Jan 30, 2009

a little progress

Awwwww! Guess who I saw on the way into the kitchen a few minutes ago. He posed for a few more pictures but this was interrupted by a bath and a lot of rolling around on the chair to sun that belly fur. Gotta love it!

Baby steps, I grant you but here is some UFO progress from yesterday's sewing session. I bet that piece of redwork has been clipped to the shelving unit for at least 4 years? Long enough to become part of the rooom landscape anyway. The pattern is from APQ Dec. 99 but I did the embroidery way after the fact. My guess is that the Convergence top that needs some borders will take its place.

After nearly driving myself around the bend the night before printing out foundations for those pieced HST's in EQ, something clicked. I was finally able to print the pieced triangles I was looking for rather than skewed squares in two different sizes. I was trying to follow the directions in one of the EQ supplemental books for printing templates on quarter square triangles. I was able to draw them up and eliminate pattern lines but they looked entirely different when placed on the quilt. Apparently I am missing a step somewhere. I will re-visit that lesson down the line for another project I have in mind. Note to self---I wouldn't have had to do anything if I had not re-sized the center square and followed the printed directions (duh, seam allowances need to be added to EQ as that is the finished size! Recalculate after that) In other words it is all my "fault", not the software or the pattern designer.

I panicked at first when I laid out the top border row----it is way too big, I thought. Oh, no--now I have to scrap a whole days sewing? Then it occured to me that I had to miter the seam so yes, it might look that there was too much fabric but it looks to be spot on. I am not sure that I know how to miter seams but I guess I'll find out. Like at attic window block, right? But do I sew from the block out to the edge? Guess I better read those directions when I get to that point.

Mitered borders are NOT an entry on my "quilting bucket list" but it could be! Should be, LOL.

Jan 28, 2009

WIP Wednesday

Pat always writes up a "work in progress" post and I'm decided to follow her example. Maybe if I make myself more accountable for what I am working on I might see some progress towards completion? I like having different options of what to do, depending on my mood that day. That is okay but then it takes longer to get anything done. LOL, guess you can't have it both ways.

Today I washed and ironed some more Williams Inn yardage for my Be Attitudes mini-quilts. The Bama Belles were so generous at Christmas time that they have a good stake in this quilt. I also cut out the WTIL challenge quilt top using a pattern from Quick Cozy Couch Quilts specifically Quilt #2 (Christmas gift from DJ). I drew it up in EQ because I wanted to substitute 2 1/2 strips for the 3 1/2 inch ones the author used and resize the quilt for Wrap 'Em needs. I have my calculations scribbled all over the margins of the printout for how many strip sets (strips) to cut and will file that with the book for future reference.

In the foreground of the picture above, some binding I had just made from the WI yardage for the next mini quilt still in need of pressing and rolling. I also cut out and sewed up the Be Loving base and tabs. I rough cut the applique sections while I was at it. Even the backing is cut and readied. I am stash busting some old fabric from a donation quilt for that purpose and can probably get a 3rd one backed with it. It is an odd color, not quite tan and not quite pink. Scraps of it might work for flesh colored tones if reversed to the back side.

I am still considering which long set aside project to pick up next. Far, far too many choices there! I am leaning towards a Lazy Girl Designs Towne Purse that is half done OR that Rosy Red St. Nicholas redwork piece that hangs off my shelving units. My notes got cold about the border on that one. I had been considering foundation piecing it as the sections are sorta small for my fumble fingers. I drew that up in EQ way back when so would need to do some printing. See what I mean about getting distracted? Both of these are personal projects which might explain why it has been waiting, antiquing.

But back to what I am actually working on, this actual day. A few more stitches in a Bird Brain Santa block so I am making a some progress . After supper and during TV viewing time I'll put a few more stitches in the 3 wood cover. I did just enough of it on Monday evening that the ribbing pattern is established and the needles are not going to fall out in my lap.

Our guest arrived in the early morning hours yesterday so the boys got in 18 holes and Herb some practice shots at the nearby old Army golf course. He left first thing this morning for the next leg of the journey. It has been raining most of the day and they had not planned to play anyway. Back to normal with just the three of us. Naturally I am counting Skyler in that number.

So that is what is going on around here---thanks for stopping by!

Jan 26, 2009


I have a couple of reasons to celebrate!  First, today is my 10th anniversary.  DJ picked up these lovely tulips for me on Saturday.  Second, I have a couple of finishes to report.
The FAB “Summer in Winter” challenge was completed on Thursday and set on its merry way to Norma.  I also finished the binding on a bonus project on Friday but I can’t show that to you yet.  Yeah, another secret.

Next up in my sewing/creative schedule was the “Be Warm” Be-attitudes mini quilt.  I fused the motifs, machine buttonhole appliqued around them and machine quilted it. The directions call for just “birthing” the mini quilts but I have never been pleased with the results when I have tried that.  It was my choice to do the more conventional binding even if it meant more hand finishing.  UGH!

