Thursday, December 31, 2009

Southern Stars number nine

Here is Southern Stars number nine. My fave LQS is doing this as a $5 quilt, except they call it their "Weekend Sampler." I have managed to stay caught up this time - that's a first!

We're having a quiet New Year's Eve here. We'll have some wine and cheese about 10:30 p.m. here, then watch the ball drop in NYC at their midnight and head off to bed. No big plans for tomorrow, either. Maybe I'll get some quality sewing time in.

I've been thinking about resolutions. I could list a million things I'd like to do better in 2010 than I did in 2009. I do have some resolutions in mind. I'll share the quilty/needleworky ones:
  • Enter a quilt show. I don't have a quilt ready at the moment, though. I have about a fourth of a top ready that is different sizes of sawtooth stars in pinks and greens (all from stash and scraps). I may focus on finishing that so I can get it in the hand-quilting frame and get it finished in time for the next area show - maybe the New Braunfels show.
  • Always have some kind of handwork available to do when I'm watching TV.
  • Join one of the local guilds. Maybe. How about if I just say, visit a couple of guild meetings.
  • Finish one UFO per month.
Ok, getting way too ambitious here. Resolutions are supposed to be ambitious, though. I need something challenging to strive toward.

I wish for everyone a wonderful 2010.

Happy New Year's Eve

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Our new friend and family member

This is our newest family member, Napoleon. We adopted him from a local shelter in October. Isn't he the cutest? Smart, too. He sleeps in the laundry "room" (more of a laundry hallway, actually). A few nights ago he learned how to open the pocket door from his sleeping area to the rest of the house. He was quite proud of himself. He's a shepherd mix, very tall and lanky. His favorite hobbies are chewing on rawhide and watching Dogs 101 on Animal Planet. Seriously! When the show is on he will sit in front of the TV the whole time, just watching the dogs on the screen.

A few nights ago he ran out the front door at the same time our neighbors had their three dogs in their front yard. The only way to get Napoleon back in our house was to have all four dogs come in! It was quite a scene.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The party's over

I wish I could say that this is my house. It's not. It's an historical home on the campus of the college where I work. Friday, I was in charge of our College holiday brunch - about 600 guests! I had a great caterer and lots of help, so it went well, but standing on hardwood floors in heels for four hours is a killer!

I wanted to take pictures of all the tables and food, but the guests arrived the minute the preparations were complete, and then it was all over!

Just two more weeks and we're off for two weeks - I can't wait.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

This creature was stirring

There I was, Friday morning, happily puttering whilst the hubby and daughter slept off their early morning trip to Kohl's, when I heard a strange scratching noise in an otherwise quiet house. I thought one of the cats had gotten trapped in a bedroom someone closed the door of - it happens sometimes. As I crossed the living room to check, I glanced over at the fireplace and what to my extremely wondering eyes should appear, inside the fireplace (thankfully there was no fire going), but one of our thousands of neighborhood squirrels! And he was scratching and pushing on the glass fireplace door, trying to get out - I mean, IN!

Panic ensued between woman and squirrel. I roused my husband from what he thought was going to be his long winter's nap and dragged him to the living room to rescue me. Do you ever have one of those times when you're husband says something extremely, well, male, and you just have to bite your lip really hard? Husband says, "Take the cats in the bedroom and close the door and I'll open the front door, then, open the fireplace and the squirrel will just run outside." Well, sure, I think, that will work - if the squirrel has been in our house before and knows how to get from the living room to the front door, and if the squirrel intended to fall down the chimney all along, calmly thinking, "Okay, plan B if I can't get back up the chimney is to just run out the front door when the guy who lives here lets me out." Hubby read the look on my face and said, "I know, I'll call the chimney sweep. Get me something heavy to lean against the glass doors until he gets here."

A couple of hours later, my daughter woke up and came out of her room to see a sooty man with a top hat carrying a squirrel in a towel through our house. And, we now have a re-secured cap at the top of our chimney - which had been installed upside down, according to the sweep.

The dazed squirrel decamped, exclaiming, "Happy Day-after-Thanksgiving to all and to all, a good afternoon." Or something like that, surely.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving Thanks

'Happy Thanksgiving, Americans, and happy day to all. In a few minutes I have to go back downstairs and see how the rolls are rising. We're having pork roast, cauliflower with cheese sauce, cranberry/orange salad, asparagus, homemade rolls and the apple pie pictured above, which I made sugar-free. There's also still some Shaker lemon pie - I think I'll have a little of each!

