Thursday, April 30, 2009

Cupcake stand...

The (wedding) cupcake stand turned out really well. It's designed to be easily altered. Click any image to enlarge it.

Here are the parts to the stand. The wood tiers are 28", 24", 20", 16", 12", and 8". There are two 10" tiers as well that can be used for a bigger top tier and for a foot.

Put a washer and nut at one end of a 1/2" threaded rod. The top (8" or 10") tier has a recessed center. Place that on the rod.

Build the stand upside-down. I used pvc couplers that are 4" tall to separate the tiers. I covered them with pretty paper but they could be left white, covered with fabric, tulle - whatever fits the event. Steve cut wood centering disks that fit inside the couplers to hold the coupler in place.

Add as many tiers and couplers as you want to.

End with the larger centering disk and a washer and nut. This centering disk fits into the large pvc coupler that I'm using for a foot in the photo below.

And there it is! The edges of the tiers can be left plain or covered with ribbon or strips of decorative paper. This configuration stands 29 1/2" tall and should hold LOTS of cupcakes. Celia, Rachel - I hope this is going to work for you!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Ring bearer pillow....

I finished a ring bearer pillow for Celia and Jeff's wedding. The colors for their August 15th wedding are brown and green so this fits right in.

I made the pillow 10" x 10". It's big enough that the child who carries it will be unlikely to play with it. It's easy to hold on to. It's also big enough to use as a decorative pillow after the wedding.

Monday, April 27, 2009

That's my boy (one of them anyway)....

Jeff, our youngest, is working on a PhD in biostatistics at Johns Hopkins. The first paper on which he is lead author has been posted! It is part of a collection of working papers, and it has been submitted to the annals of applied statistics. As he says, "fun times!"

That's Jeff, thinking deep thoughts, with Sugar the cat.

Drawing circles...

Steve started working on the cupcake stand for Jeff and Celia's wedding today. He bought a sheet of 1/2" birch-veneer plywood and cut circles for each tier. The largest is 28" in diameter, the smallest is 8".

He made a great big compass to draw the circles but that wasn't working so well. I remembered that I had a flexible plastic knitting ruler that could work better.

Steve put some small holes down the center of the ruler. He anchored the ruler in place with a finish nail at the 1" mark. He put the pencil in a small hole to draw the size circle he wanted. This is a really easy way to draw great big circles.

Steve cut the circles with a band saw. He then cut 4" and 6" lengths of pvc pipe to separate the tiers. He drilled a hole in the center of each wood circle. A threaded pipe run through the center with a washer and nut at each end will cinch the whole thing together. Steve is going to rout indentations for the washer and nut.

This should be a very flexible serving piece. I'm going to paint the wood pieces white this week. The edges of each tier and the pvc pipe can be decorated with pretty paper or ribbon to suit any occasion. Our niece, Rachel, is also going to use it at her wedding - and in her catering business. I'll post finished pictures in a few days.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Color by Martha...

The current issue of Martha Stewart Living (May 2009) has an interesting article about color trends and what causes them. These 25 are what a lot of us are currently loving. The colors in my house are well represented here. Does that mean that I'm current and trendy?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Stimulus spending...

I did some shopping when I wasn't busy teaching last weekend. Der Kuchen Laden is a well-stocked kitchen shop in Fredericksburg, TX. I got all sorts of little doo-dads. The notched triangular tool for leaving lines in icing should be lots of fun to use on cakes.

Down the street Linens-N-More was about to close so I wasn't able to shop long. Probably a good thing. I got this wonderful silk screened "America" dish towel made by Catstudio. I don't know that I'm going to be able to let anyone get it wet - it may have to be a pillow. It could also be good in a quilt or garment.

In Kerrville, I found my way to Creations - one of the best quilt shops I've ever visited! This is the fabric I came home with. I also bought some wool for Linda, a linen jacket (for me), and upholstery fabric for my dining room chairs - oh happy day! It's probably good for my wallet that I'm home now.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Cedar fences...

