Paper and Dolls

Wow...I feel so special. Google knows its my birthday. This is what appears when I click on the Google home page. If I click on this picture, it goes to my Google+ page, which presumably, is how Google knows it's my birthday.

Mike says his just shows the conventional Google thing. Uh-mazing. What a world.

If my watchword for yesterday's sewing time was "frustration", then today's watchword is "tedium"...but in a successful kind of way, so it's only half bad. Or maybe only one-quarter bad...or less. I'll let you know as things progress.

When I left off yesterday, I had in mind to make templates from my pantograph and then use them to do edge to edge quilting on my quilt. Only, this morning I woke up realizing that wasn't going to work for at least two reasons. First, the design is so complex that I thought needle-punch templates were going to be too confusing to follow. Second, I wasn't sure how I was going to scrunch up that 60-inch-wide quilt to fit in the throat space of my domestic sewing machine without completely shifting/destroying the templates. But then my feeble 60-year-old brain conjured up yet a new scheme for working with the pantograph.

It occurred to me that my problem was really one of trying to do edge-to-edge quilting, when what I needed to try was quilting each block individually. But my design was too large to really fit comfortably inside my 12-inch blocks. So....I copied parts of the pantograph on my copy machine, reducing them by 50%. Then I taped it together in sections to create a 16 x 16 quilt block.

There were a few little gaps that were easy enough to fill in. I made it plenty large thinking I'd choose a 12 x 12 section and just draw some lines.

I drew the bottom line first, and wouldn't you know it? I didn't give myself enough room at the top, so I had to redraw it. No problem. My work table is a ping-pong table, and I have a thin plastic sheet covering the table to protect it from pins and scissors and other sharp objects...not that anyone ever plays ping-pong when I've got the table loaded with all of my sewing crap. Anyway, once I had the lines drawn, I slid the pattern under the plastic, and then used painter's tape to pin my pattern paper to the table top. 

Then I traced the pattern with a marker.

Of course, some of the little people run off the edge of my block. In those places, I planned to stitch in the ditch around the edge of the block to the next section. Then I pinned the pattern to my block, and away I went. Thanks to Sharon V. for reminding me to shorten my stitch a little bit. And it worked out!

It's a little hard to see, especially on this block because the little dresses are pretty busy, but it's well defined in the background. Here's how it looks from the back. It's hard to see in this image with the white on white, but it shows up pretty clearly in person. I messed with the brightness and contrast a little to help you see it.

The tedium comes from getting all those little bits of paper out. I took this next picture to show you the quilting, and when I was editing it, I could see yet more bits of paper that I had missed. I'm probably just going to have to wash this quilt to get rid of all of it.

And, of course, the black marker is right under the stitching, and so any paper left behind has that dark marker on it, which is obvious against the white background fabric. I used a lighter marker to trace the pattern for the next block. That won't help me remove the paper, however. For that, I'm using tweezers. It took me longer to remove the paper than it did to stitch the whole block. Obviously this is going to be a slow and tedious project, but that's okay. I'm very happy with how it's turning out. I'll just take my time...a block or two a day...and I'll have it finished well before the end of the month.

I left it like this:

Now I'm ready to stitch the next block. I've procrastinated so much today that I probably won't get to it, but that's okay. It's my birthday, and I'm doing what I feel like doing today.

And about that time I felt like taking a walk around the yard. It was supposed to rain today, but it has turned out to be a pretty nice day. Some new things are blooming...the lilacs, for instance:

Remember our sad little dogwood tree? It has a few flowers at the top. I don't know why it doesn't bloom more toward the bottom of the tree. I would say the deer have been nibbling at it, and maybe they have, but I can't be sure. 

When the flowers are gone, it will be fully leafed out, and so I don't know why it doesn't get more flowers toward the bottom. One of these days it will be large enough that it won't matter if the deer eat the flowers down below. It sure is a slow grower, however. Anyway, I can't really see the flowers, and so I took this picture holding the camera above my head.

Now here's a testament to the power of sunshine. This is one side of one of the rhododendrons. A few tight buds, right?

Walk around to the other side where it gets full sun for more than half of the day, and it looks like this:

The flowers are only just beginning to open, but they are so beautiful.

We cultivate our rhodies in Oregon, but when I visited Ireland, I learned that they are considered noxious weeds. It was easy to see why too. They could easily take over a whole forest environment there where they grow wild in abundance. But to get back to Oregon, this is the first one to be in nearly full flower.

And it is humming with bumblebees.

I can never get over how beautiful the wisteria is when it is in full bloom.

The red and the pink azaleas are going to be gorgeous in just a day or two.

But this one is a show-stopper right now. It almost looks overly saturated with photoshop magic, but it is really just that bright in person. Incredible color.

I love the diversity of the azaleas. Contrast the brightness of the one above with the delicate lavender of the one below.

The cherry tomato is blooming now.

It's planted in one of the whiskey barrels with the remnants of the tulips, and it looks like it has a tulip growing right out of the top of it.

