Monday, March 26, 2007

Some Quick Answers

Just a short post to answer some questions from recent entries.

The Yahoo group I joined is RedworkStitchers. Here is a link to the home page. I like the group so far and have already signed up for a needle case swap.

The redwork BOM is from Bobby Socks. I am really enjoying this BOM. Since DH isn't traveling for a couple weeks he is driving us to work which gives me another 30 minutes a day to do redwork.

There is no update on my sewing room repairs. I believe the plumber was here about 10 days ago. But no one has come to fix the walls. I called the landlord last week and got no response. I think it's time for DH to call. I am really tired of a mixed-up sewing room.

I think that's all for now. It's time for me to climb under the covers.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

B is for Bubble Bath

I had a great time with Victoria. I didn't cut scraps like I had planned. A combination of a back ache, a migraine and no desire to pick up a rotary cutter kept my scraps scrappy. However, I did finish my "B is for Bubble Bath" redwork block. This block went much quicker than the first block. I have started my "C is for Chair" block.

I made a few purchases this weekend. At Joanne's I found Saral transfer paper. One of the members in my redwork group suggested using it for tracing patterns. I wasn't looking for it but it caught my eye while we were wandering the aisles. I'm going to try it for marking my Birthday Garden quilt and also a needle case I'm making for a swap.

At the LQS I bought a 3 inch embroidery hoop for doing redwork, a bottle of Synthrapol, a Clover needle dome and one yard of Gummi Bear fabric. DH loves Gummi Bears and the fabric was too cute to pass up. I'm thinking of making some napkins or placemats out of the fabric.

The Quilter's Anonymous Dinner was fun. 12 quilters showed up and 10 of them worked on projects with their sewing machines. I worked on my redwork and one worked on the applique on a Baltimore Album block. Cindy, the owner, made a wonderful dinner with a green salad, succotash, fresh bread, shrimp and pasta, and for dessert she served pecan pie cake with vanilla ice cream. Yummy!

I learned something about myself while at the dinner. When I am sewing or quilting with a group of women I'm much more comfortable doing hand work than sewing at my machine. When I am machine piecing I become very focused almost to the point of tuning out what is going on around me. I would not be good company if machine sewing in a group of women. On the other hand, I am extremely social when I'm doing hand work. I can multi task better while doing redwork or sewing down a binding or hand quilting. Is anyone else like this? How do you handle yourself when you are on a retreat?

Friday, March 23, 2007

Friday Morning Odds and Ends

I have the day off today and in a couple hours I'll be heading out to spend the day and night with a quilting friend. I'm so excited! I haven't had a true day off in a few months. It's amazing how therapeutic it is to have just one day off here and there.

I recently joined a Yahoo Redwork group. The list mom posted an email this morning about Leanne Beasley. She has been speaking with her about getting her patterns sold in the United States. I'm so psyched. I love her patterns and would be first in line to purchase a pattern or two or three of hers. Her email also included a link to Leanne's blog. What a cool blog she has. Another blog added to my list.

Kay, who is married to Farmer Rick, shares her life on a Nebraska farm. She recently shared this blogthing. My B+ personality is on the mark for me.

You Have A Type B+ Personality

You're a pro at going with the flow
You love to kick back and take in everything life has to offer
A total joy to be around, people crave your stability.

While you're totally laid back, you can have bouts of hyperactivity.
Get into a project you love, and you won't stop until it's done
You're passionate - just selective about your passions

The clock on the wall is telling me it's time to get moving. I'll be back tomorrow with pictures of our quilting adventure today.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Scrap Cutting - Part 1

I started cutting my scraps tonight. I've decided to use the braid, diamond and half hexagon templates I got with my Charm Quilts book last week. I started with the scraps leftover from a quilt I made last year. This is what those scraps yielded. Not a bad start and it only took me 45 minutes to get that much done.

I pulled out the scrap drawer from my charm cabinet. Here's what the drawer looks like right now. I don't know if I'll work on those tomorrow or wait for my cutting party with Victoria this weekend.

