New Project, Old Fabric & the Gauntlet

It’s all Linda’s fault.  Oh, and Cathi’s.  Linda is the genius behind the wonderful quilting tool called Inklingo.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

It all started last Saturday.  I was calmly minding my own business, reading my emails and looking forward to a nice quiet weekend.  When in popped an email announcing a new blog post on the Inklingo blog.  And a new Inklingo collection called “Inklingo Stars.”  Linda had been teasing us with pictures on Facebook of these new fabulous stars that just beg for fussy cutting.

And I was in a mood.  My first thought was I wonder if I can possibly purchase it faster than Cathi.  Cathi is my dear friend who writes the Quilt Obsession blog.  If you’ve been following my blog, you remember this posting about my visit to see Cathi in 2013.  She’s my quilting cheerleader.  And she downloads new Inklingo collections faster than a speeding bullet.  And then prints fabric and posts a blog with a block from the brand new collection while I’m still entering my credit card number.

I think I may have issued a bit of a challenge when I left my comment on Linda’s blog post that day.  Because the next thing I knew, Cathi was emailing me to suggest that we make blocks over the weekend and then blog simultaneously about the new collection.  And I may or may not have inadvertently written back, Sure! And before I knew it, Linda knew about the cross-blogging we planned and thought it was a wonderful idea.  And the gauntlet was thrown down.  The challenge was on.

I scrambled into my sewing room, desperately seeking fabric that would be good for fussy cutting because that’s what makes this block sing.  In my opinion, that is.

New Project, Old Fabric (1)

And this is the fabric that I found.  Languishing in my sewing room closet.  On a bolt.  I had a whole bolt of this stuff.   And the next thing I knew I had a template printed.

New Project, Old Fabric (2)And I was trying it out to see if I thought the fabric would work.

New Project, Old Fabric (3)And when I say trying it out…….

New Project, Old Fabric (4)I mean I tried it every which way and in every configuration possible.

By this time I was certain that Cathi already had all her pieces printed and 4 blocks stitched.  But I pushed on.

New Project, Old Fabric (5)And before I knew it, I actually had some fabric printed with kites.  And I found some fabrics that would coordinate well and printed them too.  And then my problem became which fussy cut kite should I use?  Because they were all pretty wonderful.  But I finally decided on one and stitched it up.

New Project, Old Fabric (6)This is my first block.  Isn’t it just fabulous?  Oh, my.  I am hooked on this technique.  And I love this block!

Be sure to head on over to see Cathi’s post today too.  She probably has 10 blocks to show you.  Or the very expanded Inklingo Star aka the Morse Star.

Not to be too outdone, I found myself wondering if the small LeMoyne star in the center might be pretty cool made out of fussy cut diamonds.

New Project, Old Fabric (8)So I quickly printed up 8 sheets of diamonds to try it.

New Project, Old Fabric (13)It’s not completely finished, but what do you think?  Pretty cool effect in that center star, right?

And here’s a sampling of some of the diamonds just laid out to see how they will look…..

New Project, Old Fabric (9)

New Project, Old Fabric (12)

New Project, Old Fabric (10)This one looks good……

New Project, Old Fabric (11)

…….no matter which end of the diamond you put in the center!  Same diamond, just spun around.  Sometimes the hardest decision is which direction to use the diamond!

What fun this technique is!  And even though you lay them out as I did above, you really don’t know what you’ll get until you stitch them together.  They change quite a bit when you lose the seam allowance.  And I think that’s part of the fun of these blocks.  The aha moment when you finish the last seam.  Nice.

New Project, Old Fabric (14)I have stacks of diamonds and kites all ready to stitch.  I can hardly wait to do more!

New Project, Old Fabric (7)And 6 1/2 yards of fabric.

Wonder how many quilts I can get out of that?
Hugs,
Barb

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Alaska – Meet Jasmine

OK – I’m not in Alaska any more.  But I sure wish I were!  It’s hot in Texas.  I know you’re surprised.  And the weather is perfect in Alaska.  Not sure I’d say that in 6 months, but I think I’d even enjoy the snow for a change of pace and for Christmas.  Especially if I don’t have to shovel it.  Sitting inside, enjoying it through the window could be pretty special.  We’ll ask Pam all about it when the first snowfall comes.