I had forgotten that some hand embroidery for snowflakes was needed along with some bead embellishments so I have some threads showing on the back that could not be hidden.   Oh well!  IIWII.  I’ll read a little closer next time.   I just finished that needed handwork and beading plus sewing the tabs on with the buttons before I sat down to right this. 

Hot off the press!   I should have used the darker red check for the letters and will do so on the rest of them now that I got a bit more yardage in.  I can’t wait to do the next one with the Valentine theme---Be Loving.

DJ and I went out for our anniversary dinner at one of our favorite catfish restaurants where they run a January special for about 3 dollars off the usual price---its their anniversary too.  His golfing friend is due in sometime tonight.  When I got word that he was coming and DJ told me the dates ”ah, that is our anniversary, honey.”   I insisted that he call him right back and tell him we would be unavailable till later in the evening.  That supposedly would work better for him anyway as he would not feel rushed to get down here from central Illinois. 

Other than cleaning house and working on Be Warm there is not much happening around here.  It is time for quilt group to meet again tomorrow. The boys will head off to the golf course, provided it does not rain.  It is in the forecast but that is nothing compared to the cold and ice that I see forecast for the Midwest.

Next up in the sewing department-- I have a WTIL challenge quilt I want to cut out and sew.  I had left 4 tops at the meeting place to pin so may come home with them but quilting can wait.  I am also thinking about which project box to pull off the shelf and get that moved along a bit.  4 patch posie, I think. 

I know I have some knitting on the horizon too.  DJ came in with a 3 wood cover that had 3 holes in it.  I had made a set of head covers for him maybe 5 years ago.  I believe he thinks I can mend anything and everything so he was hopeful that this would be an easy fix.  It would be easier to just knit him another one.  Naturally I had already passed on the yard leftover from the covers and had to get some more.  Mom sent me a pattern for a knit dishcloth that I want to do as well—can never have too many of those.

Guess that’s it for now----thanks for stopping by.

Jan 21, 2009

Quilty content?

Not much sewing going on around here though I did make this base for the “Be Warm” block and rough cut the pieces for the snowman applique for the Nancy Halvorsen designed Be Attitudes mini quilt.  Notice how I left them in a safe place? 

I also whipped up a “Twin Sisters” block from Eleanor Burns’ Quilting Through the Seasons mostly because I was curious what sized block you would get if you used 3 1/2 inch strips instead of the 2 1/2 directed in the book---answer?  8 inch finished.  The little 5 1/2 inchers are cute, I must say and the two blocks at a time is nice but sometimes so are fewer blocks!

I finished up the quilting on my FAB challenge on Monday, the binding has all been applied by machine.  While watching the inauguration events I got started on the hand finishing part.  I would estimate that I am a third of the way done and inching closer to mailing these up to Norma.  Other than that, I went through both the 2 inch and 1.5 inch strip boxes and straightened those out while pulling any novelty strips for Norma as she is making one of those calendar strip quilts.  I can stick those in the box with her gift when I mail it out hopefully in a few days time.  I’m pokey when it comes to binding, I admit it.

Let me show you the latest in cat toys--mouth sized pompom balls.  For several days we could not find either of his sponge bouncing balls.  His beloved puff balls have been gone for ages though I found one under the stove after the fact.  He was moping around the house obviously wanting to play but none of his usual toys were doing it for him.  At one point DJ tossed every cat toy from the basket near the fireplace on the middle of the living room floor trying to interest him in something.  Nada. He was like an over-stimulated Alzheimer patient with too many choices.  It occurred to me that I had pompom’s leftover from a craft project and dug them up.  BINGO!  It kept him busy and playing, chasing, carrying them around in his mouth. The problem is that he loses them under the couch, the beds, appliances, dressers, the wheel of the kitchen cart--you name it.   At times it seems like he hauls them off deliberately to bat them under the bed.  No problem!  I bought another big bag of them at Wal-mart and pulled out the preferred mouth sized ball keeping them handy by the computer.  He knows the container is up there and provides an almost unending supply.  He loses one and then comes in meowing and hopping up to bat at the container.  Would he even need me if he had opposable thumbs??  Hours of entertainment on both sides.  (DJ just fished out 4 of them from under his dresser as I typed up this paragraph, LOL)

Well, I promised you quilt top pictures from our last meeting.  LOL, just in time for next week’s meeting.  I came home with one pinned top that I volunteered to quilt for Lois and the 4 tops I had taken were left behind for another meeting.  Lois and Judy had first dibs on the pinning table as far as I was concerned.  (I was exhausted from too little sleep and had to go home early that day)

Judy made this sweet little quilt for a friend who just had their first child after several years of trying to get pregnant.  Nine patches in 30’s repros.

Judy also made this top which she calls “Gypsy”  I love the bright colors in it though she said she was working a bit out of her comfort zone.  It will be donated to the kids when finished.


