Saturday, May 31, 2008

Not Much Sewing Today

I sewed for an hour today and then decided to move some furniture around in my studio. Why, you ask? Because DH hinted last night we could buy a TV for my studio. And that’s what we did this afternoon. We bought a 32 inch LG television. It’s bigger than I would have chosen, but we will be using it during football season so we can watch more than one game in the living room.

I’ve lost some of the workspace on my smaller cutting table. I’m OK with that for now. I may still do some rearranging of the furniture as I don't have room for the ironing board at the moment.
I’m so happy I can watch TV while sewing now. I won't have to miss any Red Sox or Patriots games!

On a quilty note - I reviewed my fabric purchases for this year and I'm pleased to report that other than two yards of polka dot I have used all of the fabric I bought this year. I'm not on an official no-buy program, but with the move and being on medical leave I haven't had the desire to shop. Who knows I may use up all fabric this year, Yeah, right!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Challenges-Fat 8s, Valori & Others

I've decided to challenge myself with my fat 8s. How many projects can be made out of 120 fat 8s? Today I took 54 of them and cut them into the following pieces:
  • Two - 3.5 X 7.5 inch rectangles
  • Two - 1.75 X 7.5 inch rectangles
  • Four - 2.5 X 4 inch rectangles
  • Four - 2 X 4 inch rectangles
The larger rectangles are set up for chain piecing for one project. The two stacks of smaller rectangles are another project I have brewing in my head. Since I was in the cutting mood I decided to prep three more projects. The project with the green stripes is a Crazy Nine Patch quilt I started a few weeks ago. The HSTs are the last four blocks of my Football Depression Quilt. The other four stacks will become a variation on a Leanne Beasley pattern. DH is going out of town early Sunday morning and will be gone for four days. I think I have enough projects to keep me going while he is gone, don't you?
Were you one of the lucky recipients of FQs from Valori Wells new fabric line, Olive Rose, earlier this month? If so, Nancy at With Thread in Hand has set up challenge to use at least three of the FQs in a project to be done by August 12. If you'd like to join us, let her know. I think I know what I'm going to make with my FQs. Maybe I'll get it started while DH is out of town.

I can't believe it's Friday already. Being on medical leave sure has a way of messing up your calendar. Some days I'm not even sure what day it is! I hope you have big plans for the weekend!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Travel Set Complete

Tonight I finished the travel set I started over the weekend. I added buttons, including a Red Sox button and a football button, to the purse. I even hand sewed a zipper into it. I think it came out well. Here's a view with the Red Sox button.
Here's a view with the football button.
On the wallet I added pink top stitching and a hand made button from Giggle Buttons in Australia.

I started cutting my Fat 8s this morning. Stay tuned for what I will be making for them.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

May Bag Done & Fat 8th's

I finished the May bag for my BQL group. I'm dedicating the bag to a friend of mine who died of breast cancer earlier this month. I made it in her favorite colors. It has Insulbright lining so it could be used as a cooler. I think I will be using as a laptop tote bag. My laptop fits nicely in it with some extra room. I can just see myself walking through an airport with the bag on arm and looking at all the reactions to it. Don't you think I'll look divine with it?
I realized after looking at this gorgeous bag that my current purse (a blue and tan charm purse) and my wallet (a Wonder Wallet made with Jell-o fabric) don't match this gorgeous tote bag. I went back into my studio and with the leftover fabric made a matching purse and a Wonder Wallet. The purse needs the binding sewn down and a zipper added. I may also add some buttons and/or some stitchery to the purse and wallet. I think they look a little bland right now. I'm convinced I'll be turning heads when I'm on vacation next month.
Last night I took some time to fold the Shadowplay Fat 8th's I purchased recently. I bought four different sets of them. They were rolled up with a ribbon, but weren't easy to store that way. I decided to fold them and place them in these little baskets and set them out on my table so I can see them every day. They won't stay there for long. I already know what I'm going to make with them. In case you're curious, there's about 120 pieces. That would make a pretty scrappy quilt if you ask me.
We are watching the Indy 500 right now. Baseball starts soon. When the game is over we are going for ice cream. Yummy!

