Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Project Updates and . . .

The scrappy blocks that I started making last week turned into a total of nine. 

Here they are as the center of my new quilt. I had quite a stash of 1-1/2" x 3" bricks and 1-1/2" squares so it all went together quickly. 

My evening project is quilting the Flags of the American Revolution quilt and it's moving right along. I've actually started quilting the outer border :) I'm hoping to have it done by the end of June so I can start quilting Morris hexies for next year's guild show.

On some of the flags I experimented with straight line quilting using Pearl cotton and a larger needle. I had big stitch quilting in mind but my stitches aren't quite big enough, lol. Even so, the quilting goes a lot faster and I can complete one flag in two nights. 

Have you visited Ann Hermes' blog Notes From the Quilt Lab? You should!  Check out her ingenious method for hanging little quilts. I just so happened to have two vintage wooden rulers and was anxious to give it a try. It's so e-a-s-y! The little quilt is sandwiched in between two rulers that are held together with binder clips which become the hangers. Ann has lots of examples so make sure you stop by! FYI, that was my first sewing machine. It was a gift from my parents for my 13th birthday :)   

More wildflowers . . . 

These Stars of Bethlehem are everywhere! So pretty to look at.

I spotted this Jack-in-the-Pulpit near the Mayapple patch. 

Yesterday we ate lunch at the famous Summit Diner in downtown Summit, NJ. It was built in 1938 and is the oldest operating diner in NJ. My favorite diner food is a cheese omelet with homefries and rye toast :) 

Hope you have a great week!

Copyright 2017, Barbara Schaffer

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

More Scraps and Flowers

I'm really enjoying Edyta Sitar's book, Little Handfuls of Scraps. Thanks again, Rachel!

I couldn't resist making this little quilt. It's 12-1/2" x 12-1/2". I try and cut my scraps as soon as I can to prevent overflowing scrap bins so had lots of 1-1/2" x 3" pieces to play with. 

The back.

Then I started another project but instead of making a small quilt I decided to make some blocks.

I've made 4 so far. They are so much fun. I think I'll probably add the same pieced sashing strips in between the blocks for continuity but that could change. It's a great pattern to showcase fabrics especially those large floral prints.  

I plan on donating this little 9-Patch to our guild for the Little Wishes silent auction at next year's show.

The back. An oldie but goodie. 

I love this time of year when the wildflowers are beginning to bloom. Look at the cute faces of this Great-Spurred Violet.

And flowers that look like little bells hanging from the stems of Solomon's Seal.  

There's a large patch of Mayapples near the patio . . . 

. . . with a pretty white flower blooming underneath each "umbrella." 

Indoors I have a Hoya plant which I totally ignore. It has been potbound for at least 15 years and gets watered whenever it looks sad.    

And every year it produces this gorgeous flower :)

Have a great week! 

Copyright 2017, Barbara Schaffer

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Jury Duty and This 'n That

"You are summoned to report . . ."

I spent all day yesterday and two hours this morning on jury duty at the Essex County Courthouse in Newark. That's a statue of Lincoln sitting on a bench. During recess I took some pics.  

This magnificent building was built in 1904 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was completely restored and re-dedicated in 2004 following a $50 million renovation project.  

A Tiffany-designed skylight.

There are massive stone piers and stairs leading to corridors. The murals were restored by restoration artists from Japan.

Lots of gold leaf and an eagle.

Looking down from the staircase on the 4th floor. So impressive!

On another note I was dog-sitting all last week. I can't tell you how much I LOVE MY GRAND-DOG! She is so sweet and gentle and she understands every word I say :) This is the "look" when she doesn't want to get out of the car. 

I managed to make this small one-patch. It's 14" x 14." 

This is the back. I may be done working with vintage fabrics for a while :)

Hope you have a great week!

Copyright 2017, Barbara Schaffer

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

It's A Finish!

Gypsy Wife is done and I've decided to call it The Gypsies Are In Town. Here's why. When I was more than half-way done piecing the top a vague memory popped into my head. I remembered either my parents or my grandparents saying "the gypsies are in town." I was little when I saw the scissor sharpener man coming down the street where my grandparents lived and now I began to wonder if he was in fact a gypsy.   

So I called my brother and asked him about the gypsies. Here's what he said: 

"Several times a year they came to town. There was a scissor sharpener with a horse cart and grinding wheel, some sold strawberries, and another had a cart filled with ice covered in hay."

"If you gave them something they put a chalk mark on the street in front of your house. Mom kept a bag of potatoes on the back porch and she'd give them one or two." I knew I could rely on my brother to set my memory straight. He's 6 years older and remembers everything :)

The back. 

This cheater cloth was once a skirt. It wasn't mine but I couldn't bear to throw it away. So I removed the elastic in the waistband, opened the casing, ripped out the side seam, threw it in the washing machine and used it on the back. 

I brought the quilt to Barbie to be long-arm quilted. She did a wonderful job. I love the way it turned out!

The quilting design is a floral/leaf combo.

I anchored the lower portion of the strips with a little hand quilting.

Years ago I bought 4 yards of this print fabric for $2.00 at the historical society fair. As I was prepping it for the back I discovered an original Newberry's price sticker, 37-cents/yard. Those were the days :)

was playing around with the photo filters on my computer. Most of the filters drastically changed the look of the quilt but I kind of liked "Vanilla" because it showed the light and dark values.     

I just finished cleaning and de-cluttering my sewing room. Still have a long way to go but it feels so much better!

My rack of UFOs :)

Pretty yellow tulips in our garden :)

Have a wonderful week!

Copyright 2017, Barbara Schaffer

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Cherry Blossoms and Gypsy Influence

Did you know that Branch Brook Park in Newark, NJ, is the cherry blossom capital of the nation? It boasts 5,000 cherry trees beating out Washington, DC's by more than 1,200.

We went for a drive through the park last week and while we had already missed some of the early blooms the ones we saw were breathtaking. 

Branch Brook Park is the nation's oldest county park. It was designed by Frederick Law Olmstead in 1895. 

There are more than 18 varieties of cherry trees on 360 acres. 

One of my favorite views is along the canal . . .

. . . and another is with Sacred Heart Cathedral in the background.

My husband worked for the park system for nearly 30 years and ran many concerts in the park. It was at one of those concerts that a little abandoned puppy came into our lives. We named her Cherry Blossom aka Blossom :)

I hung the two dog pictures in our family room. They are the first things you see when you walk in the door. They look so nice!

More Gypsy influence! I already showed you several minis that I made with leftover strips from Gypsy Wife but I got carried away and ended up with 9! Each one is 9-1/2" x 12-1/2", bound, and currently pinned to my design wall.

These bricks are 1" x 2" . . .

. . . and these are 1" x 3".

I chain-pieced the triangles that were trimmed from Gypsy's square-in-a-square blocks to make this strippy.


Each has a piece of vintage fabric on the back. I've been admiring the potholder quilts made by Wendy The Constant Quilter and I'm thinking I may try this technique with my minis. Check out Wendy's blog to see her latest :) What I like about this method is that each block is quilted and bound so when you finish sewing all the blocks together your quilt is done!

Have a great week!

Copyright 2017, Barbara Schaffer