Lois’ top from about 11 years back from a Trudie Hughes workshop.  “Flying Geese in the Cabin”  from More Template-Free Quiltmaking. Her original plan was more borders or maybe even the pieced border shown on the cover quilt of the book but Lois though it best to move it along and donate it as is.  This is the one that I brought home to quilt for her---any ideas of just how to go about that?  Remember, I stink at free motion.

Another of Lois’ tops--- she probably used a pattern from either Burns’ Egg Money Quilts or Quilts Throughout the Seasons.  The star block is a variation of “54-40 or Fight” or “Garden Walk (or Garden Path)”. It alternates with the “Snowball”  block which when combined, gives the illusion of curves.  I would probably call the quilt “Tennessee Waltz” as this combo of blocks is termed that in Judy Martin’s Scrap Quilts

Lois may have stumped me on this one.  It could be Strip Bow from Trudie Hughes’ Template- Free Quiltmaking.  Maybe Love Knot? The block in two colorations is really a chevron or quarter log cabin block and the blocks set on point when the top is pieced.  I’ll ask her next time I see her or perhaps one of you knows the answer. 

Lastly, here is Lois’ version of Disappearing Nine Patch.  The JOY guild used this one month as their block of the month raffle. 

Guess that’s it for now---I need to get dressed and run an errand though it is quite chilly again (16 degrees when we got up and up to 25 right now----brrrrr.  We live in the South so where are our milder winters right now?)  Back to binding the rest of the day between meal preparation.  Thanks for stopping by------------

Jan 16, 2009

Enough with the cleaning!

At last I can close the closet door and even store the sewing tables if I had to!

I started work on the closet straightening almost first thing yesterday morning. It looked far worse before I took this picture. I had already emptied out all the project boxes etc that sit above this drawer unit and the stencils and bags off the door. Skyler could not keep from taking a peek at the one spot he cannot get into. It was that packed in there! The shot I tried to take with him sitting in an emptied out drawer apparently did not turn out :-{ or I would show you that one instead. Still, this shows a bit of the “before” clutter in there.

As you can see, the space is compromised a bit because it shares room with the furnace air return. The other part is the door situation—small door that doesn’t allow an easy reach to the contents in the back. All 4 closets are like that. There would be little wall space if they had done bi-fold doors though. You deal with what you have, right?

Some fabric, most of the patterns and sewing supplies will be donated to the thrift store including about 8 outfits that I had already cut out. Maybe someone will want to take it from there? I sure don’t want to, LOL. I couldn’t part with the yarn and augmented it with some stored in my bedroom. I didn’t want to part with the doll supplies or some of the holiday themed craft items just yet either. Better keep the batting sections as well.

It was a good thing today was garbage collection day as I went through 4 kitchen sized trash bags before all this re-organization was completed! Once I moved things out from the center of the closet I could get to 4 jumbo stacked storage bins stacked next to the little drawers. Well, after I moved all the batting out of the way, that is. I unearthed the container with the feedsacks and old blocks---grandmother flower garden and glorified nine patch blocks (22 of them). G9P is a quilt I have always wanted to make or at least finish these blocks into a top. The melon section and pattern is missing so that was a sticking point. I thought that I had left them out but can’t lay my hand on them right now to show those to you. Well, that is going to drive me crazy till I find out what I did them!

I got a tally of just what batting I have on hand and made myself a list. Let’s just say, I’m good in that regard for awhile unless I want something other than 80-20 or Warm and Natural, LOL. Two more bags have scraps that can be used for smaller projects or sewn together to get more mileage out of it. This is just a small part of it—shown in an “after” shot. I could not back up far enough to get it all in, top to bottom.
Other treasures I found in the process:
  • Ribbon applique from Faye Labanaris. I may not ever finish this project but the instructions may help down the line somewhere
  • An almost pieced Primrose Star—designed by Mary Lou Anderson—just finish three corners and the center at least could added to an orphaned block quilt. I slapped it up on the design wall for now
  • Pieced Hexagon blocks from Janet Elwin—about 6 of them are done from that workshop—enough for a row in a quilt anyway
  • Some cool block ideas that my mom shared with me with stitched examples (More Pinwheels—that kind of tessellated version of Twin Sisters and Kansas Trouble in two sizes)
  • what looks like a row quilt in patriotic colors. I am not at all sure who donated this (Pam? Nancy?) but it would be perfect for a QOV quilt. Pat and I may team up to get this one donated at some point.
That there are more kits and UFO’s stashed in the closet as well should not surprise you. I am NOT counting them up though. No way, Jose! I did that once when on the stashbuster list and joined in the UFO challenge. Why get aggravated with yourself that you like to try new things but don’t always finish your experimentation? Why beat yourself up with a number hanging over your head like the sword of Damocles? Nothing will stifle my creativity quicker than feeling stuck doing something I don’t feel like doing. BUT being on a fixed income I can’t just go buy more so I am keeping much of what I have on hand. I think I do a pretty good job of using what I have oh hand for making kids quilts. Just never enough time in the day to do it all, is there?