I don't have as many scraps as I thought. I guess that's because when I first started cutting I was cutting my scraps into charm squares of various sizes. Somewhere along the line I changed my methods. First I stopped buying fabric just to buy it. Then I've been using my charm squares and FQs for most of the projects I've been working on lately. I may cut some 5 inch strips from some of my yardage for cutting . . . wait . . . I just got a semi-brilliant idea . . . I have a package of Hoffman Christmas fabric I bought at Keepsake Quilting. I've used a couple pieces of it. But I think the remaining pieces are half-yard pieces. Wouldn't it be cool to have some Christmas charm wall hangings. I could get a start on Christmas. I like it . . . I'm off to find that fabric!!

PS - I have figured out that the best way to cut charms using templates is to use a rotating cutting mat. I suppose some of already knew that. But, oh well, it was a revelation to me. I'm off . . .

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Redwork and Reading

I finished my first redwork block today, "A is for Angel." I'm making the redwork alphabet from Bobby Socks. I think she looks very cute. I started to trace the "B" block but decided I don't like tracing. Instead I went to the LQS because she carries freezer paper and I thought I would try printing the design onto the fabric. I've never used freezer paper and wasn't sure it would work. But I'm excited to report that it works wonderfully. I printed off the "B" block onto the muslin and have been happily stitching away this afternoon.

While at the LQS I decided I should find some background fabric for these alphabet blocks. I found these three fabrics for a start. Aren't those Gerber baby faces adorable? I think they will add a whimsical touch to the blocks. I want to frame each block as I finish stitching them that way when I complete all of them all I have to do is sew the blocks together. Or, if I decide along the way, I could sew the blocks together and quilt the quilt using the quilt-as-you-go method.

Paula wrote about the books she is reading lately. She reminded me that I have received nearly all of the books from my E-Bay buying binge two weeks ago and I haven't shared them with you yet. I've flipped through the books but haven't taken the time to read all of them yet.

First up is a collection of older books (1987-1993): Animas Quilts by Jackie Robinson; One-of-a-Kind Quilts by Judy Hopkins; and two books by Mimi Dietrich - Handmade Quilts and the first edition of Happy Endings. (I also have the revised edition of that book). You can tell these books are nearly 20 years old. There are very few color pictures and lots of text.

Then there is Play Quilts for Children by Kristin Kolstad Addison. It will probably be some time before I make any quilts from this book, but it is good eye candy.

The last book I've received it Charm Quilts Or too much fun with a stack of squares and one template by Beth Donaldson. I tried to find a link to the book, but had no luck. The seller sent four templates with the book: a Kite, a Diamond, a Braid and a Half Hexagon. I'm spending Friday and Saturday with a friend and we are going to start cutting our scraps using the templates. I'm trying to find a Tumbler and a Pyramid template too. The book has directions for a quilt made with each of these templates. I know, I know, I need another project like I need a hole in my head!

I'm waiting for one more book to arrive: Great Little Quilts by Eleanor Levie. Finn has talked a lot about this book and I couldn't resist buying it.

I have two books left on my quilt book wish list: Red & White: American Redowrk Quilts & Patterns by Deborah Harding and Publish Your Patterns! How to Write, Print and Market Your Designs by Nancy Restuccia.

What quilt books have you been reading? What quilt books do you have on your Wish List? Tell us about them.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Happy Birthday Dema!

Today is my Irish grandmother's birthday. If she were still alive she would be 104. One of my nieces couldn't say grandma when she was learning to talk and started calling her Dema. Soon everyone was calling her Dema and the name stuck.

Dema was born on March 17 in Tomah, WI to Wilson and Isola Hilliker. Her father was a laborer. I don't know what her mother did. She married her first husband, Paul Bishop, on August 24, 1926. Paul was an embalmer and Dema was a foreman in a toy factory. According to the five paragraph newspaper article about the wedding Dema was a member of the Ladysmith Ladies Legion Auxialliary Drill Team. She was on her way to a Drill team competition on her honeymoon. I love the last 2 sentences of the article. The paragraph lists all the names of the women of the Drill Team who were also on their way to the competition. The sentences read, "The ladies in this party were leaving this afternoon and several stragglers this afternoon for La Crosse (WI) where they were anticipating a wonderfully good time. All traveled in autos." I suppose in 1926 it was worth noting whether someone traveled by auto or by horse!

