Taffy napping

At some point a witty saying will materialize here. Right here. Watch for it.


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February 9, 2020

Cat Bullet

Project Quilting (11.3)

Filed under: Grad School Madness,It's a Cat's Life — Cat @ 12:10 pm

One of my favorite TV shows is Project Runway. Imagine my delight when I discovered an internet challenge called “Project Quilting,” in which we are given a theme and have one week to prepare a project.

The theme for this week was “Put a Heart on It” and I was very happy.  I’ve been in a bit of a quilting funk (for many reasons) and I was thrilled to have a fun, discrete, easily done project.

Which, of course, means that I am blogging about it exactly one hour and 12 minutes before the deadline for submission (I have to link to a blog post about my project) in order to be counted among the finishers.

So, please ignore the bad quality of this post… blogging from home is not easy, as my computer is ancient.  But here we go…

Roughly 19×14 inches; made all with scraps.

I basically pulled scraps out of bags and laid them out on a portable design board.

Then, I realized that I had neglected to put a piece of muslin behind the strips.  No worries, I thought, I’ll just flip them over and then back again.   Yeah… that didn’t work.

They didn’t come off the board.   Bummer.     So I just pulled them all off, added the muslin and then put the strips back down.  Isn’t exactly the same, but close enough, right?

I wanted to sew them down to keep them stable while I was working on the heart appliques, so I browsed my stitch library and I found one that looked like heartbeats.

I thought that was clever, but it turns out to be completely invisible in the finished project.  Oh well.  It was fun, nonetheless.

I selected various bright colors and cut out hearts, used “Steam a Seam” to attach them down and then ZigZag stitched around the edges.  Not very original, but was fun and happy to look at.  I got lots of good practice with learning how to applique, so that is a good thing.

Keeping with the “scraps” theme, I found a bag of batting strips and attached them together.   Then I layered them, and used my abysmal free motion quilting skills to quilt the non heart areas.   Practice will make perfect.   I need more practice.

Made a quick facing for the edges (also using scraps), sewed it down and then put on a label.

Used the Steam a Seam again to attach the label; it didn’t quite show up very distinctly, so I carefully used a sharpie marker to outline the patch.

This was a really fun project, quick, easy, no pressure.  I’ve been enjoying seeing all of the other projects that people have been posting.  There are a LOT of really talented quilters out there.

Now, I had better get this post up on the blog so that I can link before the deadline.  50 minutes left…  Hope I can figure it out in time.

Everybody have a great day!!

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December 20, 2019

Cat Bullet

Clue 3 done

Filed under: It's a Cat's Life — Cat @ 11:03 am

Well, finished in the nick of time…

Half Square Triangles, lots of them.  I made a bunch more than were called for, but that’s ok.  I’m sure that they will get used for something at some point…

Why did I make so many extra?  Well, I’m not good at sewing on the diagonal, and I usually have a fairly high “unusable” percentage.   This is a long established fact.

This time, I tried a new technique, where you cut bigger squares, sew them diagonally a couple of times in each direction and then cut them into the half square triangles.   With the addition of a new tool in my arsenal called the “slotted triangle trimmer,” well, my trials and tribulations are over!  I made over 200 HSTs this time around, and only one of them was unusable because the fabric warped when I pressed it and one of them was unusable because my ruler slipped massively when I was doing the final trimming.    Two unusable blocks. All of the rest of them are as perfect as anyone could manage!

I’m very pleased.

Clue four was released this morning, and it is a combination of half square triangles (sewn) and other triangles (un-sewn), in individual sets of matching fabrics.    She gave directions to make them using her preferred tools, but I’m torn because I now know that I can accomplish things more accurately in a different matter.    So…. I’m not sure what I’m going to do.  Right now, I’m tentatively planning to do the HSTs in my new method, but then I’m going to wait to cut the fabrics for the un-sewn other triangles until I see what we will be doing with them.  The only down side is that I’ll have to re-match the fabrics for those during cutting time, but that shouldn’t be too bad…

Decisions, decisions.


