Monday, December 31, 2007

Ah..the end of the year

I can't believe it's the end of the year..where does it all go? Reflecting over this past year brings lots of fun memories of travels and some sad times too. And has me again thinking is 'this' how I want my life to go? I'm sitting here in a bit of a fog due to the flu--that somehow hit me the DAY after my Open House and the culmination of most of my activities. How convenient for me to get sick now, huh? But as I take pause and think of the next year ahead, what do I want? Okay, besides world peace, LOL. I want time with my grandkids, geez the oldest one is 7 already! I love teaching quilting and for some reason, my classes continue to grow, so I guess that's a sign to keep on. I love traveling and visiting so many people and seeing such wonderful places. And a bit more time to donate to the church. So, what has to give? I need balance and right now, I don't feel balanced. I need help, anyone has suggestions? :) I saw that Bonnie over at Quiltville has decided to give herself the gift of time--GREAT idea! Now, how to do it?
I am closing out my 2007 tab on my Excel spreadsheet and saw that I finished 23 quilts this year, 8 of them were donated to charities or someone in need and 1 was sold. A good year I guess until I realize that most of my quilts are now for class samples, etc. I really need to get into doing some quilts JUST for me, a little more challenging. Although, I did do that Quilt 24 Challenge. Unfortunately, my UFO list grew a little bit longer than I wanted-LOL.

Here are a few samples I got done for my Open House. This one is called Ripple Effect and it uses 2 1/2" strips--it's a commercial pattern, but I can't remember the name of the company right off the top of my head. This is just partially done--I was getting down to the wire with my samples! LOL

This one is a Tulip Purse --the pattern can be found here. I just love the shape! And was so easy to make.This one is Allegro by Terry Atkinson of Atkinson Designs. One of the best stash busters! This one used 28 FQ's! And yes, all from my stash!

This one I called Grandma's Irish Chain, since I used Grandmother Flower Garden blocks in the open blocks. I intend to add a 8" border with more GFG pieces on a vine. The quilt is just really to teach the Irish Chain and my other one is a Triple Irish chain with 1" blocks and seemed a bit much for beginning students. :) Well, this one uses 1" blocks also, but just one row of them. I plan to design each student's pattern for them, according to how big they want the blocks and how big they want the quilt. It's such a cinch in EQ6!

okay, enough of my rambling. I hope this finds everyone safe and healthy for a Happy New Year in 2008! And if anyone has any ideas on how to get more balanced...let me know! :)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Missing in Action

Actually, I've been missing, but wasn't in action! LOL I've been a totally lazy bum, lounging on a beach chair in WARM SUN, something that we are totally lacking right now! I tried to post from our hotel, but the internet was sketchy at best. Totally frustrating for my hubby, but I was kind of glad. heehee I took NOT ONE bit of sewing to do and only read a few books in 11 days. Unusual for me, but just enjoyed some down time. I'm paying for it now, but that's okay.

This picture was taken from our back door the day before we left--we ended up getting about 5-6" of snow and was 1 degree!!! Glad to be headed out of town!

We took a catamaran ride over to a little island to have freshly caught lobster cooked over a wood fire for us. He was trying to convince me to hold the lobster for a photo. The whole time the thing is flipping his tail and has little thorny things on his antenna....eewww! I'm a real wimp when it comes to that.

They split them open, cleaned them a bit, grilled over a wood fire and added butter with garlic and sauteed shallots. Yumm!

Yah was good to get away....walking the beach, eating awesome food, meeting new friends....watching an amazing sunset while watching cliff divers....sailing on azul waters....swinging in a hammock.....totally kickin' back. Ah..but the fantasy life had to come to an end. So, now I'm home, rushing around again but looking back with fond memories! (pssst..and a few quilt ideas!)

Friday, November 30, 2007

Help! I'm buried!