I hope you are having a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Another Busy Thursday

I've been sleeping in late this week. Late for me is anytime after 7:30 am. This morning I didn't wake up until 9 am! I guess my body needs the rest so I won't complain too much.

Once I had my morning coffee I headed into my studio where I spent nearly 9 hours playing. I worked on my BQL May Bag. I sewed the zipper in all wrong and have to rip it all out. I’m saving that to do when I can sit with DH and watch baseball on Saturday.

Tonight I started working on a No Mail Round Robin. The center block is a stitchery I made a few weeks ago when I was looking for something easy to do. My original plan was to make a series of these stitcheries for my kitchen, but I saw a friend of mine working on this No Mail Round Robin and thought the quilt would be fun to use some of the coffee and dessert fabrics I have been collecting. Here is the completed first border.
Here is the Round Robin with the second border added. I have parts of the third and fourth borders done. As usual for me, I'm modifying the pattern as I go along. I'm hoping to get the top done over the weekend.
I ordered the book : The Art of the Handmade Quilt by Nancy Brenan Danial and Rita Weiss. I couldn’t resist since I was able to get for $9 including shipping through my Crafter’s Choice book club membership.

Tomorrow night is date night with DH. We are going out for dinner and then we are going to see the new Indiana Jones movie. The rest of the weekend is for rest and relaxation.

I hope you have great plans for the weekend.

Monday, May 19, 2008

No-Hitter For Lester/Boston Red Sox

How cool is this? Jon Lester threw a no-hitter for the Boston Red Sox! For those of you who know very little or nothing about baseball a no-hitter means a pitcher did not allow any hits throughout an entire game. This is the fourth no-hitter by a Red Sox pitcher in this century. The first one by a Red Sox left-handed pitcher in over 50 years! Way to go Jon!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sewing Saturday

Yesterday was a great sewing day. I picked a friend at 8 am and then off we went to another friend's house for the day. By 9:30 our machines were set up on her dining room table and needles, thread and fabric were flying. We did stop for homemade lasagna at lunch time, but that was the only time we weren't working. Eight hours later each of had a stack of projects done.

My first project of the day was my Tiny Quilt. I made the entire top and have it sandwiched. I’m trying to decide if I should hand quilt or machine quilt it. The quilt is about 12 inches x 15 inches. It went together easily and I can see myself making another one of these. They are addictive. Plus it's a lot of fun to finish a project in a couple of hours.
I had cut fabric for three Super-Sized Nine Patch quilts. Unfortunately I had cut one of the fabrics wrong. So what’s a quilter to do? I improvised. I made two Super-Sized Nine Patch quilts. With the leftover fabric I started a Crazy Nine Patch quilt. My friend let me dig through her green stash and found some fabric for sashing. So far I have three rows made. I’m going to find some additional fabric for cornerstones and an additional border.

We scheduled our next sewing day for July. In September we are going to spend a weekend together and have a mini shop hop one day and sewing day on the other day.

I hope you had a wonderful weekend!

Friday, May 16, 2008

More Studio Time

Since I've been on medical leave I've watched so much daytime TV I could write a novel on how boring it can be. The worst days are when there is no Red Sox baseball or Celtics basketball or Tiger Woods playing golf. That's where I found myself last night. No Boston sports, no Tiger Woods and I don't watch any Thursday night network shows. Even though I'm not an evening machine sewer I found myself heading back into my studio last night to sew. I looked through my PDF patterns to find one that would be quick to make. I found the Charm Street Runner from Prairie Point Junction.

I used a packet of Northcott charms and some hot pink fabric I had in my stash. The rows are put together, then you make a quilt sandwich of the backing and batting, then sew the rows together onto the sandwich. Quilting is done! I love, love, love this method. I can visualize using this method when stitcheries are in the design. I'm not a fan of quilting around stitcheries. I think the quilting stitches take away from the stitcheries.
I'm going to send this to Mom. I haven't sent her a Mother's Day gift yet and this will cheer her up.

Until next time - happy stitching!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Studio Time

This morning I spent time in my studio getting ready for Saturday. I will be spending the day with quilting friends. I had to choose different fabrics for my Happy Zombie quilt because I didn't read my ruler right and cut two inch squares instead 1.5 inch squares. I'm going to use blues, beige and red in the quilt. Then I cut fabric to make three Super-Sized Nine Patch baby quilts. If I decide to do handwork I'll have a couple stitcheries and appliqué circles to work on while visiting.