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December 10, 2019

Cat Bullet

“Frolic” clue 2 done

Filed under: It's a Cat's Life — Cat @ 10:29 am

The second clue for the Bonnie Hunter Mystery quilt was released last Friday. She made a fairly simple one because she was traveling and wouldn’t be available to answer questions.

Just as well for me as I had a busy weekend planned.   I got up Saturday morning and was quite successful at getting the clue finished.

Strip sets with raspberry and neutral, cross cut.   Very simple.

We ended up with a bunch of these… in various combinations of the two colors.  I cut really short strips so as to get more variety.

I really have absolutely no idea where or how we will be using them in a quilt!!!  I guess that is part of the fun of the mystery, right?


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December 6, 2019

Cat Bullet

“Frolic” clue one finished

Filed under: It's a Cat's Life — Cat @ 3:21 pm

Well here you go. The required number of four patches from the first clue of the Bonnie Hunter 2019 Mystery Quilt.

I’m really liking the light blue/dark blue/raspberry combination!

I’m really pleased about how well they are coming out.  My new machine is really making me a better quilter.  I wouldn’t have thought that would have been the case, but it is.  I don’t really think that I am sewing any differently, but the new machine has tighter stitches and a more even (i.e. straight) feed for the fabric strips.

Every single intersection is spot-on perfect!   Out of the total ones I made, I had to pick out and re-sew about six of them, and they went together perfectly the second time.

I do seem to have issues with counting, though.  When I finished the four patches last weekend, I counted and had eight less than I needed.  So I made another couple of sets, which should have put me close to 16-18 over what I needed.       Last night, after I finished trimming to the exact dimensions (not much was trimmed off, believe me), I put them into stacks of 24.  When I finished, I was five less than what I needed.   ???????   That can’t be right.  So, I counted them again.  It wasn’t right; I was actually SIX less than I needed.   *grumble grumble*

So I zipped out another couple of strip sets worth and now I’m fairly confident that I have the correct number, with 12 leftover, and four that just weren’t quite perfect.    In any other year, I would have used them happily, but since all of the others are so good and I have extras, I’m ok with not using them.  They will go into my “orphan box” of leftover pieces.  Someday, that will make a nice quilt on its own…

Clue two was released this morning and it looks fairly straightforward.  I say “fairly” because there is a somewhat misleading phrase that seems to have sent people into a frenzy.    I’m going to use my best judgement and go on with life.

Everybody have a fantastic weekend!!

 **Please note that I’m not trying to be vague about exact numbers and sizes; Bonnie has asked that no one publish that information to protect her interests.   If you are interested in seeing the exact measurements and numbers, feel free to visit her blog    https://quiltville.blogspot.com/p/frolic-mystery.html


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December 3, 2019

Cat Bullet

Post-Turkey Tuesday

Filed under: It's a Cat's Life — Cat @ 3:53 pm

Well here we are, after the holiday and (supposedly) back to work. Grumble grumble…

We had a bit of snow.  As in, more than 14 inches in my area.  Luckily, I had arranged to take the whole week off from work (students were gone because of Fall Break), so I was able to stay in my jammies and be comfortable and warm the entire week.  It… was… AWESOME!!!

I’ve been working on cleaning out my quilting room for weeks now, as I felt that things had gotten a bit out of control.  Piles of fabric everywhere, new purchases and leftovers from completed or in-progress projects, or just stuff that had never gotten put away properly (imagine that)…

I decided to do a big push and finish up with the cleaning and organization before Thanksgiving.  Mainly because the annual Bonnie Hunter Mystery Quilt first clue was scheduled to be released the day after Turkey and I was planning on participating in that.

I hauled out many bags and boxes of trash.  I pressed and folded and filed away multitudes of fabric.  I organized the tools on the pegboard so that I can find them easier.  Or, you know… find them at all.  I gathered all of my scraps into one place (three big boxes of them), and ran them through the “Scrap Management System.”