Well, not really, but I feel like it. Does anyone else need more than 24 hours in a day? And require no sleep? Boy--I guess I just have way too many ideas to get everything done that I would like! Besides teaching classes, I've been getting new class samples and a schedule for next year done. I love teaching, but this part makes gives me anxiety attacks at getting everything done for an Open House at the end of the year. AND doing other things to boot. After I got back from Houston, I was on a quilting high and decided on what classes I was going to teach at my Studio from Jan. to May and I cut and cut and cut out LOTS of kits. Talk about a Stashbuster! I will have to add them up and add it to my Stashbusting list and get on Judy's list.
Then we went to SC for Thanksgiving with my parents. We got some baking done--some Dutch pastries that I was having a hard time making. I'm so excited--it's my favorite Christmas treat! I even talked hubby into doing the crazy Black Friday shopping! And we got most of it done. I have it all wrapped, and what I didn't get, I ordered on Cyber Monday and finished it up. I love Amazon--they had everything I wanted and couldn't find in the stores--at the same prices AND FREE shipping! And I got it all yesterday and today! So, I'm done! Which is a good thing, because two days after we got home, my friend from the Netherlands arrived. She's still here and leaves on Monday. I put all my Christmas decorations up and the tree up so she could see how the Americans decorate for the Holidays. Since she's a quilter, we've spent some time sewing as well. So, I've been working on class samples. Here's the Bargello--8+ yards, busted from the Stash (minimum length in stash, 2 years up to 11 years!)

This is the BQ quilt by Debbie Bowles--it looks great with lots of different novelty fabrics, etc. A great beginners quilt--and a FAST fun one for quilter's with experience. About 6 yards total busted from my stash!

The next one is inspired by Leanne's 360 calendar quilt. I don't think I could do a little journal I'm going to do one per week and then frame each week's with 2" squares. I will write in some and maybe embroider in others and maybe applique in some too. The original layout I came up with had all the blocks being vertical and I would need 54 total. So I was going to have an 'introductory' block and then a 'finishing' one. But now that I've been playing around with it, I think it might look good with some going horizontal and others vertical. We'll see, it will be a work in progress. And I used 22 Fat 1/8's for the blocks--and ?? for the background.

This is a Salt Water Taffy block--it looks so fun in bright pastels, like Salt Water Taffy--but I've seen this one done in Christmas colors and Halloween colors too. About 6 yards released from Stash!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Dear Jane and others progress

It seems like I can either sew or blog, but have a hard time doing both! I've been super inspired by being surrounded by quilts in Houston to come home and sew! Well, that plus a few deadlines! LOL I did get my DJ block done while in Houston, but didn't get it posted. And then I got last week's done on Sat. night about 11 PM--just under our self-imposed deadline! The first one is H4 ane the second one is H5. It takes my total pieces to 1902. I thought that sounded like a lot, but there are over 5300 pieces total, I believe, or close to it. Which means I'm not even halfway! :(

These blocks are for my Friday night quilt group exchange. We swap blocks every year and this year decided to do the Monkey Wrench (or Churn Dash), but about half the group is very traditional and the other half tend to lean towards the more bright, contemporary quilts. So the solution was this....We got to choose what colors we liked and whether we wanted it pieced Traditional style or "Liberated", like above. Here are 3 out of 4 sets of the 'liberated' blocks I've made so far. We had to make 4 blocks per person (that's how many you could get out of 2 FQ's). I've also been working on a quilt to hang in my Living day it will get done. I just hope it gets to hang a while before I decide to change the colors again! LOL I'm going to use a Poppy fabric on the borders and pulled all my basket colors from that print.

And this is on my daily sewing list (I also am doing the Calendar quilt...from Pat Sloan's website where you add one new piece of fabric per day, a Scrappy Diamond Star, one Heartstring block, and one of the blocks for a class sample I'm making). This is a scrappy Flying Geese, all cut out of my scraps!I've been also very busy at cutting out 'kits' for myself for making class samples. I have tested one block per quilt to make sure it all works right. I cut out 7 quilts last week, ALL out of stash! Yee haw! Two of the quilts required at least 8 yards of fabric total. I shocked myself in that I was able to pull out enough fabric for a Bargello quilt (that required 12 different fabrics). My stash STILL does not look like it's been even touched. Okay, it's been touched, because it's a mess, but no dent in the fabric!

