Sunday, March 30, 2008

My Creative Muse & Blogiversary

I got off to a very slow start today. First I didn't wake up until 8 am. That is so not like me. I'm usually awake by 6:30 am. Then I had no motivation to do anything except drink coffee, read the Sunday paper and play on my laptop. A quilter on Stashbusters asked if someone could remember a blog that had a tutorial for making a quilt similar to a Turning Twenty. At 10:21 another quilter posted this link to Buttonberry. I clicked on the link and fell in love with this little quilt. I thought about making one, but then decided to poke around her blog since I had never seen it before.

Then I found the tutorial for this adorable wall hanging. BAM! My Creative Muse hit me square in the face. This wall hanging would look great on the door of my studio. I could even make it with some of the coffee fabrics I've been collecting. So what's a girl to do at this point? Get off the couch and into the studio.

It took longer to pick out the fabrics than it did to sew the wall hanging. Then I spent the afternoon stitching my studio's name on it while baking cookies and watching movies with DS and DIL. Tomorrow I'm going to have to stop at Joann's and pick up some brown perle cotton. I think I'm going to do big stitch quilting on it. I put the cream strip on the top to put my quilt shop pins on it. Now if I could only find a coffee-themed wire quilt hanger for it.

My two-year blogging anniversary is coming up on Tuesday and that's no April's Fool. In honor of my anniversary I will be having a give-away. Just leave a comment on this post between now and next Saturday, April 5 and you will be entered in the drawing.

I hope you had a great weekend. I did! Tomorrow it's back to the office and another round of rain and snow.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Finished My To Do List

I said earlier this week I had three goals to meet this weekend. I'm happy to report I met them today. That means tomorrow I can do whatever I want to do in my studio.

My first project was this Apple Tote bag. This is a pattern I used at Christmastime to make a few gifts. I got off to a slow start because I didn't read the directions correctly. I folded and sewed the straps before I put them on the bag. Oops. Lucky for me I still have some unfinished tote bag kits I cut in December so I was able to still make the bag.
Next on my list was to finish Don't Touch Me. This baby quilt is going in my "grandchild" hope chest. It was made from the leftover piano key strips I used in my Birthday Garden quilt. I call it Don't Touch Me because when I was laying out the blocks I tried hard not to get the same blocks next to each other. Even though it's a baby quilt I'm taking it to bed with me tonight.
The last item on my list was to do some hand stitching. The other projects took me all morning so after lunch and a nap I went back into my studio and cut some muslin and traced my first Dear Jane block. I didn't give much thought to what block to do. I just opened the book and picked one on the page - Widow's Pane, block L-1. I used hand-dyed, variegated purple thread. In the photo the light purple looks white, but in person it looks much better. I spent a wonderful three hours in a sun-filled living room watching The Perfect Storm and then a show about the creation of the earth while stitching. It was a wonderful way to spend the afternoon.
So tomorrow I can do whatever I want. Right now I'm not sure what I'll do. I guess I'll just have to wait and see what my Creative Muse tells me do.

I hope you had a great Saturday. I'm off to cuddle with Don't Touch Me and read some of my new books.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Great Deals to Start a Weekend

This weekend I will be home alone as DH is headed to Puerto Rico for a business trip. I promised myself that after work I would do some last minute shopping for my Spring Training Swap goodies and then go to grocery store. I also decided I would pick up my studio, take the laundry downstairs and make sure the kitchen was clean so that I could walk right into the studio and start playing tomorrow.

Well, I did the shopping - a sporting goods store, Barnes & Noble and the grocery store. At B&N I picked up the latest issue of Quilter's Home and Moving On by Sarah Ban Breathnach. I also found some cool magnetic coffee cup bookmarks. The Moving On book was a bargain book - a $24.95 book for only $5.98. I figured that once I got home and did my cleaning I could climb into bed and browse my new book.

