Saturday, December 30, 2006

Finishing Up The Year

I spent a morning earlier this week cleaning my studio. I straightened up the bookcase, cleaned off the cutting table, cleaned out my sewing tray and straightened up the closet. I moved out all of the furniture I could and then DH vacuumed it for me. While I was cleaning I found a pine box with a sliding cover I forgot I had. It's the perfect size for storing thread. I was going to buy a storage box with my gift certificate from Fabric Depot, but since I found the box I could spend that money on something else.

I even cleaned off my design wall. I put away one project I had hanging there and decided to deal with it later. Then I decided to work on my Birthday Garden Quilt. In just a couple hours I finished the top. Now I'm piecing the back. I've ordered batting and my goal is to get it marked for quilting so I can start quilting it next month. Here is a picture of the top. I really like it and very happy with how it turned out. Not bad for a design I made myself.

I reviewed my list of projects on my blog, updated a few of them and think I'm set for the New Year. I have several projects ready for hand quilting or machine quilting so I should have quite a few finishes this year. I have some new projects I want to start that I already the fabric for, including my scraps. I also have a short list quilts that I want to buy the fabric for when I go on my annual shop hop in May.

This weekend is the last weekend of the regular football season! I'm always sad when the season comes to the end. I love spending Sunday afternoons with my family watching the games. Although I love to watch baseball and gold the rest of the year, the atmosphere of Sunday football is by far my favorite. At least my favorite team, the New England Patriots, will be in the play-offs. That means at least one more weekend of watching my favorite team.

We finally got some snow today! It started snowing while I was getting my hair done. I was so excited because it meant I could finally work on my Snow Time quilt. But my usual 15 minute drive home turned into an hour and a half trip. People forget how to drive in this weather and there was an accident on a bridge that backed up traffic in all directions for quite a while. By the time I got home I was starving and had a headache to beat the band! DH left to play poker and took a nap. Then I worked on the back for my Birthday Garden Quilt. So no Snow Time Quilt today. It's supposed to rain all day on Monday so I'm planning to use that time for my Snow Time quilt.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

What Did You Get For Christmas?

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas or Chanukah. We have one more day off before we work for two days and then have another long weekend. Yesterday was our big family celebration - 46 people and more food than you would believe.

Saturday night we babysat our youngest nephew and niece. Of course DS #2 and DIL came over too. They never miss a chance to see the babies. Lori sent the movie Cars for Cole to watch. From the moment the movie started to it ended Cole was totally mesmerized. He started sitting next to Geoff on the couch and was soon on Geoff's lap. Baby Ella spent most of her time hanging out on the floor. This is the first time that particular quilt has been used and I guess it now has the Baby Seal of Approval.

I received a sewing basket, plenty of chocolate, a bottle of wine, Sinatra CDs and several gift cards including one for Fabric Depot. In case you've never checked out Fabric Depot, they give you 30% off your on-line order. My kind of shopping. I'm using the certificate to enhance my tool stash for the new year. As soon as I receive the certificate I am going to get: John James quilting needles and sharps, Schemtz machine needles, two crib size battings, one twin batting, rotary blades, quilting scissors, a thread box, and (because DH insisted I buy a little fabric) two Charm packs - Hearts Aflutter and Sweet Hearts. I have a LOVE panel that I'm hoping I can combine with some of the charms to make a wall hanging for Valentine's Day.

Here are two pictures of my new sewing basket. It was a gift from my MIL.

Yesterday I went into my studio to finish a two small bags I was making for gifts. I found my coffee cup from the day before. When I looked inside I was surprised at what I saw. What do you think? I think it looks like two huge lips hanging out in the coffee. I don't think I could have made that appear if I had tried.

Today DH and I treated ourselves to our combination Christmas, 2000th day of marriage and 8 years of being together. We have been wanting to purchase a new TV so off we went to the local TV and appliance store. We try to avoid the "big box" stores as much as possible. We purchased a 50" LG HDTV. We are big sports watchers and this TV will be great for watching all of the games.

Tomorrow is "Clean Up The Studio" day which means by tomorrow or Thursday I will have my list of projects for 2007 put together. I can't wait!

Friday, December 22, 2006

It's Friday!!!!!

And the start of a mini vacation for us. DH and I don't have to go back to the office until next Thursday. Then we work for two days and have another three days off! Woohoo! On the agenda, other than Christmas with the family on Christmas day, is a small Christmas celebration with DS #2 and DIL, plenty of football games and lots of relaxation.

DH and I have two personal celebrations during this holiday season. When I built our wedding list database six years ago I included a countdown to the wedding day feature on it. Three months after the wedding I needed an address and opened the database. I noticed that on that day we had been married 98 days and I thought, "How cool to be able to celebrate being married 100 days." I didn't say anything to Bruce until the 100th day and then surprised him with a little giftie. Every 100 days became a mini-celebration for us to celebrate our marriage. Well, next Wednesday we will be celebrating 2,000 days of marriage! We are going to dress up and go out for a romantic dinner.

Plus on New Year's Eve we will celebrate the 8th anniversary of our first date! We will probably stay home that evening and relax. No need to fight all the partiers on the roads that night.

One of the on-line quilt groups I belong to does a Winter Solstice Swap. The hostess issues a list of "guidelines" for accumulating the gifts for the swap. The total value of the gifts should not be more than $30. Below is a picture of what I got in my swap.
Something hot to drink - a box of Red Tea. I never had Red Tea so I have a cuppa brewing next to me right now
Something to think about - Meditations For Women Who Do Too Much. Yup, that works for me. I like meditation books and hadn't bought a new one for the coming year.
Something that is White - a scissors fob with an ivory-colored medallion on it. I recently decided to start collecting scissor fobs and this one is a great addition.
Something to help dream of warmer weather - Easter fabric. I need snow before I can think about warmer weather, but this fabric is adorable.
Something to cook slowly in a crock pot - Weight Watcher's In One Pot cookbook. DH and I have decided to start eating healthier and this book will come in handy.
Something with a snowman on it - Lots of snowman fabric pieces and a snowman topped candy cane
Something with a winter animal - A reindeer topped candy cane. Both of the candy cane toppers are adorable and will find a special spot in my sewing room. The snowman and Christmas fabric she used to wrap the presents will come in handy for making Christmas placemats for next year.

Happy Chanukah, Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa or, in case I missed any holidays, Happy Holidays to you and everyone in your family. I just found Mary Poppins on TV so I'm signing off for now to sing supercalifragilistic expialidocious. Good night all!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Need Some Quilting Help and Christmas Memories

Yesterday and today were the first days in over two weeks that I have felt well enough to spend time at the sewing machine. I finished a small tote bag that I was making for a nephew, but when I had it done I thought it was too girly for a little boy so I decided not to make any more bags for right now until I could check in with DH and what he thinks about the bag.

Since the tote bags were out I decided to work on a quilt I had cut last week when I had asked for advice on how to order the strips. I changed the order of the strips and I really like the order I choose. The quilt went together easily, but I'm totally confused on how the ends of the strips could come out so uneven. Any thoughts on how this could have happened or what I could do to fix it?