I'm also did a customer quilt last week (I really don't do that much--only if someone wants it meandered). The longarmers around here get so backed up at this time of year, that once in a while I'll pitch in and help out a student. But I'll gladly leave that business to the longarmers! I don't know how they do it! I'm also doing a commissioned quilt for a lady who has a total of 12 siblings in her family and they wanted a memory quilt to give to their mother. I had to put 30 pictures on fabric and somehow standardize the block. I got it cut out last night. My goal it to have it pieced by the day's end, quilted by tomorrow night, binding on by Wednesday night and deliver it by Thursday. I know, I dream a lot! I act as if I don't have anything else to do. So..with that, I better get off and go start sewing! LOL Have a great day!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Houston Quilt Festival

Wow--what a whirlwind trip! I just got back from attending the Houston International Quilt Festival and I am beat! It was extra special this year as my good friend, Ted Storm (yes, she is a woman with an unusual nickname) won the Master Award for Traditional Artistry. "Spring of Desire"Her quilt was completely done by hand, all the lined applique, mirrors and 3/8" cross-hatch grid quilting! Congratulations Ted! And congratulations to all the other winners as well. Such wonderful, talented people out there. Hollis Chatelain won Best of Show with her painted and quilted rendition of Archbishop Tutu surrounded by children all with a purple hue as seen to her in a dream. I'd show a picture, but there are going to plenty around shortly of her beautiful quilt. Ted brought an entourage from the Netherlands (7, including her) and I brought 6 of my friends--so it was a lot of fun sharing our love of quilting, American style, with the Dutch crew.
We also showed them how to 'let loose' and have a little fun too! We wore kitty ear headbands (and I even added whiskers, a nose and LOOONG eyelashes) for Halloween, how to have a pajama party and have Show and Tell! How else are you going to know what you NEED to go back and buy the next day? LOL It was too much fun and went by way too quick. I'll show more quilt show pictures when I get the names lined up with the correct photos! :)

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Dear Jane...

welcomes me back! LOL Actually, I was zipping around the webring and noticed that on Pam's Pages that she had another blog about her Dear Jane. I finally checked it out and I would have sworn that she took the picture at MY house! She does hers exactly how I do..has the same tools--the thread, the glasses..the ring pincushion, the snips, the felt board. It was uncanny. Unfortunately, it's been almost 9 months since I have done a block! Well, after a few emails back and forth, we are kind of challenging each other to keep at it. It's so easy to get away from it. I do great when the blocks are all prepped, but when they are not..I put it off. I was told early on in my DJ adventure to do them in order, otherwise you'll do all the easy ones and only the hard ones will remain. So, I prepare one row at a time. Since I'm doing them all by hand, I trace the pattern onto freezer paper (Pam's smart--she got the DJ CD and prints them on freezer paper--which was NOT available when I first started), and then cut them out and adhere them onto the fabric. I trace the templates with a fine pencil and then hand sew them. When I get all the blocks in a row done, I sew the row together with the sashing. At least I won't lose the blocks this way! So...thanks to Pam, I'm back on the DJ track and have one more done! H3 with 24 pieces bringing my total to: 94 blocks done, 1877 pieces.
Here's the dreaded block of the bunch..I see my star points on the insdie aren't perfect..but hey--it's done! And those seams were only 3 stitches long! I did this about 3 years ago already! I guess it's about time I get back on the stick!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Quilt Pink

We participated in Quilt Pink this year, but in a little different way. It was so awesome that Quilt Pink received so many donated quilts to auction last year. The bad thing is that it was a LOT of quilts to auction off. You can't help but wonder if the market got a little saturated. Just goes to show you how generous quilters are! So, in wondering what I could do this year for Quilt Pink, I was wishing there were a local person that a quilt could be given to? Shortly after that, a student of mine called me and filled me on her friend (who has taken classes also) was struggling a bit with her breast cancer treatments and was there any way we could get people together to make her a quilt? Well, there you have it--an answer to prayer!

So I started searching for patterns that would be great to have all levels of quilters be able to do. I thought I had a great design and thought I would check over at Bonnie's for one last look-see. Lo and behold, I found the perfect pattern. And someone submitted her version in...pinks and whites! The colors we were doing! So, at the end of September, after one of my classes, about 8 people got together to sew Delectable Mountain blocks. I thought I would just have to make up whatever we didn't get done that day. And do you know we got 32 blocks done in 2 1/2 hours! I was shocked! Emma, our intended receipient, happened to be there to socialize. She wasn't up to sewing or even getting up to look at the progress, but just enjoyed the chatter and cackling that goes on in a room full of quilters! When someone said, we're done, I didn't believe her! She made me go look at the design wall in the other room. We brought Emma in to see it and asked how she liked 'her' quilt. The comment went over her head. So I said, 'Emma--this is for YOU!' She was so surprised, she knew the quilt was a charity quilt for Quilt Pink, but had no clue SHE was going to get it. She held good control of her emotions (meaning she didn't break down and bawl) and causing all of us to cry! Unfortunately, that was still part of the same weekend that I 'lost' my camera, so I didn't get pictures of the participants, but here's the quilt..Thanks to Mary Jo, Maureen, Deb, Julie, Joyce, Jenny and Sharon for their generous help in getting all these blocks done. I sewed them together and added a border and then finished the quilting last week. Emma came for a visit on Saturday to a class and we were able to present her the quilt.

