Bonnie Hunter has started a Mystery Quilt on her blog called Easy Street. She evidently does one periodically and the last few years, they have been made with LOTS of pieces, but she promised an easier version this time, hence the "Easy Street" title. She has a link to people doing it on her blog and the numbers are impressive. There are lots of folks all over the world working on this, so I thought I would join the fun. However, we are already at several hundred pieces with several weeks to go, so everything is relative. My colors are similar to what she is doing, though I traded out her gray for black. I'm using turquoise, purple, and lime, as she suggested and a white background with a little multicolor in it. I didn't know what I was going to do with all the leftover Susan Branch white from EB's quilt, but now I have a lot less of it. When I saw Bonnie a few weeks ago in Ann Arbor, one of the things she said was that there weren't any ugly fabric, the pieces just weren't small enough and sure enough, if you cut it up into 2" x 2" squares, you don't see any of the pattern at all. But after this is done, I'm still building the string lonestar.
I am sanding, staining, sanding, staining, sanding, staining, sanding, and burnishing with a brown paper bag until they shine and are as smooth as a baby's butt. These are the Shaker style cherry boxes and trays that I made a few weeks ago. In the top photo, you can see the little tiny wooden peg where the top and bottom are put together, no glue... and the copper tacks that hold the bands together. The trays were put together with birch in the bottom, but next time, if I did it again, I'd pay extra and use the curly maple or cherry as the base. Those denser woods have a gorgeous shine and luster when finished that I can't get on the more porous birch. I have also made peanut brittle, lemon bars, sugar cookies and fudge with nuts this weekend, in addition to Harold's scones and cinnamon rolls. The house smells like a bakery with a hint of sawdust.
I started hand quilting the tropical flowers tonight. I am outlining the applique and doing diagonal lines in the background. It's nothing fancy, but it's a lot of stitches. It will take a few days to get good calluses.
Isn't this gorgeous? Every year, the members of my basket guild exchange gifts at the December meeting. I have received beautiful baskets every year, but I do think this is something special. I was so pleased to get Mary Lee's Josephine Knot heart basket this year. It is reed, with a Josephine Knot as the base and a lovely braided rim. A beautiful basket, thanks Mary Lee!
These are the shaker oval boxes that I made in John Wilson's workshop last weekend. There are 6 swing handled cherry boxes and 2 trays. The swing handled boxes are cherry rims. There are 4 with cherry tops and 2 with curly maple tops. The trays are cherry rims with birch bottoms. With lots of sanding and finishing they should look great. I wanted to do some more as I had given away the 2 swing handled boxes that I made a couple years ago and they make good gifts. They took me most of last Saturday, but I think it was worth it.
This is the thanksgiving weekend (mom can't mope if she's occupied) quilt. The kids were busy, 3 of them away from home and 2 others with their mom for dinner, so I knew I was going to be sad if I didn't get myself something pretty complicated to do over the weekend. So...I decided to practice piecing. I found a traditional tree pattern, modified it to make it more complex, and then cut out, trimmed, and sewed together 500+ 3.5" HSTs to make 5 trees. My initial thought was to put them together in this fashion, but ugh... nope. Too much brown tree trunk, the trees are too big, the sashing is too narrow, and there is too much of everything. I decided to try and use one of them as a medallion quilt and appliquéd leaves and some detail on the tree trunk and I think I'm going to like it much better. Just in case it's starts looking too symmetrical, I'm going to use different colored sashing and a spiky free form border to finish it off. It won't be bed sized, but it will look great in the summer next to the front door. Let me know if you have any ideas on what to do with 4, rather large, left over trees.