This little angel candle has been a part of my Christmas for as long as I can remember. I have no clue where my mom found it, but she has always been my angel. When I was about 4 or 5 I remember lining my Barbie dolls and this little angel on the table in front of the Nativity scene and asking my mom to turn on one the Christmas albums. I would proceed to choreograph an entire Christmas concert using the Barbie dolls and the angel. Most of the time the angel was the soloist and would gracefully move across the stage loudly singing the Christmas carols. I would spend hours and hours putting on the Christmas concert. I don't how many times over the holidays I would put on the concert, but I'm sure I did it many, many times.

Christmas Meme

So many bloggers have been sharing their treasured Christmas ornmaments, decorations and memories. All of the sharing has been wonderful to read. I had planned to share my most treasured Christmas decoration, but I haven't been able to get into enough of a Christmas mood to write about it. I am having a difficult time getting into the Christmas spirit this year. I am so tired of the "buy, buy, buy" attitude surrounding the holiday and the lack of respect for the true meaning of the holiday that I'm almost to the point of boycotting the holiday.

However, don't let me "bah humbug-ness" ruin your holidays. I wish the happiest Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa to everyone who celebrates these holidays. As for me, I need some snow and some quiet reflection time for now.

Hedgehog posted this Christmas Meme and I thought I'd play along, perhaps hoping it will help me get into the Christmas spirit.

1. Hot chocolate or apple cider?
hot chocolate
2. Turkey or ham?
3. Do you get a fake or real-you-cut-it-yourself Christmas tree?
4. Decorations on the outside of your house?
I live in a condo so nothing “outside” of the house, but on my front door I have a wreath with snowmen that says Let It Snow
5. Snowball fights or sledding?
Snowball fights
6. Do you enjoy going downtown shopping?
I like shopping in my small downtown
7. Favorite Christmas song?
Little Drummer Boy and Do You Hear What I hear
8. How do you feel about Christmas movies?
I don’t need them
9. When is it too early to start listening to Christmas music?
Definitely anytime before Thanksgiving
10. Stockings before or after presents?
Stockings first, then presents, then breakfast
11. Carolers, do you or do you not watch and listen to them?
I would be one of the carolers
12. Go to someone else's house or they come to you?
We always go to my in-laws, except for the occasional trip to my family in Minnesota
13. Do you read the Christmas Story? If so when?
Always on Christmas Eve
14. What do you do after presents and dinner?
When at the in-laws we watch all the children stare at their presents trying to figure out what to play with first.
15. What is your favorite holiday smell?
Christmas cookies
16. Ice skating or walking around the mall?
Neither, I prefer staying in and watch a snow fall
17. Do you open a present or presents on Christmas Eve, or wait until Christmas Day?
Christmas morning, definitely
18. Favorite Christmas memory?
Setting up my Barbie dolls in front of the Nativity and singing with all 5 Christmas albums my parents had.
19. Favorite part about winter?
Definitely a snow storm.
20. Ever been kissed under mistletoe?
Many times . . . mmmmmm . . . I think I need to buy some for DH and I.

Thursday, December 07, 2006


Rabbit Stitchings had a cute banner on her blog counting the days until Christmas. I clicked on it now knowing where it would take me. The click took me here. I poked around on the site and found a Countdown to the Super Bowl! How cool is that? OK, OK, you have to be football fan, which I am, to appreciate this countdown, which I do.

Not much quilting going on this week. My flu/cold has kept me just this side of miserable all week. I've been to work every day, but once I'm home, I'm done for the day. This weekend DH and I will be attending our yearly Couple Retreat for our Engaged Encounter group. This is a weekend for the married couples who run the EE Weekends throughout the year. It's our turn to be rejuvenate our commitment to each other. The retreat center where we have the retreat is fun by French Catholic nuns. The facility is spotless, the nuns are fantastic and we always have a good time. There are no radios, TVs or internet connections in the rooms. I don't even think the facility has internet in any way. So I'll be out of touch for 48 hours. It will be tough not to have internet, but I'm sure DH and I will have a great time.

When I'm back on Sunday I plan on writing about my favorite childhood Christmas memory. So check back then.

Monday, December 04, 2006

It Snowed!!!

Just in case you haven't learned this about about me by now - I LOVE SNOW!! Yup, that's right. I adore those big, white fluffy pieces of frozen water that fall from the sky and which so many of you don't like. I don't snowmobile, I don't ski, but I love the snow. Last week I watched the storm moving across the country and, although I'm sad the storm wreaked so much havoc across the country, I hoped we would get snow. That didn't happen and we ended up with a lot of rain on Friday instead.

Saturday the weather forecast started predicting snow for us for late last night and early this morning. Unfortunately I was still on cold medicine and didn't wake up every hour looking for snow. But I didn't miss anything because it didn't start snowing until about 7:45 AM this morning. Just in time to drive to work. There was no accumulation to speak of, it's all gone now!

I did take some pictures just to remind me what snow looks like and I'm still waiting for the first "real" snow fall. I better get some snow soon or else I will be depressed. I've been known to start whining and get real crabby if it doesn't snow by mid-December.

My ideal place to live is in the Colorado Rockies in a log cabin with a big fireplace and big picture windows. Maybe someday . . .

Sunday, December 03, 2006

I've now upgraded to Beta Blogger. I hope everything works OK.

I am finished with the first quarter of my Junior Quilting Year. Time to evaluate my quilting goals so far for the year.

First up – Football Time was supposed to be hand quilting time. I have quite a few projects I want to hand quilt, but I learned how to do binding properly in September and nearly every football game time has spent sewing on binding. I’m happy with this trade-off. I truly enjoy doing binding and since learning how to do it I have finished four quilts for myself and two quilts for my DIL. I’m trying to get her to learn binding, but have not been successful yet. This goal will stay in place thru December and January and then football time will become baseball and golf time and I still plan to be hand quilting.

Snowed In Project – We haven’t had a single snowflake fall yet in New England so I haven’t had a chance to work on this goal. We are due to get our first snow “dusting” tomorrow so there’s hope yet to get time to work on this project.

Car Time Project – Streak of Reds hand piecing project. I blogged about this project previously. I found a place that sells both Synthrapol and Retayne and ordered some. I feel better now that I will be able to wash the quilt as I go along. I forgot when I set this goal that in the middle of winter I can’t piece in the car because my hands will get too cold. Maybe I’ll pick one night during the week to designate as hand sewing time. I have to think about that goal.

Saturday Class Time – I haven’t been diligent about spending Saturdays learning new skills. My biggest class time was the binding process. I have made a couple of new projects this fall – a fabric quilt book and a small catch-all bag. I was so pleased with these projects that I plan on making more of each of them. I’m going to make small tote bags and put in crayons and color books for my younger nieces and nephews.

I’m going to a Quilter’s Anonymous Dinner with a friend in two weeks. This is an evening where quilters gather at the LQS, bring a project to work on and the owner cooks and serves dinner. I have finished so many quilts in the last few months and have only added one UFO to the my list that I wanted to work on a new project. I only had one project on my “Have Patterns and Fabric” list that have the fabric and pattern already picked out so I decided I would work on that one for the evening. I’m going to work on the Stairstepper by Pressed for Time Quiltworks.

I washed, pressed and cut the strips this morning and have them laid out on my sewing table. I’m looking for some thoughts on the order of the fabrics. There are 8 strips and if you are looking at the picture you can assume that fabric #1 is on the left and fabric #8 is on the right. What do you think? Would you suggest a different order? I’m going to use a burgundy print for the background and outside border and a gold batik for the inner border.

