Nov 29, 2007

this and that

I have been keeping busy but not necessarily with quilting stuff. Tuesday the quilt group met and I did sit down to make a few more triple rail blocks from some backing cutaways. I call 'em basketweave blocks--is either correct? Either way, I got this much of them assembled while I was there. I am using the set up from Mary Ellen Hopkins old BOM for "Mock Triple Rails and Squares" with the plain squares forming a heart shape at center if you can see that in the print out. Theramae and I were stitching these blocks at the sew-in but her top is done and the girls pinned it along with several others.

Two more of the Merkitty challenge tops were done and I did take pics of them but will wait to share those till after the Christmas party. A piece of backing fabric that Mom sent recently was perfect for the back of Beverly's top--the pink and blue splotchy one, Mom. I stopped sewing my triple rail in order to piece it together for her since I had the only machine set up. Lois bailed me out with a needle though when I broke mine with about 12 inches to seam. I had left my extras at home though I had all my other sewing supplies with me. Reminder: put a pack or two in the carry along basket too, not just in the wound bobbin container. Theramae had two quilts to turn in--one snuggle up and another scrappy cut squares so a few pictures to take as well. Pat worked on binding on the one of the tops I recently quilted keeping me company while I stitched. Theramae will finish that one up at home while Lois took the 2nd top home to do the honors since I am machine quilting one of her tops for her.

Beverly's DIL is a beginner quilter and had a top to pin that she hopes to tie. She has begun sewing nine patch blocks and is going to be a meticulous piecer, I can tell. She needed a little help in how to cut (left-handed) as she had been using purchased cut squares for her project. I really enjoyed her enthusiasm and of course, we are all willing to share what we have learned over the years.

Several of us ran out for a light lunch at a bakery down the street and brought it back to join the others who had carried theirs in. I didn't realize that they served some breakfast items and had soup, salad and sandwich items that you could eat in or carry out. It smelled heavenly in there--like cinnamon and yeast bread. Beverly commented that she probably gained 5 lbs. just sniffing the aromas of the bakery items, LOL. I think we might run down there in January as a group for lunch. The girls sounded interested.

I spent the rest of Tuesday evening messing with some recipe files on the computer and most of the day yesterday between wash loads and meal prep. Actually what I fixed for supper was trying to replicate the chicken tortilla soup that the girls ordered at the bakery that looked and tasted so good. Inspiration comes from all sources. Perfect for a chilly evening.

This is what started a cleaning rampage yesterday morning. DJ had bought a hamper like this a few months back. It is so much easier to just roll the whole danged thing into the laundry room to sort the clothes than pull everything out of the hamper, load it into a clothes basket and handle it all over again in the laundry room. I had considered buying one for months and mentioned it again. DJ kidded me about just keeping it in the "mulling over" stage. But about similtaneously, it occured to us to see if it might work while both hampers were empty.

Okay, it fit in that spot nicely and access to the closet next to it would not be so limited. It doesn't stick out like my odd shaped, corner- intended woven onedoes. It would alllow me empty out the kits and UFOs from the small basket at the foot of the cutting table and the picnic basket stuffed with the same thing from under the table. Then the tub of Christmas fabrics can go under the table instead of sitting in front of the closet door. This might work. Pippi can launch herself up from the floor to her water bowl and window perch from the hamper, surely. (Said objects showed parked near the kitchen and removal from the house. )

Let the shifting stuff around begin! Out came the vacuum and now the old hamper is stuffed to the gills with the kits and UFOs that obviously I need to consider sewing up. Most of them are things that will go for donation quilts which makes for even more reason to do something with them. Not doing a child any good stuffed in a ziploc bag.

