Dec 31, 2009

Happy New Year

A happy and prosperous year ahead, I hope, for all--parts of 09 were not so hot but other parts were good. In that regard, I am guessing that makes it like most years and differ only in that you are more likely to recall the recent events.

I took down the Christmas decorations yesterday but left the snow/winter things out for this coming month. It perks up the house a bit but I hope I remember where I put them come December. They probably won't go back in the Christmas storage boxes where they SHOULD belong. I hope to save myself from the treasure hunt I did this year, LOL.

Be Attitudes from last year

Pictures on the shelf were drawn by my friend Janet and set as Christmas cards. The mitten was added as a gift tag for Christmas gift I was given years ago. I made the snowman several years ago. The Quiltmaker's wallhanging is labeled "04" but I just sewed the sleeve on this morning. Actually I decided this morning as I stitched that one on that I am going to start sewing sleeves on everything that could conceivable put on the wall or displayed in a quilt show later. Phooey on doing it after the fact!

This wallhanging is from one of the Tonee White Appliquilt books--when I was in my homespun phase, I would say. Still have a bunch that should be stitched up in some manner.

The welcome sign has little pieces that switch out for the year so this snowman will be right at home. The tree wallhanging was made for me by a friend. Gorgeous hand quilting

I didn't get a whole lot of sewing done yesterday. I baked some bread and putting away the decorations took a chunk of the day I had not planned on as well. I did get the further cutting and sewing done for the way I wanted to do the sashing--- pre-sash or add those bits to the blocks or block pairs instead of sewing a long skinny strip to a long row. I got one row together though so I could see how it looked with the red "flower" that forms where the blocks join.

I like it! I had been debating about what to use for borders on this but it turns out it was right under my nose. I had purchased that aqua stuff for my half done Cheap Trick quilt but it will work here even better than my original plan. I also have just enough red left to use it for the narrow 1st border. The color is a bit off in the picture, thanks to the fluoroscent bulbs, but in person it works out fine in constrast to the blue-green flowers. I'll get cracking after lunch.

A special meal is planned for tonight . I baked the cream of coconut cake this morning and I'm waiting for it to cool enough to add the whipped topping and coconut. Spend some time with my sweetie this evening---hope you can do the same!

Dec 30, 2009

Daisy Chain progress

Here is my progress so far on the Daisy Chain project. Blocks laid out and awaiting sashing. I am going to veer off in my own direction from the pattern for the actual joining but that's my choice. Strip piecing the sashing bits is next.

Christmas tree and decorations are down excepting a couple of Santa wall hangings. Skyler kept trying to chew on the tree so it is time. A little bread baking this morning so it has been a busy day already. I have a feeling I will still be sashing and joining rows for a day or two more.

Dec 28, 2009

48 blocks and more

Norma and I have wanted to sew our version of Atkinson Designs Daisy Chain for some time. When she knew that she was going to be on holiday between Christmas and New Year's we planned on getting started. But first, she needed to prep fabric and do some cutting. In the meantime, I got busy sewing the Sisterhood Gratitude top that I had cut out recently---my Saturday project, LOL. It still needs borders--a pretty blue inner border and the outer border is that patchwork fabric you see in 6 of the pieced blocks in the picture below.

Sunday after I had lunch out of the way, we got our sewing machines revved up. Here's my project box. I am using 30 repros (I'm working in series, ha!) If you look at the pattern leaflet, the greens and pinks form little flowers in the diagonal chains. Well, in my version the blue-green/aqua fabric you see is my green in the design and the red dot takes the place of the pink. My yellow for the flower in the chain has both the aqua and red elements but I don't think it showed up in this shot.

Here I am ready to start Step 1, part C. I had cut pairs of two of about 60 fabrics in 5 different colors. Some were too light or didn't contrast enough with the accent pieces. I weeded those out but still have a few extra, should I need them for variety.

Where I left off last night----half blocks for 48+ blocks. Today we start off with the strip pieced sections that go between the block halves. I know the blocks don't look like much at this point but they will! Judging by the piles of colors, I have more blue cut than any other.

You may have also spotted the iron on pressing surface in that shot? Funny story there. My Christmas pants turned into an iron. As background information---DJ, bless him, often takes on the laundry as his "job" so he had seen the one pair of my slacks was looking a little worse for wear. He has gotten me a top, a sweater (a set of silverware for both of us even) before but didn't want to repeat himself. Walmart doesn't carry quilting hoops anymore or he would have gotten one of those for me. He checked after he was recruited to repair my favorite broken one last week. That is taken care of anyway as my mom called after reading my last post and offered me hers since she no longer hand quilts. Thanks, Mom!

Well, you know we women can be a little picky about our jeans so it surprised me that he ventured out in that territory. Actually I HAD bought a pair to replace the worn ones but he didn't know that. I do appreciate his trying to get something for me though so I would have a package to open. The store didn't have a different color in the correct size. Actually I want a t-shirt from JSU but WM doesn't carry them for some reason and I haven't gone up to Jacksonville to buy one for myself. The other thing I needed was, you got it, an iron. I was currently using an old backup one which was neither hot enough and not steaming anymore. I took the pants refund, added in 20 bucks of my Christmas money and got the Hamilton Beach Easy Touch model. Good choice! But woe be to the husband who bought an iron for his wife for Christmas, right? Well, he didn't, I did ! I'm happy, he's happy--works for us.

On Christmas Eve he had asked me how I planned to spend the check he had given me. Usually there is some quilt book that I have my eye on or I want to renew a quilting magazine, pattern or two, something quilty that has caught me eye. The money is usually spent earlier in the month and he reimburses me, in effect, but not this year. I couldn't really come up with anything I "had to have". A replacement iron, fabric for borders for the Daisy Chain quilt----boring! It is also not something I could point at and say" here is what you got me" like say, the Amy Bradley Kitty City patterns or Dazzling Dog patterns we had gotten in the past. When I worked on those blocks, he was actually excited about my project, often commenting on how cute they were turning out and asking which one I was doing next. It was like he was personally invested in the quilt. Trust me, this is NOT how he usually acts about my quilting. When the quilt failed to take a first place ribbon in its category at the quilt show, he thought it was a personal affront to HIM! LOL. But I digress.

The answer came to me after a few days of pondering. I ordered a couple things online once I decided. The first was the custom button sets for the two of Nancy Halvorsen's books that I already own, Calendar Quilts and Stitcheries and In Season. I am going to do the applique version of the calendar quilts this year as my monthly project in 2010 as I did her "Be Attitudes" this year. I had so much fun with those and expect to with this as well. I also ordered a couple of quilt hangers from Ackfeld Wire similar to what I am using for the Be Attitudes quilt-let display. I'm happy, he's happy--works for us. I am blessed.

Well, my sewing partner has plans with her family this morning so I will work on something else in the meantime. Maybe hand quilt a bit or put borders on the Sisterhood top but leaning more to the hand quilting. I'll get enough machine time put in this afternoon working on those strip sets, LOL.

Hope that you have a good day in whatever you chose to do-------thanks for stopping by!

Dec 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I hope that you have a wonderful holiday with family and friends!

It will be a quiet day here, as most holidays are, with just DJ and I and our fuzzy little "boy" Skyler. The weather report looks to be a little forbidding between here and IL where most of our family is located. We didn't plan on going back anyway---normally we wait till May or June if we are going. My family had "Christmas in July" earlier this year though not everyone could be there. Actually the wind and rain is picking up since I sat down to write this post.

I have been busy this past week though don't have much to show for it. Hand quilting continues on my FAB challenge quilt though I have the body of the quilt done and marked the borders yesterday. My favorite quilt hoop bit the dust this past week though so I am in the market for its replacement----a 14 inch round that I had since 88. DJ tried to re-glue the join but it is not going to hold. :-( I need the half hoop now for the outer border so no rush.

I also found time to cut out my Sisterhood of Quilters Gratitude quilt and had enough leftover to share with my FAB pals and cut for them too. (Merry Christmas!) The Atkinson "Daisy Chain" that Norma and I plan to sew next week is cut as well except for one piece that was on order. Looking forward to both projects.

I gave up on the last two donation quilts for now. Yeah, I wanted them done before year's end but it isn't going to happen. I'm okay with that. I figure the quilt group meets on the 2nd Tuesday in January so I have a little time if I really want them moved along. At some point I will get my own donation quilt pinned and add it to the bunch.

A little extra cooking going on as well. DJ is enjoying a batch of homemade cookies made earlier in the week. You don't know just how rare it is for me to bake cookies but I had promised him I would do so. I had also made a batch of Maple Nut rolls recently with a mix from Prepared Pantry----yummers! Most of all those baked goodies went to the freezer to be parceled out over time. Did I say how much I love my new mixer? Well, I do though I still need to make something with egg whites to use the whisk attachment. One of these days..........

I will pass on a little something from a quilting friend before I go.

Twas the night before Christmas, I'm glued to the tree.
I'm wondering what Santa brought just for me.
Could it be fat quarters or a pattern or lace?
Or a quilt kit, I said, with a smile on my face.
And that's when I heard him,

"Hi Santa," I said
"You know....good little girls should be in their beds ".
"I know I should Santa, and now I've got caught..
But I was just so excited to see what you brought."

"Well, let's take a look in this room where you work."
He shook his head quickly, And left with a jerk.
I heard him exclaim as he put it in gear.
"You've got enough stuff, I'll see you next year!"

Dec 15, 2009

looking ahead

I have nothing to show, really, for a week's worth of time in the sewing room, LOL.

I have been in quilting mode again. 1 comfort quilt is done for my quilting pals' guild bee and picked up but I didn't snap a picture of it though the cable I did in the border sections looked pretty good. 2 WTIL donation quilts are also done though someone else will do the binding down the line----you'll see pictures of them down the line when posed for their "official portrait."

I have two more to go as pictured above with the backing side out. One is a larger version of one I just finished-- 24 blocks of 16 patch HST blocks sashed and cornerstoned provided by Linda C. After doing the 16 block version, I have the SID quilting path down on that pattern! The other one you see folded up was made by Aline's granddaughter who has been so sweet to think of the kids and provide some tops to the group. I know her grandmother is quite happy to have her follow in the sewing foot steps! Because Aline has had some physical problems this past year, she is not able to do the quilting so I will finish up. While I know what I will do in the body of the quilt, I am not sure what is needed on the triple borders but trust me, it won't be cables!

By Sunday I needed a break from the machine and hand quilted for two days on my FABS friendship quilt, a personal project. Some progress is being made on that score with the two alternating blocks completed as well as the "right side" of the quilt. By that I mean, two setting triangles and two corner triangles if you were to look at the picture shown on the link. Now my poor stuck fingers, wrist and thumb need a break! So if I am not abusing my back, neck and shoulders machine quilting I can make something else tender, it would appear, LOL.

I'll get back to the machine work today as I am postponing the reward for finishing the stack. If you look back up at the picture, that stack of fabric represents the next two sewing projects that need to be cut. I want to kit up the Sisterhood Gratitude for sewing and while I am at cut for the Atkinson "Daisy Chain" that Norma and I plan on sewing between Christmas and New Years' when she is on holiday. The pattern is hanging off the peg board or click HERE. We have been talking about this for months and month while looking at some gorgeous examples of colorways on webshots. Going to make it happen!

So 10 more days till Christmas! DJ put up the tree and put on the lights last week but it took me a couple days to decide if I would put ornaments on it or not. Last year we just did lights and bows as I didn't know how Skyler would behave. LOL, I still don't know! I put a few cloth ones down low that I wouldn't mind if he drug off to play with. (Pippi did that and they became some of her favorite cat toys.) So far, so good! I would like to make a couple of holiday themed placemats so may drag out the Christmas fabric bin from its hiding place to see if there is enough yardage on hand to whip up a couple of them for our holiday meal.

It finally occured to me about two weeks after the fact, where I had put a missing decorative snow scene plate so it is back on display as well. I spent a good part of the afternoon on decorating day searching for it in every conceivable spot I could think of. Turns out when the Christmas decorations were put away last year, I had kept it and a couple other snow related items out for January decorating and naturally, they didn't get put away with the rest of the holiday stuff. Now the great hunt is on for the owner's manual for my DVD recorder/player but I found a copy of it online so may give up looking. How much do you bet that once I get the pages that I need printed off, it will show up?

No holiday baking though! I did make some banana nut muffins yesterday to use up the over-ripe "naners" from the freezer. In error, DJ was saying "cookies!!!" when he spotted the racks. He was so excited about the prospect of them that I promised to make him a batch of less healthier ones next week. I keep tell him that I would consider making him cookies, now and again but as long as he is happy with the $1/pkg oatmeal ones from the store, why bother? He said he eats those because he thinks they are a healthier, not that he loves them so much. He will not express a preference so what kind do I want to make? Pride of Iowa which is an old family favorite or Hilary's version of Oatmeal Toffee if I can find the almond brickle on the grocery run? Or my personal favorite, White Chocolate Macadamia Nut??? Oh, that would be dangerous!

I don't know that I will be sending out Christmas cards this year or not. DJ always does his own and some have shown up at the house for both of us. I debate every year about the expense. There are other means for me to communicate these days. Time may just slip by without my getting around to it, I'm guessing.

The weather has warmed from the 20s of last week to 50's, 60's. Warmed up to rain. It was 55 out when I got up this morning but damp and probably foggy in spots. DJ pointed out a neighbor mowing over the weekend but what he was cutting down, we don't know. An errand at dusk last night showed a lot of Christmas lights up to enjoy and our small town's Christmas parade has been moved from a Saturday 10 am event to a Friday at 6 p.m. followed by caroling at the park instead. It would be nice if the weather would hold a few days if the townsfolk are going to be out on the 18th!

Best get myself on the move---errands to run and then back to the machine and the audio book I was enjoying (Dismas Hardy legal mystery by John Lescroat---onto my third one though not in order). Hope that you have a good day and thanks for stopping by------

Dec 7, 2009

finished to flimsy

I had set a goal to get the blocks of my strip twist out of the sack they were in and to flimsy by the evening of December 5th. I didn't make it. By the time I had put up the Christmas decoration one day last week, I sure didn't feel like sewing that evening though the quilt was about half done at that point. What difference did one day make anyway---it was still the weekend and a self imposed goal.

The pattern was designed by Gudrun Erla of G. E. Designs. It is set up for jelly roll using a partial seam technique. It is the project we chose to do at the FAB + 2 retreat this past August. Because I needed to make a ton more blocks and had other obligations, I was lagging behind.

All of our quilts have all turned out so differently! You can see Norma's version HERE. She and I both went with a fall type theme. Cher's version can be seen HERE. While it is not Cher's usual palette, she had pulled fabrics from her stash and the quilt was gifted for someone who needed a comfort quilt. Pat went with a Christmas version. It was quilted this past week and she is probably working on the binding as I write this. I can't wait to see the Christmas pig fabric she said she used for backing! For a pre-border, pre-quilted version click HERE. Pam was working on 30's version at the retreat but wants to make more blocks for a completion. I think the only posted picture I know of her blocks can be found HERE.

I had hoped to get the backing pieced last evening but petered out after wrestling rows and halves around. The extra blocks will go back there in a nothing fancy set but make my available yardage wide enough for the long armer. As pretty as it looks on my bed, it actually will fit DJ's queen a little better so I am going to give it to him once it is done. It is what I have been thinking about doing as I worked on the blocks anyway if he indicated he liked it at all. Our anniversary is coming up and of course, his birthday is not far off either.

You see, most of my work gets a typical DJ reaction--- a nod, "oh yeah" or "that's nice" reaction from him meaning "no big deal--you are just going to start on something else next. You are never finished" When he told me to make it warm, that meant he will use it. ( Gee, don't make me twist your arm or anything. I do love it enough to be take it back!) Moreover, he can give me my full sized Boston Commons quilt back that is a little small on his bed. Oh don't think I haven't made him one before and that the poor man has been deprived of a Linda made quilt! He has a big, almost king sized, sampler I made years ago-- my first quilt as a matter of fact. It is too big and too heavy so he has preferred the one he had borrowed from me more. For a view of that one, try this LINK to a previous post about quilt beginnings.

I am working on the reward system---so now that this is almost put behind me what is next up? Postponed pleasure, LOL. Piecing will always be my first love but I do have some obligations that need tending too. That means some machine quilting first. I have a comfort quilt to quilt for my friend's Jane and Aline's guild bee for pay and 4 donation tops to move along to finish up this program year for the Belles. My reward project will need to be cut out but I have all the fabric on hand to make the Sisterhood Gratitude quilt from the panel that Cher gifted us with at the retreat. I hope that in another week, I can get started on it. That's my self imposed, arbitrary goal anyway!

Hope you have a good day and thanks for stopping by------

Dec 4, 2009

I promised more pics

...........and here they are! I do love show and tell.

First up, Lois' Flying Geese in the Cabin. She pieced most of this in a class with Trudie Hughes at her then local quilt shop we were guessing in the late 80's/ early 90's. She said that the colors never did go in her home and after antiquing for a long time, she wasn't going to put the borders on it at this stage of the game. She was donating it. I quilted it for her---in the ditch so it looks as pretty on the back as the front. I thought I posted this before but the batting was sticking out or we had it on the pinning table. This is it's "official portrait" shot for our photo albums and personal copies.