I used my Ott light last night while sewing on binding and I love it. For once, I didn’t have to squint to see the thread as I was sewing. I’m happy I bought it. I also got more use with my Rowenta iron this morning. I washed and ironed 35 FQs this morning and the iron just glided over the fabric and took out the wrinkles.

Oh yeah, I forgot the biggest news of the day (well actually it will be tomorrow) – we’re going to get our first snowfall of the year tomorrow morning. It won’t be a lot of snow, only a dusting, but it is snow! YEAH!!!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Fear of Red

Earlier this month I talked about a quilt I made for my BIL and how the red fabrics bled when I washed in cold water. Then I made it worse my using Carbona, not Synthrapol, to try and clean it. It is now sitting in my quilt chest waiting for me to decide what to do with it. it's not horrible looking, but certainly looks like a well-loved quilt that has been in too many washings.

Anyway, when I figured out which red fabric was the culprit I realized that I have some of the fabric, plus other untested red fabric l already cut for my red and white Streak of Lightning quilt. Now I'm afraid to even sort through all the baggies of squares to find the culprit fabric and replace it. At this point I don't even know what red fabric has been washed and what hasn't been washed. I'm even afraid to wash the quilt Tasha made for her nephew because there is red fabric in it (and I know that fabric has been washed!).

What can I do to get over my fear of red fabric? Please help me!

I found this beautiful wall hanging last year at a Retreat Center run by French Catholic nuns. It was made by one of the Sisters. I knew right away I was going to buy it. It's one of the few Christmas decorations we put up in our house. It's not that we're anti-Christmas, but with only two of us and the fact we go to everyone else's house at Christmas time, we just don't feel the need to decorate. We put up a Christmas tree the first year we lived in this condo, but because we live near the train tracks the building vibrates a lot and the tree kept falling over.

I've gotten my goodies from my on-line shopping last week. Yesterday was the Rowenta Iron. I used it a little bit this morning and so far I like it. It has a nice weight, gets hot quickly and works great on binding. Today my Ott light arrived. I haven't opened it yet, but will shortly. I hope it lives up to its reputation.

The storm that has swept across the country has finally made it to New England. Unfortunately for me, it's only going to be rain and wind and not my beloved snow. But I am home fighting the onslaught of a cold and don't have to face the weather directly. I can stay on the couch and watch the storm from here.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Catching Up

I've read some people commenting that bloglines didn't seem to be capturing everyone's updates, but didn't think too much about it. I was getting a few updates and I just assumed that many of you were off on Thanksgiving holiday and would catch up sooner or later.

Well, I was wrong. Tonight when I logged into bloglines nearly everyone on my list of 76 blogs had updates. I started looking at a few of them and realized that there were lots of new entries, many of them from over the long weekend. Whatever was wrong with bloglines must have been fixed. I am officially behind in blog reading so if I normally comment on your blog and I haven't sent you a comment for a few days, don't worry, I'll catch up soon.

Anyway, here is a picture of one of the big trucks in the Christmas parade on Sunday afternoon. The parade was great and all the kids enjoyed it. There were lots of big trucks, lots of cute kids, a couple of marching bands and, of course, Santa Claus. Everyone stayed for a few hours after the parade and I was able to catch this picture of Max, Mya and Jake. Max and Mya are twins and Jake is their older brother. They are quite the armful of kid-dom.

I finished the binding on my Magic Ribbons quilt and it now graces my bed. We've used for two nights now and absolutely love it. It's not wide enough to totally cover down the sides of the bed, but we haven't started fighting over it. We'll see what happens when it gets below zero this winter.

Every time I sit down to hand work I never know what to do with the snippets of thread and how to keep my tools neat so I can pick up quickly when I'm done. Sunday morning I decided to use the directions for the bag I made last week and make it with only a fat quarter. I used my FQ of Hoffman Challenge fabric and it took me all of 15 minutes to make it. I didn't put a handle on the bag nor did I put a closure on it. I used it while I finished my binding on Sunday afternoon. It's the perfect size to hold my scissors, thread, my bottle of clips and my needle dome. I tossed in the snippets of thread and when I was done all I needed to do was pick up the bag and put it away.

I love the size of this bag and I was looking it I thought it would make a great little bag for a young child. Put in a box of big crayons and a small coloring book or some small toys and voila! a bag that a two old could carry. Even one of my picture books would fit nicely into the bag. So now I know what I'm going to give my youngest nieces and nephews for Christmas. I told Tasha we could make some for her daycare class too. So this weekend we'll go to Joanne's for fabric since I am still out of children's novelty prints.

That's all the news for now. I'm off to try to catch up on my blog reading.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Try This Meme

I'll post about the parade and my quilting activites over the weekend tomorrow. For now, try this out.My husband sent th is to me and I thought I'd pass it along:

1. What is your occupation? Which one? I’m an executive assistant and a quilter.
2. What color are your socks right now? black
3. What are you listening to right now? NFL Monday Night Countdown
4. What was the last thing that you ate? Lindt Chocolate
5. Can you drive a stick shift? No. I’m not coordinated enough
6. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? Purple. Is there any other color?
7. Last person you spoke to on the phone? My husband.
8. Do you like the person who sent this to you? I hope so since it was my husband.
9. How old are you today? Old enough to know better and not young enough to try.
10. Favorite drink? Coffee with cream, no sugar.
11. What is your favorite sport to watch? Football
12. Have you ever dyed your hair? Yup.
13. Pets? Not in a few years
14. Favorite food? Steak
15. What was the last movie you watched? Jurassic Park, the original
16. What was the last book you read? Gwen Marston’s Fabric Picture Books.
17. What do you do to vent anger? Sleep
18. What was your favorite toy as a child? Barbie dolls
19. What is your favorite season, fall or spring? fall
20. Hugs or kisses? Hugs
21. Cherries or blueberries? Cherries
22. Do you want your friends to blog you back? They don’t need to blog back, but post this in their blog would be coo
23. Who is most likely to respond? Calico Cat
24. Who is least likely to respond? Don’t know
25. Living arrangements? Apartment with my DH right in Downtown so I can walk to everything
26. When was the last time you cried? I don’t remember
27. What is on the floor of your closet? carpet
28. Who is the friend you have had the longest that you are sending this to? Seth
29. If there was a fire in your house what would you take with you? A coat, my laptop, a quilt and my husband.
30. Favorite smells? Coffee brewing, as long as it’s in the morning
31. What inspires you? Colorful fabric waiting to become a quilt.
32. What are you afraid of? Death
33. Plain, cheese or spicy hamburgers? Cheese, preferably blue cheese.
34. Favorite dog breed? The one that doesn’t live with me.
35. Number of keys on your key ring? 7 keys, a Patriots charm and a Vikings charm (can you tell I like football?)
36. How many years at your current job? Almost 14
37. Favorite day of the week? Saturday
38. How many states have you lived in? 6, MN, IL, FL, NY, VA, NH
39. Favorite holidays? Any holiday that gives me a three or four day weekend.
40. Ever driven a Motorcycle or heavy machinery? nope

Friday, November 24, 2006

The Day After . . .

