Friday, February 29, 2008

house block for Bonnie

A bonus day off- I am taking care of Alice as her daycare is on vacation and the kids needed help covering all the days needed to take care of Alice. She has been napping and I took advantage of the time to whip out this block-ala Gwen Marston style. I could only use fabric from this room-but I think I did all right. (why? Alice is napping in the fabric room!) Red background had been pulled and that was the only real "rule". I have pulled some heart fabric from the garage-glad I knew which bin it was in! and plan to put together a top with the heart block winnings this weekend. I have some quilting to do and on Sunday it will be my charity group get together- more fun quilty stuff going on. Zoe is napping beside me- resting up for the next round of Alice playtime. She sure enjoys her job of supervising, but, boy is it hard work for her LOL. I swung by my office to show Alice off, but she was not a happy camper amongst all those strangers...crying and just wanting to get out of there. Needless to say, we made it short and came on home. She played, she ate a snack, and then let me know it was nap time. I feel so lucky she is so easy for me to enjoy caring for-over 2 hours of napping and that means a happy well rested toddler when she wakes up! So- here is a block to celebrate Bonnie over at www.quiltville new house. ok, on to the next quilty project until I hear a peep out of Alice. Life is very good today!


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

finished ufo - future uncertain

This is a top sent to me back in 2005. As I am determined to finish more ufos this year, I took it along to practice longarm quilting on. It's a finished size of about fifty three inches by fifty three inches. I actually had one of the green fabrics -a flower design with grey tones located top left of the center circle -plenty for the backing and binding. {photo will enlarge if you click on it} Many of these fabrics I had sent to my friend over the years-but, by no means all of them. She always had a unique eye for putting colors together in a scrap quilt. This one-I was ready to donate it and move it on out of the house, it is great from a distance, up close overpowering to my taste. My sweetie seems to think we should keep it. And, it sort of, kind of, is growing on me. However, I still think I want it to go wrap up a child -who would probably find it quite entertaining.
Guild night was fantastic fun! We had a potluck, so great eating and a silent auction where I won for two dollars a nice large stack of cut 5 inch charm squares. Everything else went too high for me. And, I won 10 heart blocks! Sweet. I already have an idea of what to make with them too.
Plus, the gal sitting next to me had a quilt she had made from the last batch of blocks she had won- so first I showed my ufo quilt of guild blocks won at the first block winning-and she showed the last guild blocks won in her quilt. This guild formed in 2000 and she wanted people to not allow those blocks to sit unloved and unused. I can't believe our guild is 8 years old already. I have been doing a bit of hand work but no real stitching. I hope to change that soon.


Monday, February 25, 2008

a slow Sunday

Sunday was a lovely day-my gardening turned into gathering, sorting, and listing all our garden chemicals. I have a small amount to take to the special recycling place, some give away to neighbors, and the rest is back on the 2 shelves nice and tidy. I have a list of exactly what we have and will type it up at work later today (Monday). It was perfect timing as many of the products were used in the garden by M as I came across them. The roses are now finished being pruned and a few thoughts on the re-doing of the other side of our front yard discussed. I cleared out half the garden shed in this process as well. All the gloves are now together, the odd or damaged ones tossed and the ones we hate given away. All the hand tools are now living together in my tool handy! I also finished up the guild blocks for Tuesday nights meeting. That center square being so plain sure gave me ideas of what you could put in it's place. It would be fun to win some of these blocks, but, it's been much more fun to use a bit of stash and just play making them.
I have one last block to make and send off and then, it's back to current projects that have been waiting patiently. I am a few minutes from finishing hand stitching on a ufo binding-and may find time tonight to whip them down. I have been content to read many, many blogs and not feel compelled to leave a comment all the time-though it has been great to catch up with so much going on in blogland. A day off to do some of this and some of that, time to chat with friends online and make a supper that simmered all day -ready when we were to eat. Due to the sunshine and warmer weather, visiting with neighbors was also part of a slow Sunday-time to enjoy chatting and admiring rearrangements of furniture :-) A longtime dear neighbor moved away this weekend- and only after they were gone, did we learn he has only a year to live-a nasty cancer. What a sad and shocking thing to hear. We applaud his decision to spend as much time as he has left playing golf! He embraced the idea of living to the fullest the time he has left.
At 68 I would have wished many, many more years ahead for him to play golf. He was a very dear neighbor and we will miss him and his wife very much. Our new neighbor is a fellow that lives just 8 doors up- so not a stranger. We have such a cozy neighborhood, it's nice to know we are keeping the house next door in the "family" so to speak.
Well, the weekend is over and the week is beginning-I know the days will zip by until we are saying, hurray, it's Friday!