Here is the official “after” picture. The purge/reorganization even impacted some of the things stuck away in the bedroom--a general freshening up of both rooms. I guess since we are inside more when the weather turns cold, we notice all those little things that need done. I didn’t mind cleaning so much when it is cooler either. DJ was dressed in an insulated flannel shirt and I’m in a t-shirt getting all warmed up, LOL.

I finished off the day by cleaning out my purse and cleaning out my top desk drawer---I tend to just shove stuff in there till it will barely open. Even an old file box was dealt with by shredding and tossing unneeded papers. Time to haul out more trash! The container now holds the little bit of patriotic fabric that I have. See above—the patriotic rows and some stuff that will help complete it.

This morning was far less taxing. I was on a treasure hunt for some of Skyler’s missing toys. One of his sponge balls, a rubber band, a plastic ring, pom pom ball, three stuffed mice were all part of the day’s haul. Some emailing, blog reading and puzzle solving. Vacuuming—ugh. I almost hate to start making a mess in there since the room is so clean. On the goal list for the day: I am preparing backing and binding for the FAB challenge. Spray baste and I can start quilting in a bit--or not. I'll have to start supper before too long. Think I’ll cut out the “Be Warm” Be Attitude block while I have the cutter in my hand.
Hope you have a good day in whatever you chose to do---stay warm and have fun! I’m sure going to.

ED NOTE: found the G9P blocks--finally! I took everything out of the closet only after I had looked in all the likely spots to stash them. They were In the redwork basket where I had stuck them for "safe" keeping. Yeah, I think we are all familiar with sticking things away in safe places and in effect, losing them. OR more like losing our minds searching for them, LOL.

Jan 14, 2009

Serial reorganization

Help!  Stop me before I clean again, LOL.  No, seriously I am inches away from diving into the sewing room closet to clean, purge, straighten.  Normally I would not consider that a BAD thing but I should be staying on track with that FAB challenge. 

It started with taking the thread racks down.  (See the last post)  I decided that I wanted to keep most of thread on the shelving units but that meant disposing of a bunch of my old APQ magazines.  After all, they were taking up about 12 to 16 inches of shelf space.  For years, I would not tear into these but it was time to take out the articles that I had some interest in ever making or wanted for inspiration of a set or use of color.  You get the idea.  I got all that condensed down into a 3 inch 3-ring binder in sheet protectors.

Obviously I have done that a time or two before when you look at all those notebooks.  Computer printouts and commercially purchased patterns are filed in there too.  I moved things around so I could most of these down on the bottom shelf.  The books on the end are there as almost all of them are listed on Amazon marketplace and I need them to be separated out and accessible.  If they stay, that’s okay too.
Moving the notebooks down cleared out a space on the shelf where they were for the thread .  I had other old sewing stuff in one of those tubs so I re-purposed it for the cone threads.  Next to it, three of the containers I filled from the thread racks.  I picked up two more 20 qt containers today to hold my 1 1/2 and 2 inch strips.  I had them in something else but this arrangement allowed me to do some shifting.   They are pretty full and no longer separated out by light, medium and dark but I can deal with it.  The 2 1/2 and 3 1/2’s aren’t either.  I may separate them out by colors later and layer them in there instead of just the dumping I did just get them put away.  The project box came down from the upper shelf stack as it is what I picked out for a ME project.

The wall where the racks came down looks awful though.  Hollow wall anchors, a couple other holes that could be spackled, sanded and painted as well but just generally needs some paint.  Something, I don’t know what, got sprayed on it and there are poster tack marks up higher.  I do not want to paint in the dead of winter when we cannot open the windows and/or use the fan to air things out.   A wallhanging would be nice and maybe Amy Bradley’s Quilt Diva would fill the bill.  I have the fabrics kitted up for it, after all.  OR I have her Seasoned Quilter patterns if I go all the way to the ceiling, that is.

BUT I am not so sure about that---I did this as temporary measure but I think I like it.  The spot is a little unhandy with the pressing/cutting table in the way but that  is what they made step stools for, LOL.  Pam had sent me a piece that her mom had made up for a design wall but it was a little wide for my spot.  I cut it down and quilted around the edges---instant design “wall”  I pulled out 4 blocks from the abandoned block bin---all of them from my mom.  That butterfly had been hanging in her bedroom for some time and I might as well carry on that tradition, LOL. I think it has some real possibilities with the other pastel blocks on hand for Finn’s Riding the Orphan Train quilt.

The cat is just too cute NOT to put up.  It kind of reminds me of Skyler.  I know she made a donation WTIL quilt from the pattern.  It is from “Cats….of course!!  The Curious Cat” designed by D. A. Brinkmann of Spartanburg, SC.  The block is given in 5 inch, 7.5 inch and 10 inch sizes.  (I have my own copy so I checked, LOL)
We have some of those same frigid temps that many of you are experiencing right now heading our way.  DJ said that there are freeze warnings out in Florida and the weathermen are predicting perhaps single digit lows for a few nights.  Two different Alberta Clippers are responsible.  No precipitation is thought to accompany it so they were quick to suggest that a run on the store’s milk, bread and eggs was NOT needed.  At any rate I will be happy to be snug in the house over the weekend.