What is the Scrap Management System?  Basically, you take all scraps and cut them to standard sizes (or shapes) and store them away for future use.

It is kind of relaxing, actually, to take a big pile of wadded up scraps, press them flat, and them trim them into nice neat pieces.    I’ve been doing this for years, and have accumulated quite a selection.   I’m hoping to use a bunch of them up during the coming year.  I enjoyed making the charity quilt top last month, so it might be nice to use them to make even more of those…

Through many hours of toil (and sneezing, from the dust), I finally achieved clean, flat surfaces.

My sewing table, cleaned off.

cutting table, cleaned off!

Folding table, cleaned off!  Who actually knew that there was an extra cutting mat under all those piles??

Through some cleaning out and donating of boxes of fabric, I actually have achieved open(ish) floor space!!!

All of my scrap bins were empty.  I was so proud.  As I was tidying up after the last scrap, I went to hang the rulers back on the pegboard.

I looked down… what was that?

Then I looked to the left…

*sigh*   Really???

I’m doomed.  Surrounded by out of control scraps.

OK, in reality, it isn’t TOO big of a bin.  And the orange/blue bin is full of scraps from Miss Rosie, which I could legitimately not deal with until after that project is done.   That’s my story and I’m sticking to it…

So, I went ahead and started the Bonnie Hunter Mystery on schedule.  I put the Miss Rosie Scrap bin in an area where it won’t become hidden again, and I set up the red-topped bin near my ironing board.  Now when I iron something for the Bonnie quilt, I iron a handful of scraps.  When I trim or cut something for Bonnie, I trim up some of the pressed scraps.   I’ve even started trimming a couple of scraps when I feed Purrcy in the evening, since his feeding area is right next to my cutting table.

I don’t usually do New Year’s resolutions.  I kind of think that they are just one more thing to fail at and then feel guilty about.   However, in the upcoming year, I want to focus on the following:

  1. Finish ongoing projects.
  2. Don’t take any new classes that will result in new unfinished projects.
  4. Try to spend time cleaning up after (or before) every sewing session.
  5. Try to make more quilt tops for donation.

I think that these goals are achievable.  I’d like to go so far as to say I won’t buy any new fabric next year, but we all know that I have zero chance of sticking to that type of crazy…


Somehow, I have neglected to take a picture of the first Bonnie Hunter clue pieces.  They are really pretty.  More about those in a later post.







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November 12, 2019

Cat Bullet

That time of year again…

Filed under: It's a Cat's Life — Cat @ 1:12 pm

Once again, the nighttime temperatures fall, there is the occasional snow, it is dark when I get off from work, Halloween has been preempted by the the early emergence of Christmas and Quilters around the world start to get excited for the Bonnie Hunter Mystery Quilt.

The first clue will be released the Friday after Thanksgiving.    In order for everyone to gather their fabrics ahead of time, Bonnie uses paint color cards to give us an idea of her suggestions.  This year, the theme of the quilt will be Texas Wildflowers.

Her color suggestions:

The two blues represent the Texas Bluebonnets that she saw, the Aqua is supposed to represent the light summer sky, the Raspberry/Fuchsia and the green are more of the plants and the neutrals are, well, neutrals.  Needed to enhance nearly every Bonnie project.

For the most part, I was really happy with the color choices.   I decided that I would make one change, however, as I am not a big fan of Aqua…

I chose a lovely, light, butter yellow.  I’m really pleased with the choice (and I saw lots of yellow flowers down in Texas last spring, so I’m sure it will work well).  The value is pretty much the same as the Aqua, so I’m not anticipating any design problems due to color selection.

I’d love to say that I dove right into my stash and found everything, but… I went shopping.  At least I went to my favorite “used” fabric store.   Given that I was late to the game, some of the colors were pretty picked over, but I found some really lovely fabrics to get started.    Over the next couple of days, I did some stash diving and added to the selection that I purchased.  I now probably have enough fabrics for 2 whole quilts, but there will be some editing as I go along, I’m sure.