This is by no means, all that I have on hand either. I've got a stack of 12 pizza type boxes on the book shelf and there are about more in the sewing room closet and a basket that sits near my machine with 5 more pressing projects in it. At this rate I should never, ever leave this house at this rate and sew every available minute of my life, LOL. Or at the very least not start something new at the drop of a hat---but where is the fun in that? Sometimes sewing something new with some recently purchased fabric is what gets the quilting fire stoked again. Or combining fabrics from your stash with the color or print that combo was missing might get you off and running in another tangent.
So anyway, here we go---the "what lies beneath" all straightened up. A spot for the Christmas fabric now with room for some of the "yard sale" backing fabrics for a couple months back, 30's print tubs, pastels for another project, yellows, brights Actually have 30's fabrics in two other spots and it should all be combined but where would I put the tub???

The other three containers of yardage go up and down. I know what is in there as I visit them often. Some of it is large pieces of several yardages that a friend shared with the Belles for future challenge quilts so it is not going anywhere soon but it has to go somewhere in the meantime. The serger that I occasionally need and the paper shredder still fit along with my meeting tote bag and another pizza box of completed blocks. I squeezed in that bolt of muslin along the basket. Extra pizza boxes and bags with handles went in the space between the table legs and wall. I sew in an 10 x 10 bedroom so you have to use every inch of space to the max. You do what you have to do.

These cool mornings means waiting a bit to go walk. The problem with that is I get busy with something else and then don't want to stop what I am doing to get my exercise in. I prefer the summer routine of getting dressed and going out to do it before the day intervenes. Also I usually don't eat before I walk --feel sluggish when I do and don't physically feel like eating when I first get up anyway. I can see that a plan of action needs to be worked out a little better if I am going out after 8:30 and hope to keep my enthusiasm for exercise up. The minute that I don't make it a priority and start thinking of everything else I have planned for the day, it becomes a chore and making myself walk an extra lap just becomes drudgery. Having said that, the temp is now up to 41, sun is shining, looks like I don't have to scrap the car windows now-- I can dress for that. Off I go. I'll be quilting this afternoon and hope you have a good day too. Thanks for stopping by----

Nov 23, 2007

Checking in

I hope those of you in the States enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving yesterday. It was a quiet day here though we had our main meal at noon, freeing up my afternoon to finish up the quilting on a top I had been working on. We had had turkey breast and trimmings not too long ago so I fixed ham instead and tried to watch my portion sizes and no second helpings. I did enjoy every bit of that pumpkin pie though! Somehow when it takes 10 laps (almost 3 miles) around the park to burn off a dessert, it makes me think twice about overindulging but hey, it was a holiday.

I have had these pictures in the camera for a few days but really have not been online or on the computer much this past week. You can probably see the lake that is catty corner from our house in this shot. I love these Bradford pear trees at the end of our lane at the entrance to the nearby subdivision. Gorgeous in the spring with the white blooms, nice green leaves in the summer and then stunning color in the fall. Since we mainly have bushes on our own property, I sorta think of these as "ours" even though they aren't, really.

Wednesday afternoon we heard the screeching of tires and a car heading the opposite direction of the one you see pictured had to swerve to avoid a woman who pulled out of the side road near the lake---a blind spot really and there have been accidents there before and near misses. The young man wound up in the culvert near the base of the tree just out of camera range--no one hurt but it probably didn't do his front axle much good. They had to close off the road for a bit to allow the wrecker guy to haul it up and out.

Another shot of the rows of trees at the subdivision entrance---just to the right is our lane. BUT the "tree assasins" have been out working in our end of the county for the past three weeks and finally made over to our immediate area. (Asplundh contractors for the power company--we had the same company in IL and called them the same thing so maybe they are all over?) Some trees have been literally trimmed in half at the top to avoid the power lines and just look lopsided. The last row of Bradford pears bit the dust as they finally grew tall enough to have the power line run right down the middle of them. (See below?)

I am just sick about this and the people in the subdivison probably are as well. Late this summer they were also about to cut down some 75 year old pecan trees in the town north of us but that is being held up in a court case. One of those situations were the homeowner was about to chain herself to the trees to keep them from annihilating her trees and seeking legal recourse against the power company.

This is one from our own yard. Color is off a bit though as our house is a grayed-green with gold accent trim. I rather like this shade better, LOL--not fond of the green.