I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving yesterday. We did. There were only five of us here. DH and I, my two sons and DIL. We ate a full turkey dinner, watched football and napped. I got the binding sewn on my queen quilt and nearly half done with the hand work.

I got to talk to my family in Minnesota. Mom took dad out of the nursing home for the afternoon, but the visit didn't go to well. Dad is very much in his own world and refuses to speak with anyone. Mom is becoming depressed over Dad's behavior and we're not sure how to help her. I also learned the my nephew is being sent to Iraq in January. He will be training security personnel there. Not a very safe job, but I don't how many safe jobs there are in Iraq right now.

I've been debating about whether or not I should go to Joanne's this morning. They had a Rowenta Acti Press iron and sewing machine luggage I wanted to buy. Full price on those two items was $170, but each item was on sale for $35 and there was a coupon for an additional 20% off. For $56 I could have purchased both items for less than the cost of one of them. Yesterday Joanne's sent out an email that advertised daily specials. One of them for today was the iron I want for the same price and free shipping. I decided I didn't need the luggage. So this morning I ordered the iron. I'm glad I did it this morning, they are sold out now.

I also got a present for DS #2 and DIL. They don't have a dining table and we've been trying to find a small set for them. This time Sears came through. They have a bistro height square table with 4 backless stools for $125 and no shipping. Boy, do I like internet shopping.

One benefit of DS #3 visiting is that he's been using my laptop so I've had time to do other activities - like read some quilt books. I did that last night after I my eyes got tired of sewing. I forgot I had purchased Gwen Marston's Fabric Picture Books. I became very inspired to make picture books for nieces and nephews for Christmas. This morning I dug through my scrap cabinet and found a few charms I could use for a book. I worked on it all morning. I'm not thrilled the outcome, but it was a good practice piece. Here's a few pictures of my efforts.

DH took DS and I out for lunch and while we were eating I decided I would go to the LQS to find some summer/child prints to make more books. My stash is lacking in the novelty department. I found some great prints, purchased a half yard of each one, plus a half yard to use for the cover and back page. I have enough fabric to make a few books and a tote bag or two. The fabric won't stay in my stash for long.

Tomorrow will be a laundry and Christmas decorating day. Then we are taking DS #3 birthday and Christmas shopping at a music store and then to the in-laws for a short visit. Sunday is the local Christmas parade which happens to go right by our front window. We've invited the nieces and nephews and BIL's and SIL's to come over and watch the festivities from our second floor "sky box." Should be a fun afternoon.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Sunday Ramblings - Not All Quilt Related

Bloglines has been misbehaving this weekend and not showing everyone’s updates so I spent some time this morning clicking on everyone’s blog in my list to make sure I was up-to-date with everyone. I hope the problem is fixed soon.

Anyway, I read some interesting posts that have inspired me to make some comments in my post today.

First up was Elaine in Nebraska. She wrote a wonderful post about sugar beet harvest. It reminded of growing up in Minnesota. The largest crop in Minnesota is corn. Corn fields are everywhere. I remember going on Sunday drives with my farmer grandfather and listening to his comments about the height of the corn stalks. If the stalks are knee high by July 4th, then the crop was going to be good one. Agriculture is so important in the state that on the local news forecasts it is common to hear the agricultural reports before hearing the stock market reports.

New Hampshire, on the other hand, may not be so reliant on agriculture, but Dover is home to the oldest continuously owned family farm in the country. Tuttle’s Farm was established in 1630. Recently the family signed papers to protect the farm with a conservation easement.

From farming to Christmas: Laurie wrote how Christmas has become focused on buying “stuff”. I couldn’t have said it better. I also think Christmas has become more of a retail event than the birthday celebration it is meant to be. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not Scrooge at Christmas. I just get tired of the “gimme, gimme, gimme attitude” that has become so pervasive. Even my devout Catholic in-laws buy so many gifts for everyone that the family get-together has become an unwrapping festival with paper and ribbons flying everywhere. The young children get so many presents I can’t even begin to understand how they can’t be overwhelmed by everything.

On to being an empty nester: Morah wrote about getting old and dealing with an empty nest. 
I admit I love being an empty nester. I have been a parent for 30 years (yes, I was a parent at 14 and DS #1 was killed in an auto accident 10 years ago). I didn't have a normal young adulthood and have been looking forward to being an empty nester. Being an empty nester in my 40’s good for me. DH and I make good money, we are able to travel when we want to, we can help out my sons if they need it and we are able to save for our retirement.

DH is 12 years younger than I. He is 11 years older than one of my DS and 13 years older than the other one. I am older than his oldest brother. 

DH doesn't want more children. Neither do I. His two brothers closest to his age are still having children. We are definitely a unique couple in his family and among many of our friends. They still have young children and are enjoying all the parts of being young families. We are very content with where we are in our lives.

Finally I’ll leave you with some quilty thoughts:

Last weekend when Victoria and I were talking about quilt patterns and what quilts we wanted to make I told her that I seldom follow a pattern exactly. Frequently I use the pattern as a “suggestion” of what the finished quilt should look like. Or I use the pattern to teach me a new way to make a block or a new way to set blocks. Victoria, on the other hand, follows the pattern to a “T”. She said she feels guilty if she doesn’t follow the directions.

For example, the bar topper I made for DH last weekend was inspired by All About Me by Atkinson Designs I tweaked the design to fit the fabrics I wanted to use and the size I needed to make. I’m planning to use the same idea to make a quilt with polka dots some day.

I don’t even participate in mystery quilts anymore because I find that I always want to change the pattern along the way and because I don’t know what the outcome is I will get frustrated and stop working on the quilt.

So tell me, how do you make your quilts? Do you follow the pattern exactly? Or is the pattern merely a suggestion for you?

I did finish the binding Tasha’s nephew quilt earlier today. I also made a tote bag for Tasha and almost completed a second one. May provided a tutorial on making bags. Cynthia shared some tote bags she has made. I needed to make a tote bag as a gift so I made two of them with the pepper fabric. I used a free pattern from Lazy Girl Designs. The tote bag works up quickly. I’m thinking of making smaller ones for our nephews and niece for Christmas using fabrics for children. I think the tote bag with a book or two inside would be a cool gift for them.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Saturday Night and almost nothing to do

DH and I had a relaxing day today after shopping at Target and the grocery store this morning. I have a painful callus on the bottom of my foot that I am trying to get rid of and I can't do much walking so an afternoon and evening on the couch was just the ticket. I am almost done with the binding on the quilt for Tasha's nephew. I'll probably finish it early tomorrow.

Dianne shared with me her tip for using hair clips for holding on binding instead of using pins. So today I invested in two packages of the clips. I used them on the quilt I am currently binding and they are great! Thanks for the suggestion Dianne. I only bought 24 clips so I will be on the lookout for more the next time I'm at Target. Mmmmm . . . I wonder if the Sally Beauty Supply store carries a larger bag of them. I'll have to check that out this week.