That’s how it goes around here today.  I’ll get to the closet mess—trust me, it needs it---but will have to wait till after I get my haircut mid-morning.  The bulk of it anyway.  For now, I’m back to embellishments.  All too soon it will be time to fix supper—either Quick Mediterranean Dinner (meatballs with chickpeas, olives, feta cheese in a tomato sauce base clipped from an old newspaper or magazine) or Easy Mulligatawny.  I posted the soup recipe some time back so the link will take you to it.  LOL, what I don’t fix tonight, I fix tomorrow.  I am leaning toward soup after smelling the chicken cooking in the crockpot earlier. 

I have pictures of some of the tops shown at the quilt meeting but I’ll save those for a day when I have no quilt-y content---read:  when I am quilting my FAB challenge hopefully by week’s end.  Thanks for stopping by.

Jan 12, 2009

Kits, bins and UFOs

First the “Kit” LOL. By the time I had errands run yesterday DJ had the laundry done. We have a deal-- if he is going to do it, I don’t want him hanging or folding my stuff as he does just the opposite of how I handle it. Normally it is draped on the kitchen chair but look who found the pile when I moved it to the bed. Something about the smell of clean clothes is like a kitty magnet, I guess, because these were by no means warm at the time.

I am half done with the hand stitching on my FAB challenge but haven’t touched it yet today as I have been straightening up a bit in the sewing/computer room and doing some re-organization. I decided to take my thread down off the racks as I am tired of having to unwind the first pass off it to get the dust/lint off of it. (The stuff at the store is not much better in the department, I found out. ) I ran out to a discount store near here to get some containers for that purpose plus a few project boxes. Now I have an idea of how many more will be needed for the task. The wall space would be perfect for a small wallhanging.

Of course, this reorganization plan led to moving some other things around the room—and even into my bedroom as my storage space for fabric/quilt tops is encroaching on the closet space in there as well as blanket chest. Serial cleaning as Pam would say.

So what are you looking at? On the right hand side, top shelf: the two Longaberger baskets at top contain part of my collection of 30’s reproduction fabrics—one is a round divided basket and the other is about 14 inches long full of fat quarters. The 35 qt. bin below it is one I just loaded up this afternoon; it also has repro fabric and my collection of feed sack fabrics. Inside, at the top of the box, are some leftover 30’s repro fabrics my mom sent from a Cheese and Cracker quilt that her quilt group made for raffle at the Taste of Country Fair. I didn’t see any need to unpack it as Pam, Norma and I plan on making this quilt sometime in February or March. I might switch the two little baskets around with the other bin at some point but I need the clear plastic bin below it sooner.

On the left hand side, top shelf---fall fabrics in the flatter Longaberger basket and in the blue 20 qt. bin is my fall Round Robin from back in December of 2006 (the rest of the group robins are HERE if you want to look) I want to re-do the last border on mine as that dark poly cotton has got to go and what is with those corners? Some of the fabrics needed to complete it are in the bin---yep, another UFO.
Also in the back of my mind is to make my own version of the Friendship in the Pines that Cher won in the WTIL raffle about a year ago. I can’t find the picture of the finished quilt but perhaps she has one? I’ll look for a link later but for right now, THIS is the block. Bonnie of Quiltville fame saw it on my site (and possibly Pam’s) as we both made blocks for the raffle quilt and showed them on our blogs. She drew it up in EQ with a slight variation in the way we actually pieced it and gave it her own name, leaders and enders trees for a time but I don’t know what she called the finished quilt. Anyway, HERE was the original post and HERE is the finished one. The only real difference? She drew a square near the base end. We made the piece near the trunk a large half square triangle rather than use an odd shaped template.

But, I digress, LOL. All over the place today and writing in a stream of consciousness way. 2nd shelf, another 20 qt. bin I just filled. The Longaberger basket below it is full of you guessed it, more 30s fabric but the 20 qt.clear one is the fabric dedicated to the Be Attitudes quilt I am starting soon. I got a collection of the Williams Inn fat quarters for my birthday back in August. It was so prettily wrapped, like a layered star, that I had not even unfolded it to wash it. With some fusible applique ahead I thought it best to do the honors today. I had already started unfolding when I thought to take the picture. Run on over to Cross Country Quilt Barn if you want to see the unsullied version, LOL.

Karen at Passionate Quilter who follows me in the stash quilts blog ring said she will be teaching this quilt to her students (I think she is in Ohio?) as a block of the month and asked me to join in. Nothing like a deadline to help get my blocks done! I’ll be ready to make my first fabric base once I am done with the FAB challenge. In looking at the colors I thought some fat quarters I had purchased 11 plus years ago called “Barn Dance” may go with the Williams Inn fabrics. I put them in the bin as well as some homespuns that had belonged to Theramae. That box is ready except for a light for the figures skin tones. A chance to stash bust, right?