I finished this little cushion this morning too. I'll be sending it off to a quilt buddy in the next day or two.

DH has suggested we take our vacation in Vancouver, BC and he wants to go next month. A great idea except I had to go and apply for my passport yesterday. This will be the first time we take our vacation in June, usually we take it in August. Anyone have any suggestions on must-sees or must-dos in the area? We are thinking of going to Victoria for at least one night to stay at the Fairmont Empress and enjoy afternoon tea. We may also go to Whistler for a few days to see the mountains. What else should we do? Are there any bloggers in the area who would like to take me shop hopping?

I hope you have a quilting activity planned for this weekend!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

US Cyber Stitching With Mrs. Martin

Are you a stitcher? I am! I signed up for Mrs. Martin's Cyber Stitching Day.
Karen will be mailing out the Cyber Stitching packages on June 16. Since it's likely the postal service will not get the packages to the US before June 21 (the date of the Cyber Stitching Day) I've offered to host the US Cyber Stitching Event once the packages have arrived in the US. Sign up and join me (and Tracey in CT). We're sure to have a lot fun. If you sign up, please let me know so I can let you know when we have set up the date for our Cyber Stitching Day!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Mother's Day and Visiting A Friend

I can't believe it's been a week since I posted. You would think since I'm not working right now I would be posting more. I guess last week got away from me.

I have a wonderful Mother's Day Weekend. On Saturday DH wanted to go clothes shopping so off we went on an adventure to a new mall. Before we got there we stopped for lunch and found a second hand thrift store near the restaurant. The store had lots and lots of cool items, among them was set of French Casseroles just like my grandma used to have. I wanted them and I wasn’t sure about getting them. While DH was looking around he found two butterfly shaped serving dishes that match a big green bowl we have and he wanted to get those. Lucky for me the woman who is selling the casseroles was in the store. They were priced at $10 each, but she said I could get all five for $35. Sold! DH offered to pay for them as part of my Mother’s Day gift (he had bought me Randy Moss Patriots jersey earlier in the week). How cool! I did some researching and learned they are Fire King Gay Fad French Casseroles. I may have to start buying more of those kitchen pieces. They are all adorable and I can't wait to use them.
On Sunday DS and DIL dropped by around lunchtime and gave me a gift card for Barnes and Noble, plus they have ordered Barbara Walter’s new book for me. They offered to take us out for lunch so off we went to Texas Roadhouse for steak and ribs. Then I made them go to B&N so I could use my gift card. I bought The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch; 40 Days and 40 Nights – Taking Time Out for Self-Discovery A Guided Journal; and a Cath Kidston notebook. I also picked up Better Homes and Gardens Quilts and More summer issue. This magazine has Happy Zombie's Bay Breeze Pattern in it and I've already pulled fabric to make one for me.

Sunday night I had to take DH to the airport for his business trip to Las Vegas. After I dropped him off I drove to Cape Cod to spend the evening and all day Monday with a friend. Yesterday she took me on a tour of the Cape from her house in Eastham to Provincetown at the end of the Cape. The winds were ferocious and the waves were high and gorgeous, but it was too cold to stay on the beach for too long.

Our first stop in Provincetown was a small food shop, Angel Foods, a specialty food store with a deli and bakery. We decided to buy dessert before having lunch. She bought a double chocolate mousse and I bought a chocolate raspberry cake. We parked in the public lot and ate our desserts before shopping. They were yummy!
As we were walking down Commercial Street I told my friend that over the last few days I felt as if a new me was getting ready to emerge and I needed some new items for the new me. Our first stop was Galadriels Mirror, a jewelry and gem store. When we walked in the salesperson told us everything in the store was half price! Woohoo! I walked around the store and found a purple heart shaped gem, a milky white tear drop gem, an 18 inch silver chain and a 36 inch strand of dyed pearls!

We stopped in several other stores, but didn’t find anything exciting. Lots of ideas for my dining room “wow” item; but that’s purchase I won’t make without DH around. We ate at Bubala’s by the Bay for lunch. I had a cup of butternut squash and apple soup and a salad of mixed greens, walnuts, dried cranberries, Gorgonzola cheese and walnut vinaigrette.