Calico Cat started this one so I thought I'd join in.
1. Flip to page 18, paragraph 4 in the book closest to you right now, what does it say?
I have Pat Speth's More Nickel Quilts. Page 18, paragraph 4 talks about sewing rows together and pressing them in opposite directions.
2. If you stretch out your left arm - as far as possible, what are you touching?
My bookcase of quilt books
3. What's the last program you watched on tv?
We are watching the USC/Cal football game
4. Without looking, guess what time it is.
9 PM, actually it's 9:07
5. Except the computer, what can you hear right now?
See #3 above, with an occasional flip to a poker game
6. When was the last time you were outside and what did you do?
I walked to the corner butcher shop at 4 to buy our meat for the week
7. What are you wearing?
yellow thermal top and a pair of husband's PJ bottoms
8. Did you dream last night? If you did, what about?
I dreamt about getting a raise.
9. When was the last time you laughed?
About 10 minutes ago while DH and I were cleaning the kitchen.
10. What's on the walls, in the room you're in right now?
The walls are painted mocha brown. Behind me is two framed pages from a Boston paper when the Pats won the Super Bowl. An another are two paintings I did and two paintings done by my art teacher
11. Have you seen anything strange lately?
Not anything I can remember.
12. What do you think about this meme?
It's different, that's for sure.
13. What's the last film you saw? On TV or at the cinema?
Flags of Our Fathers at the cinema
14. If you became a multimillionaire, what would you do with the money?
Build a new house with a media room and an awesome quilt studio, some would be donated to charity and the rest would be saved.
15. Tell us something about yourself that most people don't know.
I'm left handed. Can you tell if people are right or left handed if you've never seen them in person?
16. If you could change ONE THING in this world, without regarding politics or bad guilt - what would it be?
17. Do you like dancing?
I love dancing. DS and I danced to the Hokey Pokey for the Mother/Son dance at his wedding this past summer.
18. Last crafty endeavor?
Sewing the binding on a quilt.
19. What do you want your children’s names to be, girl/boy?
Before I had children I wanted to name them Chad Michael (which I was fortunate to have) and Roxandra (never had any girls)
20. What amused you recently?
DH telling me he liked shopping with me today when we were leaving Target. How many men do you know that like to shop at Target?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

My Cool Tool

My favorite and cheapest tool is my Clover Needle Threader and Cutter. I bought a package of two last summer in Oregon. I have fallen in love with this little piece of plastic and wire. The first couple days I hand pieced in the car I hated trying to thread my needle. Then I remembered this handy little tool. One evening I used it to thread six needles on my spool of thread. What a wonderful treat to have needles always threaded, or at least six at a time. I thought my idea of having six needles threaded on the spool was something a lot of people did. When I showed my tip to Victoria I was surprised that she had never thought of having needles threaded. I can't believe I'm the only one who does this, am I?

When I am working on a binding the threader comes out of my hand piecing box and becomes part of my binding kit. It's sturdy, doesn't break, easy to use and cheap. I think I paid $1.35 for two of them. However, I've lost one of them. I've hunted and hunted for some more just like, but haven't been successful. If you find them anywhere, please let me know. I would love to have a few more of these handy tools in my sewing kits.

I'm off to sew some more binding down. My needles are ready. I have no excuses not to sew now.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

My Sick Day

The carpets were cleaned in our office over the weekend and I think I had a bad reaction to the cleaning solution. Yesterday I got a horrible sore throat. This morning when I woke up I could hardly talk and was achy and foggy brained. So I decided the best thing for me to do was to stay home. I feel better tonight, but still not 100%. One more good night's sleep should help a lot.

I did do some office work (isn't it wonderful to have a VPN to access?). I slept for a couple more hours. And, of course, I got some quilty tasks done. I machine sewed the binding to one of Tasha's quilts. I pinned the binding down and started hand sewing it down. I sorted through my scraps of binding and tried to match them to completed tops. Unfortunately I could only get enough batting together for one wallhanging. I made a list of what I need for backing, batting and binding to finish three of my tops and three of Tasha's tops. I also sewed and pressed 360 inches of binding for my Magic Ribbons quilt.

Tracey received a beautiful painting from her DH. She challenged us to talk about one of our Top 10 gifts. I've been thinking about this all day. There aren't too many presents that I get from anyone that I haven't asked for so many of them are not surprises. I do collect cross necklaces. Last Christmas DH bought me a necklace that is Jesus with his arms out wide. It is very delicate and very beautiful. I would rate it one of my Top 10 gifts.

My turn for a challenge for all of you. What is your coolest and cheapest quilting tool? A tool that makes some part of quilting easier to do without costing a lot of money. You tell me yours and tell you mine tomorrow.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Retreat Report

Victoria, Tasha and I had a great quilt retreat weekend. We sewed a lot, we talked a lot and ate chili, homemade cookies, Chinese food, and some munchies. All in all it was a lot of fun.

I finally finished the binding on my BIL’s quilt. Only there is one problem. The red fabric bled onto the rest of the quilt. What is the name of the cleaner I need to buy to see if I can get rid of the spots? I can’t give the quilt to my BIL the way it looks.

While showing Victoria how I plan my quilts in Excel we decided to make a bar topper for DH. When I was cleaning off the table yesterday I noticed that the part of the table where DH mixes his drinks was sticky. I thought it would be cool to make a little bar topper he could use to keep the table clean. I pulled out some Red Sox fabric, some Patriots fabric and some poker fabric and we designed the topper. Victoria did most of the cutting and trimming and I did the sewing. I was able to finish the topper tonight and it is sitting on the bar for DH to find when he gets home on Tuesday.

I also made quite a bit of progress on my Birthday Quilt. I have four of the seven rows sewn together. The rest of the rows are each done, I just need to attach them. I will have to make my piano key borders longer, but I knew I would have to do that.

Tasha had a very productive weekend too. She tied the quilt she made for her newest nephew. She finished a top for a quilt for Isaac’s big brother, Peter. And then, the backing she was making for Peter’s quilt turned way too big, made makes a great quilt all on it’s own. She started with a variegated green and yellow check fabric and a variegated red check fabric. Victoria gave her some black to use as sashing. She cut the check fabric into 14 inch squares and the black was cut into 5 inch strips. We jokingly called it a Tic Tac Toe quilt. Late this afternoon when Tasha was almost done with the back and we realized it was too big to be the backing we had planned on, I told her I loved it that way it was and she should keep it like it is. She agreed.

Between mine and Tasha’s quilts I now have two quilts ready for binding, one quilt waiting to be tied and I need batting for another six quilts.

Here’s another question . . . When you piece batt together is there a guideline for how many pieces you can safely use? I imagine you don’t want to use lots of little pieces. But I’m wondering is using three or four pieces for a baby sized quilt is OK? Does it make a difference if you tie a quilt versus quilting a quilt?

Well it's time to hit the shower and go to work. Monday mornings are always tough, aren't they?

Friday, November 10, 2006

One Block Done

I got an early start on my weekend quilting retreat. I left the office at 4 instead of 5:30 and made a stop at Wal-Mart for some munchies for the weekend and some greeting cards. One more quick stop at the corner grocery market and I was home and eating dinner at 5 PM.

I decided to start sewing at 6. I completed the third hour of my Gratitude quilt and started working on the 25 patch blocks. I got one 25 patch done and added the four sides to it. I love the colors together. The red is working well. I'm not happy with how wavy it is. The side pieces were longer than the completed patch so I think I'm going to have to do some trimming to them to make them work better.

