Dec 30, 2008

Wrapping up the year

Just hours away from 2009 at this point.  I cannot say that I am sorry to see 2008 head on out the door, more so than in other years.   As DJ is known to say, you cannot “wish” your life away but come on, ‘09!  Do the best you can with the time you have, I guess.  I am still thinking about resolutions and quilting goals for the year.  Does one even bother to set some reasonable goals?  It does help to have a little direction----like start walking again.  Nip some bad habits in the bud---make your bed when you get up and don’t stay in the bathrobe, jammies and slippers for hours in the morning would be a good start, LOL.   Quiltwise, I know I want to work on my redwork Santa project this year and start on the Be-Attitudes quilt---maybe one a month of those and pick one UFO or quilt kit to work on.  That’s would be do-able if I don’t get bogged down with donation stuff. 

Today’s picture is part of my picks for my Christmas present from DJ as one of my packages from Connecting Threads.  I thought that the quilts in the Quick Cozy Couch Quilts might work up for the donation quilts as such.  That cover one looks intriguing!  The Sew & Stow book has a bunch of really cool “green” projects for storage and such that might come in handy for gifties or for home use. 
The other part?  Ah,just to torment Norma a bit.  I have gotten a good start on my FAB challenge.  There is a bit of applique involved so I have some prep work to do.  I am doing this part over a piece of templar so I can turn the edges evenly and then set with a bit of sizing.  One down and umpteen to go, LOL.
DJ and I took down the Christmas decorations this morning though I still need to put the wall hangings away which will only take a few minutes.  The house looks so naked!  I DID leave out the lovely winter plate that Judy gave me as a gift and along with it, a hand painted Christmas card that a friend gave me.  Janet had sent them in a frame type card and I had one from last year as well.  I’ll get to enjoy that out atop the living room entertainment center on trips back and forth from the kitchen.

Both my boys are napping at the moment though Skyler did manage to squeeze at least one eye open for me.  Such a handsome boy, if I do say so, LOL. 

Yesterday I had occasion to run out to one of the Belles’ home (Hi, Lois!)  She has a black and white cat named Mittens that looks a whole lot my guy.  Even though he is a younger cat, Mittens far outweighs my little peanut.  I wish I had taken my camera so you could see him.  Les and Lois had to coax him down from the rafters in the garage so I could see how big he had gotten.
Not much else going on today.  The sun is out and about 60 today but gusts of wind.  There is a U-Haul at one of the houses across the road in back---we have been trying to decide just what is going on there, moving stuff in or out?  New Year’s Eve will be quiet---fix a nice dinner and maybe watch a DVD or two.  DJ tells me that the 4th of July fireworks that got postponed due to drought and fire potential are on for New Year’s Eve but I doubt we will go.  Just take kick back and enjoy the evening with my two boys instead.
Rather than prattle on about nothing, I’ll just wish you the best things possible for 09.

Dec 27, 2008

playing in the kitchen

Since I seem to be stuck in binding mode the past few days, both stitching it and making it, I took a break this afternoon and made a batch of cinnamon rolls. My maiden voyage in this area, I might add. I am serious about learning some new cooking skills this next year.

I ordered the roll mix from the Prepared Pantry as I really liked their pizza crust that we had tried recently. There were a few kitchen tools in the order as well. LOL, I got to admit that I like kitchen toys as much as quilt toys. I like office supplies too--that might be a hang over from my days as the "purchasing agent" among other things at the podiatric practice where I worked for 12 years.

I wound up with two more rolls than the recipe called for so I must have rolled the down out a little wider than they showed in the pictures on the directions. They DID raise up like they were supposed to though. Not entirely the same size but I think that was the pan situation (the over flow went on another pan) and the jelly roll was a little fatter in the middle section. Tasted delicious though---lots of cinnamon. Smelled fantastic in here too.

You might note that the blender now has a cover on it. The toaster does as well. I'm working on the food processor one now but Skyler keeps getting either on it or trying to get under it like he does the bed covers.