I should add that I have another bin of 30’s fabrics just a little bigger than the one I just purchased for the feedsacks, etc but it lives under the cutting/pressing table. Now I admit that I have a ton of 30 repros but in my defense I have been collecting for some time. Cher gave me hers when she cleaned out all her stock and fell out of love with a Hope of Hartford Star that featured it. Some is from my mom and some, gifts from others who know I love this stuff. Practically all of it is fat quarters. As far as I know, I don’t have any duplicates but I don’t think I have ever had it all out in one place to look. I DO use bits of it now and again though—blocks for Pat’s Friendship Sunbonnet Sue , my Pioneer Sampler that I probably last touched when the picture was taken in Dec. 06, the first Collinsville Rowers row (August 07 vintage) Oh, almost forgot about THIS—a no send ostrich round robin that Peach Quilting had started. I found it in the blanket chest. That would be a fun medallion one to finish up but use my own rules. I even used some in blocks for what was my mom’s pass around quilt that become my wedding quilt!

Obviously I have plenty of ME projects to work on. Here is an example of what I could grab at any minute that the mood to sew strikes. I would like to see this stack diminished this year so some of that fabric could get out of the bedroom closet. In my defense, almost all of that stuff is what came home from Illinois with me last summer and a large container from a former Belles’ estate. Add some of Theramae’s fabrics more recently. In fact, that stack of reds and neutrals is her fabrics. I keep looking at them and thinking log cabin or better yet, Faux Log Cabin. Theramae was a champ at those! At any rate, space is finite and things need to be sewed up around here. Some is donation quilts, some not but it is all kitted up and waiting.

Lastly, my old clothes hamper is not just a place for the cat to jump up on the way to the window. Nope, this is the stuff that outgrew the old picnic basket that it used to live in. It is either cut already or paired up with the go-with’s for the kids. No, it is not stuff for ME but it is stuff that needs to be used. There are other bags around as well with panels and things. So I think I should just reach in there and grab something later this month and just sit and sew, don’t you?
I took the tops that Marilyn and Linda S donated last month and I paired with backing and binding out in the car to take to the meeting tomorrow. Lois has some tops ready to pin as well but I don’t care if we don’t get to these till next time out. I MAY be coming home with the next commissioned T-shirt stuff so quilting can wait.

My action plan for the rest of the month?
  1. Finish the FAB challenge hopefully with the next week to 10 days and get it mailed since it is traveling to Canada
  2. Make the base for the “Be Warm” block
  3. Pull one project from the hamper or shelf and start sewing
  4. Stitch on the redwork Santa for about an hour each day
  5. Don’t start Chris’ tshirt quilt till February—I don’t think she has a deadline date
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it--------thanks for stopping by!

Jan 10, 2009

Saturday doings

I continue to work on my FAB challenge but the machine appliquing is all complete. I’m working on some hand embellishments today—the embroidery is probably my favorite part and I wish I had had the time to hand applique this project. My machine work is okay but I really don’t care what kind of fusible you use, you still get fuzzies on the edge of fused applique. Or I don’t sew right at the edge of it and then have to try to do a fill line which doesn’t always work either. The parts I turned and basted looks so much better. SIGH. Still, applique used to be something I avoided like the plague so I guess that there is some improvement in this area over the last two years, LOL.

This brings me to my plan for a Personal Quilting Challenge which was something the FABS were discussing in online chat last weekend. Pat spoke about this in her recent post but basically we each were picking some area where we felt we needed a creative push, more practice or stretch of our skills. Sometime during 09 we are supposed to work on that. For example, Norma avoids half square triangles but vowed to make something that included them. Pam wants to work with scraps in a more random manner. Pat had a couple of ideas when we started naming things out as an example but foundation piecing might have been one of them. Cher, I am not sure of what you picked but I know a couple of you thought I should be working on something free form. A week later and I am still resisting that idea, LOL. This project has convinced me that I really would like to get better at needle turn applique. That does not mean that I couldn’t try a few other things this year.

As I work on this hand project I think of what I might want to work on that will incorporate this, The Be Attitudes blocks that I want to do have my beloved button hole applique that I would probably do by hand but that my long abandoned Oxmoor Christmas would be the perfect chance to put this into practice. Long time readers may remember the story behind this one. You can bear with me while I tell it again.

The quilt on the right was one that was started by our friend and fellow Bama Belles Betsy---her 2nd one actually. (Theramae made three of them if you can believe that--three kids.) The first one she did was given to one of her sons and she had two sons. She passed away before the quilt could be completed and I was commissioned to finish it up for her. She had it made and assembled to roughly the first half of the quilt with some odd blocks loose that she obviously wanted to include in the quilt in some way, several not original to the pattern either. She had also made some changed in a few other areas so I felt free to not make an exact replica of what the other son had. I re-designed the original pattern in EQ to include those blocks plus made some of my own choices in the lower half. I thought I had a picture of it quilted but don’t feel like digging in either my blog archives or the piles of pictures to find it. Link to her original quilt is HERE.