Tomorrow Victoria will be here by 9:30 and Tasha will be here around noon. I don't know what project I'll work on first tomorrow. I like having several projects available to work on. I won't get bored when I change from one project to another.

Check back tomorrow to see what trouble we get into during our quilt retreat!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

What? No Pictures?

I just looked through all the new entries on bloglines and not one of them was showing pictures. Oh, there were pretty blue boxes with question marks, but no pictures. I didn't want to leave comments until I can see pictures so if you have posted lately and I usually make comments to you, don't worry, I'll be there.

As for me, I spent Saturday buying fabric for members of a birthday club and I found some adorable Christmas fabric that I think I'm going to use in my Gratitude quilt. Sunday, DH and I went to the Patriots/Colts game. Unfortunately for me, the wrong team won and our quarterback had the worst game of his professional career.

I've been slowly working on my Gratitude quilt. I have the strips sewn and cut for the second hour. I haven't trimmed anymore of my HSTs since last week which means I still have half of them to trim. I was going to cut the red for the 25-patch blocks, but it's sitting in my hand piecing kit which is in my car. My car is not here tonight so I can't cut it.

Thanks for all the positive comments about my husband's choice of the red fabric. He kept asking me what everyone was saying and when I told him all of you liked the red he just smiled and said, "I knew it was a good choice." Got to love a man who is confident in his choices.

Tonight I sandwiched two baby quilts. One for my FDIL's sister who gave birth to her second child yesterday morning. The other one is for our friends who are expecting their first child in early December.

This weekend I'll be having my own in-house quilting retreat. DH is going out of town from Thursday until Tuesday. Saturday a friend is coming over and we are going to quilt the day away. I'm excited! Tomorrow night I need to straighten up my quilting room so there is room for us to work. I just need to decide what I want to work on . . . I have a few more inches of binding to do on one quilt, quilting the baby quilt for our friends, work on my birthday quilt or work on my Gratitude quilt. And just in case I want anything else to do I need to make and sew on the binding on my Magic Ribbons quilt. I wish I could sneak in a day off from the office either Friday or Monday, but I can't do that. I do have to take next Friday off because our big screen TV is not working and I have to work from home while waiting for the repairman. I hope he can fix it. I'm not ready to buy a new TV. Although I wouldn't mind buying a new TV for my quilt room, but that's for another day.

Friday, November 03, 2006

One More Time

I'm still trying to find a fabric for the 25-patch block in my Gratitude quilt. I have lots of purple fabric. I have lots of green fabric. I have NO green and purple fabric.

Tonight I called in my emergency fabric chooser - my DH. Bruce has a terrific sense of color and has never let me down when I've asked him for his suggestions. I showed him what I wanted to do and what my dilemma was. He dug through my FQ drawer (and yes he kept it somewhat neat) and chose a marbled red piece. "It makes it look like a Christmas quilt," he said. At first I didn't like it, but after looking at it for a few moments I think I like it. The red provides the spark I was looking for in the block. What do you think?

I sewed a few more inches of the binding on my Contrary Quarters quilt. I need to get it done before my BIL starts his new job next week. But no more for me tonight. I'm tired and I'm off to bed. The temps are going to be in the 20's tonight. Our coldest night this fall. Winter is on it's way and I can't wait!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Looking For Opinions

I started trimming my HSTs last night. I sat in bed using my breakfast tray as a small table and trimmed away while watching Jericho. I only got 40 of them trimmed.

Here's my question: I laid out the 25-patch block and the strips around it. I'm using green for the purple in the pattern and the purple for the lavendar in the pattern. I thought about using another color for the green patches in the middle, but not sure what color would be good. Anyone have any thoughts? Should I stick with the green, perhaps another solid color, or maybe even a novelty fabric that works well cut that small? Wow, now that I said it, I'm thinking I should check out my novelty FQs and see what I have. But I think I'll wait until I hear from you.

UPDATE: I woke up this morning thinking about this block. I looked through my novelty collection and found this heart and flower print. It looks OK, but I'm not sure it will work. Opinions?

Now that's it's November I need to review my October goals. I only had three: finish by Dad's Chiclet's quilt - DONE. Machine quilt my Autumn Table runner - I got one line of quilting sewn. Finish Contrary Quarters Gone Awry - I'm two-thirds of way around on hand sewing down the binding. Not too bad, especially when I take into account I got carried away on my Birthday Quilt. I'm pleased with my progress.

Now for November:
1. Finish Contrary Quarters Gone Awry
2. Machine Quilt Autumn Table Runner
3. Work on Birthday Quilt
4. Work on Hour-A-Day Gratitude quilt
5. Work on Chalkboard Mats

I have a stay at home weekend treat next weekend. A quilting friend is coming up for the day so I hope I don't get too distracted. This weekend I won't get much done as DH and I have a dinner date on Saturday night and on Sunday we have tickets to the New England Patriots vs. Indianapolis Colts. Woohoo! The rest of the month I should have plenty of time to quilt.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Gratitude Quilt

Judy at Sunshine Quilts is offering a wonderful Hour an Day quilt for November - Gratitude. I love the quilt but wasn't too thrilled about starting another project from scratch.

But Lucy came to the rescue without even knowing it. She made a wonderful quilt from several of her UFOs. That got me to thinking about some of the UFOs I have and wondering if any of them could be converted to Judy's quilt.

Well, guess what? I have a green, purple and white quilt I started in January of 2005 that wasn't going anywhere. Tonight I pulled out the bin I have it in and dug through it. As luck would have it there are nearly 100 four-patches made from 2 inch squares and plenty of other 2 inch squares already cut - more than enough to put together the center blocks of the quilt. There are also 78 HSTs that can be trimmed to 2 inches. Plus there is plenty of yardage left for the rest of the quilt. I feel like I'm already a little ahead of the game, plus I'm using up a UFO (or at least most of one).

Good thought for the day: I made it through a dentist visit without having to take Xanax first. That means I'm not sleeping the entire afternoon and evening away.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Arty/Quilt Meme

I'm taking Amy up on her Arty/Quilt Meme. Want to join me?

If you are one of the first five people to ask me a quilt question, I will send you a quilted art piece from me. But, you have to agree to post the challenge on your blog and ask five people to participate?

Won't you join Amy and I in the fun?

Be sure to link to my blog so we can see who is participating.

Imagine getting a surprise in your mail! Won't that be fun?

Sunday, October 29, 2006

I’m an early riser and it’s tough to get out of bed when it’s still dark. So I was very happy when I woke up this morning at 6:30 and the sun was already up. I love my weekend mornings when DH is still sleeping and I have an hour or two of me time and it’s even better when the sun is shining.

I took this picture of a leaf that visited us yesterday. Despite the heavy rain and roaring winds this little leaf stayed stuck on our living room window for most of the morning. We named him Junior. Today he and many of his buddies have been blown away by the still roaring winds. Most of the trees in town are bare and it is beginning to look like winter. Now all we need is some snow.

Cynthia showed her block keeper and asked us to share how we keep our blocks together. I don’t have a block keeper. I’ve thought about making one for my hand pieced blocks, but haven’t made one yet. I’ll have to add a block keeper to my list of To Do projects when I want a quick project to make.