I found fences made from freshly cut cedar too! I want to put a fence like this around my backyard so it was exciting to find these.
This fence was "doubled" - there were cedar posts on both sides of the iron rebar supports.

The "single" fence had cedar posts wired to only one side of the rebar. The posts that hold the fence up are iron pipe filled with concrete. It looks like they used galvanized wire to tie the cedar to the rebar.

I wonder how long these fences will last before the iron parts rust through? Have any of you constructed similar fences?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Cedar Post Arbor...

One of the shops in Fredericksburg has an arbor over its entry made from cedar logs. The reason this is interesting to me is because my husband is on the faculty at Austin College. AC owns land that the Biology department is doing their best to return to prairie.

There is an invasion of cedar trees on this land that they are busy cutting down. It's nice to find something to do with the excess cedar logs.

The construction of the arbor looks pretty simple, don't you think?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

I'm in Fredericksburg, TX...

It's Sunday morning as I write this and I've been in Fredericksburg teaching for the Verien Quilt Guild. After class today I'm headed down the road to teach in Kerrville.

Fredericksburg is a lovely town in the Hill Country near Austin. I got to town on Friday and had a chance to wander Main Street. This antique store had some wonderful outdoor pieces.

The shop's front doors were really lovely.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Wool dolls...

I ran across Mimi Kirchner's hand sewn wool dolls while blog surfing. Mimi's blog, Doll, is definitely worth checking out. The pattern and instructions are at the The Purl Bee - a truly wonderful site. I especially love the hair on these dolls.

Linda has been playing with wool lately. She has some great ideas for future projects that sound very exciting.

I know many of you think that Linda and I work on projects together but, because we live so far apart, that doesn't happen often. We're getting together next month and I'm looking forward to seeing what she's been up to.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Little soccer player...

Elanor is playing soccer! I don't think she has a firm grip on the rules of the game but it's good exercise and she's really enjoying it. I took a lot of pictures and got some nice ones. It was a pretty day for soccer.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Changing colors...

I paint the rooms in my house more often than most people. It's a lot cheaper than moving! I've got painting down to a science and can usually prime and put a finish coat on any room in under 8 hours.

Last week I took one day and changed my dining room. It was burgundy and now it's a teal/turquoise color. I love it! Luckily, Steve does too. You can see the portrait of Moses Carr on the far wall. He is my husband's great-great-great grandfather. We rescued this painting from Steve's grandmother's barn many years ago and had it repaired and restored. I've never been sorry we spent that money.

We use my grandmother's dresser as a buffet. Most of the rest of her bedroom furniture is in the attic. The painting over the buffet is by George Brinner, an artist on Maui. We have 3 of his paintings - I suppose we're fans!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Becky is on her way home from staying with her sister in the hospital. Christy is amazing. Once again she is doing better. 

Becky has been sharing with you about her new project. I have a project going using the same techniques but with a very different look from hers.
 Years ago I found these vintage blocks while antiquing. Probably under a table in a basket. I loved them and brought them home and put them in a drawer. An unknown maker spent many hours hand piecing them. Her seams match up beautifully. When you look at them they have a softness to them that you do not get cutting strips using a ruler.

I am making a quilt using the blocks for my background. The background is busy. My applique is a very simple design, with the applique pieces being large. This way the background remains the background.

I plan to cut my sashing and 9 patch blocks for the border without a ruler. My hope is for the borders to look soft like the background. I will post more as the project progresses.

Blessings Linda

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Working on the new quilt...

I've spent the better part of this week getting my next quilt up on the wall. You saw the background of one block last week. Today I put the applique pieces on it.

I began by pinning up small pieces of the different fabrics just to get an idea of how they might look. Once I was pretty sure I liked what I saw, I cut them out. I included their seam allowances and cut them out carefully with a 3/16" seam allowance.

