Thursday, June 29, 2006

Back from Colorado

The renuion was a blast! Being from Denver, I really miss the mountains. I live in Central Ohio, where it is flat, flat, flat! What was really sad though was to see the damage from the forest fires. The picture shows one that was caused by a cigarette or something stupid like that. How sad. The weather was superb, as always. We had about 70+ people attend, from 5 weeks old to 78 years old. It is so fun to get together with family that is scattered throughout the USA and we missed those that couldn't attend, including 2 of my daughters and their families. I realized that when I went to post, that almost ALL my pictures are on my laptop. So I'll just share the pictures I took the last day. We played lots of games, including a scavenger hunt that required you to get pictures of different things. I downloaded everyone's camera onto my laptop and then we scored the teams on their efforts. Then I had a slide show to let everyone see what the people saw through their cameras. I think we had over 1200 pictures! It was a lot of fun. Now I'm going to have to load them onto my PC. Hmm, might take a while! We held our reunion up in the mountains, at the Church camp. What a wonderful, secluded place to be. We swam in the pool, took hikes to the waterfall, to the top of the mountain, had church in the little chapel, played silly games, ate a LOT, made beaded bracelets and just had plain fun. The picture on the left is my youngest daughter, Sheleah, with my cousin's daughter, Kaylee. Sheleah attached herself to Kaylee and she was so sweet to her. The other picture is of my immediate family, my parents, my brother and family and my family minus my two daughter's families.
The only thing that put a damper on the whole thing was my back did not cooperate very well. I had one awesome day and the others, well, not so great. The day we left to fly home was the worst. So my husband called our doctor so the very next morning (Wed.), I had an MRI. And it confirmed what we thought--I have a severe herniated disk in my lumbar region which is wrapped around the sciatic nerve. I have 3 options left--oral steroids--which I am doing right now, 9 days worth. An epidural injection of steroids, in which I'm getting tomorrow, and I'm a little nervous! the last option is surgery, so I'm praying that the first two work! I've tried different meds, stretching, chiropractic care, inversion table, massage therapy, biking, you name it, and I was trying it. I'm ready to be free of pain and get on with things!
I made two quilts for everyone to sign, one for me to keep and another one that I raffled off. I'll donate the proceeds to the Breast Cancer Foundation. I'll post pictures when I transfer the pictures over to my PC. All in all, a wonderful long weekend. It went by so fast, I wished we would make it longer.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Mission: Attack the scraps

Egads! This is just ONE of the bins of scraps I have. I keep all my bright scraps in this one and then I have a neutral bin, a red/pink bin, blacks/browns, greens and blues. And then I have drawers with different sized strips/squares. They are taking over my room. So, my mission is to reduce the scraps and stop the overflow.

Here is the first quilt--actually it's only 40" square, but I'm going to leave it like this for a class on using that Quiltsmart's method of doing Drunkard's Path. After class, I'll add more until it's at least a twin size.

I had more to post and had another back spasm. My miracle didn't happen:( Oh well. I will probably have an MRI when I return from my trip.
I did get 2 quilt tops made for my reunion, which starts tomorrow! Samantha--I'm heading your way. We are flying into Denver tomorrow and headed up into the mountains. We rent out the church camp for 4 days. I'm looking forward to it and hope my back decides to behave!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

It's dry!

Here it is...the very last of the fabric, cut into little pieces, all the little "trimmings" and I added little bits of bright yarns to make this FABRIC BOWL. .... So there it is, my challenge that literally used 100% of my fabric. It was hard to get a good picture of it. I made it by laying all the fabric pieces, etc. in between layers of Super Solvy, stitched in grids, diagonally and then a little bit of free motion and washed it almost all out, but left a bit of the Solvy in to hold the shape. I draped it over a bowl to form it. If you wash the Solvy completely out, it would have been flimsy with no form or shape.