These two quilts are Jo's Little Women (Jo Morton) projects from way back. I altered the center of Cabin Corners, the one on the table. I inked "A cabin with plenty of food is better than a hungry castle," which I thought was appropriate for both a log cabin quilt and for Thanksgiving. The basket quilt is folded on a little towel stand I got on eBay.

I'm thankful for my husband and daughter, who keep life exciting, for my friends and family and for the love of God in our lives! Hope you have a blessed day.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Turkey Tracks

These turkey tracks blocks make me smile! I don't know if it's the happy red and white fabrics, or the fact that I'm making turkey tracks blocks two days before Thanksgiving. The pattern is in the book, "Remembering Adelia." The pattern in the book only calls for four blocks, which are 6.5 inches unfinished. I made 9. I hope to get it all put together today. The borders are the same green as the cornerstones, making it very Christmasy. If the quilting turns out half-way nice, this may end up as one of my Pay-It-Forward gifts.

I have the day off today - am tying valiantly to put work completely out of my thoughts. Along with putting this together, I hope to get to the grocery store with my list for Thanksgiving. Now that my daughter is a vegetarian, we may "think outside the turkey." I'll still make a meat dish for my husband and me, but probably not a big bird.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Vintage Butterfly Quilt pictures from quilts photos on webshots

Hi - Please read the post below these links before clicking on them! Thanks.

Vintage Butterfly Quilt pictures from quilts photos on webshots

Vintage Butterfly Quilt pictures from quilts photos on webshots

Vintage Butterfly Quilt pictures from quilts photos on webshots

Vintage Butterfly Quilt pictures from quilts photos on webshots

Vintage Butterfly Quilt pictures from quilts photos on webshots

Who said I was never coming back?

Wow! I never meant to go this long without posting. I truly have no excuse. Well, I could come up with some excuses: August is my busiest month at work...I've taken on some new responsibilities at work...We have a new puppy at our house...I can't find the memory card for my camera (I really need a new camera).

All of the above are true, but they are no excuse. But, since I can't locate said picture card, I will link to the Webshots page of mustbecyn. Back in 2005, I advertised my hand-quilting on eBay - and this nice lady sent me this vintage top to quilt. And then I commenced making her crazy by taking forever to finish her quilt. But I finally finished it, and she said lovely things about it. And I was happy with the way it turned out. Please take a look. If you'd like me to hand-quilt for you, let me know - but be prepared for a lonnnnnnggggg wait.

Hope to post much more frequently now that things have settled down. Ha!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

On My Design Bed

This is Building Blocks, designed by Bits 'n Pieces. It was the weekend sampler block at my LQS last year which I'm just now finishing. I have to put the last frame on the block on the right with all the flying geese and then cut my sashing and put it all together. All the fabric is Jo Morton, very different from what is pictured on the pattern cover.

Check out Judy's blog on Monday for more design wall inspiration.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Ready to Pay It Forward

I'm so excited! I have my three Pay it Forward people. I can't wait to get started on their surprises.

I got a call from my sister's sister-in-law yesterday (also known as my brother-in-law's sister). She has four bolts of "fall-colored Moda" for sale (her description) for $1.00/yard. You know I'll be dropping by her house on the way home from work this afternoon.

Have a great day doing what you love.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Holiday Inn round 4

I finished Holiday Inn just in time for my Jo's Little Women Club on Saturday. I started this one a little lukewarm about it, but now I truly love it and can't wait to quilt it.

I wish I had a design wall, or at least a better way to photograph quilts and tops so they lay all nice and smooth. I tried the floor, but wasn't happy with the result. I think I need a new camera, too. My pictures come out very washed out. Sometimes I can play with Picasa and get a better result, sometimes not.

Please see my Pay it Forward post below. I'd love to make something for you!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Pay It Forward

Would you look at all of this adorableness! The lovely Carol of Carol's Crafty Creations just sent me the most wonderful Pay It Forward gifts. I got a Carol-made apron in a cupcake print fabric, a cupcake cookbook and a side-by-side cake pan set that makes a giant cupcake cake. The book was wrapped up in an adorable Holly Holderman fat quarter. My daughter and I are trying out the pan tomorrow night. I'll post a picture if we don't devour it first.

My husband brought the mail in this morning and I was late to work because of all the time I spent opening the box and oohing and ahhing over the gifts!

So now it is my turn to Pay it Forward! If you are unfamiliar with the process, it works like this: the first three people who comment on this post will receive something hand-made (and maybe a little something extra!) from me within the next 365 days. In turn, you promise to pay it forward and make something for three people who comment on your blog. It's way fun.