Little did I know that waiting for me on the doorstep was my order from B&N. While watching baseball the other morning I got an e-mail from B&N advertising a 2-for-1 special on their bargain books. Well, I couldn't pass it up. So I spent an inning or two browsing the books. What did I get? Would you believe I got no quilt books? There were no good ones on sale. I bought: The Rosary by Garry Wills, Walk Away the Pounds by Leslie Sansone, World War II the People's Story by Reader's Digest, The Physics of Football by Timothy Gay and Julie & Julia by Julie Powell (this is a CD). The face value of all of these is $130.78 - I paid a mere $28.92 for all of them. How cool is that????

So here I am sitting on my bed, watching HGTV and surrounded by so many new books trying to decide which one to pick up first. DH is out playing poker tonight so I'm even home alone now. I think I'm going to bed early. It's been a long and exhausting week in the office and I'm a tired and cranky. I think I need a good night's sleep so I can play all day tomorrow.

Good night for now!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Take Me Out To The Ballgame

We were up at 6 am this morning. We turned on the TV and settled in to watch the Red Sox first game of the baseball season. A little over three hours later the Red Sox won the first game of the young season! Hooray!!

Speaking of baseball, if you signed up for the Spring Training Swap, are you working on your package? I've been working on mine and having fun collecting the items for my swap partner.

Not much else going on here. We're supposed to get more rain and snow tonight. Someday spring will be here. I just know it.

This weekend will be a quilt retreat for me. DH leaves for Puerto Rico before sunrise on Saturday morning so I will be home alone. So far on the work list I have:
  1. My Spring Training Swap goodies
  2. Finish Don't Touch Me - I'm in the UFO Challenge on Stashbusters and I'm a Lady in Waiting. I better finish a quilt soon.
  3. Stitching - I haven't done any hand work since we moved in and I feel the need to spend some time stitching.
What are your plans for this weekend?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter

Happy Easter to everyone who celebrates the holiday. Later today we will be headed to the in-laws for dinner with the family. Spring has not arrived here in New Hampshire. There is still a lot of snow on the ground and the warm spring winds have not shown up yet.

Yesterday I treated myself and pre-ordered three books from They won't arrive for nearly two months, but that's OK. A is For Apron looks like a fun book for making aprons. Aprons seem to be back in vogue and I'm thinking since I have 7 SIL's, a mom and a MIL I may find some cute aprons to make for Christmas present. Take-Along Totes offers some more choices for gifts. Young nieces and nephews would like a new school or toy bag. And if I don't make aprons for all my SIL's, some of them knit and/or scrapbook. The Pretty Little Patchwork book sounds like a fun way to use up scraps.

Since my calendar is pretty full from now until the middle of May they will arrive right when I'm ready to focus on new projects.

Happy stitching!

Friday, March 21, 2008

What Type of Quilt do You Like to Work on?

First, thanks for the all responses on my kitchen sink question. I didn’t expect as many answers as I got. Second, my cuts are healing nicely. The one on my right thumb is healed. The one on my left hand still looks a little red and has a small scab.

Now on to the topic of the day . . .

Recently an on-line group I belong to posted a poll asking us what type of quilts we like to work on. Do you like to work on fast, fun quilts? Your own designed quilts? Perhaps you prefer challenging quilts? Do you try different techniques with your quilts? Or do you perhaps like to try interesting color combinations?

The questions hung around in my brain for a day or so, percolating into some coherent thoughts. I realized I like to all kinds of quilts. A lot depends on the mood I’m in when I have to spend in my studio or watching my favorite sports event with DH.

The doll quilts I made a couple weeks ago met my need to make some quick projects because I hadn't sewn in weeks. Moving into a new condo kept me from touching my machine for weeks and I wanted just "to make something." So after a few short hours I had made five doll quilt tops.

This past weekend I just wanted to sit and sew. The goal wasn’t to complete a top, but move along a project or two. I worked on my Football Depression and my mom's Churn Dash quilt because the quilts require over 150 HSTs. See post below. The HSTs are still sitting on my dining room table waiting to be trimmed, perhaps I’ll get them done this weekend.

My "spectacular", long term, challenge quilt project is my Butterfly Garden quilt. This quilt contains piecing, stitching and appliqué. A little bit of everything. This project is my heart and soul project that I work on when want to focus on the process of making a quilt. It allows me to enjoy the feel of the fabric and thread in my hands as I create and work on each block.