And so to reward myself (I've also been cleaning out scrap bins, and have made 2 things already...another chapter), I bought this: more pinks/blacks as I'm doing a room in those colors so it really was necessary! :) And then that poppy print--I just loved it! so I bought a little fabric to go with it because I KNOW that I won't have anything to go with it at home.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Christmas quilt pattern

Thank you for all your kind comments on my Christmas quilt. Blogger hasn't been playing nice with me. Half the time I can't get into anyone's comments to make one or even my own! But I wanted to offer the EQ5 file to anyone that would like it. Just email me and I'll be happy to send it to you. I would link the post that it was in, but I don't know how to go back and link my own posts. I can do other links. Help?

Finishing up the challenge

Remember that challenge that I was working on? Well, I finally finished up the very last THREAD of that fabric! I ended up with 14 things--granted some are small, but nonetheless, I made very good use of all that fabric. I'm not sure what this block is called, but I used the "bonus" triangles from the Star quilt to make 6 blocks. I couldn't figure out a nice setting plus I didn't care for two of the blocks that had very light colors in them, therefore not allowing the design to show as much. I finally settled on making a wallhanging with 4 blocks (shown without the white borders) and two pillows with the other 2 blocks. The original pack of fabric had 30 FQ's in it and we only used 24 for the challenge. So I used 4 more FQ's to make the pillow backs(the kind that overlap). One is slightly bigger than the other because that's what size pillow forms I had!

I made 2 of these postcards, using 3/4" squares. I'm sending one of them to my friend that I did the challenge with and am keeping the other.

This little quilt used up those little bits and pieces that were leftover. The size is about 10x14.

This Postage Stamp Baskets ended up being about 2" per basket. I kept having to re-size my pattern until I got to a size that allowed me to use what fabric was left. I think the whole wallhanging size is 19" square. It's all pieced and I lost some points--but I had no more fiddlin' room, so the points are gone. I did fuse the handles as I was NOT about to do little bias stems! Plus I did not have the fabric for that. I pieced 1" strips for the 2nd border.

I have two other projects, but one was still wet?? :) and the other one needs to be quilted to show all the details and I'm done!!! This has been fun, and it was hard to stop--I could have made a few more miniatures I think, but enough was enough. I'll hopefully post tomorrow the last and final project. I squeezed every bit out of that fabric, you can't say I didn't get my money's worth~

Saturday, June 10, 2006

NQA Quilt show winner

Congratulations to Ted Storm (by the way, Ted is a nickname given to her by her little brother years ago--her name really is Riette) on winning Best of Show-Wall Quilt, Best Hand Workmanship-Wall Quilt and especially for winning the Master Quilter Award at the National Quilting Association's 37th Annual Quilt Show for her "Nocturnal Garden" quilt. Today is the last day of the show, being held in Columbus, Ohio. Ever since I first saw this quilt in a magazine, I have been in awe of it. The pictures absolutely do not give it justice. This is Ted's 3rd or 4th quilt-ever! And it took her about 5 years to make, working on this exclusively. It also won Best of Show in Houston in 2001.
I'm gonna brag here a bit, sorry, but I get to pick her quilt up today at the end of the show! I wonder how it's going to look in MY house? LOL Ted is coming to visit me in July, so I will have possession of the quilt for 3 weeks. I met Ted when I took a week long course from her in France in 2002. A long story short, we became close friends. It's been a lot of fun and a HUGE learning experience for me. She is so knowledgeable in fine, hand workmanship skills, which I am so lacking. I don't think I'll ever be at her level, but my handwork has vastly improved since meeting her.