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

Dec 22, 2008

This and that on a Monday

All too soon it will be Christmas Day. I had some quick errands to run bit ago which included a run to Wally World. I could not believe the cars in the parking lot! It looked like everyone in town was shopping for something there. Me? Just some frozen yeast rolls since we are not having stuffing and a turkey sized oven bag that I forgot on yesterday’s grocery shopping day. Quick dash in and out with the self check out.
Thanksgiving was such a bust with DJ being ill earlier in the week. We wound up having homemade mac and cheese for the holiday meal. The golfing friend showed up at 530 pm on Thanksgiving but had already eaten. I fixed the steaks I had planned for our meal the next night, more meat than any of us could eat in the first place especially since I fixed twice baked potatoes (the frozen kind—why bother with any other kind?), tossed salad (from the bag) and a Dutch apple pie. I don’t “do” crusts but the rest of it was homemade.
Normally I just make do a small turkey breast in the crock-pot but the turkey had been on sale for a decent price between the two “eating” holidays. I’ve got about 8 lbs of meat thawing for the big day. I can see that there will be plenty of leftovers---some for the freezer that will be repurposed for soups, salads and casseroles later. Wednesday, I’ll be making the cranberry sauce and pecan pie. Either way, I’m making up for the not so festive thanksgiving.
Skyler has made himself at home on the sewing room perch this afternoon keeping me company and sunning his backside. I think I wore him out tossing his little sponge ball around. Now that was the best buck and a half I have ever spent!! Early he was laying on a pile of clean laundry that I need to put away. I am happy to report that he has paid no attention to the tree ---maybe since it is artificial and has nothing dangling down on it? He has made no attempt to get to the snow village either. Jan from It's the cat's house suggested in an email that he might find the brushy trees too attractive if he did which never occurred to me! I wonder if she is speaking from experience there? No more sheep are missing from the nativity set either. I must admit that this is mainly because I stuck the lone sheep down to the bookshelf top with some poster putty rather than a reflection on cat behavior, LOL.
Good to see that sun! We were in that pattern of it warming up to rain last week. Mild, humid temps but that cold front that many of you have been experiencing around the country whooshed in last night. The wind was howling and DJ was putting more weather stripping on the front door. The temps dropped from 61 at midnight Saturday night to around 31 yesterday morning---quite a shock to the system the first trip out the door. DSC01951
Speaking of sun, some fabrics I ordered last week arrived—the “go-withs” for the FAB “summer in winter” challenge. Pat and Cher are the challengers this round and after they put their heads together, Pat sent us all a yard of that speckled yellow-orange fabric (the second one from the left) . The picture does not show just how bright it really is. Darn near glows---just like the sun! I will be making a gift for Norma this time around. I am not to tell what I am making but I can torment her a bit with a preview, LOL. The 2nd gold-ish print is something I already had that I might use but the rust color, blue and the two greens are the new acquisitions.
As usual I am on the spend down program as my gift from DJ. I don’t care if there is no package for me under the tree—this works for both of us. One package arrived today and here is my picks-- two cute patterns I found online from Happy Apple Quilts. I really like the graphic look of “Charlotte’s Star” and the lap size is right in line with the preferred range for the Wrap Them in Love donation quilts. The Buckaroo Bears is just darned cute for a donation quilt too. I am thinking that you could substitute any critter or motif you wanted in that space if you didn’t want to do bears—say, a cat maybe?? Again, right in the Wrap ‘Em size range. The fabric, a fat quarter, came with the patterns. Pretty cute, huh? I just ordered a neutral package of Essential thread from Connecting Threads (on sale, even better) and Cable Confidence knitting book for next to nothing from a book club with my bonus points. The rest goes in my Dream Trip to Oregon (DT2OR) fund.
No cooking tonight as we had leftovers available for both meals. Yesterday I made a pot roast on the stove top last night, braising it in the Dutch Oven following the directions in “Joy of Cooking”. I believe it was the best roast that I have ever made. Very tender and fairly moist even without the gravy. My gravy even turned out right meaning without a swirl in the blender to get the lumps out! I made sort of a modified beurre blanc, (I think that is what it is called) with equal parts of butter and flour kneaded together and dropped bits of it into the drippings whisking with each addition. You need 1 tablespoon of each for each cup of liquid-- something I read in the local paper. I might learn how to cook one of these days, LOL rather than the slap dash methods. Okay, butter is not so good for you but then margarine would not have been either. Or red meat for that matter. You gotta eat! Once the meat package in the freezer is depleted we won’t be eating much roast or steak anyway. Who can afford it? Who can afford even chicken lately---sheesh!
Normally I would throw a roast in the crock pot or the pressure cooker, depending on what cut it was. Since it was cold out, it was a bit chilly in the living room/kitchen with those vaulted ceilings and the wind howling. I didn’t mind the heat from the stove top or the oven being on to roast the veggies later. If it were summer time I would re-think that whole deal! But summer seems so far away now that the first official days of winter are full at it.
Well, fabric ironing awaits. I hope to do a little cutting and possibly sewing tomorrow on that top secret project. If I feel the need for a little handwork, there is always binding on those appliance covers. Yeah, still not completely finished with those and thinking ahead to the next project---will I never learn?
Merry Christmas to all!

Dec 16, 2008

Christmas around the house

It looks a little like Christmas around the house. I thought I would share a few of the pictures with you. Of course the shots loaded in reverse order so you are starting the tour in my bedroom instead of the front of the house but hey, if the pics will load you take it!

First, the little snow village that I set up on the armoire in the bedroom. Dickens' Village knockoffs but it works for this small space. So far, Skyler has not hopped up here to see what's going on, LOL.

Bedroom door---wreath made by a friend in Illinois who has since passed away. The wall hanging was one I finished years after the fact, hand appliqued and hand quilted. "Santa Magic" designed by Wild Goose Chase. I purchased it from Keepsake Quilting as a kit so no stash busting was involved with that--more like acquisition in that case. I would still like to do the stockings in the same pattern. That one or scrap patch stocking pattern from Thimbleberries that I got as a door prize at some point................

The angel corner in the hallway. The plate is one that was given to me by Judy last week while the angels are mainly secret pal gifts, package tags or picked up along the way. Most have some sentimental value to me or I wouldn't put them out. The wall hanging was sorta adapted by me from one of the Appli-quilt books by Tonee White. I listened to the end of "It's a Wonderful Life" I don't know how many times to see if it Zuzu said "its" or "his" wings

The sewing room door--I purchased the "Welcome" sign with little seasonal hanging years ago. The snowman is the winter offering. The door banner is a Katrina Designs pattern with removable seasonal centers. Veronica so kindly sent me the Santa insert last year as well as the turkey for Thanksgiving. Pretty cute, huh?

The hallway---normally the one above lives here. Debbie Mumm Santa---not sure which book but it's been around awhile. I made it probably 6-7 years ago, maybe. The ornament in his hand was made by the same friend who made the wreath.

The tree---Mom made the tree skirt and Joy, the stuffed mouse under the tree. Skyler is quite interested in the braided tail it sports but it is too heavy for him to drag off, LOL though in this shot he was just looking out the door. No ornaments--just lights and red bows.

The Santa collection is on the mantle. Purchased over the years but the golfer Santa I made for DJ stayed in the box---that guy has seen better days and I don't know that even hot glue would help him, LOL. The stockings were purchased at a church bazaar. I think they forgot to flip the pattern so it cracks me up when I see them facing the opposite direction. Marilyn gave me the "nice kitty" stocking for Pippi a few years back. It's Skyler's now!

The VCR has been replaced so now I get the top of the entertainment center for decorating. The ceramic tree was made by my mom years ago though somewhere along the line it lost its star. I made the Recycled Santa and Snowman--patterns from Fabricrafts---somewhere in the last 11 years we have lived here. Essentially you are using a 2 liter or so bottle and dressing it up weighting it down with kitty litter or sand. (Made a Noah version for my sister as well) I didn't take a picture of the holiday runner on the coffee table, the wreaths on the doors, the purchased holiday throw on the back of the couch or the JOY door mat my godchild gave me but trust me, they are there.

And last but not least, the reason for the season. The ceramic nativity set made by my mom--that missing sheep has not turned up yet though I am still looking. Where did you drag it off to, Skyler??? The creche was purchased on a visit with my sister-in-law Ann.

Thanks for stopping by and Merry Christmas!

Dec 14, 2008

more quilts to share

These were a few more of the quilts that the Bama Belles had for "Show and Tell" at the Christmas party last week.

First up--Lois' Scrappy Trip Around the World" from I think Lois might be the queen of scraps around here!

Lois' Butterfly---do not know the pattern source though it is a little like the Marsha McCloskey version in Quilts for Katie Rose. She has some machine embroidered butterflies in the mix as well.