I hope you post a comment; please do! I can't wait to get started.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The design bed strikes again

A number of years ago - maybe 12 or so - I saw the most wonderful quilt consisting of embroidered baskets and alternate solid blocks. It was at the annual quilt show in Tyler, Texas. (Side note: My personal advice, based on my experience, is to try never to live in Tyler, Texas).

Anyway, the minute I saw the quilt I knew I had to put it on my "must make" list. I don't know if it won viewers' choice that year, but I think that it did; I know it got my vote. I stared at it forever.

There's something so special to me about simple embroidery. Maybe because it was the first craft my mom taught me, or because all of our pillowcases were embroidered and all our our dressers had embroidered scarves on them.

Fast forward to last year when my LQS featured Cake Walk by Sandy Brawner as a block of the month. It's not exactly like the one I saw in Tyler - in fact, I might like this one more. I was thrilled to sign up for it, and here it is, about a year later, ready to be put together. Well, almost. I've only done one corner setting triangle and one side setting triangle.

The picture does not do it justice. I know 30's repros are not everyone's cup of tea, but I love them.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Playing catch up

Whew! I was way behind the rest of my Jo's Little Women group, but today I finally got caught up with Holiday Inn. We meet next week to work on the final installment of this four part project. Yes, that's 72 1.5-inch half square triangles and 48 2.5-inch hourglass blocks. I'm loving it, but I'm sorry for the less than beautiful picture.

Here's a Jo's Little Women from way back. It's my version of Cabin Corners, which I think was in Jo's Little Women I. I took liberties with the center block.

Having a nice pre-Father's Day. Being a clergy family, we usually celebrate Sunday holidays the day before. We presented the dad of the house with a new mega-capacity bird feeder and bird seed containers. He was pleased, I think. We'll take him out to lunch tomorrow after church.

Friday, June 19, 2009

A Friday Finish

Here's the finished Black and White and Red All Over top that has been on the design wall, I mean, bed, for a couple of weeks. It's not a great picture I know but the wind was blowing and my holders quickly grew impatient. I can't wait to get this one quilted, but I still haven't decided how yet - hand, my machine, or the lovely long-armer.

My LQS is offering "Southern Stars" by Pacific Patchwork as their Weekend Sampler ($5 quilt). Here are blocks 1 and 2.:

And other than that, I'm working on the third round of "Holiday Inn" from Jo Morton for Jo's Little Women (series 8). It will probably be ready for picture-taking tomorrow. Didn't really think I'd be crazy about it, but the larger it gets, the more I like it.

Off to play Dogopoly with husband and daughter. Have a good weekend, everyone!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

I'm getting there

Here is Black and White and Red All Over one week later. During the week, I only get to sew about one hour a day - usually from about 5 - 6 a.m.

I like to put quilts together in quarters - not row by row. It's easier for me to manage a big quilt in "chunks" and I could be wrong, but I think it makes it easier to match up the seams.

I fixed the block with the half-square triangle that was turned the wrong way. I debated with myself about it for days. I really prefer leaving mistakes in place unless they're just completely distracting. When I was finished fixing it I was kinda' sorry I had - I couldn't really get the points to match up when I re-sewed. Of course, my eye goes straight to that block every time I look at the quilt, but no one else's will.

Here's a border option I'm thinking about. What do you think? Maybe when I get the top sewn together I'll take some pics of some of my other options.
Next decision: hand or machine quilt or send it to the long-armer.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

On my design wall, I mean bed

My LQS started a block of the month program called "Black and White and Red All Over" last year. The patterns are Moda University patterns and each month we got fabric for three 9-inch blocks. It was an eight-month program, so 24 blocks total.

I love this approach to setting sampler blocks and love, love the Windham fabric I found for the alternate blocks. Black/white florals always remind me of my grandmother, for some reason.

I had to add some extra blocks to the 24 to get the size I wanted, so I consulted Around the Block with Judy Hopkins for the perfect additions. They blend right in, because I had in my stash some of the same fabrics as we got in our block kits (see why it's good to have a healthy stash!).

Of course, you can see the downside in having a design bed instead of a design wall. Her name is Chip, because we were told at the pound that she was a he. Thinking that surely they knew what they were talking about, we named her before actually verifying the facts.

Isn't it funny how photographing something can reveal a mistake you hadn't noticed in "real life?" Can you spot it?

Visit Judy for links to more design walls and add yours!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Tip of the Week

My eyes are not what they used to be, apparently. I've been having trouble cutting very dark fabric, especially when I'm cutting on the whole inch mark. I use my 5-inch square Omnigrid ruler a lot, but it can be really hard to line up the skinny black whole inch line on black fabric.

