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!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Five Wierd Things

I started cutting my birthday FQs tonight. Each FQ is being cut into one 11.5 inch square, one 6.5 inch square and four 2 inch by 19 inch strips. The leftover rectangle is going back into the baggie so I don’t forget who gave me each FQ. I have five FQs cut, only 30 more to go. My WOW fabric should be here by the end of the week so I'm hoping I'll be able to get all the fabric cut so I can start sewing together my quilt on Saturday. I'm not certain if I'm going to make the quilt using quilt-as-you-go or not. I probably won't decide on the quilting until I finish making the blocks.

The backing for my Magic Ribbons top came today. If you’ve never purchased your backing from Christian Lane Quilters, I’d highly recommend it. I purchased a piece of Moda Kansas Trouble fabric that is 110 inches by 116 inches for a sale price of $30. The package was shipped on Friday and arrived today. Magic Ribbons is a mystery quilt that I made over New Year's Weekend. It will be going to my long arm quilter and will eventually grace my bed.

It's my turn to let you in on five wierd things about me:

In my immediate family I am the baby, the only girl, the only one who is left-handed and the only one who chose to live 1,500 miles away from the family. My three older brothers all live within 10 minutes of my parents.

When I make a meal I have to have at least three items on my plate. Just a steak and a baked potato? Never! I have to have a vegetable too. Spaghetti? Only if I can have garlic bread, too. Pasta and sauce do count as two items. Although these days I tend to have steak or chicken, a hot vegetable and a salad. Oh yeah, beverages don’t count as an item.

I love snow. I don’t ski or skate or snowmobile, but I love a good snowstorm. Preferably a blizzard. I always feel so cozy and warm while watching the snow falling outside. I get so giddy at the first snow fall. I get as hyper as a child on Christmas morning!

I prefer to work in the morning. If I could set my own work hours I would be at my desk between 7 and 7:30 and home by 3:30 or 4. After 4 it’s very hard for me to focus on work. It’s time for me to rest by then, not try to make the numbers on the computer screen perfect.

I love football, baseball and golf. I haven’t met very many women who are sports fans like I am. During the fall I’ve been known to schedule events so I don’t have to miss my Sunday NFL games. This year I’m so excited that there will be games shown on Thursday nights as well as Sundays and Mondays. Every Labor Day weekend Bruce and I attend the Deutsche Bank Golf Tournament to watch Tiger Woods play golf for four days.

There you have it - what's wierd about me. If you haven't been tagged yet or if you're still trying to decide what's wierd about you, I'm waiting to see your answers.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Turning 45 Is Fun!

Today I became 45 years old. (Happy Birthday Finn and Nancy!) Not a bad age. Actually I've been feeling pretty good all day today. I got to open my birthday package of FQs from my Quilt Pocket buddies. 35 luscious FQs, all of them pretty. I spent the afternoon designing a "45th Birthday Quilt" for me using all the FQs plus some purchased WOW with butterflies. I'm going to make it using a quilt-as-you-go method. I didn't take any pictures of the FQs yet because I don't want to separate the fabric from who gave it to me. I also spent the day watching football and didn't have to do any cooking.

Finn wrote a beautiful post about falling leaves. Today while we were out walking I found this leaf. I'm always on the lookout for a single beautiful leaf. Notice the green imprint of a smaller leaf on this one. I have no idea how Mother Nature does something like that, but it is beautiful.

I finished my dad's Chiclet quilt today too. Tomorrow it will go in the washer and dryer and then it will be sent to him later this week along with my Mom's Kittie's quilt. This was my second quilt that I hand sewed the binding on and I am so thrilled I learned how to do the binding correctly. I think I'm hooked on binding now. I've decided to send two quilts to my LA quilter this week just so I can have some binding to do.

My FIL gave me money as birthday present and I bought this bookcase for my quilting studio. It will be a place for my printer, the internet router and airport station and probably some books or special quilty momentos. That would make sense, huh? Put books on a bookcase? It's unfinished just like my sewing and cutting tables so I'll be able to make all the furniture look alike when I get around to finishing them.

It's getting late and tomorrow is going to be long day. I have to get my boss on a plane to Rome, a trip to the doctor, a trip to Joann's for batting and Barnes & Noble for a magazine I've been looking for and then dinner with my MIL for my birthday - rib eyes and butternut squash - my two favorite foods! Yummy!

Friday, October 06, 2006

I'm Still Here!

I've been working long hours this week planning a trip to Russia and Europe for my boss, among my many other tasks. But, I have been diligent about working on the binding for my dad's quilt. I've been spending at least an hour every night working on it.

Tonight I am snuggled under the quilt while sipping a hot chocolate and watching Cast Away with Tom Hanks. What a nice way to spend an evening. Right now Tom is trying to figure out how to open a coconut.

Tomorrow I have to work from home for a few hours and then the rest of the weekend is mine! Tomorrow night Bruce is taking me on my birthday date. We are going to see The Departed with Jack Nicholson, Leo DiCaprio, Mark Walhberg and Matt Damon. Sunday is my birthday and all I've asked for is to not have to cook and be able to watch football all day. I'm easy to please. I also have a package from my Quilt Pocket birthday club stuffed FQs to open sometime during the day.

Well, I need to get back to the binding. I'll check in Sunday with a report on my birthday package.

Monday, October 02, 2006

I Always Knew I was a Winter Person

You Belong in Winter

Quiet, calm, and totally at peace...
You're happy to be at home, wrapped in a blanket, completely snowed in
Whether you're lighting a fire or having a snowball fight, you always feel best in the winter.

Is there any other way to be when you want to quilt than snowed in?