As I said, I have been quilting a good bit this week. When I last posted several of the Bama Belles and I had gotten together to assemble a friendship/appreciation quilt for one of our members. Saturday Jane, Sarah and I went over to Aline's to pin said top and I had volunteered to quilt it. (see below? who knows where this stuff will land on the page though)

I was finished with it by Monday afternoon and really should have had DJ close the door behind him before I took the picture---I kinda like the stained glass effect but you can't see the quilting very well. Plus I think you can see a husband outline a bit, LOL and that danged overgrown plant of DJ's is blocking some of the blocks. Jane has it now to finish the binding so it will definitely be done in time for the presentation at the Christmas party next month. I'll get a better picture once it all done.

I also did a little friendship star top that Joy had donated and my own Puss in the Corner top--both will be going to WTIL headquarters once they are completed. I guess I didn't take a picture of the PIC once the top was done but it looks much like the EQ sketch and was made from the challenge box of scraps that Ellen sent out. Only appropriate that it return to her as something usable, right? I have one more to do--a watercolor Split Nine Patch that Lois made from her scrap basket. I love it! The blocks finish at 3 3/4 inch. She did a wonderful job on it and I can't wait to share it once the pins are out. The quilt group meets on Tuesday so I can pass these on for binding and move onto the next project.

After the quilting is finished it will be my Merkitties Challenge top. Only been thinking about it since August, after all. I look forward to some piecing. Commissioned t-shirt quilt right after that. Meanwhile, I have put a few rows of knitting in my headband for walking purposes---about half done. When Pippi would not get off a quilt top I thought I was going to bind the other night I even did a bit of bluework on my snowman project--still stuck in October there. Got a small spot to fix in one of my jackets before I forget it is there again---more handwork.

Speaking of Pippi, she has decided that she does not like her dry cat food anymore. A few days of really not eating had me worried sick--were her kidney levels labs bad again like this summer when she wasn't eating? Or was she just being finicky? A test before I drug her in for repeat lab though. Since she would scarf down a bite of contraband canned food, I had DJ pick up a canned version of her prescription diet at the vets early in the week. Thankfully, she seems to like it and is eating again. It is pricey and smells awful but if she is eating and avoiding 4 days of IV therapy, I say, go for it. Here is her "new" favorite spot--smart girl as she is right smack dab on the softer of the two pillows. You probably cannot tell just how much weight she has lost from the pictures as I should have turned on an overhead light but she is really bony.

Well, that rip is not going to fix itself so off I go----

Nov 16, 2007

Friday check in time

Another week as flown on by, just about. Early part of the week I was busily working on finishing up my row robin obligation and was able to get it mailed out on Wednesday as planned. The next one, hearts this time, arrived today. Sorry no pictures.

The quilt at left is one that Joy made--Twisting Star with an alternating Snowball block. I think it might be the first one she quilted with the Nolting set up that she has. The quilt group met on Tuesday but we arrived to find the pastor's wife and two of the church members setting up for an early Thanksgiving dinner. Turns out that the girls cottage that the church has "adopted" were invited along with their adult leaders and the director of the Presbyterian Home for Children. Since I had 16 quilts to deliver to that same facility, I arranged to leave the quilts in the closet and have them take them home with them. The pastor asked me if I wanted to come to the dinner as well to present them to the group but I passed. The church had early Christmas gift bags for them and I didn't want to interfere with that as we had not meant the quilts to be "Christmas" gifts---just part of a regular donation we make to the facility.

One of the Belles told me today that her brother-in-law had attended the dinner though. He commented about how excited the girls were about the quilts and how much they loved the brighter colored ones. There were a few "boy" quilts in the mix as well for them to set aside. I've been smiling all day after hearing that.

Trying to stay out of the way of the decorators, we set up our pinning table for three tops, had lunch and left early. The top pictured is Lois' Merkitties Challenge--Aline had her top done as well but I didn't get a pic of it. Lois used a blue print with little fishes and bubbles on it and the small print squares in green have turtles on it--inspired! I love how these are turning out. Mine is on tap as soon as I quilt three WTIL tops and that aforementioned friendship quilt.