So, I came up with a solution that works on lots (but not all) black or really dark fabric:

Just turn the fabric over and cut on the wrong side, which is likely to be quite a bit lighter than the "right" side! Sooooo much easier to see. Like I said, it won't work for all black and dark fabrics - if your fabric is yarn dyed, like a homespun, you're probably out of luck.

I'm probably 100 years late in discovering this trick, but I thought I'd pass it along anyway.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The other wall

This is the fourth wall in the sewing room, the one I haven't photographed before because nothing was on it until yesterday.

I've had the rack for years, but just had never put it up in this house until yesterday. I've talked about the Tennessee Puzzle quilt on the end before, here. I found the Fancy Dresden Plate in a trunk at my in-laws' house in Florida after my mother-in-law died. I think my husband's grandmother must have made it.

The kaleidoscope is just a top. I think my mom pieced it, or maybe my grandmother. I actually have two - I guess they were planned for twin beds. I hope to quilt them soon.

The little sofa is not centered under the rack for a reason - I wouldn't be able to get in the door of the room if it was! I'm really thinking of taking out one of the closets on the other wall and converting that space to either a cutting center or a sewing center. The latter is appealing, especially since the machine and its table would be up against a wall, which would be beneficial for supporting the quilt while machine quilting.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

More new stuff and a finish

First, the finish. I pieced this Quilt-In-A-Day table runner months ago and wondered when I'd ever have time to hand-quilt it. With my new Elna, I didn't have to hand-quilt it. I pulled it out last week and finished it in time to donate it to the silent auction for my daughter's choir this week. For my first attempt at "real" machine quilting, I'm super happy with it. I just hope someone bids on it!

I bought this cute pink bathroom shelf at the antique mall where I won the windmill plate. I love it!

This book rack is not new, more like new-ish, but until last week the sewing room wasn't clean enough to photograph it!

The local JoAnn Fabrics was closing and sold all their fixtures, as well. I bought this Leisure Arts book rack for a song. It takes up more room than I'd like, but I enjoy having some of my books out where I can see them, instead of on a shelf in the closet.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Something new in the sewing room

I have a new sewing machine. I had no idea last week at this time that that would be a true statement. And no, it's not a Mother's Day gift, although I've had a lovely Mother's Day with gifts, flowers, lunch, ice cream, and best of all, hanging out and crafting with my daughter.

Last Sunday I noticed an ad in the paper for an Elna dealer and sewing machine repair shop that was going out of business due to the owner's impending retirement. They advertised new and old machines - a complete clear out of their shop. I ran over on my lunch hour Wednesday, thinking they might have some cute vintage machine that would be fun to own and I could pick up for a song.

And then I saw her. An Elna 6600 Quilter's Dream, 50 percent off. I test drove. I admired. I calculated. I checked the checking account. And then I left the store without her. Got back to work and called and said, "Hold it for me until tomorrow." Read online reviews, e-mailed a friend who has an Elna to get the scoop and consulted the hubby, who finally talked me into it and said he'd meet me at the shop at lunchtime on Thursday to seal the deal.

And now she's mine. Here's the progression from box in the dining room to pride of place in the sewing room:

The table runner is an Eleanor Burns design from years ago that I'm putting together for a donation for a silent auction fundraiser for my daughter's high school choir. All stash fabrics.

I'm very happy with my purchase, although even at half-price we'll be eating ramen noodles for a week or two. I have not done much (hardly any) machine quilting before. I think I'm going to love it.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

And the winner is...

...Me! I'm rather lucky when it comes to door prizes. I've won a brand new guitar, a large and beautiful watercolor painting, fabric and gift certificates at numerous shop hops, a Christopher Radko Christmas ornament that I gave to my sister, grocery store gift cards.... Today, one of our local (and last remaining) antique malls was having an open house and my name was drawn for this:

Isn't it cute!

Christmas in May!

for the "Here Comes Santa" redwork quilt by Bird Brain Designs.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Bloggers' Quilt Festival

It's the 11th hour (almost literally) and I'm joining the Bloggers' Quilt Festival organized by Amy of Park City Girl. I can't say this is my true favorite quilt, but it has to be one of my very top three. Or five.