I’m also beginning to tackle my completed UFOs. Currently my “Don’t Touch Me” baby quilt is sitting on the island, ready to be tied and bound. I may find some time to get it done this weekend.
I’ve also started playing with the ideas I have for a wall hanging and/or headboard for our bedroom. I have some fabric gathered for a project that’s called “DH Likes the Fabric” because it’s fabric he has picked out when we’ve been on vacation the last few years. The browns, golds and rust will look great in our new bedroom.

So tell me, what types of quilts are working on?

Sunday, March 16, 2008

National Quilting Day

I hope you had a great National Quilting Day yesterday. I spent the day making 144 HSTs. I spent the morning marking the squares. Then after an early nap and lunch I sewed them together. DH is home from 12 days in Europe and I didn't want him to feel left alone. So I brought my cutting mat, rotary cutter, ruler, ironing board and iron downstairs so I could work in the dining room and living room while spending time with him.

The HSTs with the tan fabric are for my Football Depression quilt. These are all that I need to make for the quilt. There are enough HSTs for four Depression blocks and then I'll be able to finish that quilt top.

The HSTs with the white, paw covered fabric are for my mom's Churn Dash quilt. There are 80 HSTs done and I need to make another 56 so I have enough for the quilt.
I have had my license for using sharp objects in the kitchen revoked. Yesterday afternoon I was slicing cheese and apples for a snack and sliced my right thumb with the apple slicer. This morning I was cleaning up some odds and ends from last night's dinner and sliced my left hand just below the thumb. Neither cut required stitches, but I am feeling a little stupid. DH is going to have to cut the squash for dinner tonight. I am refusing to touch any sharp objects in the kitchen.

Miscellaneous, off-the-wall, question of the day. Do you have a double basin kitchen sink? If so, which side do you use for washing dishes? Our new condo has a double basin sink and I haven't had one in years. The house I grew up in had a double sink and the dishes were washed in the right side, rinsed on the left side and then left to drain on the left side counter. In our new kitchen I use the left side for washing and the right side for rinsing. Clean dishes are put away immediately. So tell me, how do you use your kitchen sink?

Monday, March 10, 2008

Spring Training Swap - Last Call

So far there are 7 participants in the Spring Training Swap. Anyone else want to join? You have until Wednesday night to sign up. Here are the details:

You will be assigned a swap partner. You will have until April 1, 2008 to gather the items for the swap package and send it to your partner. There will be 9 items to represent the 9 players on a baseball team. The items you choose to send to your partner will represent her answers to the questions. I have suggested a value limit of $30 for the package.

Questions to answer:
1. The Pitcher - What is your favorite sport?
2. The Catcher - Who is your favorite athlete?
3. First Baseman - What is color is sewing room/space?
4. Second Baseman - Do you have a favorite quilt designer?
5. Third Baseman – Where do you like to take your vacation?
6. Shortstop – What time of day do you sew the most?
7. Left Fielder – What is your favorite morning beverage?
8. Center Fielder – Who is your favorite sports team?
9. Right Fielder – What is your favorite quilting tool?

If you want to participate send me an email with your answers, your mailing address and whether or not you’d be willing to send internationally.

Come and join the fun!

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Quilty Time With Friends

Yesterday was a fun day in my condo. Mavie, Darlene and Victoria came over to see the new place and spend the quilt sewing, eating and, of course a trip to the LQS. The weather outside was wet, wet, wet, but we had lots of fun.