It's one of the more interesting tulips...so dark, it is nearly black. And finally, the wild strawberries are in bloom. We planted them as ground cover, and we have to whack them back routinely to keep them from conquering the world.

Last week the goldfinches returned to the bird feeders. I had been waiting for them. Now, I've been watching for the grosbeaks. They showed up yesterday. Since the day decided to turn out pretty nice, I set up the birdcam about an hour ago. Hopefully, I'll catch the grosbeaks. We have Black-headed grosbeaks and Evening grosbeaks. They look completely different from one another, but they are some of the showier birds at the feeder.

That will have to wait for tomorrow. For now, I might lie down for a short nap before Mike gets home. We're going out tonight, and I'm looking forward to it.

As a reminder, the NewFO linky party will close at midnight tomorrow, Tuesday. Have you linked up yet? If you're still wanting to come to the party, click right here. And even if you don't plan to link up, there are some really cute new projects going on over there. Take a peek!

24 comments from clever and witty friends:

WoolenSails said...

That design looks so cute on your quilt, fun idea.
Your gardens are beautiful, my lilacs are not coming in since my husband went and chopped them down and did it wrong, so I need to retrim them nicely and wait for them to grow back.


Vroomans' Quilts said...

Knew you would work that all out and it looks so cute. Love all the flower photos as our trees haven't even leafed here yet. Can't wait to play in the flower beds.

Sheila said...

Beautiful flowers Barbara. It looks like you are having a great day. Happy Birthday!

Donna said...

I love the quilting design. It is so nice with the blocks! Happy Birthday again!

Valerie Reynolds said...

Happy Birthday....and oh that doll quilting is adorable!!!Worth the effort for sure!

Valerie Reynolds said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jennifer Gail said...

Happy Birthday
I can just smell those lilacs.

Vicki W said...

Your solution with the quilting was brilliant!

crazy quilter said...

Happy Birthday! Hope you enjoyed your evening out. Your garden is beautiful, must be all that rain you get!

Janarama said...

Happy, Happy, Happy Birthday! Hope you had a great dinner out with your husband.

Brown Family said...

Happy Birthday! Love your flowers. The quilting is coming right along!

Celtic Thistle said...

Happy Birthday Barbara, I hope you had a great day. You are a genius with your quilting solution it looks perfect for those blocks.

Dana Gaffney said...

I really don't like Google, but that made me like them a tiny bit.
You showed real dedication to that design, I'm glad you figured it out and kept going, I'm afraid I would have given up and done something else, the little dolls are so cute.

Debbie said...

Happy Birthday, girl. Take what you like from life, and throw the rest out! Proud of you for figuring out those dolls, and getting the technique to work for you.

kc said...

Perseverance always seems to go hand in hand with tedium..wonder why that is. Good solution and glad you were able to work it out. Seems like this would be a good application for that wash-away stabilizer like Solvy, if it was manageable and transparent enough, and not so darned expensive.

Lovely photos of beautiful plants. Great overhead shot of dogwoods! I love the pink dogwoods too. Years ago, we had a Bradford Pear (I know it was, 'cuz we planted it!) that hardly ever had flowers. We planted it just because of the showy blossoms - they remind me of trees dipped in popcorn - and we were so very disappointed when it just didn't bloom as well as we'd hoped. Then we studied it one wintry day, and found it studded with birds, all chirping happily away, while eating the tips of the branches. Seems all the buds were very tasty and disappeared quickly into the tummies of all my feathered friends. Oh well, I considered it a good tradeoff after that. I fed the birds with my tree, and they blessed me with their songs of joy. I couldn't be mad or disappointed after that.

kc said...

Forgot to mention - happy birthday! I love Google, and I think it's so cool that they were there to help you celebrate. A little creepy, but then, that's the world we live in today - everyone knows everything.

kc said...

Forgot to mention - happy birthday! I love Google, and I think it's so cool that they were there to help you celebrate. A little creepy, but then, that's the world we live in today - everyone knows everything.

Lou said...

Happy Birthday!
I hope Smitty behaved for you:) ha ha!!!

Lou said...

Happy Birthday!
I hope Smitty behaved for you:) ha ha!!!

knitnkwilt said...

Cheers for problem solving and great flowers!

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

Happy Belated Birthday! Celebrate all month long.

quiltzyx said...

Hooray for your problem solving! Have you tried spritzing the paper before you pull it off? Might make it easier. Maybe.

Your yard is at the beginning of beautiful blossoming (a.a.)! Looking forward to more lovely pictures to come.

Hope your dinner out was delicious and fun. :)

Kate said...

Doesn't it feel great to figure out how to deal with a design problem. Love your solution. The quilting looks great.

Hope you had a very happy birthday.

Michele said...

Wow. You are going through a lot more work for that quilt than it should be but I'm sure the result is worth it. I'm jealous of your garden. Things are just starting to green up here.