Linda C Scrappy Courthouse Steps is what I called it for the document---I quilted it for her.

Aline's version of our "Non- Mystery" Mystery quilt AKA Trudie Hughes' Jacob's Elevator from Crib Quilts. I made some adaptations in the pattern and passed it out in several steps this past year. She did hers in two colors.

Next, another of Linda C's scrappy quilts using the leftover fabrics from another project. Stashbusting!

This next one was pieced by Lois but the fabric is some that had once belonged to Linda C. I like the light green with the browns in this one. Linda didn't see the possibilities for this mix but looks like Lois found a use for them.

Marilyn is shown with one of two Christmas samplers. Most of the blocks were made in a Christmas block exchange for the JOY Quilt Guild in Jacksonville (AL) They have done this exchange for a couple of years.

Linda C's version of Twin Sisters from Eleanor Burns' book Quilts Through the Seasons. Lois had one as well and I quilted both of them recently. Linda is making a larger bedsized version now. This is one that I would like to make too.

And that concludes the showing of the quilts.

On a personal note I got the Christmas decorations put up Saturday afternoon. The nativity set is up, the Santas and angels are up as are the holiday wall hangings and such. I put the snow village up as well. The whole shooting match. The VCR is gone so I appropriated the space atop the entertainment center this year that I would ordinarily not have. My friend Judy had gifted me with an etched holiday plate the other day and that led to a hunt for a plate stand I knew was somewhere----bathroom cabinet or kitchen buffet?? "Chain reaction cleaning " ( to borrow a phrase from Pam) ensued till I laid hands on it, LOL. (Buffet drawer, under the pile of placemats)

DJ was sitting at the table eating breakfast and I was seated on the couch looking at a recipe book when we heard something crash to the floor. "What was that?" he says and Skyler goes running out the kitchen. I replied that my guess would be one of the sheep in the nativity set. Sure enough, one is missing. I have hunted and I cannot find that thing anywhere. The shepherd is being no help in the herding either. I don't know if Skyler hauled it off when he ran and dropped it I don't know where or if it has skittered somewhere on that laminate floor. I've been down on my belly twice today with the flashlight and only came up with a ribbon thing I pinned together for him, two rubber bands and a candy wrapper.

We decided to put up the tree as well and just use some red velvet bows and white lights----both strands are not working so that's at a standstill. Skyler seemed fascinated with the bow on the tree skirt but has since gone on to napping. Come to think of it, so has DJ, LOL. Me? Grocery errands have been run and I am getting ready to pack up some of those quilts I just showed you. The snow village is up atop the armoire in my bedroom so no stashing quilts up there till after Christmas! I wonder how long it will be before a little black and white tuxedo kitty decides to hop up there and run off with a tree or little porcelain people?

Have a happy day in whatever you chose to do--------

Habitat Challenge quilts

For any of my new readers, the last four years the quilt group has done a challenge quilt and the resultant quilts have been donated to Wrap Them In Love. The goal is to have a top or a completed quilt for "show and tell" at the Christmas party. This year was no different and I'll share those pics with you in a minute---as many as blogger will let me upload in one post and overflow if I have in another post, okay?

In 2005 I found a primary colored paint spill print at Hancock Fabrics. If you are really bored and want to troop through the later pages of the "Belles 05 album" you can spot them in the later numbers of my webshot album HERE. On page 10 for example 1389-05 uses some of that fabric choice.

In 2006 Cher and her Portland Piecers shared a lovely butterfly print. You can see our quilts on the link I just gave you. Her group was to make quilts from the same fabric and I suppose you can spot them on the WTIL gallery pages for that year.

When I mentioned on the WTIL group list that I was looking for about 5-6 yards of something our pal Kitty in KY came to the rescue and sent me enough yardage to use for several years to come. In 2007 we used the Michael Miller Merkitty fabric. Those quilts can be see in two posts HERE and HERE.

So here we are in 08 and working with a stylized Habitat fabric in green. Kitty had sent two fabrics from the same line so a couple of the girls had a slightly different piece. I don't think that they were quite as thrilled with this one but they rose to the occasion, I have to say. Maybe that was the real challenge this time since the colors were a little hard to match? I DO believe that we have some fun doing this project as they are already asking when I will be giving out the fabric for the next one. 2009 will be red lunch pails so they have a hint anyway. I'll pull that one out when I look for backing fabric for the 4 tops that were just turned in.

A couple tops will be delayed as fabric was misplaced or life just plain intervened. That happens--no pressure from me. The first quilt I will be showing was one of those delayed quilts. Pat M has been building a new home for the last 18 months or so---how she got any sewing done with all that going on, I'll never know! Liz in SC offered to quilt a top for us on her Handiquilter set up and it was just turned in after binding completion. I wish I had taken the picture when Pat had it draped over her! Thanks again, Liz. Pat was thrilled with how it came out.

The next two tops are from Linda S. She got a "bonus" top out of the deal. She made this log cabin top 2nd with the Habitat fabric used in the narrow border. The print she used was from a piece of clothing she found at a local thrift store. Recycling! The other one, below, she did a log cabin variation with the beginning square the challenge fabric.

Next up is Lois' Puss in the Corner quilt. She has some lovely machine embroidered squares alternating with the Puss blocks. The plaid in the quilt I believe she said was an old Dan River print that at one time had belonged to her MIL? I showed the top earlier this summer but here it is with some lovely curved quilting.

This one belongs to Linda C--the rust fabric seemed to be a good choice with this fabric plus she picked up the other greens and gold colors. I quilted it for her a month or so back.

Here is Beverly with her version. I think she used one of the Wicked Easy patterns or something similar?? I had sent them an online link for them to check out and she tried it out here. Again the golds and oranges seemed to contrast nicely with the Habitat fabric.

Marilyn said her version was "hot off the press" and she had leftovers so I see some of this fabric turning up in another quilt since she gave it back to me. She framed the cut squares with 3 inch strips all around in two colors and then used about a 10 inch to cut them at an angle in a wonky manner.

These last two are mine---I had posted my version of the Jungle Nine patch on here before. If I had not cut out a bonus quilt I would have worked in one more square at the bottom of the quilt. I added one more nine patch row to mine and skipped the borders. I used the leftover peach fabrics as well as the light green pin dot from the J9P for the Puss in the Corner below --the peach toile is the background and the pin dot, the binding which still needs to be stitched down. I think Nancy volunteered for that detail and one of the others we held up. Oh, the plaid in the J9P is also the backing on the PIC. Stash busting or working in series??

