Monday, March 27, 2017

Already Obsessed

 Over the years I have posted a gazillion garden pictures and while this is my smallest garden ever, I am still going nutso for plants, seeds and dirt. Under the coral bark maple I have a ring of white Mambo petunias, and Riviera Midnight lobelia. But what really gets me excited is the new planting of gallardia, aka Mexican Blanketflower. I keep trying to grow these 'easy perennials' and give up each year that they have died out. I think I know the issue. I'm too nice to them. These are plants pulled up from the alley alongside the drainage ditch. They were growing in nasty clay and never watered.

 I noticed them last summer, thriving in the blazing heat, and on a recent doggie walk I looked to see if they were up and ready to yank. Yes! In the garden they went. 

 The bigger hostas have been transplanted above ground against the back porch wall, and are mulched and ready to take over the space. I also found some dumped Creeping Jenny and put that in the blank spaces by the hosta. I know this will spread and fill in the empty spots.

 In pots I have three bleeding heart plants and one is showing growth. This was a transplant from our last house. Also recurring, a pot of dianthus, hardy cranesbill geranium and beautiful blue lithodora.

The fig got a ring of petunias and lobelias and behind it are planted 36 or so corms of gladiolus. Never planted glads before so we'll see how they do. 

 More hosta in pots. They will no doubt get moved to a shadier spot once the summer heat arrives, in May.

 Two days ago I found a packet from last year, of Pinwheel zinnia seeds and wondered if they would still be viable. So my test is a folded up wet paper towel in a Ziploc bag and VAVOOM! they've sprouted. Into the garden they will go, today.

Zinnia, Pinwheel Mix,:  Future Pinwheels.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Early Garden Talk

 The new sod is in! Hurray!! The builder said they would re-sod the parkway and they came through. Last summer killed the original sod, as we had 90+ degree days and no rain at all. This time we BELIEVE we can get this started right by daily watering before it gets too hot. (That empty spot is a man hole cover).
I've been gardening already, by adding more top soil to our beds and transplanting the two trees we moved (in pots) from our last house. This coral bark maple got sun burnt, so it got a good haircut and is ready to live and flourish (or else!) in the front bed. New perennials were planted: two blue Baptisia and one yellow one, plus three pink coneflowers. 12-15 Stargazer lily bulbs are planted dead center and I have 50 gladiolus bulbs to add to this bed. The blue porch pots will get annuals and some shade loving flowers like impatiens, and begonias.

The long bed has the other Japaneses maple, red empress or something like that, and five white azaleas (on sale!) as well as a teeny tiny Chicago Hardy Fig tree. It will grow really fast, as I learned from experience, so I don't mind how little it is now. 

It's about 18" tall today. My hosta collection remains in pots or planted against the north wall below the screened porch, well out of the sun. I am gonna try not to buy any new ones...she says.
I'm pretty darned excited to be gardening again and can hardly wait for seed planting days to arrive. 
Nasturtiums, Larkspur (I should know better), Blue Bedder sage, Pinwheel zinnias and Basil of course.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Quadrant Quilted

 The first quadrant of my QAYG quilt is done. I imagine there are loads of folks who think they don't have time to make a big quilt, but this took just over an hour (not counting using 2 year old already pieced blocks) to assemble and quilt. It measures a little over 32" which is just right for my plan. I added narrow connecting strips to join the blocks since that will be repeated in the completed design. Actually thinking ahead!

 The back is one piece of fabric and it was cut from a single yard. The leftovers will be used in the central sashing to join all four quadrants.

 The quilting was done from the backside! Otherwise I wouldn't be able to see where I was going on that busy pieced front. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Flippin' Format

These are 16 blocks from a set of 36 that I made in 2015. Never got around to doing anything with them. But since my class/demo of Quilt as you go, I got excited about using these in a flip and sew format. 

 Off the top of the pile I just picked the first four blocks. Each measures 16" and with connecting strips I can make the section a tiny bit larger, equaling nearly 32" after quilting. Thinking with my math brain for a minute, four sets of these will make a big 64" quilt but if I add borders I can make it closer to 72x84" which is a decent size twin quilt.

 The backing will be four one yard pieces of fabric, either from my stash or newly purchased (heehee!) I am wanting another yellow quilt and just don't have enough yellow in prints so I must shop. One yard will yield a good amount of leftover fabric, which can be incorporated into the center cross sashing, plus borders and binding. Economical, yes? 

 So where does the flipping come in? I think the center cross sashing will be stripped and flip and sew quilted. All of these pieces will be joined, with narrow connecting strips, quilt as you go fashion. Easy peeesey!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Flip and Sew QAYG

There were some fabrics leftover from the demo quilt and I wanted to include Flip and Sew for my class on Saturday. Using ONLY leftover strips and leftover batting.
Quilted center, 36x43" ready for adding QAYG borders. 

I had some strips of batting which I connected by using this Heat Press tape and a teflon sheet. Worked great!

 This made a large piece of batting about 36x44" and I then used a large ruler to divide the batting into three parts. 
 I found a yard of fabric in my stash that was used for the backing. Then I got out my strip collection to add to the leftovers from the demo quilt. 

 The beginning two strips lined up with the edges of section #1. I used a walking foot to sew them and quilt them down simultaneously.
Each strip is added to the previous ones and pressing as I go. The whole quilt took about three hours total. I can then add borders to enlarge this finished start.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Getting Ready

So much going on here at Chez Johnson, including GARDENING!!! Today, once I got cleaned up from shoveling new dirt into the flower beds, transplanting things and making room for new plants, I got back into the studio. Putting the demo quilt together on the design wall took less than an hour, but I had put it off all month. Now I have pulled out the previous examples of QAYG quilts that were under the bed, in the closet and hiding away from use. Looks like I have plenty of samples of finished work.
 I love that the quilting ended up being an Ohio Star in the center of each block
 The front and back of the QAYG demo quilt. For more info on this process see my old blogpost.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Catching Up

 After several revisions I have decided to use the Ohio Star layout for my demo quilt. I have started sewing it together, but keep getting distracted by life....and knitting. This is  Cardivest #11 and is made from Noro Taiyo, 40% Cotton, 30% Silk, 15% Nylon, 15% Wool. 40" bust, and 22" long. Mother of  pearl buttons. $100. Email me.


Thursday, March 2, 2017


I am preparing a demo for my sister's store on Quilt as you go, and these are the fabrics from their inventory to use for the store sample. 
 From the nine lengths of batik (12" wide) I cut off 8 inches, leaving the remaining 4 inches for later. Then I cut 5 squares from the 8" strips. Those then were cut in half on the diagonal. Because the batik is good on both sides, one triangle could be flipped over to make the mitered square.
 The first arrangement was just put on the design wall as it was cut. 5x9=45 blocks.
Then I tried it vertical with the extra strip added between rows. Uninspiring.
And then I forgot about the mitering idea and just did chevrons. Although better, I am still not convinced that this will be the final layout.