So what did we do yesterday? Mavie worked on her Carolina Crossroads. She spent the day subcutting her strips.
Victoria is working on a QuiltSmart quilt. She spent her time unstitching one of the panels and repinned it for sewing later.
Darlene was very productive. She came prepared to work on four charity quilts and she got quite a bit done.
I couldn't decide what to work on and spent the first hour digging through my projects trying to choose one. I finally decided to make an apron. I have a pattern from Timeless Treasures for a one-yard apron and made one for myself. It was the first time in ages that I made gathers and it was a lot of fun.
After a lunch of homemade beef vegetable soup we decided to head to the LQS. Mavie, Victoria and Darlene are scrap quilters and this store is perfect them. I think I've mentioned before that they sell coordinated packages of scraps, plus they have a huge wooden box of scraps you can dig through and fill a small lunch bag for $3.50. The three of them spent about 30 minutes digging through the box and each of them stuffed a bag full of scraps. Since the last time I was in the shop they've added a wall of sale fabric. Of course they pulled several bolts off the sale wall too. I didn't find a lot of fabric jumping into my hands. I found three small bags of scraps, Winnie-the-Pooh backing fabric for my doll quilts and the book "Square Deal, Easy Quilts from Squares and Rectangles" by Nancy Mahoney. The others took long enough looking through the scrap box that I talked myself into signing up for a long arm quilting lesson with the owner. For $125 you get a four hour, one-on-one lesson on the long arm. After that you can rent time on the machine at a special rate to finish quilts. I'm not taking the class for another six weeks, but I'm already excited. Finally I'll be able to get some of tops done!

Back at the condo we spent more time sewing. When I finished my apron I decided to work on my Football Depression quilt. I finished two more blocks and wanted to start adding them to quilt.

But . . . I couldn't find it! We spent 90 minutes looking through every bin, bag and storage container in my studio - at least three times - and the half-completed top is nowhere to be found! I've never lost a UFO before. I remember packing it and I'm pretty sure I remember seeing it somewhere in the new place. But I don't know where it is!!!! I'm convinced it went into hiding when the Patriots lost the Super Bowl. I wish it would come out though. I want to play! :(
Have you seen me?
UPDATE:While reviewing my list of WIPs I realized that only was Football Depression missing, but there were three other tops unaccounted for on my list – Tea Time Splash, Convergence Wall Hanging and Don’t Touch Me.

I couldn’t take it any longer. So downstairs I went and started going through all the suitcases, tote bags and U-haul boxes in the basement. The second to the last box was marked “glass frames”. I knew that one has our family photos and small art work in it. It hadn’t been opened because I knew we wouldn’t be displaying those items until the renovations are complete. I ripped (and I mean – ripped) the box open. There, prettily sitting on top of the box, were the missing quilts – all four of them.

What a huge relief. I knew I wouldn’t be satisfied until I found Football Depression. And the hunt for Football Depression led to finding UFOs I didn’t know I was missing. But now all is well in my house. I’ll be able to sleep tonight!

Lesson learned – using fabric and UFOs to pack is OK. Just be sure to label the box with the word “Quilts” on it so if you decide not to open it right away you won’t “lose” projects.

Friday, March 07, 2008

My Pincushions

I couldn't resist. So many of you are sharing your pincushions I decided to share in the fun. Blueberry Lane found three books by Lynette about pincushions. She is giving away the books and going to bug Lynette to write another book about pincushions.

I confess - I don't use these pincushions. The yellow one and the one next to it I received in a swap. The other two were birthday gifts. They are too special to me to use. They have a place of honor on top of my shelves along with my granny doll. The pink table runner belonged to great-aunt. It's one of my prized possessions.
This is what I use every day for my pins. It's a Fons & Porter magnetic pin dish. I love it.
Tomorrow is my quilt house warming party. There will be four of us here most of the day. My DIL will be over late in the day and one friend will be spending the night. The rain has started tonight and we could get up to two inches of rain before it stops sometime tomorrow night. That won't stop us from having a good time. We may even sneak out to the new LQS if we feel like dodging rain drops.

I haven't decided what project/s to work on. I'll pick up whatever my hands grab first. Stay tuned to find out what we do tomorrow!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Cabin Fever

Cabin Fever: extreme irritability and restlessness from living in isolation or a confined indoor area for a prolonged time (Merriam Webster's OnLine Dictionary)

Cabin fever is what I usually experience when I am forced to stay inside too long. I came home from work last Friday night with a slight cold. On Saturday I was feeling worse and only left the house to take DH to the bus station for his trip to Europe. Sunday I spent the day sewing and was feeling better. I woke up Monday morning and couldn't breathe. I was so congested, so achy and so fatigued that I knew I wasn't going anywhere. I tried to work from home, but simply couldn't stay awake or even concentrate so that was useless. I spent all day in bed. That is until I couldn't lay flat without feeling like I was drowning so I fell asleep sitting in my reclining sofa.