We got sort of delegated to the kitchen area at the meeting though. I guess no one checked to see that it was our meeting date---or whatever they did took precedence. We couldn't have sewn if we wanted to since access to the tables and plug-ins was out. I knew that a few of the girls were not going to be able to make it the meeting so that might have been okay. Actually it was almost easily that one person in particular was NOT coming as we have a friendship/appreciation quilt planned for her and it made it easier to lay out the turned in blocks and make some decisions about sashing colors, etc and see how many more we might need.

Since I had been so bogged down with the row robin, I had pulled out a pretty basket block I had made some time back. Yesterday though, I whipped up these two blocks---both had "Friendship" in their name so I thought it was appropriate. The green is a 30's repro from my stash with little spools and tomato pincushions on it. The T block (for Theramae) used some leftover BOM stuff and a piece I had gotten at the "yard sale" in September.

6 of us met today at our friend Betsy's house to assemble the top. Of course we had the usual block switching up till we all were satisfied about the way it looked. Then the search was on for a enough and an appropriate color for the sashing---Betsy pulled something from her stash that contrasted nicely with the cornerstone fabric while Aline provided the backing. Since we had 20 blocks for a 4 x 5 set, I was able to calculate how many cuts to make. I like to presash the blocks rather than sew long rows of sashing and corner stones to long rows of blocks so led that way, instruction-wise while Jane and Betsy cut. We had five machines set up so the initial plan was to each take a row and then work on joining them. Aline and Betsy worked on joining the rows while Jane seamed the back, Sarah seamed the batting and I cut and sewed the binding. We'll pin it tomorrow morning. We had a little potluck lunch and lots of chatting. A friend from the JOY group came by in the morning and one of the Belles who is busy building a new home about 5 miles from Betsy came by after lunch with pictures of her new grandson Brodie.

The drive over to Betsy's was lovely as you go through a pass through the foothills---in spite of the drought we have been experiencing this year we now have a good bit of fall color, more than we expected. Cold and frosty this morning though and as white as I want to see the ground around here, LOL. I don't care if I never see another flake of snow being from the north originally. Because of my mid-morning obligation, I could not wait till later to get in my walking and got the day off from my routine. It happens.

Guess that's it for now----

Nov 10, 2007

contrasts in style

At left my wedding quilt---Mom had started this top as a pass around project with the small quilt group in her town. I believe it was in the late 90's as I made a couple blocks for her after we moved south to Alabama. Not being able to find the pattern name or source, we named it "Fall City Baskets" after the one we saw in an antique store while visiting my grandmother who lived in Fall City, Nebraska at the time.

I have probably told you this story before but my husband and I were a couple for a very, very long time before we got married--one of those "are you sitting down?" moments when informing my parents. This top went to the hand quilters soon after my call. When we traveled back to Illinois to visit some months later, my family gave us a wedding reception and we were presented with the quilt and a trip to Sea Palms Resort on St. Simon's Island, GA. What fun! I love the quilt as it uses my beloved 30's prints, some real ones and repros. Mom has since replicated the quilt for herself--only fair since she gave us the original one.

So what should I see at the quilt show a couple of weeks ago? This one---wider handle, less "petals" in the arc. I believe that the owner/maker? said that the pattern was found in a magazine. Close but not quite it. Mom drafted hers up from the picture of the one we saw so that might account for some of the variances. While I like the scrappiness of the one at the show (and I am a nut for yellow fabric), I think mine is prettier and not as clunky looking.

I haven't even touched the machine in two days. I guess I have still found a way to wait till almost the last minute to work on that round robin after all. Two blocks are done, one is just barely started and I need 5 of them.

So what have I been doing instead? A big chunk of one day was spent getting an upgraded tracfone coded in over the phone and then adding the phonebook to it while deleting the numbers from the old phone. I guess the system in my area is switching from the old analog type and that would render the old phone useless. I didn't have to pay for it except for the time involvement. I kept messing up the text for the names and it was taking way longer than it should have to teach this old broad some new tricks.