My neutrals:

I’m fairly certain that the two in front will be eliminated, as they are just too dark. But seriously, how beautiful is that front piece???  I will find something fantastic to do with that, I’m sure…

My dark blues:

Pretty standard selection of dark blues.  As always, I’m sure that I will add and subtract some fabrics as I go along.  For example, the one with the tiny red specs will probably be removed so that it doesn’t clash with the pinks, and the paisley will be removed because it is just too big a print for the sizes of pieces that I am anticipating.

My yellows:

I’m so in love with my yellow selection.  They are so light and pretty.  I really want to make an all yellow quilt with them…

My fuchsia/raspberry:

Aren’t they fun?   I’m really looking forward to using these – I think they look great with the other colors…

My light blues:

Some editing has already been done on this pile…  The floral in the very back has been removed because its light background was visually distracting. The abstract and the roses next to the paint card have also been removed because I thought that the bright colors were going to fight with the raspberry.  Those removals have resulted in a pile that is much more visually coherent and calming.

And finally, my light green:

I like the green, however…   Bonnie stated that she used all one piece of green for her project, but that it wasn’t a requirement.  That being said, she often gives us hints like that which end up being somewhat important.   The green seems a bit garish in this photo, but I think that it was because it was just under the bright light.    So, I’m on the fence.  I think it plays well with the other colors, and I have nearly two whole “extra” inches over what the pattern calls for.  *gulp*   I think that I will be most likely supplementing this fabric with similar greens.  I’ll be happier with scrappy, anyway.


So, I’ve got nearly two weeks to go until we get to start our game.  I’ll use that time to continue to edit my fabric selections and also to work on UFOs that are lurking.  I would really love to finish at least one project before starting a new one, but we will see how things go.



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October 21, 2019

Cat Bullet

Monday Morning

Filed under: It's a Cat's Life — Cat @ 10:33 am

Ooof, things have been busy. And I have been uncharacteristically not taking pictures of things.  So, enjoy random photos of Ireland to entertain you while you read my musings…

(Dublin Door-so colorful and ornate)

When last we spoke, I was frantically trying to get “Miss Rosie” done (the project that I started last May down in Katy, TX) before the designer/teacher came to Boulder in mid October (Jaqueline de Jong).    I came so very close, but I just couldn’t get it done.  I think that when (not if) I take another class with this instructor, I will attempt to have as much of the piecing done before hand as possible.  That way I can focus my time (and her time) on attaching the pieces together.  It always looks like it would be straightforward, but there are always tripwires in the assembly.  And she always has hints and techniques to make things go better when you talk to her in person.

I did enjoy her class in Boulder very much.  It was great to take a class with my favorite instructor, yet return home to my own bed (and my own cats) every evening.  I had two friends from Colorado Springs stay in my house, which was great fun.   In addition to the two friends who stayed with me, there were two other people in the class who I really enjoy spending time with. Jaqueline is scheduled to come back to Boulder in 2021, so I will be looking forward to that!!!

(Kylemore Abbey)

This past weekend, another friend came up from Colorado Springs to have a mini sewing retreat.  She came up Saturday morning and left Sunday morning around 11, so we didn’t have a lot of time, but we were really very productive.   We used Jelly Rolls and a pattern that I found online to each start a quilt.  The idea behind these quilts will be to donate them to the Charity Sewing group of Donna’s quilt guild.   They always have a need for throw-sized quilts.   Both of us made significant progress.   In addition, I sent lots of excess fabric (mostly given to me by other people) to the guild for their use.  It was very gratifying to set the fabric free so that it will be used (and I’m not going to complain about the extra floor and drawer space I gained, either).

(Killarny Jaunting Cart, horse catching a quick nibble of the lawn)

So, where do I go from here?   I’ve got plenty of in-progress projects to choose from, so that won’t be a problem.  I don’t have any more classes planned for this year and am strongly considering not taking any next year.  I enjoy taking classes, but every new class leads to another unfinished project and they are really starting to stack up.  It would be nice to get some things finished for a change.