I have more pictures to share as there were others that were completed. I'll save those for another post. Once I started yakking, you can't get me to shut up, LOL. Stay tuned!

Dec 13, 2008

unofficial blogging break?

Time flies. I'm not going to say that I can't believe it has been two weeks since I last posted as that is almost a cliche. Nothing much to say lately. Don't you need some pictures to go on these things? Well, I STILL have not completed those darned appliance covers which is the main thing I have been supposedly sewing recently. Just don't feel like sewing. It is hard to talk about busting stash or sewing when you aren't doing either of those things. What's more, I am not even thinking about the next pattern I would like to try. That is unusual for me.

It is not that I have been busy with holiday preparations either. DJ and I have little shopping to do though I did run a few errands mid week. I have not been busy decorating the house for Christmas either. It rained for several days this week. DJ said we had about 4 inches of rain, all told, so we have/had a muddy mess in the yard and water collection on the car port. I did not want to get of that mess in the house just to haul the decorations in from the shed. It could wait a few days. We have almost ruled out the idea of putting up the tree anyway since a little black and white boy kitty will surely be too nosy about that whole deal! He'll string up some lights on the cedar tree outside at some point. At the very least I'll put up the Nativity set and a few of the Christmas themed wall hangings.

I DID print up address labels for both of us---his cards are out while mine still sit but in my defense I had a bulk mailing to do earlier in the week for the Belles' Christmas party. (The date kept changing so it was a bit like mailing Jell-O to the wall, LOL) I was working off an old data file and had to update my lists. Something that I had not done with the switchover/upgrade earlier this year till I had to. I need to type up the note to go with my cards---that's the hang up there. Maybe this afternoon..........

I have been a little more involved with cooking lately. I find myself scanning the recipe files to find new ways to fix some of the old ingredients. I have 6 lbs of apples to use up from a buy one, get one sale so the pecan pie bars I planned to make for the Christmas party turned into Apple Pecan Cake, my sister-in-law's recipe. DJ thought I made it just for us though. He was not listening when I told him it was for the potluck. He was all set for dessert on Thursday night. I decided we would keep the Jemison Inn Holiday Eggnog Pie that I had also made (while he was napping) as I figured it would be harder to keep frozen at the party. Funny though, I thought I had some nog leftover last time I made this and we had a couple egg nog lattes?

I made my own pizza crust the other day and found out I need some help in the yeast and bread making area. My troubles might have been because I don't think I put the dough hooks in the mixer the right direction and then had the wrong size mixing bowl. Did the dough even raise properly??? I had to get the mixer manual out to read up but did that after the fact. It tasted fine, even used the stone to cook it, but it sure was not a thing of beauty on the edge of it. In fact, DJ said much the same thing---"it didn't look that hot but it sure tasted good" LOL, I should have had him roll it out as he worked in a pizza shop years ago as a moonlight job. Heck, he can probably even hand toss the dough with a little practice. I find myself yearning for a taste of fresh baked cinnamon rolls and not sure just how to go about making that happen. I think it is Judy L and Libby's "fault" as well as some other cooking blogs I have linked to lately. I want to be a better cook, try some new tricks and enjoy the process rather than rush through the deal and fix the same old, same old just to get the job done. I can "do" egg whites now without freezing up about it, so I think pie crusts and breads should be next.

Also on my mind--a few of the quilting goals I would like to set for myself this year, besides learning how to make bread. I know I have another t-shirt quilt to do after the first of the year. A WTIL challenge quilt top with "that fabric" should be done by the end of January. A FAB challenge will need to be in the mail by Feb. 1st too. Two of the Belles just turned in a total of 4 tops for me to quilt at some point but no deadline there. A UFO a month would be a good goal---those half started tops or kits are not doing any good in storage but I think I need to keep it simple. A redwork Santa from Birdbrain and a Bee-attitudes block each month maybe? That would be fun for me! Food for thought anyway.

The Belles and I did have our Christmas party yesterday. Linda C hosted it this year with help from her husband in setting up the tables. Because it was later in the week than we usually have it I think we were missing just two of the girls. Delish meal. Good company. Betsy had made up quilter's bingo "cards" using a pattern from an article in the Fons and Porter magazine so some of us played Bingo before we headed home--that was a lot of fun! I can see I need to make my own card up for next year after I track down the article, that is. We thought a couple of the cards were "duds", LOL but I think we played long enough to have most everyone win that wanted to. Thanks, Betsy for sending the prize box along.

Pictured above, me with Aline and Judy. Not sure why I looked so serious but I was telling the girls about a memorial donation we had received on Theramae's behalf about then. Her daughter-in- law's Priscilla's brother and his wife had sent a generous check recently. Priscilla told me that the wife was one of the author's of the play "The Quilters" I had seen a production of the play at the junior college in Paducah during the AQS show years ago and loved it. Since Theramae was such an avid quilter, I loved the connection in the story. So what am I doing in this picture? Those wonderful Belles surprised me with a money tree with strict orders to spend that on ME. not the donation projects. Since I am planning to go to Oregon in August 09 for a FABS retreat, I told them I would apply it to my trip monies as I know we will be heading to Fabric Depot if Pam has any say in the matter. And she does.........

It is sort of a tradition for us to show our donation challenge quilts/ tops when we gather for the Christmas party. We did a "show and tell" with the other projects and quilts that had the bindings done . I came home with a pile of quilts that will headed off to WTIL headquarters as soon as I get a box for them and log them in on the quilt documentation. I'll post some of those pics in a separate email as this posting is sorta all over the place.

Stay tuned................

Nov 25, 2008

wrapping up the month

It is hard to believe that November is almost gone with one more month to go til 2009.

Pictured at left is Mr. Skyler a few days ago hopping in the underwear drawer on laundry day. He does this quite a bit in my dresser but likes to dig his way through to the back and gets on the stuff on the drawer below. No such luck with Kitty Daddy's. Tonight he is napping in his little cube I got him. In the day time it serves as a play thing (a tunnel) but lately he has settled in for his evening cat nap. Later in the evening DJ's lap or chunk of the recliner willprove to be more inviting.