But I still have pics of Alaska.  And stories to tell.  So maybe a few more Alaska posts are in order?  The other day I showed you a pic of the kitty Pam was going to adopt.  And told you she needed a new name.  So today I have pics of her beautiful kitty.

Jasmine (3)Meet Jasmine!  We went to a website for Siamese cat names and I started reading down the list.  When I got to Jasmine, Pam said, That’s it!  It fits her.  And it goes well with the rest of the clan at Pam’s because she has dogs named Jack and Josh.  So now everyone has a “J” name.  Well, except Pam, that is.  We might have to start calling her Jam.

Jaz quickly found her very own private space.  And she claimed it as her own.  Smart kitty.  It has a quilt and everything.  Pam’s bed has this wonderful bookcase headboard and it was perfect for Jaz to get up high and away from barking doggies.  Who just wanted to make friends with her.  She wasn’t so sure.

Jasmine (9)It didn’t take her long to figure out that this perch was a perfect spot.  And then we put her food up there and a toy.  Oh, man.  Perfect.

Jasmine (8)And she settled right in for a kitty nap.  It’s what kitties do best.

Jasmine (2)Pam also discovered that she loves to be brushed.  Which is a very good thing for a long-haired kitty to love.  I have a feeling she will get lots of brushing.

Jasmine (4)And then Pam decided to add this basket to the top of the headboard.  And about 36.2 seconds later…….

Jasmine (5)Actually she’s in that first pic of the basket too.  I left the room to get the camera and when I came back she wasn’t on her quilt.  Sure enough, she’d found the basket and claimed it as hers.

Jasmine (7)Sometimes we could just barely see an ear or the top of her head.

Jasmine (6)Because the basket is a perfect Jasmine size.  She curls right up inside and isn’t visible at all.  It’s a perfect kitty bed for a beautiful new kitty.  And yes, it has a quilt in the bottom to make it extra enticing too.

For those of you interested in more particulars…. Jasmine came from a gal who rescues kitties.  We went to her home to pick out a kitty and Jaz was all over Pam.  A very social kitty.  She perks right up for lots of rubs and pats and kisses whenever we are nearby.  They think that she is about 2 years old.  She’s a very small kitty and although she may gain a bit of weight as she settles into her new home, she will probably always be small.  Not like my Pappy who even grew in the 10 days I was gone!  Silly boy.  I wanted him to remain a kitten.  Sigh.

Jasmine (1)Jasmine is a beautiful girl.  With fabulous blue eyes.  And a very loving, warm disposition.  She is going to be a wonderful addition to Pam’s Alaska home.

Now get on a plane and go up there and meet her in person!  I’m already planning my next trip……

Hot Texas hugs,
Barb, who is enchanted with Alaska and dreaming of returning

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Alaska – Kitties, Flowers, the Dump and a Sheep

I was scheduled to go home many days ago.  Apparently Alaska has me in its clutches.  Or maybe that’s Pam.  She’s kidnapped me.  I hear it’s going to be 105 degrees in Texas soon.  Think I’ll stay until November.

But I’m missing Dear Hubby and my kitties.  So it was time for a kitty fix.

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Meet Gabby.  He belongs to Pam’s friends, Kay and Maynard.  Maynard didn’t like cats until Gabby came along.  And Gabby won him over.  Cats have a way of doing that.  We walked over to their house the other evening so I could get a kitty fix.  You can probably tell by Gabby’s face that he wasn’t sure he wanted kisses from a Texas cat lover.  But he tolerated me.  Nice boy, that Gabby.  P.S.  Don’t tell Pappy and Panda that I kissed another kitty.  Phew!  I might be in trouble when I get home.

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And this is Amber.  But her name might change.  There’s a nice gal in Pam’s neighborhood who rescues and fosters kitties.  And Amber is ready for adoption.  By Pam.  Tomorrow.  Not a very good picture, but I promise more pics after we bring her home tomorrow.  Any ideas for a name for this beauty?

And apparently blue eyes are an Alaskan tradition.

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Kelly (the cat lady) had loads of flowers at her place.  So I got on a flower picture marathon.  These are fuschias.  Aren’t they fabulous?