At some point Dema and Paul moved to Minneapolis where Paul started a towing business. He used to work at the car races during the Minnesota State Fair. My mom has memories of riding in the tow trucks when she was a young girl. Dema also used to spend time with Dillenger and members of his crime gang, but she never broke the law. She also rode a Harley motorcycle although we don't have any pictures of those adventures. I know she also worked at Dayton's, a retail store in downtown Minneapolis. By the time I was born she had retired.

My grandfather died before I was born and Dema lived with us until I was 5 when she married the widower across the street. I got to be the flower girl in their wedding. Grandpa Harry died 16 years later and Dema lived another 14 years.

Dema was the one who taught me to sew, crochet, do bead work, needlepoint and cook. I have many memories of going over to house to make something. I used to stay at her house on Friday nights and got to eat a bowl of cereal before I went to bed. She used to put paper towels over the skinny vertical window of the living room door so I wouldn't get scared when I slept on the sofa bed.

I hope I will as great of a grandma as she was when I have more grandchildren. My only grandchild lives too far away for me to have him over on Friday nights. :(

Happy Birthday Dema!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Winter is Back

We are in the middle of a snow storm! Woohoo!!! I am snow bunny. I love the snow. I need the snow. And we haven't had enough snow here in New Hampshire. We are 30 inches behind our average snowfall. No wonder I've been so cranky lately! I told you I need snow. So forgive me while I do a happy dance around my living room. Then I'm going to snuggle under a warm quilt with some of new quilt books and a cup of hot chocolate and watch the beautiful falling snow.

DH was supposed to fly home from Dallas today. He couldn't even get out of Dallas because of the snow. So tomorrow I have to drive to Logan to pick him up and then he is leaving again on Sunday for the week. Not much quilting time tomorrow, but plenty of Sunday.

I received this lovely postcard from Linda. She belongs to one of my on-line groups. She does great work. Stop by her blog and say hi.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Spring Is Here

Spring is here! The temp has risen to above freezing and I was able to be outside without a heavy coat! I'm still a little disappointed at the lack of snow this winter, but it is what it is.

DH made it home from Germany on Thursday. But we learned that another international trip is in the works. We already knew he is going to Shanghai from April 15 - 20. He will also be going to Dubai April 26 - May 1. Lots and lots of travel for him. Lots and lots of frequent flyer miles and hotel points for our vacations.

I did get one quilty project done this week. I made this mini quilter's wallet for Evelyn. It's on its way to her. So Evelyn if you're reading this entry you know what you are getting.

DH took me to a hotel for the night and then we went shopping today. We don't go shopping very often, but when we do it's always fun. Today he bought me a new sweater and dressy t-shirts. We went into a kitchen store and found Maker's Mark Bourbon Flavored Gourmet Sauce. I am not a Maker's Mark drinker, but a London broil marinated in this sauce is incredible. He also had to buy a new iPod because he left his in Berlin and the hotel there can't find it. Mmmmm . . . sounds like a case of sticky fingers to me.

We also made reservations for our anniversary weekend in July. The hotel we stayed at is at the minor league ball park in Manchester, NH. No kidding. Here are pictures of the hotel. On our anniversary weekend the New Hampshire Fisher Cats are playing the Portland Sea Dogs. The Sea Dogs are one of the Red Sox minor league teams. We can watch the game from our room, sit at the restaurant deck or pay a few dollars for tickets to sit in the stadium. I'm excited and I still have to wait four months.

That's all the news for now. Thanks to everyone who stops by and leaves comments. I may not reply to all the comments, but I do appreciate every comment.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Giveaway Update and Inspiration Project

My UFO has found a new home. Tomorrow it will wing its way to Virginia. Thanks to those who offered to take it.

Kay asked if I would share the pattern for my Inspiration Project. I'd be happy to share it, but I need to write the directions. If you're interested in getting the instructions, let me know.

Not much quilty activity so far this week. I did spend 15 minutes cutting more HSTs for my Depression, but that's it.