Nancy asked us what we collect. My first quick answer is bells. I started collecting bells in high school and probably collected them for 10 years. They are packed away right now until I can figure how to display them. My first one was a Tinkerbell Bell we bought when we were on vacation in Disneyland. Most of them represent a location, some of them are special gifts. I have bits and pieces of collections from my grandma, a great aunt and me mom. My grandma collected thimbles and I have a couple of hers. My great aunt collected teapots and I have a couple of hers. Mom collected salt and pepper shakers and someday I will get some of hers. I would rather have a few special items than a large collection of items.

While working on my binding yesterday I realized I have started a new collection – sewing kits. I have a hand piecing kit. I have two marking pens, an eraser pen, needle threader, seam ripper, needles (in the wooden case), thread for my current project, Clover cutting pendant, scissors, a pincushion with a few flat head pins and the current block I’m working piecing. This kit tucks right into my briefcase. I don’t keep a ruler in it because it’s kind of tough to measure anything while in a moving car.

I have a “binding kit.” This isn’t a glamorous kit, but it works for me. The tin was originally filled with BBQ spice rub. A couple weeks ago I tried to get creative with it. I sprayed adhesive on it and tried to get some batting and fabric to stick on top of it and it didn’t work. I couldn’t get the spray adhesive off so I tried plastic wrap and it kind of stuck. At least when the cover is closed it’s hard to open so I don’t have to worry about the pins spilling. The wooden case holds needles. When I’m binding I take the scissors and needle threader from my hand piecing kit.

I have my travel sewing kit. I made this for myself last month and have only used it once. It can hold a lot of tools and I’m impatiently waiting for another opportunity to use it again.

My sewing machine kit is currently a plastic baggie that holds various feet and needles for my machine. I’ve been thinking about making a small bag to hold these items, but haven’t gotten around to it yet.

I don’t have a hand quilting kit, although I have all the tools – marking pens, eraser pen, quilting needles, scissors and thread. I guess when I sit down to quilt all I need is a needle, thread and scissors and I just take from my other kits to get what I needed.

Do you have any sewing kits? Do you keep your tools with one kit or do you mix and match and needed?

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Rainy Saturday

We are getting the rain and wind that has crossed the country this week. We could get 1 - 3 inches of rain and winds up to 60 MPH. Not a day to be out and about unless absolutely necessary. I was hoping to go to Marden's to buy sashing and fabric for a birthday club in one of my Yahoo groups. But, I'm stuck inside today.

Not a bad thing though. My quilts have come back from my LA and I am impatiently waiting for DH to wake up so I can start sewing the binding on one of them. Then I can spend the rest of the day hand sewing the binding. Tonight we do have to go out to meet some friends, but I think I'd rather stay in all day.

Here's my mom with her kitty quilt. She told me she loves it and so do her three real cats. Hooray.

Well, DH just woke up so it's time for breakfast and then time to sew! Yeah!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

My Favorite Spot

Amy of Calico Cat tagged us to show our favorite spot. Here's mine. It's in my living room, on the left side of our reclining couch. You can see our love of sports with our Adam Vinatieri framed prints on the wall and the World Champions banner hanging on the frame. The picture that is backwards is Johnny Damon when he was still playing for the Red Sox. When he went to the Yankees I turned the picture around and left it that way. The pine cubes hold my quilting books and magazines. Down on the floor is my current hand quilting project and wayward thread. And, yes, those are purple knitted booties are on the floor. On the right you can see my husband's hand and his laptop under the table. I do spend a lot of time in this spot - both on my laptop and doing hand work.

I finished hand piecing the first red and white block I blogged about last night. I'm very happy with the way it turned out. I have it proudly hanging on my design wall waiting for its 15 siblings. I've pulled a bag of blocks out of the basket and need to get them marked so I can keep working. The sun was at an awkward angle this morning and made it hard to see what I was doing while hand piecing. Even putting the sun visor down wasn't helping, but I perservered and I was able to finish the block. I'm learning there are certain days of the year when hand piecing on the way to work is going to be difficult. Thanks for the encouragement on moving forward on my hand piecing. I appreciate it.

I'm so excited because tomorrow my quilts are due back from the LA, at least that's what UPS says. I can't wait to get them. My BIL, who is getting one of the quilts, starts a new job with the Dept. of Homeland Security next month and I want to give him the quilt before he leaves. The binding is still not pressed so I guess that's a job for tomorrow night.

I've seen many people who list gratitudes or what they are thankful for that day. I think I'm going to start listing one good thing every time I blog. Today's good thing: I have a wonderful husband who knows how to make a great steak! Yummy!

The Fear is Gone

It's Wednesday night . . . how do you spend your mid-week day and evening? After spending my day at my desk I came home, started fixing dinner and then decided to do some quilting. First up was cutting and piecing the binding for one of the quilts I'm expecting back from my long armer on Friday. I just need to press it now.

After dinner I caught up on reading and commenting on blogs. Then I forced myself to get my hand piecing red and white quilt so I could work on it. I've haven't touched it for quite a few days. I was still a little afraid of matching up seams and getting them sewn together properly since I had so much trouble piecing my Tumbling Blocks last month. Finally I said to myself, "Just do it!" I pulled my Jinny Beyer book off the shelf, found the right page and followed the instructions. Voila! I did it! Now I have two rows sewn together in my first block and have started adding the third row.

Now I'm confident to bring the blocks with me in the car again. Wow! I feel I've overcome a big hurdle and I'm so relieved. I've been feeling guilty about not working on my hand piecing. How dare I stop working on a project from a little fear! Well, the fear is gone and I can't wait to start hand piecing on the way to work again.

It's late and I need some sleep. Two more days until the weekend! Hooray!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Busy Saturday

Last week I talked about using moleskin on my sewing machine to help get a good quarter-inch seam. Tracy asked me if I use a patchwork foot. I do use a patchwork foot, but using the moleskin helps to keep the fabric lined up before it goes under the sewing foot. The moleskin also helps to keep the end of the pieces from sliding in one direction or the other. Here is a picture of how it works.

My dad got his Chiclets quilt this week. My DB sent me this picture of him with his quilt. He was suprised to get a quilt and loves it.

Yesterday was a good quilting day for me. First up was cutting my WOW butterfly fabric for my birthday quilt. DH was still sleeping when I finished cutting so I moved on to finish cutting the pieces for my Streak of Lightening quilt. I was able to get all the pieces cut and I think I still have enough reds for another quilt! Here are the stacks for each block. I've put each stack in its own baggie so when I am ready to start a new block I can grab a baggie and go. Which leads to me this question for those who hand piece - how do you mark your pieces for sewing? Do you mark all of your sewing lines? No mark at all? Have you ever used Jinny Beyer's Perfect Piecer? I'm thinking of finding one, but need some input on it.

Shortly after he woke up DH reminded me that we friends who are expecting their first baby in a few weeks and we need to buy them a gift. Buy them a gift???? I told him I would make a baby quilt for them. So I dug through my stash and found some Winnie-the-Pooh fabric. I printed off the directions for the Super Nine Patch Quilt by Anita Grossman. I didn't need to make 3 quilts so I improvised the pattern with what I had and made this quick baby quilt. Today I need to buy batting so I can finish the quilt and have it ready for the new baby.

Late afternoon and early evening found me making the blocks for my birthday quilt. I'm so happy that was able to chain piece all the blocks without a mistake. Next step is trim the blocks to 8.75 inches. I might some of that done today.