Yesterday it was uploading some CDs into my music software and re-loading the MP3 player--twice. Danged error messages were messing up the works and only half of what I wanted got added due to some snafu or another. How could I upload to their software and it not recognize the format I used??? Annoying and again, time consuming.

What I DID get done instead while I watched the computer screens was some more knitting rounds on my headband tube to cover my ears while I walk (the ear muffs are pinchy and my hat makes my head sweat too much). I think I am about halfway there. I told Cher the other day that I would be lucky to have the thing done by spring but perhaps that was an exaggeration, LOL. Great ambitions to knit up some mittens from the same "Lipstick" Red Heart yarn---now that probably WOULD take till spring. DJ said I could make him some new headcovers from that pretty yarn---yeah, right! Two sets of those was enough, thank you very much.

On the trying to get fit front, this week I've added an afternoon stroll up and down our little lane a couple of times--a bit of an incline on both ends to boost the calorie burn but still haven't started my strength training though I have my ducks in a row. Definitely getting the 10, 000 steps thing in--more, if I have errands to run. I sometimes add an extra lap around the park as I did this morning making it 3.08 miles. My neighbor's are having a garage sale and have a bike for sale---I have considered it but then think of the added expense of a helmet, bike rack and probably will pass especially since I won't even get on DJ's exercise bike and pedal to nowhere. Keep walking for now.

So back to the machine with me and some stuff I have taped on the DVR--have my own little "Cold Case" and "Without a Trace" marathon this weekend.

Nov 7, 2007

more quilt show pictures

More pictures from the recent quilt show I attended since I still don't have anything of my own to share. Still plugging on my row robin blocks but none to speedily. Errands, haircut, home duties, etc have taken a chunk out of the last two days but that's the way it goes.

So without further ado I hope you enjoy these--I sure did, LOL. I've got one more I might show as a contrast to one that I own but in a later post................

A Thimbleberries BOM, don't you think? Maker not notated.

Another of my friend Aline's quilts--made for her former DIL with colors picked by her granddaughter

This one was made by an Anniston (AL) quilter from a quilt group that meets across the street from us, if I remember correctly.

Aline's Mystery Quilt, 2007 edition

Fleeta's Mystery quilt, 2006 edition (Bama Belle)

Maker not noted but I love the set on this sampler

Another one I admired

This one was from a magazine---maybe APQ? Maker not known to me.

Rosa's quilt for her son (Bama Belle)

Old String quilt---shown by Gary and Betsy's daughter Susie

Nov 2, 2007

another week has flown by

Time flies when you are having fun, right? Last post I was heading off to the Gadsden Quilt show in the next day (pictures at end of post) and looking towards two days of sewing at the 8th Annual Bama Belles Fall Sew-In. Time to update my blog, I would say.

I don't have any stitching that I can show you---I got a pile of rail fence blocks done at the sew-in and swapped some out with Theramae who was stitching some as well for a little variety. Other than cutting side setting triangles for the both of us, that is as far as my potential top got. It can wait.

I came home with a stack of 8 or 9 quilts and I still need to number and document them before they can be dispersed. Some will go to WTIL headquarters and others, down to the Presbyterian Home for Children in Talledega. The girls also pinned the last three tops my mom sent that will be going to Mexico and Pam's project. So it is looking a bit crowded in my bedroom right now with available surfaces covered with quilts in some stage of completion. One of these days I better get cranked up on quilting these up.

I also met with the young lady who has commissioned the t-shirt quilt and got the shirts here whenever I am ready to get started on the quilt---a couple of weeks from now anyway. First the row robin blocks, then my merkitties challenge quilt and then the t-shirt quilt. I found the black and white gingham she requested last month in Collinsville and picked up the WOW and interfacing I needed in Gadsden at Hobby Lobby on my way back home from the quilt show. The yardage was marked down and I was able to use a 40% off coupon on the miles of fusible interfacing that it takes.