It's been waaaaaay cold here today. The windchills have been way below 0. The winds have been strong all day and will stay strong through tonight. They say it is the coldest day of the year and I believe it.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Second Quarter, Half Time And a Giveaway

I had a great night's sleep last night and woke up this morning feeling refreshed. My back pain has nearly subsided and I'm feeling fairly normal. Yeah!

After having my coffee and reading the Sunday paper I went to work on my Football Depression quilt. I was able to finished the Second Quarter.

And then came Half Time.

I didn't feel like trimming more HSTs so I decided to try some machine quilting on a table runner. I sewed two lines and realized I wasn't quilting in the ditch, instead I was doing a quarter inch along the seams. I was disappointed and didn't want to rip it out so I decided it was time to take a break from the sewing room.

I missed DH's phone call from Germany while taking a nap. I don't have international calling on my cell phone and couldn't call him back. :( He thinks he fried his laptop plugging it in at the hotel. Yesterday the laptop worked fine in Frankfurt, but something happened at the hotel in Berlin. So I can't even exchange e-mails with him. I'm having DH withdrawals. I can't wait to get to the office tomorrow so I can call him. Note to self - get international calling before he goes to China in April.

I'm still having problems focusing on a project for any length of time. This afternoon I pulled some pink charms and started sewing them together. That project lasted about 45 minutes before I grew tired of sewing pink fabric. Then I decided to poke through my other UFO tubs. In 2005 I was going to make Down Home Quilting's BOM for 2005. That lasted about 3 months. I have many four patches, HSTs and a variety of cut squares. Anyway I don't think I'm ever to make the quilt. I'm not totally in love with the fabrics anymore. So, if anyone is interested in taking what is there and making a quilt or two out of what's there, please contact me. I'll gladly package it up and send it to you.

It's tough having my studio still torn apart. I don't know when the landlord is going to get it fixed. I need to call him tomorrow and get the scoop. I think part of the reason I can't focus on quilting is because of the disarray of my studio. I can't get it fixed fast enough!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Happy Birthday Chad!

31 years ago I gave birth to my first son - Chad Michael Hamilton, born at 6:12 pm on Ash Wednesday 1976. I was only 14 years old and a mother. If I had a scanner I would post a picture of him, but that will have to wait for another day. Chad was killed in a single car accident on November 1, 1997. He left behind a wife and an adorable son, Chad Michael Hamilton, Jr. Chad Jr. is now 13 years old and is the spitting image of his father.

Happy Birthday Chad!

Finn challenged us to show an older sewing item. I don't have any old sewing items, but I do have some bead items by grandmother made. This is a beaded mat she made that I keep on my coffee table. I also have some small ornaments and angels she made.

I used to make mats like this with different designs. It was a lot of fun and I would probably do it again if I could find the right beads and patterns. Maybe . . . .

DH left for Germany last night. His first of at least three trips this month. He isn't gone often on the weekends, but when he is I get a weekend of uninterrupted sewing. I invited some quilt friends to come for the day, but the snow and ice we got last night kept some of them from coming. But Tasha and Mavie did make it over to sew. I didn't get as much sewing done as I had hoped to do. I pulled a back muscle yesterday morning and was in a lot of pain (enough to put me in bed for nearly the entire day). I knew I had to be kind to my back today so I did a little sewing this morning and finished one "quarter" of my Football Depression quilt.

The rest of the day I bounced around from project to project. I sewed some snaps on my Quilter's Wallet, worked on the binding of Tasha's Winnie-the-Pooh quilt and then helped Tasha with some pinning and pressing of the blocks for her All About Me quilt. It was hard for me to stay focused because of my back pain. Tonight will be another early night with pain meds and a comfy bed.

Whenever I have quilt buddies over we make cookies. Here's a picture of Tasha thinking about eating some of the cookie dough. This time we made Super Chocolate Cookies. It was a mix I had received from some friends at Christmas. The mix made chocolate cookies with raisins, peanuts and M&Ms in them. Very yummy!

I have my Challenge strips into squares. Tomorrow I may start playing with them. Or I may work on my Football Depression quilt. Or the binding on the Pooh quilt. Or . . . . it's a good thing DH is gone tomorrow.