Saturday, February 23, 2008

a little of this, a lot of Alice

Friday, after work, I stopped by the kids to drop off soup as I knew the 'flu bug had been visiting all week. Alice was much better, and the parents not so much! I volunteered to take Alice for a few hours to give them a break and they countered by suggesting she come spend the night. In about 10 seconds I had her bag packed, her daddy had her traveling crib packed and we were out of there. No way did I want them to change their minds *vbs* Alice is at this time my only grandchild and of course, I simply adore her. We happily juggled plans to include Miss Alice Wonderful and it was a grand time. After she turned down salmon and mashed sweet potatoes for supper, I cooked up her all time favorite, pasta and red sauce. She enjoyed it again the next day for lunch, no problem. She can now sit in a booster chair at the table and feed herself...well, pretty you can see-when the fork becomes too slow, the hands work! We had sunshine today so a walk over to the park behind our house was a great adventure. She loves to run down the small hills...and can jump both feet off the ground at the same time-her doctor says that is unusual for the age of 20 months. Well, she is a very physically active child and fearless too. During nap time this morning-a nice two plus hours, I tackled more of the things in the Messy Corner-like the fleece pants that have been waiting to be hemmed for two years now and another mending chore. We had to return Alice by 3 pm and were very sad to have to say goodbye to her. Zoe (our boxer) conked out for an extended nap once we left-keeping up with Miss Alice is a very demanding job for a dog! As you can see, Zoe was very gracious about giving up her bed to Miss she shared her toys too. Alice loves to empty the dog toy basket, tossing balls everywhere over her shoulder-oh my. On our way home we picked up some more groceries and pasta to go. I have been stitching binding on a ufo, it should be done later tonight-and cutting for more heart blocks for guild on Tuesday night. I actually put away two giant stacks of magazines, papers, and books in the sewing room as well...I decided to set up the ironing board where they were in the way on the floor...and some of this red will be the background for a house block for Bonnie over at Quiltville. I am taking care of the little bits of quilting things so I can feel the decks are cleared for the next thing. I have two pinned quilts waiting to be quilted and then, what is left in the Messy Corner are bagged scraps and a few project kits. On the sewing table is a container of my flannel strips stacked neatly and the next Christmas fabric project. On the design wall is the blue and while star block. I think I have enough to stay busy for quite a while without leaving the room! If tomorrow is sunny, gardening time will happen. If it rains, I will stitch the day away. Either way, Sunday sounds like a wonderful day to me- I hope your Sunday is just as terrific. Thanks for stopping by!


Saturday, February 16, 2008

end of Saturday

I showed this as a finished top-and wanted to share the quilting I did as I teased the fabric was the inspiration for the quilting. I did a more rounded version of the orange flames on black background and had a grand time on my dsm doing this free motion quilting. This is another charity quilt. This quilt makes the third today/tonight bound and labeled. I am taking an ice cream break and moving on to piecing the swaddling blanket next. There is one more quilt waiting to be bound-however, I still have another day it can wait. I have an overflowing box now of donation quilts to send and that is a great sight. There is a constant need for quilts for the children and I am happy to send along a box full on Monday. The second box will be started and when our group meets on March 2nd I know we will probably fill it. I will share a few of Karen's wonderful quilts later on too- she has embraced learning how to quilt with a joyous attitude and the stack of great quilts she brings each month are always so terrific. She has a fabulous eye for color though has many self doubts and we all tell her - she can put stuff together that work! well- on to dessert and that next project...the night is still young.