So anyway----her quilt got finished back in mid 2006 but my own is still at the top 1/3rd area, LOL. I would say even if I do some sort of combination of blocks, working on it might be give me some opportunities to practice some needleturn. Not those awful candy canes though—that is what drove me around the bend the first time out, LOL. Betsy found that the word “cookies” that went on the jar was the part where she had problems. We joked about it. Notice that she left it off the 2nd time around? I have a feathered star block that I made as a round robin start and then changed my mind that would be a good addition. Well, can’t find that either but I did give up and look in the archives so take a peek if you are so inclined, LOL HERE you go. Shown with a piece of Santa red work that would be quick finish and a start towards tackling some UFOs.

Why is it that I can finish other people’s stuff easier than mine??? People donate things for the kids and those get done, somehow, down the line. Next time I’ll take a shot of the project boxes that are visible and the UFO/kit holder—what a slug I am! Well, that gives me something to shoot for, doesn’t it? A couple of fun ongoing things and some UFOs that could be tended to—good goals. You may need to provide a nudge now and again even if means scaling back on the donation work. It might just be my turn this year.

Jan 8, 2009

one more time

I do not know what happened to that picture of Skyler yesterday.  I have tried doing it nine different ways from Sunday by now.

The oddest thing is that IS there when I first post it.  Then it seems to disappear  leaving only the dreaded red X in its wake.  What’s more, Firefox does not even show the red X but IE does. 

Meanwhile I am probably just filling that Picassa web album with all kinds of shots of the same picture though I did not look yet to verify that.  Color me clueless at this point.  What in the heck am I doing wrong here?  Is this going to last forever?  It is not showing up on anyone else’s computer either.   I tried to edit the post---browse button is grayed out but it acts like it is loading (click done shows up)---no url code appears.

Thinking that perhaps the picture was too large I resized it---after all, I am using a new digital camera though I normally don’t play with any buttons on it.  So, I’ll try this one more time………………….

Jan 7, 2009

try this again---midweek post

After two days of rain, the sun is finally out though some dark clouds persist. Parts of the state did have flooding, flash flooding and tornado warnings yesterday so it could have been much worse. Some wind damage down along the I-20 corridor in the south end of the county, the paper said. Boy, is the wind whipping around out there today! I know it is nature’s way of drying things up but it is howling. I don’t remember it ever being this windy even when we had the effects of Hurricane Katrina this far north. If I were Skyler, I would be hiding under the bed or something by now.

The picture was taken through his cube as we were playing this morning. (ed note: I just plain cannot get this picture to load!! Grrrrrr and what's more I am giving up trying--maybe later then) Sometimes we put his warming mat up against it to make a longer tunnel and he shoots through there and back at about 90 miles an hour. Usually there is a mouse or too in the cube or near it. There is a pocket on the bottom of the cube, just under the sheepskin fleece that holds catnap but I believe he is one of those cats who has no effect from it. (Pippi and Tyson definitely were) His routine at the moment is to nap in the cube for several hours after supper till he migrates to either the recliner with DJ or hogs the love seat till DJ heads to bed.

I am still working on the machine applique on my FAB project—well not this minute, I’m obviously typing and on the computer. One last segment to complete and then I can get ready to quilt said project. I got quite a bit of the work done yesterday while I listened to "Dewey" on audiotape. Cute story about Dewey Readmore Books, the Spencer, IA library cat. I got up to the point where Dewey's health is failing at age 18-19 and it sounded so much like my Pippi's situation that I didn't think I could handle it and shut it off. I will finish listening to it at some point but yesterday was not a good day for that. Tears, machine stitching, not a good mix. Anyway, I’m afraid I won’t have anything "quilty" to show you till the reveal in early February on that score. The Belles meet in a week so that might be my only hope for quilt pictures since I am not sewing anything else. (Red work doesn’t count.)

I got lucky on my thread run on Monday. I had 2 definite shops that I was going to try---Hobby Lobby was one but it is a good 14 miles or so from my house at the Oxford Exchange. Maybe the Discount Fabrics place out on US 78 would have what I needed? Just about as far away but on the way to Hobby Lobby. One of my girlfriends said that they carried off brand stuff but I could look. The one and only quilt shop was just down the road from that discount store. I don’t know what they have in the way of thread but the shop used to be an heirloom sewing place—only been in there once since it opened. Another option was the thread box at our meeting place. All those locations were within a mile or so of each other and I would go if if had to. Another option in the back of my mind was to mail the two spools to my mom and ask her to make a Joann’s or Hancock’s run. (You are off the hook, Mom but thanks for offering!)

As I hit town, I thought I would stop by a store that sells mainly upholstery fabrics though some other stuff as well and gardening stuff just on the off chance that they had thread. I had only been in there once in the 11 years I have lived here. I honestly did not remember what they had in the way of sewing notions. I was able to match the rust colored thread exactly. A gold they had was a better choice that what I had. Woohoo!