I am nearing completion on the first block I need for the fall row robin. Working out well but can't show you the results for some time. What fun digging around in the fabric stash pairing up colors! I did have to buy some brown fabrics just to augment the stash and wouldn't you know that every piece is a Thimbleberries print? Not exactly my "thing" since I always think they look too dark and muddy and I swear that I was just shopping by color, not designer when I entered "Brown fabric" in the search box.

On a non- quilting front, I picked up some yarn today to make an earwarmer/headband thing and maybe some mittens. My ears are getting a little chilly in the morning when I walk and I think that might be just the ticket plus I love to knit when I get a chance. Quilting takes precedence but I do enjoy it. Maybe a bit in the mornings instead of wasting time playing solitaire.

I am also making a committment to do some strength training. My friend Judy recommended a book she found helpful called "Strong Women Stay Young" and lent me her copy. I already own some free weights from years ago and DJ has some a bit heavier but I picked up the ankle weights they recommend today. A little more reading and I am going to get started on that next week. I continue to walk daily now (time off for the sew-in though) and am up to 2.8 miles consistently in about 52 minutes. The fact that I feel like a slug when I don't walk is a good sign for me. Even better, I almost weigh what it says on my drivers license, LOL. That is progress!
Oh, this week's home catastrophe---the plumbing which has been backing up water from the washer into the kitchen sink for months now got worse. DJ did a load of wash while I was gone sewing and the water also flowed out from behind the washer and dryer. He called the plumber who had to go down through the stand pipe and remove a big clog. And under the continued home concern category. no animal control person yet. Not surprising since there is only two of them for the whole county. The others called two or three weeks ago and still no response. They said they would be here Tuesday but no show---a standard problem around here where they tell you what you want to hear so you quit bugging them but then do what they darned well please. BUT no matter, the dog has moved on to either our neighbor across the lane or some other location. I have not seen her for days but something is eating the dog food and drinking the water. Just hope it isn't "varmits." DJ said I should probably quit putting food out if the dog is no where to be seen.

SO enough about me---how about some pictures from the quilt show? A couple of the Belles had several quilts exhibited and some won ribbons in the Viewer's Choice categories. "Horror of Horrors" though, the best of show picked was an appliqued "Kit Quilt". While someone still had to do the quilting and all that applique, I guess it grates on the organizers that a more original design, design set or something with personal fabric choices should have received the recognition. I say, that is what you get when you have uninformed, non-quilting general public doing the picking--they pick what reminds them of what grandma made and so forth and tend not to reward the truly well executed or designed at such events. I'll load as many as blogger will let me-----
Aline's Hanky Quilt--many of the handkerchiefs were bought by her daughter who has been living in England but moving back Stateside soon.

One of our newer Belles, Rosa made this lovely batik star sampler. Theramae helped her arrange the blocks and the multicolored cornerstones a few months back. It is huge though and I could not get the whole quilt in the picture.

I did not know the maker of this quilt but it sure looks fun---those moveable eyes are cool.
I don't know if you can tell that the skirts on this quilt, wall clock etc are three dimensional. The quilt was a challenge piece though I am not sure just which piece HAD to be used.

This quilt was made by Edna, a quilting friend from one of the other quilt groups in the area. These are BOM blocks from the Burns' "Pioneer Sampler" book that about 8 of us from Calhoun County took at a now closed quilt shop. She used the fall colored option while mine are made in 30's print (still need to finish quilting mine) but this is an interesting set for the blocks, I thought. A personal challenge, she said, on the informational notes.

This was one of my favorites--all those itty bitty hexagons and I love the fabrics as well. The quilter executed her design very well, I thought. Ribbon? Who knows---those were awarded long after I left.
This was another one I really liked---a watercolor feel to it. I do not know the quilter.

One of Gary's entries called I think, "Bird of Paradise". He said he had to learn how to foundation piece for the zig zag border. Well done and of course, being a purple lover, I love it!

I don't know much about this one other than it was foundation pieced as well. Very striking.
Guess that's it for now. We are invited down the lane to the neighbors for a cookout tomorrow so I am either headed out to the kitchen to bake a banana cake with caramel icing to contribute to the meal OR finishing up that row block. What I don't do now, I do later...........