I have gotten the last of the kitchen appliance sections done as of Sunday evening. I had fused all the applique and buttonhole stitched on the 3 pieces. I shifted gears a bit on this one as I thought it would be a bit tricky on the tight curves on the circular piece. Instead of making them a solid shape, I drug out some templar and made a modified yo-yo for the "bowl" of the spoon. The spoon handle has a slightly rounded end on it so I used templar there as well. I just drew up some basting threads over the distal 1/3 of the handle and used spray starch to set it. I am pleased with how it looks as it gives it a raised appearance. I was supposed to embroidery the ring and and make a french knot to look like the ring hole but just broke out the pigma pen instead. So I am closer to done but not quite there yet as I still need to spray baste and quilt both front and back panels and assemble and bind all three.

I had a Doctor's appointment just before lunch and in between time I have been cleaning house. His golfing pal is expected late Thursday though DJ has tried to reach him to head him off at the pass. DJ had sick with some sort of intestinal bug during the night and has not had a good day either, poor guy. If it is contagious, and even if it is not, he thought it best to inform his friend what he might be walking into. I feel fine so I don't think it was a food related illness. I'm crossing my fingers though as he was sicker than a dog. Anyway, I let him rest while I took care of the dusting and vacuuming. He hates to dust and I hate to vacuum so normally we swap those duties. I left the bathrooms and kitchen for tomorrow.

Monday afternoon I was in a cooking mood. Hot cocoa mix--we are about 20 degrees cooler than we should be lately so the weather is perfect for it. Made a streusel cake--tastes good but that darned Bundt pan stuck and I had to sorta stick it all back together in some semblance of order. Pan of corn muffins for our evening meal along with some candied sweet potatoes (to go with the ham slice and peas) Lastly, I made some pumpkin butter using a recipe Pam had shared with me. You put the stuff in the oven and bake it once it has come to a boil, stirring every fifteen minutes, up to two hours of time. Yummy!! I put most of it in the freezer since I don't have the stuff to can it but the bit I saved out was delish on an English muffin this morning.

I had not planned for us to have a traditional Thankgiving meal---there was a possibility that we would be joining a friend and her family for dinner but that is not going to happen. I had fixed a turkey breast not all the long ago, we had ham recently. We are having steak instead--part of the meat package we got last year and we are down to 1 porterhouse and 1 t-bone left that I was sorta saving for a special meal. What better time than now? Of course, this will all depend on how DJ is feeling by then. Play it by ear, I guess.

Hope you have a wonderful holiday in whatever you plan to do----------

Nov 18, 2008

some progress

I have made some progress on the long postponed appliance covers though I still need to join the three sections together and bind the bottom edge. I am thinking that a serged seam would work well to do that and I no longer have mine but a girlfriend does! Just the blender cover to go. I have made the pattern on both sides rather than one plain side so they would be reversible.

Some of this fabric has been around for about 11 years but I added a few bits from Theramae. The green check is leftover from my kitchen curtains. The quilty looking piece is old too and I am making a dent in the yardage by using it for the lining. Some is new yardage but I'll have a lot leftover for other things. Wish I had more of that green plaid piece--old favorite.

The food processor covers were re-sized to fit my appliance better and the picture was taken before I rounded off the corners.

This obviously is the toaster cover---the bread and jam was a dead giveaway, right? The green strip in the back is the gusset fabric.

I was using an old almost empty can of 505 temporary basting spray which I seldom ever use unless it is small project. The stuff was making sticky strings of goo on my hand. I don't remember it doing that before. After picking the adhesive, the batting fuzz and loose strings off, I ditched whatever remained and tried some Sulky that I had on my carry around sewing tray. I'll have enough to finish this job but I am not so sure that I want use 505 again if that is what it does. Reminds me a spray rubber cement----maybe it is. Not crazy about that rippled area about the bowl on the one of the left but I am not going to put more quilting on it either. What do you use or do just pin these smallish things??

Not much else going on here--errands, household duties, nothing new.

Nov 14, 2008

you know it has been a while...............

when you get a call from your family asking if you are okay since you haven't updated your blog in a week, LOL. I have been having "up and down" days both physically and to honest mentally. The tests I have had done so far have only shown what is ISN'T versus what is causing it. While I rejoice that the worst case scenarios are ruled out, I am still frustrated about the symptoms that are still present several months later. Enough about that..............

Part of the reason for not posting is I got "nuthin'" to show you though I have been doing a little hand quilting. That's a slow process with little to show for the time involvement---oh, but I love it! No sewing going on here unless you want to count re-doing the the velcro on something of DJ's and reinforcing the seam on a pair of jeans. Just not in the mood.

No cutting either or I would have those darned appliance covers started and/or a firm decision of what to do with the FABS challenge fabric. Haven't found a pattern that excites me enough to head to the stash. I need Norma to point out something SHE is excited about as that usually does it, LOL. Truth me told one of her recent quilt show pictures sent me on a hunt for the pattern source--that card trick looking one? Two of a Kind from the April 08 issue of American Patchwork and Quilting. I could see trying that one.

My stash just got augmented a bit though I do not plan to keep it all here--just some of it, for now. I found just enough places to stick the additions. Homespuns, greens (that kitchen project) and reds, neutrals for heart quilts. Another stack that would make a lovely fall themed quilt for donation to work on later. The leftovers will be cut into strips for bowtie blocks, triple rail fence blocks, faux log cabins and so forth. The Belles need to take what they want to work with too. You see, a few days after Theramae's memorial service her family called and asked if I could come pick up her sewing supplies and such. While they had extra hands on deck, they were clearing out what they could so it did not all fall to the family member who lives locally. I came home with the back end of my car loaded down.

She had left little undone--I know I couldn't begin to say that! I found a few odds and end blocks that we both were making. There are also leftovers from a previous project that can be worked up into another quilt. Strips, strings and squares to make more scrappy quilts. In fact, I think she almost had enough blocks for a small string quilt with more foundation papers cut out. I sorted through the magazines and put the most interesting of them in a notebook. That and the books went to our meeting place this week. I sorted through some fabrics over the weekend--washed and pressed 4 loads of fabrics. By Monday Lois and Nancy joined me to finish up--with some of it passed on for them to do the honors.

The quilt group met this week on Veteran's Day. I think we had 11 or 12 of us there. The power button on my camera quit working before I got all the pictures of the turned in quilts taken. Linda C let me borrow hers to finish the job and will burn me a CD for our records. Two days later I replaced the camera with one by the same manufacturer so the memory stick was still viable. The strippie quilt shown is one that Aline made from her batik scraps which I quilted for her. It probably does not show up well but I did just a zigzag through the pieced bands and SID in the plain ones.