It's really important to see the fabric cut to shape. That way you will have a much better idea of how your block will look after it has been stitched. I use the placement overlay to get these pieces in the correct position on the wall. I'll post a photo soon showing the block without the overlay and with the vase cut and ready to sew.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Ruffled iris...

I bought some special iris bulbs a couple of years ago. They bloom later than my other iris and are a pleasant surprise. They are that lovely shade of blue that is almost purple, but not quite.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Zebra stripes...

We have new neighbors! The house they moved into has two bedrooms and around 1500 square feet. They unloaded three big UHauls into the house - I'm not sure how everything got squeezed in.

The zebra UHaul parked at the end of our alley caught my eye. In studying the photo I think what makes it more interesting is the pattern in the asphalt in front of it.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The little mermaid?

I just found this on YouTube.'s "Give Us Your Voice" Contest was in 2007 so you can see that I'm behind the times. Nick Pitera, the guy in this video, didn't win but he's fascinating to watch. How does he sound so much like Ariel?

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Dressing in monochrome...

Many of you know that I wear a lot of green, but I don't always wear green. Elizabeth Sweetheart does! I am a regular reader of Joanna Goddard's design blog and somehow I missed her post from February 2008. In it she refers us to an article she wrote for New York Magazine about New Yorkers who dress in monochrome.

Like all quilters, I love color. In fact, I love color so much that I can't choose just one favorite color. How did these folks choose just one color!? I could not do that - but I do admit that it makes for a lovely closet. I'll bet their drawers are fun to look at too.

Friday, April 3, 2009

A pieced background...

The background in an applique block is the "negative space" that surrounds applique. You don't want your negative space to overshadow the "positive space" - you want it to enhance the applique.

Our next book is titled Applique Outside the Lines. It's all about constructing a quilt with freer lines. Imagine a line drawn with a soft pencil on paper, without a ruler. That line has a flowing quality that a ruler-straight line does not. We want to capture that flowing line in our quilts.

Most piecing is comprised of pieces that are cut with rulers. The sewn lines are very straight, very exact. Take away the ruler and you can cut flowing lines using a rotary cutter. The key is to
not use a ruler. You'll learn a whole lot more about this in the book when it comes out in July or August.

Linda and I put a lot of interesting backgrounds behind our applique - it's part of the signature Piece O' Cake look. In Applique Outside the Lines the backgrounds are scrappy and constructed without rulers. I'm constructing the backgrounds for my new quilt the same way. I'll show you pictures of this block as it progresses over the next week or two.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Doug, the guerilla gardener...

My next door neighbor, Doug, told me last month that he is a guerilla gardener. We live in a cul-de-sac neighborbood. Much of it is surrounded by unkempt land. Tangles of vine and trees stand next to the alleyway drive. Doug decided to tame the wilderness and grow his surplus plants there.

He is making a lot of progress. Now, what I find to be the most amazing thing is that Doug has/had liver cancer. He was diagnosed 4-5 years ago and at that time the prognosis was not good. We don't discuss his treatment, but he must be in remission - great news! In addition to clearing land and cutting down trash trees, he has spent much of the winter digging and preparing beds. He ordered a bunch of rare cannas that he planted a couple of weeks ago in his front yard. I'm looking forward to seeing them!

He's had lots of little plants in all kinds of pots next to the alley. Every time I drive by I feel like a gardener who is just not keeping up. Lately his plants have been on the move. I have a feeling his yard is going to be more exciting than mine this year! But - I'm making quilts :-)!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

More flowers...

This is a red columbine. They are native to Texas and are very hardy. They go to seed but are not so prolific that they make me crazy. They pop up all over the place because, after I cut them back, the seeds drop as I carry them away. I could be more careful but I like the surprises.

It is still mostly spring here, although we had a freeze last weekend. I'm not complaining though. There are way too many people who are experiencing dire weather conditions. We covered our seedlings. The Texas bluebonnets don't care if it freezes.

I don't think the yellow columbine is native to Texas, but it likes my yard too. Columbines are sort of scary-looking, don't you think? Scary, but lovely and graceful at the same time.