Ted is also the inventor of the ThumbThimble, a thimble to worn on your thumb while handquilting. It replaces your thumb nail. For those of you who hand quilt, you know what I mean. You use your thumbnail when you want to quilt in an opposite direction in which you are accustomed. (i.e., like going from right to left, and going up). It's a wonderful tool. She developed the ThumbThimble while quilting on her Nocturnal Garden. Ted used to quilt in a hoop, but when she made her NG quilt, it has many shi-sha mirrors on it, preventing her from putting it in the hoop as they would break. So she had to work in a frame. And for those frame quilters, you know that you have to be able to quilt in all directions. I'm a frame quilter, and Ted asked me how I quilt in other directions. I told her I just moved my chair to the opposite side of the frame. :) The Thumb Thimble makes it so much easier.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Retreat quilt

I sometimes host retreats for other quilters and this past weekend was one of those retreats. There was no "theme" or instructions given, just finishing UFO's. Which means I get to sew! I still help the others quite a bit, but I did get some personal sewing done too. I finished the Row by Row quilt that I taught all year (from Sept. to May). I just need to add borders. This was made entirely from my stash. Mostly from leftovers from other Christmas quilts. My bin does NOT look like it has gone down ANY! Looks like I'll get a few more quilts from my scraps! I do have to buy the last border as I don't have enough of any one fabric to do the border. you see the one block on the bottom row that's different? LOL I didn't notice it until later. I tried to justify keeping it in. If it were in the center, I might have gotten by with "I meant to do that!". But I knew better. So I spent an hour yesterday picking the block out of the row, correcting the center and inserting it back in the row. I'm happier now! My students get a charge when they see me make a mistake. I tell them that I make all the mistakes first, so then they don't have to make their own! Actually, I think it boosts their moral a bit when they see me make mistakes. They realize that's just part of quilting. You laugh, take it out, do it over and go on.

This is one of my students who qualifies to be a real Stashbuster! She finished a class project (the Pineapple quilt) and then wanting to use the rest of the fabric and the "boo boo" blocks, she made her backing and busted ALL her leftover fabric from this quilt. Me? I would have hoarded the rest of the fabric, thinking I could put it in other projects. Which is why my closets and bins are overflowing. I love her backing, it almost makes it a reversible quilt. Way to go, Linda!
On a non-quilty note, I have been struggling with my sciatica nerve being pinched by a herniated disc. It started flaring up when I was helping my husband after his injury. I thought that once I quit lifting his legs, etc. it would get better. Well, it's gotten progressively worse to the point that I'm living on painkillers and anti-inflammatories to get through the day. I am NOT a pill taker, so it bothers me that I'm masking the real problem. My leg is numb down to my toes. Two nights ago, I got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and got stuck. Couldn't take a step because I was in so much pain. My hubby jumped up, got me to bed and got my drugs. I knew I had to do something. All the research we did on my problem all stems back to the compressed disc. Chiropractors haven't been able to help. Someone else suggested a Back Clinic that you lay on their tables and they stretch you out, getting the pressure off your disc. I didn't want to be tied down to running to doctor's and clinics all the time to get relief. So I ended up buying an inversion table (the ones that hang you upside down). Well, come to find out, you don't hang there for more than a minute, you oscillate back and forth, getting the spinal fluid moving. And you don't start off hanging straight up and down, 60 degrees is the one that you normally use, but you work up to that. I started at 20 degrees, and that wasn't enough, so I'm now using the 40 degree angle for a while. It felt good to be stretched out that way. I was hoping for a miracle and would wake up this morning free of pain, but I'm not. I don't know if it's my imagination or wishful thinking, but it seems as if it's not quite as painful. I know, this has taken 2 months to get to this point and it's going to take a while to get better. Let's just hope that I've found something that will truly help without using drugs.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Faithful Friends Quilt

This is a quilt I made for a long time friend who is in a sorority with me. I drew her name for Secret Sister. I always make a quilt for the last meeting of the year (which is in May) to present to my secret sis. Well, this friend has been dabbling with some quilting over the past years, but recently has decided this is something she really likes to do. It's so fun bringing little lost sheep into the quilter's fold, isn't it? :) Anyway, she saw a poster of mine that had all kinds of verses about friends and commented on how neat it would be to put those into a quilt. So I did! I made friendship stars for her to gather friends signatures and then when it's filled, I'll quilt it for her. She was happy with it, so that makes me happy. I liked the way it turned out, I might make a similar one for my family reunion this summer. Add different verses about family or something. But geez, it's only 3 weeks away and there is so much to do!