The weather has changed for the cooler, and my desires to stay home and nest are really strong.  I’ve been working on de-cluttering the whole house and it is going well.  I guess that my desire to finish UN-finished projects is just an extension of that.     Further bulletins as events warrant.

(Sunset, Galway, Ireland)




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August 27, 2019

Cat Bullet

Tuesday morning

Filed under: It's a Cat's Life — Cat @ 9:28 am

Nice weekend, lots of things going on!

A friend came over to work on a quilt.  She made the blocks a couple of months ago, so now was the fun of spreading them out and seeing how they went together.     These are the same block style that I used for the purple quilt that I made a couple of posts back…   but Peemin wanted a lot more colors in hers, and I must say, it looks fantastic!   I really love all of the bright colors.

We thought that we would make it a little bit bigger because she wanted to use it on a queen sized bed.  So, we tried out the precut black strips of fabric and decided that we really liked it!  Made the whole thing look like a stained glass window.   There will be lots of sewing to get it all together, but I think that we made a really good start.

Purrcy is always very attentive when I’m working in the basement.  With two people down there, he was ecstatic!   He kept jumping up onto the table to see what we were doing, so I picked him up so that he could see what was going on.   He glanced at it politely, but is much more interested in quilts once they are done and soft and cuddly…and have warm bodies under them.

Saturday night, Peemin and I attended “The Last Defender,” a collaborative puzzle room presented by the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.    It was a total blast!! So much fun and really fast paced!   I’m proud to announce that we won the game and averted Nuclear Destruction.   We scored pretty well, I think, because we ended up as #25 out of 200.      They took a group photo after the end… look at all the happy smiles!   The rabbit was one of three “assistants” that we had in the room during the game.  They weren’t allowed to talk but they would “golf clap” when we were on the right track.   It was loads of fun.

So, all things considered, it was a really nice weekend.       Last night (Monday), I finished up the remaining spiked borders for Miss Rosie, which I’m very pleased about.  No photos, because they pretty much look exactly like the previous ones.  Which, I suppose, is the point.   I’m not sure which section I’m going to work on next, but I suspect that I’m going to tackle the flying geese (dark and light blue).   They are the ones that have the highest quantity of remaining pieces, so I think it makes sense to do them next.    I’m sure hoping that I can continue to make progress!  The class in October is coming up rapidly, and I’d really be pleased to have a finished top to show her when she comes into town.

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August 19, 2019

Cat Bullet

Monday morning progress

Filed under: It's a Cat's Life — Cat @ 9:16 am

Spent a nice quiet weekend at home, mostly. I did leave the house long enough to go pick up my two sewing machines from the repair shop! It was really good to get them home again!

Pretty much spent the rest of the weekend working on Miss Rosie and cleaning house.  I made one half of the last remaining full circle spiked ring and made two (out of four total) of the 3/4 spiked rings.   I think that this was good progress.

Again, a photo that refuses to display on the blog the way it looks as a file.   Don’t know what I’m doing wrong, but really, since they are circles, not a big deal.

Just don’t get a crick in your neck looking at it.

Working on Miss Rosie was much more emotionally satisfying than cleaning house.  No photos of the house cleaning process, because, well, I did more sewing than cleaning.    Such is life.

Happy Monday.  The students are back, the online course access system has been down for three days, and the electronic door locks aren’t working.   Yep, a typical first day of school.


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August 5, 2019

Cat Bullet

August 5 update

Filed under: It's a Cat's Life — Cat @ 10:29 am

We are into August already!!! How did that happen? One day at a time, I suppose.

More updates…

I took another class – it has REALLY been my year for classes, right?   This one was with an artist named Danny Amazonas, from Taiwan.  His work is superfantastic, in my opinion.  He has lots of animals and is particularly good with faces.  I made a detour during my Texas trip to visit his exhibit at the Texas Quilt Museum.