The pattern is Cat's Cradle or Tennessee Puzzle, and I originally blogged about it here. After our mother died we found several tops in her house that our grandmother had pieced. Grandmother made quilts to keep her family warm, and all of the quilts that had been quilted had worn out! The tops were in pretty good condition. Mom had always intended to have them quilted, but never did. I had done a small amount of piecing at the time, and a stitch -and-flip-machine- pieced-and-quilted-at-the-same-time quilt but never hand-quilted. My sister took a couple of tops home and I took a couple, this one and a Bow Tie that I love. One day about 10 years later, I just decided to figure this hand-quilting thing out. I first quilted one of my sister's tops - a Sunbonnet Sue. Then I did this one. I was hooked.

Check out the almost 600 quilts in the festival. Amy promises to do another festival in October. I've never been in a "live" quilt show, but I'll bet lots of people who have been have never been in a virtual show!

A Garden Collage

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Tomorrow's Menu

Cranberry-Orange Salad
Green Enchiladas
Pinto Beans
Mexican Rice
Mandarin Mousse
Ok, so it's not your basic ham and potato salad. The cranberry-orange salad I make for every holiday. I haven't made green enchiladas in years, but I've really been hankering for thems. If you are going to have green enchiladas, you must have rice and beans, right? And the mandarin mousse I can make nearly fat- and sugar-free, so that's a bonus.
The chicken for the enchiladas is boiling now and next I'm going to make the tomatillo sauce so I have less to do tomorrow.
Happy Easter, everyone!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Chester 1995-2009

We're saying good-bye to Chester tomorrow. He's been our friend, family member, pet and pet peeve (sometimes) for 12 years. For a long time I'll come in the back door at the end of a long day and wonder why he isn't running to meet me. I'll drop a French fry and no one will be there to grab it.

At the risk of getting all Marley and Me, I'll never forget how he...

...once got a little too close to a neighborhood skunk. The vet tried bathing him in tomato juice, but needed extra because he drank so much of it.

...with lightening speed, after watching my daughter open it once, moved across a room and in one motion opened the parakeet cage with his nose, snatched Jazzy from her perch and tore down the stairs with her in his mouth. Maybe tomorrow he'll be racing around heaven looking for her to play with, or maybe to apologize to.

...chewed through a chain link fence. So not kidding.

...snuck on the bed day after day after day, thinking I wouldn't notice or hoping I wouldn't care.
...stole sack lunches from the construction workers building the house across the field. Tin foil and corn husks (from the tamales) soon littered the yard.

...knew how to hug. Sitting close to him, you could say, "Give me a hug, Chessie," and he'd flop his head onto your chest and leave it there, now again lifting his head and making the kind of eye contact that says, I understand every word you're saying.

Which he didn't, of course, he was just a dog. But he did understand:

"Walk," and "Walk?"




"Do you want some food in your bowl?"

bu most of all, he understood

"Good dog!"

Saturday, January 17, 2009

A Superstar Evening

Last night we went to see the touring production of Jesus Christ, Superstar. My husband and I have a lot of memories of the show, being "children of the 70's" as we are. My dh once played Herod in a local production and I remember playing the Broadway cast albums over and over and over until I knew every word of every song from start to finish. When we saw it was coming to our town we decided to take our daughter, who has never seen it. Then when we saw that Ted Neeley was playing Jesus - Ted Neeley who played Jesus in 1972 - Ted Neeley who is now 65-years-old - I wasn't sure I wanted to go, but we did - and it was pretty good, better than I expected. His voice wasn't smooth, but it was powerful. Makes we want to hunt up my albums and play them.

On the stitching front I finished another of the embroidered blocks for Sandy Brawner's Cake Walk quilt that my LQS is doing as a BOM.

A little while ago I made this cute bird that I saw on Kama's cute blog this morning. You can find the pattern from these nice people.

Being Quiltbirdie I just had to make one! I made it for my DD, who loves home-crafted surprises.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Santa Number 9

This is Bird Brain Santa number 9 for me and now I'm all caught up - didn't make it to the pajama sale last week, so I'll have to run over to the quilt shop on my lunch hour one day next week to see if any more are ready.

I'm very lucky because I have a quilt shop within walking distance of my job and a quilt shop within walking distance (.3 mile!) of my house! How many quilters can say that?

Friday, January 2, 2009

And here's another

This one didn't take very long at all - I started it yesterday morning and finished today about 5 p.m. Considering the fact that we went shopping yesterday afternoon and today from 11 - 2, I think it was exceptionally fast. I wish the background fabric photographed better. It's a tone on tone which looks like baby blocks or stars depending on how you look at it.

This makes eight completed blocks - however, the label on this one's package said it was number nine, so somewhere in my sewing room is another one ready to trace. That leaves three still to be purchased as they become available at my LQS. DD and I are heading over there tomorrow morning for their pajama sale, so I'll see if they have month 10 ready to pick up.