While at the meeting some were sewing, some were pinning. I had brought the red and white fabrics from Theramae's stash and asked the girl's to make some heart blocks for her quilt. This is a tradition that we started in honor of the members we have lost or a member's immediate family.

Me personally? I found room for the fabrics from Theramae, marked a quilt top to be pinned, put the books up, sewed enough batting scraps together for two tops. I also talked to the church secretary about a tshirt quilt she would like me to make after the first of the year. That and the usual consultations about this and that quilting related or not plus a lot of visiting and catching up. What to do for the Christmas party, etc. Most of us went out to Quizno's for a quick lunch. Next thing I knew it was 3 p.m. and time to go home.

Here is Linda C with a quilt she had just picked up from the long arm quilter. Pretty. huh? And big!!

Theramae had a huge stack of pictures of her quilts that her family passed onto me with her things. Her family said she would always share the latest photos with them when they came to visit and I would suppose the quilts she was working on at the time. They pulled out some of them but it represents a pretty big body of work but it wasn't all of them. Joy and I took digital pictures early on but just posted them on our yahoo group. Later it became my job to take the pics and since that time, I always get double prints made. One goes in our albums and the other to the maker. (We are on our 4th album.). We looked through the pictures and shared some memories. These should probably go in their own "Theramae" album or scrap booked in some manner.

I had fallen down on the job with quilt documention this year---not sure why but maybe because there was no big push to get 50 or 60 of them for one specific location so I had to know how close to goal we were? We mailed out a bunch to WTIL earlier in the year and a pile of them to Pam for her M2M project after that. I had those entered on my document but not the ones that had were in my closet or on the armoire. The pile I had quilted through last month is starting to come in after binding with a few more out there to be finished. Well, yesterday I quit procrastinating. I pulled all the quilts on hand out and piled them up in the sewing/computer room and took care of that documentation. I made sure that we had pictures taken of each one and cleaned out the monthly files a bit but had DJ standing by to be quilt holder. I uploaded a pile of pictures so we can get prints made for the albums I previously mentioned. I ran to Walmart for some packing boxes--17 packed up and headed to WTIL headquarter. DJ helped me get those to the post office a bit ago.

Other than that, a quiet day. Laundry is done for the week and dishwasher has been run. A few hours till supper preparation. DJ is out working on the stump from the apple tree he cut down, mild overcast day. Skyler is napping on his bedroom perch with an eye out for any birds up on the roof and gutters. Word from DJ's son is that he ran into DJ's golfing friend from IL recently who told him he plans to be here "around Thanksgiving" but so far, said friend hasn't told US that. I can only speculate if that means the wife too or just him. Enjoy the quiet while I can, I guess.

Hope you all have a good weekend in whatever you plan to do---------

Nov 4, 2008

On Election Day

This song from "Hairspray" the musical is so uplifting and well sung by Queen Latifah. I thought it was appropriate as it reminds me of just why it is so important for us as citizen's to go vote and let our voice be heard. Age, sex, race and gender--we all have struggles but there is hope for the future. I have to believe that..........

There's a light
In the darkness
Though the night
Is black as my skin
There's a light
Burning bright
Showing me the way
But I know where I've been

There's a cry
In the distance
It's a voice
That comes from deep within
There's a cry
Asking why
I pray the answer's up ahead
'Cause I know where I've been

There's a road
We've been travelin'
Lost so many on the way
But the riches
Will be plenty
Worth the price we
Had to pay

There's a dream
In the future
There's a struggle
We have yet to win
And there's pride
In my heart
'Cause I know
Where I'm going
And i know where I've been

There's a road
We must travel
There's a promise
We must make
'Cause the riches
Will be plenty
Worth the risk
And chances that we take
There's a dream
In the future
There's a struggle

We have yet to win
Use that pride
In our hearts
To lift us up
To tomorrow

'Cause just to sit still
Would be a sin

I know it, I know it
I know where I'm going

And lord knows I know..
Where I've been

Oh! When we win,
I'll give thanks to my god
'Cause I know where I've been.

Lyrics: found HERE (listen through your favorite music download spot)

Oct 31, 2008

In loving memory of Theramae----

DJ and I had just returned home when the phone rang yesterday afternoon. Theramae's DIL was calling to tell me, as the quilt group leader, that she had passed away late Tuesday. The memorial service was scheduled for this morning at 11 but the obituary had not made the local newspaper in time for notification.

She had just turned 86 in June. Sarah was just a few month's older and we lost her earlier this year. What dynamic women they both were! I have shown this picture of her before--at the Christmas party 07 when we presented her with a friendship quilt we had made for her. Her health deteriorated over the months that followed and she was only able to come to one meeting this year for a few hours. She had three devoted caregivers that allowed her stay in her own home till the end. Not many people get to do that. Feisty!

Theramae was my "right hand" girl. Most of the time she sewed her tops at home so she manned the pinning table with an energy that I would wager we younger members wished we had. We are forever quoting her line "it will quilt out" --she was right about that. That and the caution not to be smoothing the quilt--pat it but don't smooth it. She was always taking quilts home to bind and sometimes quilt for one of the others. Since my dislike of binding is legendary, you know what a help that was.

She and Sarah both would really crank out the quilts like women on a mission! I always take a picture of each quilt and get two copies made--one for our photo albums and one for the maker. Her DIL said she would make a point to show the pictures to anyone she could even she didn't have the quilt on hand to show them. I know she spoke about them to her circle at church as well. The pastor spoke of it at the service today--not about WTIL necessarily but the quilts that she had made and given away over the years.

When Jane and I saw her recently she said she had not been able to read or sew anymore. You could tell that was very frustrating to her as that was two things she dearly loved. We were going to look into some books on tape for her as an alternative to TV viewing.

She was one of the original members of our little group. Joy and I met first in Aug. 1999. In Jan. 2000 Joy hosted a sew in for Wrap Them in Love at her house. I didn't know anyone other than Joy who quilted but Joy had owned a quilt shop at one time and knew some quilters. She invited Betsy who invited Theramae who attended her church and she knew quilted. The following month we had an organizational meeting---Theramae was one of the original Belles. With her passing there are just three of us left. We were naming the originals off at lunch today, those of us who were able to attend the service.