Sunny Saturday

You just feel so much energy to DO things when the almost spring sun comes out here! I am having a wonderful start to my day. We took Thursday and Friday off, so today feels like such a bonus day off-with tomorrow as well to look forward to. I spent several hours Thursday while my sweetie was at appointments and I waited, working on my hexagon hand project. Mostly I took off a flower I decided was the wrong color and covered the rest of the green hex papers with fabric. So, no photo until I actually add to the wall hanging body. Friday I spent 5 hours standing at the longarm machine quilting. Today's photo shows a finished quilt from those hours. The other quilt is trimmed and on the binding stack. This quilt was the second one and should have been so fast to you know what is coming right? yep, I changed thread on the top and had numerous breakage some ugly stops and starts on the top, coupled with running out of bobbin thread not once, but twice. For a practice quilt, it is not the prettiest, but acceptable and will keep some child somewhere warm and hold together fine. I always knew that doing beautiful longarm quilting is exactly like doing beautiful dms quilting-it takes hours and hours of practice to achieve. I now have 5 hours towards that goal of beautiful quilting put in *vbs* Last night I did half the binding on this quilt, and finished it up this morning before breakfast. It has a label and is ready to be sent on its way. This is another totally from stash quilt too. I have another quilt in the process of binding now. It's coffee break time and give my back a stretch time too. I like checking in on the computer for about 20 minute breaks between doing "stuff" around here as well. I left in the photo the jar block that M insisted we keep plus the gorgeous Winter Four Seasons swap that is waiting for a sleeve. My goal today is finish this next binding, then switch and make a swaddling blanket for a baby shower I am going to next month. I actually bought more flannel for this gift. I also have a cloth baby book I never put together for Alice, so I added that to my next-to-work-on new pile. Household chores are on today's list as well. I have the house to myself and it's rather nice to be able to work on stuff without any interruptions. I spent more than an hour rounding up gardening tools in helping to find that one elusive tool that still remains hiding. Now I won't be asked to help look for anything else for M until she gets back. My parting comment was take as long as you like being gone sweetie!


Saturday, February 09, 2008

flannel re-do

I walked into the sewing room and realized what was wrong with this picture. The sashing is too wide for the squares. I was going to rip them apart and cut down the sashings. Now I am wondering if I should increase the squares instead. That is the fabric I love-so it makes sense for those to be larger...and the sashings to be more narrow. I cleared the sewing table so I could use it as a large cutting surface-trimmed the flame quilt and now need to cut binding for it. Did I put the fabric in an easy to find place? Do I even remember where I put it in here? Oh yes, in the stacks in the Messy Corner. sheesh. And while I have this nice clear cutting area, I think I need to do as much cutting as I need to. I have two more quilts to quilt-binding for them would be a good idea to cut-and of course this flannel re-do. And, I really could put in an hour of scrap cutting or kit cutting while I am in the cutting mode. Guess that will keep busy for the next few hours.
No Alice photos- I ended up not babysitting (though I did give her beef stew for her supper-she does not eat beef-very clearly not to her taste-you have to imagine her taking a bite and spitting it right out! She ended up getting into a crying spell which decided her mama to stay home and I had the pleasure of going out with my son to see the Shakespeare play, Twelfth Night . It was excellent and quite funny. We had a grand time together.


Tuesday, February 05, 2008

good things happen

Today my Four Seasons Winter wall hanging arrived- isn't it stunning??? Click on photo to make it larger and check out those buttons! It is made by Tami and it is an original design- with vintage buttons and a few remnants from a tie factory even. I would say the group that swapped Winter are very creative and talented quilters! For now it will stay in the sewing room, but, eventually I will find a special spot elsewhere in the house for it.
It truly is gorgeous. Thanks again Tami, you rock!