I realized late last night I hadn't checked the mail box. So off I went to get the mail. I found a surprise in my mail. I received a birthday package from Cotton Spice magazine. I had forgotten that when I signed up for the magazine they asked for your birhday month. What a cool collection of FQs they sent me.

This week I'll be getting back two quilts from my LA so I'll soon have lots of hand work to keep me busy. Yeah! Well it's time to work on my football pools for the week and catch up on some blog reading. More later.

Friday, October 20, 2006

What I Did

I'm surprised by how many of you recommended a cup of tea! I generally don't drink hot beverages in the evening. But I'll have to give it a try sometime.

After I posted last night I wrote the note to my girlfriend and got another package ready for the mail. Then I took my pain meds and hot pad and curled up in bed. I finished reading my blogs, chatted a little with some other on-line quilt friends. I read Rachel Ray and got some good ideas for Thanksgiving Dinner. Then I started reading Fons & Porter, but was soon so tired I couldn't keep my eyes open. So I never even got around to cutting my fabric.

Carolyn, I haven't washed any fabric for this quilt. It's something new I'm trying wih this quilt. So all I need to do is cut my WOW fabric and start sewing.

Tonight I'm planning on going to a movie with DS so it will probably be tomorrow morning before I can cut my fabric and work on the blocks for my quilt.

Thanks for all your suggestions.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

What Would You Do?

After dealing with a minor back ache all day, I decided to leave work 30 minutes early and go to the new Target for some shopping. My plan was to shop, come home and do nothing . . . but . . .

The new Rachel Ray magazine was on the rack so I had to buy it. The latest issue of Fons & Porter was in my mailbox as was my WOW butterfly fabric for my birthday quilt.

So what would you do, after eating dinner, of course: read Rachel, read Fons & Porter or stand and start cutting my WOW fabric? Oh yeah, I also need to write a note to a friend.

I'm waiting for your answers. I'll tell you mine tomorrow.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Vertigo, Machine Quilting and Ready for Winter

I didn't get a cold, but I was sick yesterday and today. Yesterday I was calmly working on one of my piano borders when all of the sudden the room started to spin. I'm not talking dizzy, I'm talking vertigo. Out of nowhere, with no warning. I screamed for Bruce. I grabbed hold of my sewing table and started to panic. I've never had vertigo before and I didn't know what to do. I was afraid to move. The vertigo lasted about 30 seconds and went away, but I was on edge and somewhat disoriented the rest of the day. I still didn't feel right this morning so I stayed home from the office and worked from home.

I was able to get 4 piano border strips done yesterday. Now I am waiting on my butterfly WOW fabric to get here later this week. Tonight I pin basted and marked my Autumn Table Runner for machine quilting. I even got one grid line stitched before the football game started. This is my first real machine quilted project. I've played around some with scrap projects and on my quilted post card. I should be able to finish it tomorrow night so I can get the binding on before the end of the week.

Yesterday I spent some time browsing through some of my older magazines. In only one of them did I find any patterns that excited me and in that magazine there are four patterns that I want to try. The others have gone into the "pass it on" pile. This morning while waiting for some work files to download to my computer I cleaned out my quilting folder on my computer desktop. I got rid of a lot of files that no longer appealed to me and marked ones that still have potential for me to make.

I've signed up for the Stashbusters No Buy Program for at least the next 6 months. Doing the clean-up and re-reading of my magazines has given me enough ideas to work through my stash and, hopefully, not have to buy anything other than backing and binding fabric. I do need to buy some batting since I have many projects that are close to getting done. I still have some birthday money leftover and I'm thinking I will order several pacakges of batting from Fabric Depot since they offer 30% off an on-line order. Once I get the batting I will be all set to work my way through the winter!

Quilt on!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

I Started My Birthday Quilt

I took my time with each birthday FQ. I carefully unfolded it, thought about the person who sent it to me and then gently ironed it. Then I took the FQ to the cutting table and cut the fabric into the pieces I needed. I have a stack of 6.5 inch squares, a stack of 11.5 inch squares and an even bigger stack of 2 inch strips.

Unfortunately I had encountered a problem with a bad credit card number and I haven't received my background fabric yet. I didn't want to wait for the fabric to get here to start sewing so I made a momentous decision - I started making the borders first. I planned on piano borders and am pleased with how they have turned out so far. Each FQ is represented at least once in the two borders I have done. What a liberating experience this quilt is already! Knowing I don't have to make the borders after the center is done has made me feel so excited about this quilt!

I've had problems with my quarter inch seams lately so I decided to go put moleskin on my sewing machine as a guide. It worked very well! I don't why I ever stopped using it. You can bet I'll keep it there forever now.

Last night we got to babysit our youngest nephew and niece while mom and dad went to a meeting about my niece's baptism tomorrow. Today we watched another nephew play soccer and spent some time with three other nieces and nephews. Tomorrow, since there is a baptism, we'll be seeing the whole family! Whew! That's a lot of family time for us.

I think I am coming down with a cold. I've had a sinus headache and a sore throat all day. Bruce is helping a friend move into a new place tonight so I think I'm going to take a hot bath and climb into bed. I can't get sick tonight! I get to see children tomorrow. Now, if I get sick for Monday, that would be OK!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Is It Snowing Yet?

Finn wrote a beautiful entry about the first snow fall. I can't wait for the first snow fall, or the second, or the third. You get the picture. So I thought I'd share some pictures of my corner of the world during a blizzard we had in March 2005. The first picture is looking out our front windows across the street. We live on the second floor of the building - notice the snow built up on the window ledge. This was the only storm where the snow had been blown up that high on the window ledge.

The second picture is what I saw when I opened our front door. We have to step down about six inches to the sidewalk so you can get an idea of how much snow had fallen (and it was still falling at this point). Luckily we don't have to shovel the snow. Living downtown has it advantages - like snow removal. Although when it snows on the weekend we will go out and clear the sidewalk around our front door so we can get around.

The last picture was taken while standing outside my front door looking towards downtown. The bench is a normal size bench and the orange cone lets the snow plow know where to stop. The snow pile was as tall as my six-foot husband and filled almost half the street! This storm was great because it started on a Saturday, lasted all day Sunday and still was hanging around on Monday. I don't remember what I did during the day, but I probably spent some time quilting.

On a quilty note, I cut 7 more FQs for my birthday quilt. That brings me up to 12 of 35 FQs cut. I have to call Fabric Depot about my background fabric. Apparently I transposed some numbers on my credit card and have to give them right number so I can get my fabric.

The other day I purchased the current issue of Quilter's Home and the book "Zen and the Art of Quilting". This is a cool little book. I've only read two chapters and I already like it. I'm beginning to think my birthday quilt is becoming my Zen quilt.

A friend recommended I find books by Georgia Bonesteel to learn about lap quilting (quilt-as-you-go). I found two of her books being sold together on E-Bay, Lap Quilting and New Ideas for Lap Quilting. I got them for $6 plus shipping. That's a good price for me. I still don't know if I'll lap quilt by birthday quilt. Now that I have books coming I'll wait until I get them and review them. Sounds like I'll have a busy weekend. New books to read. A new quilt to start. What else could I want? Oh, I know, a freak blizzard!