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And I have no idea what these are called.  But aren’t they pretty?  They are little, tiny flowers.  I mean teeny tiny.  The pic really doesn’t show you.

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And to make them even look bigger and throw off the scale, I had to show you them up close.  They were very intricate and amazing!  I should have put my finger in the picture.  But it would have covered the flower.

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Kay brought flowers to Pam the other day from her garden.  The tall, spikey one is fireweed and it grows all over the place here.  Like bluebonnets in Texas.  It makes a blanket of purple on the sides of the roads.  Nice.

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Here’s a clump of it outside.  And this is right outside Pam’s front door.  Very cool.

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Flowers are in great abundance everywhere.  Very vibrant and bright.  Beautiful colors.  These are on the street in Palmer.  Right down the street from the quilt shop.  Guess where we were going.    Nice mountains too.

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Speaking of mountains, this is the view out Pam’s living room window.  I zoomed on the mountain so you could really see the view.  Magnificent.

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One of the highlights of our day on Monday was a trip to the dump.  Refrigerator anyone?  And yes, we’re pretty pitiful when a trip to the dump is considered a highlight.  Oh, well.

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These girls were parked right next to us unloading their trash.  And I snapped this pic just moments before she dropped one of her nice trash cans into the dump area.  Yikes!  We didn’t hang around to see if she jumped in to fish it out.  I wouldn’t have.  It was smelly there!  And it might have paid for her to have trash pickup.

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Looking down at some of our trash.  Highlight.  Pitiful.  Don’t judge.

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The other night we were in the living room looking out the window when this crew walked by.  You can’t see it but the other 3 people are walking a couple of goats.

There are truly some characters in Alaska.  If you sit and watch out the window, who knows what you might see go by.

Watching out the window, camera at the ready,
Barb

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Alaska – Mom & the Puppy

I couldn’t stand it.  The kennel was calling.  And today Pam and I thought it might be nice to take Mom on an outing.  And everyone smiles while holding a puppy, right?  So off to the kennel we went.

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GB Jones was there to greet us when we arrived.  And we quickly got my cute puppy and I convinced Mom to hold the puppy for a picture.  She was a bit unsure at first, but who can resist a cute little puppy? Notice I said my puppy. Ha.

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How’s that for a big smile.  Oh, those big blue eyes just suck you right in.  The sweetest puppy imaginable.

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Then GB grabbed the camera so we could all be in the picture.

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Seriously.  Can you believe those eyes?

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GB wanted a pose in front of the Iditarod Trail sign.  Pam, sweet puppy and me.

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Mom had a good day.  Isn’t that a happy looking face?

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But. Oh. My. Goodness.  It is not possible to resist those big blue eyes.  Please don’t tell Pappy.  Or Dear Hubby.

But I might be sneaking a little furrball into my luggage for the trip home.  I bet he could give Pappy a run for his money.
Hugs,
Barb

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Alaska! Day Two!

I’m on a blogging roll.  Somehow it’s just more fun to blog when there are such exciting things to blog about.  And in Alaska each day is a big adventure.  Today was no different for Pam and I!

The day dawned bright and clear.  And yes, I was up looking out the window at exactly 2:19 a.m.  It was light outside.  “Walk around outside without a flashlight” light.  Not that I did that.  But I could have.  It’s amazing to me.  And just so you know, it makes it extremely hard to go to bed at night.  Which makes it good for you because it truly gives me time for blogging.  You can thank me later.

Anyway, because it was so nice and clear we decided it was a great day to drive up to Talkeetna where we would get some wonderful views of Denali.  Or as ya’ll in the lower 48 would say, Mt McKinley.  Massive mountain.  Unbelievably majestic mountain.  If you’ve never seen it in person, you need to.  But in case you don’t ever get to, I thought I’d show you all 563 pics I took of it today.  Because it was amazingly beautiful.  Majestic.  Did I already say that?  It bears repeating.  Alaska makes one in awe of the beauty of God’s creation!

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This was our first view of The Mountain today.  Oh, man.  Unbelievable.  It is one massive mountain.

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The rest of the trip, Denali would be peaking out from behind the trees off and on.

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Sometimes we’d see a bit more of it…….

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And sometimes not quite so much.

But it was always there.   Awesome.

