do you like the comments like this, or did you prefer the old way? As a reward for sharing your thoughts I give you another cute chick photo: