Thursday, August 31, 2006

beach weekend

Our office is closed on Monday, like so many will be here in the States..we had the chance to go stay at a friends beach house and could not get the yes word out fast enough! It's gonna be a hot weekend they say and nice to leave town during it. We have family that lives over on the coast to visit as well - so that will be fun to fit in. I am NOT taking any quilting to do. A quilt book to read is as close as I am getting. I am taking my two yarn projects. I am close to being done with one ( I started in Dec 05), and M's sister is going to laugh at me-she did this sweater in a week. yeah, well-she's been knitting since forever and can really fly. I had to learn a whole lot to do this "simple" sweater. I learned to knit from my grandma as a child, but, only knitted off and on since. Mostly off. Like the new trends and fabrics that awoke a renewed interest in quilting, the yarn world has really taken off with great, fun, fabulous yarns available now. So, my knitting is packed, my book is packed, and so are my clothes. When I get home from work tomorrow, it all gets tossed into the van and off we go. I have to take some work along, but, it won't be too terrible to deal with. Zoe can hardly wait to hit the sand-she adores the beach and is so entertaining to watch. (Zoe is our 3 year old boxer dog )
Anyway, that means no computer until Monday night. I will miss keeping up with all my blogland friends-but will enjoy catching up when we get back.

Why do I quilt?? cause I can't paint, draw, sing on key, play a musical instrument, do tai chi or yoga, but with fabric and a machine I can express my creative spirit! I can watch my skills grow and evolve and take joy in all the results. A lot of my quilting goes towards supporting my charity of choice-wraptheminlove.
I imagine the bright or scrappy quilts I make wrapping some child not only in it's warmth, but the love and joy I put into making it. Quilting is an art where the end result can make a lot of people feel all warm and fuzzy inside. And it truly makes my heart sing. I have to say it gives me such a break from the practical side of my brain-what I do for a living-yet it includes those qualities that I excel at work in too-that attention to detail, following up on a good design with a balance of color and so on. However, you can push your limits and discover whole new worlds of ideas to explore within the quilting's just so much fun to play with quilting.
Any day I quilt, is always a good day.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

how I put together my theme scrappy quilts

I spent my morning pressing and organizing the rest of the scraps and partial parts. We all love visuals to help us see how some quilts get put together. I learned the actual mile a minute pattern a few years ago-our charity group had a day when we all learned and played with the concept-later we had a challenge fabric of leopard faces to make a top from-I took those leftover scraps, leftover scraps from the king size African quilt I made for us, added a few from the wonky village and selected a few more from other scrap containers that I thought worked. When I dumped this bag out I found a pretty good start on this top. So you can see my sewing table layout..what I like to do is build up my "blocks" into a good size and then when they are about 25 by 20 or so..I consider them a "section" I am pretty loose about adding and whacking off to get close to similar sections...this time around I am making some deliberate design element additions. You can see on the design wall the progress made- more of that lime green sprinkled in..some "sashing" around sub sections -it's growing nicely. The start of a third section is at the bottom. An orphan block from the African quilt was in the was a reject-I clearly goofed and it's poofy-I am going to probably throw it in the mix and quilt it out - I folded over my wonky village to make room to play with this latest project. My ostrich round robin block is on there-I deferred to sweetie input and put that neutral around it-plus on the far right you will see the log cabin block for my guild's outgoing chairperson and the guild's next quarterly winnings selection block. I may make more of them, these I wouldn't mind winning!
I won some of the first year's blocks that have a Christmas theme...old ufo's waiting for inspiration. I now never enter any unless I am interested in winning. the small blocks below those two are waiting to become something..I have one over the other, so you only see one block with some color behind it. You will also note I keep a few other items on my sewing table..the jar and vase came from my nona's collection of knick knacks..the jar holds my ufos on pieces of paper to be pulled when I am ready to tackle the next one. It makes it more of a game to do it that way for me-whatever inspires you right? At any rate, above the sorted piles of partial blocks is the small amount of fabric I will cut and add to what I am working with-so you get an idea of what I am trying to use up. I will go to my African stash bin of yardage to pull for borders if I feel I need to add them, the backing and binding-so that will use a bit more stash up. All of these scraps however, will only eliminate one measly 2.5 gallon zip lock bag. You have to work hard to use up enough scraps to notice a real dent!
I need to track down a holder for the wonky village...I have a few ideas...guess I need to follow up now that I am back to having a few projects up on the design wall...I need the space!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

what I am currently playing with

I had to pull some of this scrap stash/leftover parts of blocks to send some to a fellow quilter-and decided as long as they were on the sewing table..what a great easy mindless project they could be for today. So, in between chatting and reading-I have been stitching pieces together until I got to this point-it's 23 by 28...three sections so far. oh, inches that is. there will be a bit more of that bright green showing up...the last tiny bits left over from wonky village. My plan is to keep adding until the pile on the table is gone..and it's already about a third to half gone now. I have to admit, I may pull from the several scrap baskets around me...I am getting tired of just these fabrics! These are what I consider crumb blocks or leftover mile a minute blocks..or whatever you like to call this style. What I like best is the diagonal design I expansion from vertical/horizontal rut. I am building around the leopard face...the last piece from a two year ago challenge our charity group did. More than likely this quilt will end up being big enough to add to the charity heap I am collecting. One African fabric bed quilt is enough for this house! and let's not think about wall I have to admit, there probably could be room made :-)

a little progress on the sewing front

This is the next round on my ostrich block. I really enjoyed getting back to playing with fabric again. Now, on to the next block I need to do.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

life goes on

well, we are getting close to having this part of the big backyard project done. They have to do an acid wash and put in the brick pavers that go in those channels you see. The coloring will be applied on Friday, oh, that's tomorrow! I will come home and give a final approval on the color-we chose it, but as he mixes it not always exactly...I get to dash home and make sure we like it. It will have a sublte blue tinge to it..probably only noticable to us! The landscape guy is coming by next week and we will do the last stage-the "softscape" part...dirt and plants!
The tree I so wanted ...well, it would just be too large for the part of the backyard I wanted it to be put. It was a boxwood alder- a member of the maple family and so pretty and perfect for our climate. I wouldn't even mind the leaves! So, it's probably the dog wood tree and maybe a Japanese maple ...I am still working on that part. We have a birthday party to attend on Saturday and it's occurred to me that I should quilt something-postcard size...and I am happy to have that distraction to occupy my brain. A fellow quilter will be calling my Australian friend for me-as it turns out Telestra is not allowed to do a reverse directory listing-it's against Australian law. Plus somewhere in the back of my mind I am pretty sure they were off directory due to apparently far too many sales calls. So what can be done is being done and life goes on.
Thanks for the kind comments and hugs-

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Sunday-a much better day

I seem to be "back" to normal...resulting in some various quilty things done during the day. I finished one guild block and begged off the second that I had screwed up and returned. I then moved on to clearing a stack of fabrics/ufos/etc in front of my stash closet.
I reorganized charity ufos-sending several out to the garage for another time, pinned two more for quilting (the last "old" donated top and a flannel one) and put various pieces of fabric back in the color shelves in the fabric room. I have decided I need to only have 5 projects in here-in various stages of being worked on. Here is how I am counting projects: 1) the stack of 3 quilts,waiting to be quilted 2) Judy's pattern-still considering fabrics for that 3) fabric/scraps for Ryan's string quilt (finally decided on that "pattern" for his next quilt 4)Tonya's X's and O's and 5) ostrich round robin. I think that is enough to keep me busy and out of trouble for quite a while.
Ok-off to watch the last playoff women's basketball game taped earlier today. oh, and to take backyard patio progress's been a while since I have done that and it's changed of course. We are nearing the end of this part. The hill of gravel remains outside-wish someone would pull up and take it all away..eventually someone will of course, just wishing it had been today. I even finished the laundry today as well-so a quiet Sunday - nice and peaceful.
Life is Good:
sleeping in
salmon cakes for supper
staying home all day

Saturday, August 19, 2006

rotten day so far

It's been a hectic and busy week-the only thing I managed to finish up was the mending for my son and my partner. This morning I cleaned off the sewing table and the ironing board and pulled out a guild block kit I wanted to make up. I signed up for 2 and they have been sitting waiting. They are due Tuesday night. I figured, better to get them done and then I can do the next quilty project on my goal list. I read the directions and sew a strip to another strip with drawn lines for hsts. I cut them apart - but I am short one. Hmmm, I call the gal that put them together-and I had done it wrong. drats! She gives me her address and says to drop off the screwed up kit and she will replace the now wrong parts and drop it back off at my house. I still have another kit to work on. I did a few errands on the way to/from her house and by the time I get home-I am feeling pretty ill. double drats. I would sew except I think I am too ill to do it right. The way my tummy is, I am afraid to take anything-so, I have caught up reading my emails and some other computer reading I needed to do. I am going to make the rounds and have some ginger ale for my tummy. I will take a nap next if the ginger ale doesn't help- I never nap unless I am feeling ill..but it sure is sounding good right now. Hopefully this is a short lived situation-I really have no patience for feeling/being ill. There is just too many fun things to be doing instead! I spoke with my sister and she is strongly recommending I do NOT make Anthony a quilt. I will just quilt it up and put it aside then. Ok, off to read what you all have been up to or are doing now...

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

notes to comments

Finn thinks some of the fabrics in the previous charity quilts are from the 50's! - in which case some of those fabrics are as old as I am! you a different perspective doesn't it?
In regards to the wonky village wall hanging- it's going to hang in our home, and next year hang in my guild's quilt show. I wasn't going to post a photo of it finished to keep it a surprise-but, knowing that most of you will not be coming to that show -I figured you should see the final result.
And the few local quilters that read my blog won't be seeing it in person probably-so it will still be a surprise for them more or less. I did not take a photo of the label- but it includes the information that it was started January 30th, inspired by Tonya R and includes two blocks from fellow online friends, Dee and Evelyn, with the label being made by Dee and quilted by Robin Hill, pieced by me of course and the finish date of August 14th 2006- with a note that it is an original design.
I was in a hurry to have it done or I would have tackled the quilting myself. Truthfully, I would never have been up to all the wonderful quilting that Robin did-it has a ton of quilting in it-very dense and I really like that look on this wallhanging.
Thanks for all the kind comments- this shows you what you can do with an inspiration from the internet-I am very happy with it. And, it's for me-I haven't done a quilt just for fun, just for me ever. I want to do more letters and work on them being I will take on Tonya'schallenge.
I did the mending for my son-he returns to Texas on Thursday-we had a total blast at the beach though it was overcast and cool-ish. We came home to 90 degree plus heat :-) with tired and happy dogs.
By the way: I stopped by my favorite beach quilt shop and guess what??? they had in fabric that matched exactly that plaid in my ostrich round robin block!!! I bought the last 2+ yards they had of it-now I can use that fabric with that project as a unifying element. How cool was that? Martie said right away I blew the no buy rule of August...which is true...but, there was no way I was Not going to buy that fabric, now that I have commited to working with that block.
I did take that into consideration as I stood there...and I am still happy with my choice. I won't buy anymore fabric for the foreseeable future...but I do think when you are working on a specific project and "need" the right fabric, well, you have a choice you can make about that!
Ok, confession time is over-it's on to the next project! and back to work today.

Monday, August 14, 2006

elephants palm tree, and flamingos!

Here is what I did when I got home tonight-

I finished the last stitch tonight in the wonky village- the black sleeve about did me in! all that black on black stitching...binding, label, and sleeve-ugh. However, I am feeling quite pleased to have this goal accomplished. Robin Hill quilted this for me and we both had a fun time deciding on thread colors and bonus things to be quilted into it. I have a few close ups of what I mean about bonus items.
a palm tree,
elephants ...flamingos...

up early for a play day

Here is my center block for playing in the ostrich round robin-along with several other bloggers in this ring. I woke up early and could not get back to sleep-so have caught up on my reading and commenting-took this photo...oh my, it's upsidedown..LOL..that's what happens BC (before coffee!) It's a block I did back in 1999, maybe January 2000. I made it and then realized I did not have anymore of that cute frog fabric nor the checkered fabric either-these were fqs and I could not even remember where I had found them! I loved this block and as I was a new quilter back then, left it up to make me smile. And, it surely has done that for years! Now that I am a more experienced quilter, I think it's time to "DO" something with this block. I won't be afraid to pull fabrics from my stash and play with it either. I am taking the day off and going to the beach-literally with my son and his gf. She is from Texas and this has been her first experience outside the state-so seeing the Pacific Ocean will be a BIG DEAL! can hardly wait until 9 am when I go pick them up. Ryan brought his dog, Morgan (who really is not fond of mine-way too busy boxer girl) and so I will bring along Zoe too- romping on the beach will be great for the dogs as well as us humans. I finished mending his shorts and handed them back. I have enough time this morning to pull the wonky village and do some stitching before hitting the road. I just may bring it along for working on and let him do the driving! What a devious plan huh? I love hand stitching while someone else drives...and it's about a two hour drive over the "mountain" from here. Plenty of time to get it all done. I chose a new ufo project and was pleased to see it's another 2000 project. I will leave you with this tease, I will post a current photo of it so you can see just how much of a ufo I am starting with! later tonight. This will not be a fast finish LOL.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

another quilt bound/labeled

Another donated top downsized, quilted, bound, labeled for the charity I support. If it allows-you will again find a few squares pieced to make up enough for using-the green gingham for one.
Some of these fabrics are not 100% cotton-real scrap bag assortment from this gal who was not afraid to use any and all fabrics whereever she wanted them! If anyone recognizes some of these fabrics-comment on the would be fun to know the span these fabrics cover. The pink and white is a ribbed knit type fabric for example of anything goes in this top.
I probably spent an hour and a half quilting this-I should mention, in all the quilts I have quilted, only 2 have been marked. I usually eyeball or follow the pattern design or just do my free motion thing..when it comes to charity quilting-I really do not follow any rules...I either do them fast and easy, or play around with different ideas. When I am quilting donated tops-I usually do something fast and easy-I like how that gentle curved using the walking foot turned out the other time- I can see doing more of that-it was fast but effective in enhancing that top.
Next up: mending Ryan's shorts and getting set up to quilt Anthony's quilt. That leaves one more donated top to sandwich and pin for quilting. I also have to pull out the wonky village and get back to that hand stitching. I am spending Wednesday helping my dil with Alice-there will be time during that day to do some hand work. Once those August goals are reached-it's time to pull a ufo number from my ufo jar and start putting some time in on that, plus start prepping the t-shirt wall hanging for my brother. I am meanwhile, thinking on a scrap quilt for Ryan. A string quilt would be great-I have been wanting to do that, and this would fit as a good idea for him. It's one idea so far.
Life is Good!
lots of Alice time lately and more to come
time with both my sons too, a real bonus
cooking for the extended family tonight
basketball end of season games to watch

Friday, August 11, 2006

stitching done and blog reading too!

I did great tonight- a late start but finished one charity quilt that needed binding and labeling-I am including a close up- look at the purple strip to the right of the sailor strip- she pieced it from 3 pieces! This was a donated top from a real scrap quilter-unknown to us-these tops were part of a huge box of donations - I carefully frog stitched off sections to pare them down to the size we aim for-40-ish by 60-ish. I have another one quilted waiting to be bound and labeled- maybe tomorrow if I find time. Finn, doesn't this remind you of those blocks you sent to Evelyn? By the way, she finally showed up and I had to tell her three times they were sent specially for her...she had great fun digging through the stash fabrics for setting squares to go with them! I will get the top back and quilt once she finds time to put them together. Actually, she will be making two, one without setting squares, and one with. I just quilted long curvy lines, just like Finn did quite a while ago-with her walking foot, and I did just the same thing. Worked great Finn.
Off to dream land- looking forward to the weekend!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

it's all family

I have been able to spend more time with Alice lately, and managed to remember the camera and get a nice photo-her shirt says: if you think I am pretty, you should see my mom!
this was right after her bath-all clean and happy.

I actually tracked down a photo of the 49er quilt as I am loading it up too!

somewhere I have a better shot...but searching tonight this was it. At least you get an idea.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

so many little time

Usually that phrase goes, so many quilts, so little time...well, last night I tried to get around just the stash ring...and it has so many additional members (with a few glitches in coding) that I did not make it. I know I got behind on my reading- but sheesh. I finished up this morning-so many of you are getting comments to some older posts-most I just read and moved on.
I am glad I turned on my machine and got binding on the second charity quilt before doing the computer reading! I am not timing myself in the quilting mode-getting in here and doing something is the main idea. A work night leaves little time when you add the chores, working late as I need to come home at lunchtime and check in on backyard remodel progress, and so on.
Tonight I have to get home on time as I am making chicken enchiladas- Ryan and Miranda are coming over for a home cooked meal this time. Even with the chicken cooked ahead of time, it's a time consuming process making them up. It's cooled down some, but, I am sure the a/c will be running when I turn on the oven! Ryan is Zoe's most favorite person when he is around...we become second rate then...isn't it funny how some dogs adore some people? Ryan played with Zoe a lot when she was a puppy-so I am sure she has it ingrained that he's the "man" of her life.
I have been hearing complaints from Ryan over not having another quilt from me...he wants a scrap quilt (hurray for that!) and he wanted it last year! and could I please make it wider this time too? I made a king sized quilt last time- custom designed 49er quilt. Have no idea where those photos are either-sorry! LJ and Pam will recall that huge went on for quite a while-the center fabric was some suede type stuff with letters started to be appliqued on that was passed along to me from a fellow online quilter- I ended up sending it to my best friend in Australia to do that part...I mean, this quilt traveled! My longarm gal quilted cool football terms into it and did a fabulous job. I even made a special bag to store it in. His next quilt comes right after....LOL...don't we all have that priority list going on? well, he's 7th on that list of mine. No, I am not putting him ahead of my personal stuff....he can wait some more.

Life is Good!
work is going great
family all close by right now
sons who love receiving quilts
cooler weather
terrific online friends

Monday, August 07, 2006

lost weekend

Here are photos of the quilt I gave as a wedding gift to our neice-Susan. My son took these photos and that is HIS cat above my head-

Friday when I came home from work-there was a broken cable, meaning no computer. They came and fixed it Sunday morning-however, I was off doing my monthly meeting with my quilt group and then had my son visiting from Texas and his girlfriend over for supper and the evening. Sorry, no close ups of the wonderful feathered wreath quilting in those large white squares! When I get a chance, I will have to go back to Susan's and take some more photos with my own camera. With no computer- as others have mentioned, you sure can get a whole lot of quilting done! I pulled out donated tops for our charity group meeting and worked on downsizing several, matching up with backs and stitched some batting together-all in all, I sandwiched two quilts for charity and one quilt for my new grand nephew. I added borders to a panel (using the fabric I bought with Patti last weekend) and had exactly enough for the backing! A few small ends for the scrap basket-but all that latest fabric is gone. I bought it for this panel as it matched the theme perfectly as well as being the right colorway. Also the swaddling blanket I made for Alice used up the other piece of fabric I bought. So- the last two pieces I bought at the end of July are used up. Sunday morning I sat down and quilted one of the two quilts for charity-packed up and arrived at the lqs where we meet and quilted the other one. One of the group members trimmed up the first quilted top and I stitched on scrap binding I had (I keep a container of leftover binding strips..boy are they handy!) when I finished quilting the second quilt-another gal trimmed that one up for me. I stitched a label onto a quilt brought in and that wrapped up my time at the lqs. I dumped it all into my quilting space when I got home. My son and his girlfriend have driven in from Texas for a short visit home. They are staying over at his dads-but came over when I called and said I was home. He was not up for the chicken enchiladas I had planned-so off we went to PF Chang's-my favorite chinese place.
A very nice visit and a chance to get to know his girlfriend. I think she's a keeper, but, time will tell. At any rate, they left and it was too late to think about quilting.
Nice to be back in blogger land-nice to be back online period. I will try and get around and check in with you all....but, tonight I expect to back at the machine..I have the nephew quilt waiting to be quilt, the second charity quilt waiting to have binding attached-then both will be machine stitched to finish up being bound. The charity quilts go out of the country as a rule and get hard use-hand work doesn't hold up nearly as well, so doing it all by machine is encouraged by Ellen (the founder of our organization, Wraptheminlove). Housework and a movie were also squeezed into the weekend, and in my opinion it all made for a relaxing two days.
PS....I visited a new quilt shop downtown- exactly my taste in fabrics!!!! I resisted but, that a gift certificate from that place is on my Christmas wish list!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

personal challenge

I have decided to go one step further....I am going to see how LONG and how MANY quilts I can go/make using only my stash. Anyone wanting to join me are most welcome, but, as I was thinking about Vickie's challenge on not buying fabric for the month of August...I just naturally took it a step further for myself. I have been doing this for a while anyway-with the exception of impulse buying or for a specific class/project-now I will just be focused on doing this. Good thing I have a bolt of 49er fabric for the must make wallhanging for my brother! That will be the project hardest to not buy for.

stash buster

A few years ago I joined an online group called stashbusters. It inspired me to stop collecting fabric and start using a lot more of it. I stopped buying huge amounts and became much more thoughtful when I did buy fabric. I think my change of buying habits were noticed at my favorite quilt shops-as I went from spending over a hundred dollars to far, far less. In fact, I often stop by currently and buy nothing. I think as you build a stash this is pretty normal-you reach a point where storage becomes an issue perhaps or just the realization you have more than enough. Plus, I often bought fabric as I had zero time to quilt-it was my way of doing something "quilty" for myself. When I changed jobs, that really changed the most. I also discovered how gleeful I would feel when I could pull an entire queen or king sized quilt of fabric from my stash in the colorway or style I wanted to fit a particular pattern. And, once I evolved into being a scrap quilter-why then I really could use all of my stash-as it mattered less if I did not have an exact amount of a certain fabric-rather I could pull lots of that color instead. I also believe in having a varied stash-with all the colors etc so I can create whatever I fancy-I like having lots of choices-and the freedom late at night to shop my stash and find whatever I need to work on a project with. Nowadays I occasionally buy fabric because I can not resist it..I am especially fond of brights and kid stuff. I just do not go hog wild over buying fabric like I used to.
I would say I also fit into the artisan catagory of quilter- neither a perfectionist nor a casual quilter. I take pride in my quilts-do my best, but I do not do a whole lot of ripping out if something is not totally perfect in lining up. I want my points sharp, I want all my seams to meet nicely, and I am always in awe of my friends Anita and LindaJ, who turn out quilt after quilt that look totally perfect-with seemingly the greatest of ease. I have to keep telling myself, it's not a contest, I have fewer years of experience than them -and I may never acquire that gift of easily stitching things together, where everything lines up as it should. In fact, I need to not compare myself to anyone else- as of course there will always be someone "better" and someone "less better"-just the nature of life. Instead, I focus more on the joy I feel when I put together a quilt and appreciate the finished result. After all, it's my creative passion to quilt...and if I am not having a fun time doing it...I need to take a break and think about the why of that.
Note to ForestJane- a photo of my granddaughter Alice is in the archives...probably late June or early July...title of post is Alice photo I think. Rather, I am waiting for an email of the wedding quilt photo from my son. As I am babysitting tonight-a good time to remind him.