Next up, Lois peeking out above her quilt with machine embroidered mouse squares. I had to clear the girls out to get the picture as they were drawn like moths to the motifs, LOL. She used a large cat print for the backing and the block is Puss in the Corner. Appropriate, I thought.

Next up, Betsy's quilt that she will gifting to someone soon. 30's prints which is one of my favorites. She did a modified curve in each square of the quilt forming what looks like orange peels or that cathedral window shape on the back. I should have taken a picture of that too! Click bigger and you probably can see the lines she free motioned in.

The next quilt is also one Lois made. I asked her what the block was named since I didn't recognize the pattern. She said she didn't know but "Lois Has Scraps" to use up. Boy, does she since Linda C keeps supplying her with more! It does have a Hovering Hawks appearance in some blocks but her name works for me and my documentation of the quilts. Check the quilting motif at the block centers. I love the flying frog borders, originally planned to be a square dance skirt but what fun here! It had a different frog print on the back too.

Lois made two Twin Sister quilts like the one below---this is one of them. One was backed with robots and the other with a motorcycle print so that will be fun for the youngsters that get them.

Lois also turned in another Scrappy Trips similar to her challenge quilt in the last post so I did not include it here. I should have noted the great job she did in quilting them though---nice wavy line in diagonals on the quilt. Why can't I make myself try that?

So me on a personal sewing level have made some progress with my strip twist top. 6 of the 12 rows are done and a couple rows joined. More today and maybe done to flimsy by Saturday evening--that's my goal anyway! Hold my feet to the fire, will ya? Right after the Christmas decorations go up, I promise!

Dec 2, 2009

challenge quilts, edited

The Belles Christmas party was yesterday. This year we opted for a stress free celebration in which no one had to clean or decorate their home. No one had to make a potluck dish either as we had arranged for a large table at Olive Garden. Order what you want and we would go back to the meeting place for dessert, coffee and Show and Tell.

We always do the year's challenge fabric reveal at the party. Some are still in the planning or sewing stages including my bonus quilt from the leftovers. Come to think of it, I still have a bonus one from Marilyn's leftovers from LAST year's to make. I had to laugh though---one of participants asked if I had fabric for 2010 yet. (I do but I had left it home. ) One of the Belles' said, aghast, "Nooooo, not yet---I am not done with this years!" Like I would be piling on more---I try not to do that, ever. I did describe what it looked like though to whet their appetite and will pass it out in a month or two.

Thanks again to WTIL friend Kitty for sending on the fabric to use to use. This year's selection was a Moda print from 3 Sisters called "Mrs. Nelsons' 2nd Grade". It is the plaid lunch pail fabric you will see in the pitured and each used so differently. I can't wait to see what the others out there will look like!

Beverly chose a block called Squares Within Squares

Linda C used "Just Can't Cut It", a commercially available quilt pattern

Lois, our queen of scraps, selected the Bonnie Hunter pattern Scrappy Trips Around the World and used the challenge fabric for a border. Linda C loaded her up with a pile more ammunition to take home for more, LOL

ED. NOTE: I missed one on the initial posting. Sorry about that, Betsy! Betsy chose a framed food patches and said "this is some of the things you might find in that lunch box" Fun idea, right? She had quilted the neatest spirals on the block, just awaiting binding before mailing it out.

You may have seen this on the prior post--or not, LOL. I used a slightly modified version of "Picture Perfect" by Diane Weber of Sew Biz. Lois held it up so I could take the picture.

I will have other quilt pictures to show in another post later in the week but will include one more here since it is NOT a donation quilt.

The Belles were so kind to give me a monetary gift last year and have done so again this year. Aren't they sweethearts? Their only instructions is that it is to be spent on something for ME. In that spirit, I used my gift last year on the Williams Inn fat quarter fabrics for the "Be Attitudes" quilt which trust me, I would NOT have done without their help. Normally I would have made do with what was on my shelf or not made the quilt, most likely. It would not have achieved the same look that I loved in these quilts. Because many of them had not seen them as I worked on them through out the year, this was my "show and tell" piece. I laid out the mini- wall hangings how they would look as a whole quilt for this shot.

How will I use my gift from this year? Not sure but there are a couple of things I had looked at and admired. I'll figure it out, LOL.

Tune in later in the week for the donation quilt show---thanks for stopping by!