Danny is an amazing artist and a really warm and funny human being.   I enjoyed every minute of his teaching.  I’m still not sure that I really understand what he was talking about, but that is a frequent occurrence when I’m talking about the techniques of art.  I really don’t think my eyes work the same way as other people’s, and that’s OK.     The focus of our class was three dimensional spheres with directional light on them.  We were supposed to make things that looked like planets hanging in space.   Our beautiful kit that came with the class had more than 30 fabrics in it, and I think that I would have been better off with just about 10.

Here is my work:

I’ll be honest, I didn’t like it at all when I did them.   However, the more I look at them, the more I’ve started to like it.  I need to go back in to the large partial planet and darken it (take out the lightest fabrics and leave more open spaces for the black background to show through), but I’ll get to that at some point.  By darkening that, it will look like it is further back in space.

My Jazz sewing machine quit working.  It was very traumatic!!!  And my take to class machine has been developing some quirks (most notably, frequently getting stuck in Reverse).  So, I bundled them up and trekked them across the Denver metro area to the authorized Baby Lock repair place for service.     You know the trouble with sewing machine repair places?  They are also sewing machine selling places.  Yeah, I came home with a new machine.  It was a good price (big sale going on), and had wonderful features that I was really wishing that I had on my current machines…

Go ahead, say it.  I’m a sucker and they saw me coming from a MILE away…

Anyway, I’ve been working on my Houston project (Miss Rosie) to get to know the new machine.   Did I mention that the teacher is coming to Boulder in October?  Did I mention that I signed up for a second class with her in one year?  I’m really hoping that taking two classes with the same instructor qualifies as “hero worship” and not “stalking.”   We are going to have a great time with the class and I will know several people who will also be attending, so I am thrilled.

The new machine sews very well, and very evenly.  I’m really pleased with how it makes my pieces look.

The nice thing is that when I do make a mistake (hey, it happens), the stitches are really easy to pick out because they are so perfectly formed.   I think that this machine purchase will fall into the category of “Impulse buy, but still a good thing.”

Stop laughing.  STOP it.  I mean it.  Don’t make me come over there…

I had another finish.  The 2017 Bonnie Hunter “On Ringo Lake” mystery quilt.  I’m really thrilled with how it came out.  I picked my own colors and they are really bright and fun.  And Patriotic.   Which wasn’t my original intention, but I’m quite happy with as an end result.

Nice, right?    I finished piecing it in March of 2018, took it to the quilter and then it languished at the bottom of a pile in my workroom until early July 2019.  Totally embarrassing that it took so long.     My Sister in Law, Ginger, helped me machine stitch the binding on when  she was visiting, and then I hand-stitched it down over the course of the next couple of weeks.

This is probably, technically, one of the most precise things that I’ve ever made.  It will live on my guest room bed, so if you ever come to visit me, you can sleep under it.    I need new sheets to match it, which will be acquired eventually.

Oh, and I’ve altered the name, slightly.  I call it ‘Fourth of July on Ringo Lake” due to the colors that I selected.

Hey, as I typed about that quilt, I remembered that I have another finish.  Except I don’t have a really good photo of it.  A lifelong friend of mine got diagnosed with cancer, went through fast treatment, and then the next week her dog died.  I figured that if anyone was in the need of a long distance hug or two, it was her.   I found a video with a really nice but fast design, and I made it all in purple, because that is her favorite color.

I didn’t get a picture of the finished quilt because I was in a hurry to get it into the mail, but you get the general effect.  The quilter used a music themed template and kind of a cranberry colored thread and it came out looking very nice.  I used the new machine to put the binding on, and then it took about a week or so to get the binding hand stitching done.   It has been shipped, received and loved.   I’m really pleased.

So, progress is being made.  Things are getting finished.    I think that I’m going to keep focusing on Miss Rosie for the immediate future.  Wouldn’t it be grand if I had a finished item to show to Jaqueline when she teaches in October?  It might be do-able if I apply myself.  And stop getting distracted by new, shiny projects and classes…









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