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And as we got close to Talkeetna, the clouds below it were building so that only the very peak was peeking out.  Denali creates its very own weather.  Have I mentioned it’s a massive mountain?

Have you ever seen the television show called Northern Exposure?  I was told once that it was patterned after Talkeetna, Alaska.  It is the cutest little town that nestles in the shadow of The Big Mountain.

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These are the kinds of stores you’ll find in Talkeetna.  Fun little shops.  Great places for souvenir shopping.

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I think this was our favorite store today.  Maybe because of our newfound appreciation for moose.  Funny how having a moose visit and lay around your back yard for two hours the night before makes you all of a sudden think moose are the most fun things on earth.  Thanks for coming by, Bruce the Moose!  By the way, he did NOT return this evening.  Although we looked for him every time Pam’s dogs looked out the window and made a slight whimper.  We will never give those dogs a hard time about barking to get our attention ever again.

Anyway, a shop called “Mostly Moose” was certainly on our agenda for today.  Twice.

We also ate lunch in Talkeetna.  We met up with Pam’s dear Alaska friends who also have family visiting this week.  They’ve been doing lots of touristy things and we so enjoyed meeting up with them and having lunch together!

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This was what Pam and I both had for lunch.  Smoked salmon pasty (yummy thick pastry shell loaded with salmon and all kinds of veggies) and reindeer chili.  I thought it should be caribou chili, but what do I know.  I’m just a silly Texan who loves Alaska.  I heard once that the difference between a reindeer and a caribou is this:  if it’s inside a pen, it’s a reindeer.  But if you accidentally leave the gate open and it steps outside, it has now become a caribou.  Something about the difference between domestic and wild?

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This is Faith with her big blueberry pancake that she had for lunch.  It was so big, it was hanging over the plate.  Her Dad, Ken, is the son of Pam’s Alaska friends.  And that’s her Mom, Teresa.  They are from Michigan and they are filling their days with all manner of fun Alaska things.  I might need to stick with them for a few more days?  Nice people and we had a great time together today!

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After lunch we walked down to the Big Susitna River (hope I got that right!) And we all walked across this precarious log bridge that a sweet young girl had constructed for us tourists so we could get to the edge of the huge river without getting our feet wet in the icy waters.

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This is on the banks of the river.  And I know it’s hard to believe, but somewhere over in all those massive clouds hides Denali.  Now totally covered with clouds.  We couldn’t even see the very top peeking out.  Some people spend several days on their visit to Alaska near this big mountain and never get to see it because it’s totally covered in the clouds the whole time.  So we were very grateful for the clear day to see it as we drove to Talkeetna!

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I forgot to mention that a lot of the businesses in Talkeetna also had cute little rooms for overnight stays.  We saw this little room in the back of the restaurant where we had lunch when we wandered through the building.  Pam’s friend, Kay was with me and pointed out the Alaska air conditioner sitting on the little desk.  See it?  It’s all the a/c they need up here.  And it was ON when I took the picture.  I don’t think it would work well in Texas.

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These are some of the mountains we saw on the drive back to Wasilla.  Notice to my Texas friends…..  Alaska is under construction too.  The roads, I mean.  Can’t get away from that even when you travel 4,000 miles from home.

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And this is Alaska’s version of rush hour.  A traffic jam.  But who cares when you have that kind of view to look at?

Today was souvenir shopping day for me.  So here are a few of my finds…..

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A calendar.  So Dear Hubby and I can enjoy beautiful Alaska pictures all next year.

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Birch syrup.  We decided we had to try it and we’re having it on French toast for breakfast tomorrow.  I’ll let you know what we think.

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A cute little stuffed moose.  Because we are very into moose these days.  See yesterday’s blog.  And Bruce.  Pappy will probably take off with this moose and claim it as his when I get home.  He has a way of stealing all my stuffed animals.

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And this one is Pam’s.  Again – moose crazy.  She named this little guy Bruce and I think she even wrote his name on the bottom of his legs.  In honor of…. well, you know.  And by the way, that little plate on the right?  The one that says Rose Garden – Thailand – 1983?  That’s Pam on the plate.  Pretty cool souvenir shelf that Bruce the Moose has joined.

That’s it for Day Two!  And I still can’t quite believe I’m really here.  I am blessed!
Hugs,
Barb

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