I practiced some bread baking again this morning—Onion and Herb Focaccia from Prepared Pantry. I had initially thought that I might use it for our lunch sandwiches as the bread but it was not done in time. Mine did not look as pretty as theirs. Sorry, no picture as I cut into it before I thought about it. My plastic wrap stuck to it as it was rising. Maybe Press and Seal is not exactly what they meant by plastic wrap in the first place. My fingers did not leave the nice dimples that they had in the picture but looks were not everything. It was tasty! Nothing like warm bread from the oven. The instructions say that you could use this for a thicker pizza dough or even breadsticks so I might do that with the 2nd mix down the line. I put most of it in the freezer once it cooled. I would love to try their Orange Blossom rolls next but DJ said we should not get in the habit of having a sweet roll with coffee mid morning, even though he loved those cinnamon rolls I made recently. He is probably right but how else am I going to learn how to bake bread if I don’t keep practicing?? Maybe for our anniversary for a little treat.

No more cooking today as there is chili in the crockpot for tonight. Guess I should go do something productive---maybe a few stitches in Santa #2. Sunday I finished off the one in the last post that was almost done and started on the one with him holding the large star and heart. See picture HERE for what I am talking about.

Is anyone else having problems uploading pictures on Google today? I have been posting lately on Windows Live Writer without any problems but today it kept saying there was an internal feed error. Then I tried just copy/pasting my narrative and adding the pictures through Google. No dice after several attempts. Then I tried posting the pictures through Picassa "blog this". The pictures loaded finally but who knows if they will take the whole post. Guess I'll find out. Actually I had another picture of Skyler on the sewing table but I discovered that it showed too much in the background----Norma might see what I was working on. That won't do!

Hope that you have had a good day in whatever you chose to do--------

Jan 4, 2009

Lazy Sunday afternoon

I have been working on my super secret FAB challenge project off and on most of the week, prepping applique mostly.  The best part of the sewing weekend was that I was chatting with most of the FABS as I worked.  It is a bit like having your own cyber retreat but we were all working on our own projects and yakking in between.  By last evening, I had finished basting my sectioning down to the base.

Before I called it quits for the night I wound the appropriate colored bobbins.  Since two of the small spools had already been used on previous project, I was almost out of thread by the time I wound the bobbin.  I know from a Wal-mart run yesterday that I am not apt to find what I need in the fabric department as their thread case is about half the size it used to be----very little selection there.  If I have to use something else, I would rather know it at the beginning and make the switch.  I’ll hit the two spots locally that MAY have what I need tomorrow when the shops are all open.  There are times that I miss the availability of supplies that I had in central Illinois. How very spoiled I was having fabric stores and quilt shops all in the same town.  Hancock’s left over a year ago and other nearby places have closed too.   I do NOT want to have to go Birmingham or Douglasville, GA just to find matching thread, for Pete’s sake!  I have till the end of the month to get my project in the mail to Ms. Norma so it won’t hurt to take the day off.

In the meantime, I pulled out my Birdbrain Design Santa red work block to put a few more stitches in.  This is one project that I would like to do like a block of the month.  It is relaxing to stitch plus I can drag it into the living room should DJ want to watch a DVD or the same thing I want to watch on TV.  In critiquing my work, I think I really should not have marked those X’s on the coat hem as they are too hard to cover with two strands of floss but too late now!  It might have been better to just free form those X’s so I’ll probably just backstitch them now to get so the red pigma pen does not show.  Actually the kit came with I think a #8 perle cotton and that probably would have done the job.  I tried it but felt it looked too thick on the small facial stitching and switched back to embroidery floss in the same color.  It is all the same dye lot though so I might just use it on the area where smaller detail is not required.  Give that a whirl!

We have had some mild weather that past few days but overcast.  DJ said if he had had any inkling that it was going to be so wet this fall/winter he would have put out some winter grass seed.    In years past when we were not on watering restrictions he has had over-seeded the front yard. We had the prettiest green grass in the neighborhood. The drought is officially over so that is a good thing.  

Today they predicted we might hit 70 which is more like late March/early April temps.  It won’t last, of course but look what is happening to our poor confused camellia bush!  That thing is loaded with blooms but you just know that the frost is going to get them.  Some are opening up already as you can see from the photo.   Also a close up of one of the blossoms.

When I started to go outside to take the floral pictures, Skyler was sitting near the front door bird watching and looked so darned cute that I tried to get a picture.  I flopped down on the floor at his level but of course, that backfired.  He had to see what was up with the camera when he heard it power up.  Funny!

Then this is what greeted me when I came back towards the house.  He often will sit almost straight up on his butt too reminding me a mercat at least from behind.  He was also meowing his kitty heart out as though I was never, ever coming back in the house.  He will do this on the carport door window as well but can barely see over the bottom edge of the windowed area.  Cracks me up.  At present he is sitting in the hallway waiting for DJ to get off his exercise bike.  DJ shut the bedroom door to keep nosy kitty from getting tangled up in the foot pedals.

Well, with no other quilty content that I can share, I’ll close for now.  I hope you have had an enjoyable day at your house.  I sure have.