Then we stopped at Impulse Arts Gallery. They had lots of neat kaleidoscopes and items made with dichroic glass (a glass containing multiple micro-layers of metal oxides, with a total thickness of three to five millionths of an inch, which make the glass take on the colors it’s reflecting). I bought a necklace cross made of the glass. I also bought three strips of the glass that I’m going to make a mobile out of to hang either in our bay window or in the kitchen window.
The final stop of our shopping adventure was Atlantic Spice Company, a wholesale store for gourmet spices,herbs, tea, essential and potpourri. I can’t believe my friend had never been there. They have bins and bins of bagged spices and teas, all kinds of kitchen accessories and a wide variety of specialty item cookbooks such as the Balsamic Vinegar Cookbook. I bought a bag of Ambrosia tea, an in-house blend of apricot tea, black currant tea, mango tea, rose hips, orange peel & cinnamon chips; a tea tin for the tea and a bag of four pepper mix peppercorns. If you like to buy spices, teas or potpourri items in bulk you should check their web site. Just to give you an idea of the great prices the store has my friend saw single vanilla beans for $2.50. At the grocery store where she works they charge $12 for two vanilla beans.

As we were driving back to her house I told my friend I probably spent more money buying jewelry and spices than I usually do on a quilt store shop hop! LOL!

Now I'm back home and I'm alone until Sunday night. On Friday DS, DIL and I are going to see the new Narnia movie and I'll be spending Saturday with quilting friends. Between now and then I need to some housework and hopefully get some quilting time in.

Monday, May 05, 2008

My Cactus Is Blooming

One of my dear friends gave me a cactus for a house warming gift in March. Probably a good idea since I tend to kill plants. I've been ignoring it except for small drinks of water on Friday mornings. So you can imagine my surprise when I looked at last night and saw this beautiful flower on it last night. I didn't know that cacti had flowers! Maybe I have a hidden green thumb for cacti. Maybe I should buy a couple more? Perhaps, but not today.

On a quilty note someone from one of my Yahoo groups sent me this adorable little cushion. This was a wonderful little surprise and put a smile on my face today.
I hope everyone is enjoying their day today!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

A Wonderful Weekend

Our mini family reunion was fun this weekend. It was good for me to spend 48 hours with six young adults. There was some apartment shopping done. We ate some great meals. We laughed and laughed and laughed while sharing family stories with spouses and significant others. The Irish dance performance was great.

Of course, what’s a road trip without a visit to a quilt shop? I discovered the Woodstock Quilt Supply was only 7 miles from our hotel. Yesterday morning my DIL and I hit the road and went shopping. The staff was very helpful. The store was clean and well organized. We walked out of the store with six cuts of music fabric, a pair of 6 inch tweezers for turning tubes and two books: A – Z of Embroidery Stitches and Stupid Sock Creatures.
I came home to package of eight FQs from Valori Wells. She gave away 18 sets of FQs from her new fabric line, Olive Rose.
I forgot to post my First of the Month photos of the view off my deck. There is little growth on the trees yet. We've had several days rain lately so I'm hoping the leaves start appearing soon. I'm hoping the trees are not dead.
I hope you had a good weekend. Happy stitching!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Happy May Day!

Did you have nice May Day? I sure did. Tonight is my friend's memorial service (actually it's Friday morning in Australia). I think Jen visited me this morning and said, "It's time to sew and you may as well use the sewing machine thing you like to use." So I did just that.

I spent most of the day making this apron for the apron swap in one of my on-line groups. I love how it turned out. All I have left to do is sew a button on the neck flap and on the pocket flap. Tomorrow it will head off to its new home.
Because I wasn't ready to stop sewing I started working on my May bag for the BQL Bag Challenge. I have to make 24 of these bow tie squares. They are easier to make than they look.
I have another weekend on the road coming up. I'm headed to Rhinebeck, NY to see DS #2 and his girlfriend. She is the choreographer for Solas An Lae. You can read about her here. This weekend they are having their opening performance for the season. I've never seen her dance so this will be a fun weekend. DS #1 and DIL are going with me and my niece and her DH are coming up from NYC. It will be a mini family reunion.

Happy stitching to everyone!