She had been all over the globe as her husband had been in the Air Force and raised two daughters and a son. When her husband passed away, she moved here to be closer to a daughter who lives locally. Theramae would tell you that she was "not from here" meaning Calhoun County. She didn't necessarily hold with the prevailing notions and was not afraid to share her opinion about anything. She had fairly progressive views--something you might not expect from a woman her age, actually. I don't know why that surprised me a bit but I found it very refreshing. She and I shared the same political and world views---without getting into just what those are/were. The stash ring is supposed to remain apolitical but suffice it to say, it is not necessarily what most of Alabama is or how they think. (If I hear "Alabama values" being touted one more time in a TV ad in this election cycle I might scream, LOL)

One of the last quilt pictures I posted here was one of her tops shown HERE. Jane picked up some quilts the other day before she left with some local quilters to go to the quilt show in Houston--Theramae's was one of them so I didn't get the chance to show her how it turned out with those Baptist Fans.

She will be missed but not forgotten.

Oct 23, 2008

you aren't helping!

The color is way off and the part under the light source too bright but maybe you can see why occasionally it is hard to get any "work" done. Skyler has taken to burrowing under the quilts whether they are on the bed or I'm quilting them. He got himself situated just under the hoop and begin gnawing on a safety pin. Once I got the camera out and few shots taken, he moved on.

I found some fabrics for the appliance covers yesterday. I told DJ to drop me off at Hobby Lobby while he went down to Home Depot. We both came home happy with our finds. This morning I drug out the green fabrics that might be suitable for my project. Now I don't feel much like cutting or sewing for our sewing date tomorrow----go figure.

This same quilt still has some machine quilting that needs done on the bands. I started on it and then had to set it aside in favor of the donation quilt stack so it has languished for at least three weeks. I am just hand quilting in the white spaces and SID on the print parts. I think I told you that I would like to give this to DJ for Christmas or our anniversary in January so I guess this could be a "nag" project as well---it is hanging over my head too.

I'll decide in the morning what I want to do for our sewing date--I think you know which way I'm leaning, LOL. Now if I can just convince Skyler to not be so helpful...........

Oct 21, 2008

finally caught up

I have finally managed to quilt my way through the pile of donation quilts atop the armoire as of Monday morning---11 total for me. Big woo hoo and happy dancing here! Took me about three weeks to get the job done with a few days off for good behavior, LOL. Shown are two of the last ones. Theramae's top that I did with Baptist Fans on the left and my challenge quilt on the right. I'll post better pics once the binding is done and the markings removed.

A shout out to Pat who was kind enough to quilt up this one for me in a manner far better than it my pathetic attempts to free motion would have looked like. Liz in SC volunteered to do one as well so I unpinned it . It is on its way to her now--spared me from a bunch of cross hatching around 12 dresden plate blocks. Thanks in advance for the quilting offer, Liz. Since it will be quilted on a handi-quilter now instead of my domestic sewing machine, I had to replace the backing. We trimmed it too close to use what we had on it when we pinned it but that can be used for something else down the line, no doubt. Stash busted a little more space off my shelf so Skyler should be able to get on the book shelf a little more easily, LOL. Quilt back sewing is the closest I have come to sewing in weeks!

I did try to do some outlining in the challenge quilt focus blocks but ended up taking it out---twice. Horrid! To be truthful the thread color was not right either and that accounted for failed attempt #2. I ended up just doing two simple lines of a serpentine stitch on my Viking 500 just to hold it down. The fabric is packed with color that it doesn't really show up anyway on the back or the front.

I am not sure where Theramae found the pattern for her little quilt to give a pattern source but it was really a simple, scrappy quilt. I know that she used a package of cut 2 1/2 inch squares that Finn passed onto the Belles for some of it as I recognize some of the fabrics plus some for the group's previous projects along with it. Hard telling were a bit of backing fabric might show up down the line! Sadly, this will probably be the last one she was able to make for the group as her health concerns are keeping her from sewing at this point. Once I get the binding done, I will take it over to show her before donating it.

I drew it up in EQ though not in the same colors and definitely not colored in a scrappy manner. There are no stars or Prairie Flower like blocks in the quilt but the 4 patches and star points are placed in such a manner that you see two of those type blocks. Good scrappy quilt that would lend itself well to leaders and enders, at least for the 4 patches that would be required.

And, speaking of Skyler--here he is in a quiet moment catching some afternoon soon. We have had some cooler days lately or that window would have been open.

DJ has been working off and on trying to replace the front door threshold and door sweep. We both went to the bedroom to keep the nosy kitty out of the task at hand. I think DJ has found that a replacement part is not so easy to track down 23 years after the house was built. The hunt has been made harder still by not being able to find who the door manufacturer is/was. He ended up putting both old pieces back down--for now.

Think I'll do a little hand quilting this afternoon. Tomorrow is pretty booked up with a doctor's visit for some recent test results late morning for me. DJ is coming with me as we will go out for lunch (probably at Cici's Pizza) afterwards and stop at a few more hardware stores in Oxford. I am thinking about having him drop me off down at Hobby Lobby while he goes to Home Depot as I need something for a kitchen project. Seems like there was something else going on this week? Oh yeah, now I remember.

Actually, Cher will be off on Friday and has issued an invitation to come sew with her online. I am thinking it might be a good time for a"nag" day project. I define that as a project that is nagging at you to get started or one that someone else is nagging at you to do--in my case, it would be a new toaster cover that DJ has asked me at least three times to get to. I need some coordinating fabric since there are few more appliances that I want to cover and maybe make some placemats.

Not much else happening around here----thanks for stopping by-------

Oct 12, 2008


I'm still at the machine quilting, LOL, though making progress---I am about to start quilting #9 of 13 having marked Baptist Fans on one of the tops Saturday afternoon. I quilted #8 yesterday but it was a small one with a fair amount of zoom lines. Friday, was a "lost day"-- I had a medical test that took a chunk of the morning. I was not feeling too red hot once I got home so resting and taking it easy appealed to me a lot more. Baked some banana muffins and started on supper prep basically between reading an old Nora Roberts paperback from my shelves. (Another goal--read some of these Friends of the Library collected books, book club titles that I have so I can donate them back for their cause)

I might have started quilting the one I marked except that the tension started acting up and I needed to get some white thread first anyway. Changing the needle, re-threading and adjusting the machine dials was not doing the trick. Consulting the manual indicated that the numbers were where they needed to be. I ended up cleaning and de-linting the machine. That did the trick. So other than winding some bobbins, I am good to go now.