Tuesday morning didn't bring much relief. However, I forced myself to get up, take a shower, get dressed and stay on the couch instead of the bed. DH called me around dinnertime to see how I was doing. Knowing that I had been in the house since Saturday night he asked me if cabin fever had set in yet. I surprised myself by saying, "No, not at all." Even when I'm sick and/or laid up I still used to get restless if I was forced to stay inside longer than two days. The more I thought about, the more I realized that having three floors of living space kept me from getting cabin fever. How cool! At least for me it's cool.

I did manage to sew together the five doll quilts I started on Sunday. Four of them went together well and I'm happy with them.
This one didn't want to play well. The yellows are different prints, but the same shade of yellow. I think I should have just made these four blocks from the reds alone and did something else with the yellow. Oh well, some child will love it.
I need to start planning for this weekend. I can't decide what project to work on: place mats, Butterfly Garden, start tracing designs for my stitched Dear Jane blocks or perhaps I should finish a quilt. I haven't finished a quilt yet this year. What do you think I should do this weekend?

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Hooray! A Sewing Day!

Today was the first day in a long time I could spend as much as time as I wanted to in my quilt studio. So, what did I do today? First I made the pink binding for Playing With Pink. Pam showed her binding box so I thought I'd show mine. Like her I always make more than I need and save the leftovers in this box. Someday I may use them. Sometimes I donate them to someone who needs some binding.
Next up I chose to work on my Streak of Red blocks. I needed to make 10 more to complete the top. So I sewed and sewed and sewed. Here's the 10 blocks laid out on the island and the old cutting table. I realized I love having two large work surfaces so I think I'll be keeping the cutting table instead of switching it out for a desk. I definitely need to make a ironing board that will fit on one of the tables so I have a little more room to walk around.
After taking a nap (still trying to get over my cold) I finished up the Streaks of Red blocks. However, I realized I made them wrong and they don't match the six I had done. Oh, oh, and unfortunately none of them wanted to play together today. So they got put aside for now. I decided to work on Just My Size blocks. I finished all that I had cut out. I think I'll make five doll quilts with these blocks. They will be good pieces for practicing machine quilting. Then I will give them to my DIL for her daycare class.
Another blogger shared photos of what she sees out her kitchen window. So I decided I would take a photo out my kitchen window and off my deck. Since I took these photos yesterday I decided I would take a photo on the first day each month. I think it would be a cool way to document our first year in this condo. Here's the view out the window:
And here's the view off the deck:
No one has signed up for the Spring Training Swap. Won't you join? You don't have to love sports to join. You just have to love getting goodies in the mail.

I'm off to take a shower and then I plan on getting caught up on blogs. I hate being behind on blogs. Everyone writes such wonderful entries and I feel so bad not keeping up with them.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Spring Training Swap

Anyone want to do a Spring Training Swap? Here’s the deal:

You will be assigned a swap partner. You will have until April 1, 2008 to gather the items for the swap package and send it to your partner. There will be 9 items to represent the 9 players on a baseball team. The items you choose to send to your partner will represent her answers to the questions.

Questions to answer:
1. The Pitcher - What is your favorite sport?
2. The Catcher - Who is your favorite athlete?
3. First Baseman - What is color is sewing room/space?
4. Second Baseman - Do you have a favorite quilt designer?
5. Third Baseman – Where do you like to take your vacation?
6. Shortstop – What time of day do you sew the most?
7. Left Fielder – What is your favorite morning beverage?
8. Center Fielder – Who is your favorite sports team?
9. Right Fielder – What is your favorite quilting tool?

If you want to participate send me an email with your answers, your mailing address and whether or not you’d be willing to send internationally.

I will take signups until March 12, 2008 and send out partners the next day.

PS - I'm so excited! DH had to go on a business trip and tomorrow I can do whatever I want to do. I do have to color my hair, but after that I plan on spending the day playing with fabrics and threads.