Sunday, February 03, 2008

current state of affairs in my sewing world

Usually I will edit out a lot of the "mess" or "creative chaos" if you prefer in my sewing room. Not this time! I was up until 1 am last night playing. Keep in mind, I started the day by being up at 6 a.m. to walk Zoe our boxer girl and generally wake up so I could be ten miles away at 8 a.m. taking a longarm quilting class. It was a totally fun three hour time and I have booked time on the 15th to go back and quilt on some tops.
I was taught the basics of using a ruler,using the laser light for pantos, using the circle lord template for baptist fans (woohoo!!!!!) and then - of course- I was turned loose for free motion play. It's not the first time I have quilted on a longarm- but it was the first time I had so much explained and demo'd for me. After that I drove the half mile over to play with my granddaughter, who was napping-so I visited with the kids until she woke up and had some quality nona time-in fact, she actually called me by that name! It is a red letter day when your grandbaby not only recognizes you-but calls you by name. I have now joined the ranks of mama and dada in her verbal world.
So...on the way home I grocery shopped (we do need to eat) and was pretty inspired to get into the sewing room. I did not get to my January plan of a personal project, but, on the right is the start of it now. Those are flannels I fell in love with years ago-a blow out sale and I bought plenty-trying to pick up enough go with colors to play with. The larger print will be border - however, I want to use it as part of something between those rows of blocks...I am waiting for further inspiration...I have a few ideas...but at 10.5 inches I think by itself it would be too much with those size blocks...what to do, what to do? I have a brighter yellow, but I really feel it would be too much , though I may try the same size strips as in the blocks and see how it looks. that might work...worth a shot anyway. This is going to be kingsize when it's done and very snuggly.
A flannel quilt for me on the huge size *vbg*. So, that's one project on the go and a follow through on my personal project from January-0nly a few days into February. The other project - swap blocks I found from 1999!!! It was my first year jumping back into quilting via the internet. I was new online and after quite a few years new back into quilting. I joined a list and did a few swaps. I had no idea what to do with these blocks so they lived in their envelope all this time. As I am determined to sew up this type of stuff in here-up they went on the design wall and as you can see- I now have half a top done with them. I now know how to handle not quite the same size blocks and just trimmed them enough for straight edges to work with. These will become a wraptheminlove quilt- except for the cowboy kitty jar block. See it up on top? My sweetie says that one is a keeper. Great, and what am I supposed to do with this one block? Right, that's my problem/challenge- thanks honey! It graduates to the special stack of orphan blocks/one piece inspiration fabric waiting for....their turn. I did make a yummy beef stew during all this storm of cutting and piecing and trimming and pressing and stitching. And, I switched the Bernina out for the Janome. Getting the platform it sits on to be the right height is a royal pain! I have re-marked my line up line in the hopes that next time-it won't take so long...but it is really not geared for changing easily-which is why I stick to one machine in it for quite a while. I have a lot of quilting to start on and this is the dsm for the job. The tops going with me for playing on the longarm are ones from years ago that have been waiting their turn.(in the closet) These were tops given to me by a dear friend and too large for me to tackle on my dsm. It will be great to get them out of the closet! Beneath the jumble of flannel fabrics on the floor is a large plastic bag filled with pillowcase fabric to match our 2000 quilt. And on the sewing table under flannel strips? Christmas charm squares waiting their turn. I also have string blocks I am using for leader/enders to the two current projects on the design wall- once I have enough they will go up where the jars are. And, also on the design wall is another orphan block-leftover from making them as part of a small group project I was in a few years ago. I really liked the block and plan on making a day. I also have what I believe to be my last set of swap blocks sitting on the sewing table too. They too will have their turn!
It's Sunday Super Bowl today, but, I will spend most of the day over at the lqs stitching with my charity group on the jar top and generally having fun visiting. Home by 3:30 p.m. to catch up on stuff around here that is NOT quilty which I ignored yesterday. I always wish the weekend had three days in it, don't you?