When I picked out the next top I wanted to do, I decided that one in the pile was far too small for kid's quilt donation so I am NOT going to quilt it. Took that one out of the tally and added the top that I intend to pin at the meeting on Tuesday (my bonus challenge quilt). This little panel, however, would be a great learning tool for the person who donated it and added so many quilts to the stack in the first place. Hey, it is small (wallhanging sized), is pinned with flat batting so less bulk on the machine bed. It won't matter if you mess up plus I'll show you how to do it. Oh best clarify THAT sentence--show you how to quilt, not mess it up though some days I could that part too.

I have a volunteer for free motioning one quilt. Liz (not sure if she has a blog to link to) emailed me off post about it. I do have one she could do the honors with her Handi-quilter. THX!! Once I get the particulars I will be happy to send it on.

I did take a picture of a couple of the more recent completions-----first, Lois' Twin Sisters top. Cute and scrappy. The pattern is in Eleanor Burns' Quilts Through the Seasons. Linda C has made one as well which is one of the remaining quilts in the pile. I think I will mark a small square in the centers of the blocks on that one though rather than accentuate the pinwheel blades as I did on Lois' version just to shake things up a bit.

I want to make one of these but I believe I will change the strip size to make a bigger block. Burns has you cut 2 1/2 inch strips for a 5 inch finished block. While these are cuter than the dickens this small, you also have to make a whole lot of them. Even with two blocks for the deal, positive and negative versions, that is more than I would want to make--boredom factor would probably set in. I don't know if you can spot the pairs of blocks from this view or not. Lois did say that you should have a high degree of contrast in the fabrics. She thought that a few choices were too close in color or pattern and the pinwheel didn't show up as well.

This is one that Linda C made from some leftover 9 patch blocks and strips around them Courthouse Steps style. I had cut that binding for another project long ago and didn't use it at the last minute so it came in handy for this one with all the floral fabrics. Stashbusting wherever you can, right?

As I work I think about what I would like to be doing next as a "reward" of sorts. Piecing is always my first love in the quilting process. Quilting is okay (and necessary) but a stack of it can be a burden. Since the last two in the pile are my own two challenge quilts, I know I will have binding to finish but that is NO reward, LOL. The next FABs whacky challenge from Pat and Cher would be fun. I kinda, sorta know what I want to do with it. That will need to be done but I have some time leeway yet. I really need to finish the quilting, hand and machine, on the RR crossing if DJ is going to be able to use that this winter but I need a break from machine quilting for a week or two, anyway.

But what I really would like to start on is the Nancy Halvorsen "Be Attitudes" quilt. I fell in love with the one that Julie K was working on. I have the book and some of her Williams Inn fabric line to get started on it. In fact, that was my birthday present from my husband-- he gives me money and I spend it on what I want which works out well for BOTH of us. HERE is the link to Julie's top. I can see where this could be an ongoing top, like the redwork Santa blocks I started. Lots of handwork with the button hole stitching. Well, that is all a distant dream if I don't get cracking on the matters at hand but if it keeps me motivated, then so be it.

Hope you are having a good day in whatever you chose to do. Thanks for stopping by. Till next time

Oct 7, 2008

5 down--8 to go

It seems like I have been quilting for "weeks" but I only have 5 donation quilts done to show for my efforts. 8 more to go and one more to pin on our meeting date. Since I have some of my own projects that need tending for a change, I am NOT going to bring any more home with me---and I am sticking to that!

Here are a couple of the ones I have been working on this past week----full pictures later when the binding is all done and I take their "official portraits", LOL.

This first one is a modified nine patch type block in two colors donated by Janet E. This has been living at my house since we made the trip to Bowdon, GA a couple months back. The way she joined the blocks made it look like a Puss in the Corner variation. I tried some "Borders Made Easy" paper on this one, just to shake things up a bit. 2nd time I had done this in my quilting career. I remembered after the fact that I had had a hard time removing the adhesive strips that hold it in place but maybe they have done something to improve that aspect of it as it ripped off easily. It went on easily with just a few minor shortened cables on two sides as the quilt was slightly rectangular. What I didn't remember is that I had pins underneath the paper!! I moved them to the top but you know you always a miss a couple so danged if I didn't bust two needles along the way.

This is a top that Finn donated to the cause some time back. I only remodeled this slightly by narrowing the quilt by one block and adding them to the bottom to make a rectangular quilt and bordering it. Coincidentally, I owned some of that burgundy print fabric that she used in the body of the quilt so that worked out well. It took me 3 days to complete as the square in a squares are all SID with most of the work done on Monday. Then I crosshatched all the setting squares and triangles masking the first border that was the same fabric as the block backgrounds a bit. Lastly, an egg and dart cable was done on the last border. Not sure how good that turned out in the pic I took but trust me, it IS there. I hope Finn will be pleased to see how it turned out.

Jane and I went out to lunch today so she took two of the finished tops for binding detail, Finn's being one of them. We stopped to see our friend Theramae on the way home for a lovely visit. Health concerns have kept her from coming to quilting since the first of the year and that happens in your 80's sometimes. The mind might be willing but the body is letting you down. We miss her. She misses us.

Take a peek at Pat's post of today for one she took off my hands. She did a far better job with anything I would come up with since I detest free motion work. I felt my "CGF" quilt needed an all over design and the popcorn panto looks terrific on it. It will make a new home with a project Pat's friend Paula is doing for kids this coming Christmas season---40 some quilts will be needed, I believe Pat said. Thanks again, Pat!

Having said that, I am half thinking of marking some Baptist Fans on one of the tops in the stack though it might be easier if we re-pinned the top with the backing on top first. Fons and Porter's "Sew Many Quilts" magazine from September/October 98 had an article on this along with a pattern to make your own stencil to mark the lines. I have used it for two quilts in my past--one of them, a log cabin. I'll mull that one over and if I am still thinking in a couple days time, I'm unpinning and marking it.

Last picture---Skyler tracking the sun through the house. 8 in the morning or thereabouts, this is a good spot to catch some rays. Also he thinks he is hiding. From my vantage spot across the hall I often just see one paw sticking out so he might have something there. He leaps out at DJ's pant legs in a flash if feeling particularly feisty. What a silly boy he can be sometimes!

Guess that's it for now----hope you have had a good day.