Deb (her friend who suggested the whole idea) and Emma. We wish you the very best Emma in your treatments and pray that they 'beat' this disease in your body!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Welcome to Alia Rae

A little girl sent from heaven.............Thanks to God for a safe delivery and healthy baby!
I tried posting this on October 16 and Blogger wouldn't let me post pictures :( And what kind of blog is it without pictures? Anyway, my daughter and her husband welcomed their second little girl (and third child) into the world on Oct. 16 at 11:51 AM. She was 7 lbs. 15 oz. and 19" long. Everything went fairly well and speedy and we all thought her new doctor did a great job. There were a couple of things that gave us great comfort in how he handled things. Baby and new Mom are doing great! Her name is Alia (AL-ee-ah) Rae. Here's Mom on speaker phone 5 MINUTES after giving birth telling her Grandma and Grandpa in South Carolina. Proud aunt --she's Aunt #5 she says :)Nana and big sister (4) are getting a close look at that cute little thing. She did the thorough inspection and determined--'she's SMALL!'

Monday, October 15, 2007

Blog Action Day

First..on a 'quilty' note...this is for my new grandbaby, who is scheduled to arrive TOMORROW! I'll let you know all the details, but wanted to show the quilt I made for him/her this past weekend. I put Minkee on the back--ah, so soft! It's a bit hard to tell in the picture, but the middle pictures on the top and bottom rows, and the side panels on the middle row are made from chenille. Lots of fun colors and textures to stimulate a baby. :)

I'm joining in on Blog Action Day along with other Blogger's wanting to make a difference in our environment. I'm just one person, but I can make a difference in what "I" do. And the one thing that I had actively decided to do (starting this past summer) is to eliminate plastic bags and water bottles from my life. When San Francisco decided to ban plastic shopping bags, it made me start to think about not only the waste it creates, but the damage to the environment and animals. This quote is from Ecobags, "Starting with the simple step of bringing your own reusable bag to shop may seem trivial, but it creates a "mindset" that has a big impact on those who make that choice. Like anything, the more people who take this simple step, the more it seems like the natural and right thing to do." I went one step further and rather than buy MORE stuff, I decided to recycle all my canvas tote bags from the various quilt shows I've attended and a few others. I'm also making my own bags out of my old valances (I can't bear to part with anything! LOL I mean after all, it's still good fabric!) When I first started taking my 'bag full of bags' to the grocery store, I got some strange looks! Remember, I live in the Midwest. :) The baggers (usually young teenagers) kind of rolled their eyes at me, it makes their job a little tougher. After all, they just can't throw 1 or 2 things in a bag. They actually have to plan a little bit what type of groceries to put in each bag as not to squish anything. Remember the old days when a 'good bagger' was worth waiting in line for? Anyway, they are used to me now and I was so excited when I was shopping the other day, there were 3 other people with their own bags! I know it's such a small thing, but it really is true, once you make a simple step to start making a difference, it's easy to take other small steps too.

And water bottles! "using a premium reusable bottle like SIGG greatly helps reduce unnecessary environmental waste caused by plastic PET water bottles. Sadly, Americans add over 30 million plastic water bottles to our nation's landfills – everyday!
While not everyone is ready to purchase a hybrid vehicle, we believe every little bit helps. And thinking "reusable" instead of "disposable" is a great place to start. So, Rise Above Plastic – and consider the advantages of hydrating with a SIGG."
although I have been using just the generic water bottles, these are so fun!
So, what are YOU doing to make a small difference in your corner of the world?

Monday, October 08, 2007

catching up

Seems like it's either feast or famine with me! I have a lot on my plate and hardly have had any computer time. But I'm getting stuff done! And I'm my own worst enemy, I swear! I misplaced my camera, so I didn't get to take pictures of my PJ party, where we made the heart pincushions from the free pattern at Fat Quarter Shop. My husband was out of town and I told him that too bad he missed it, because we all wore lingerie that night--but no pictures! LOL yeah right... I finally got this top finished, 4 Patch and Friends. It's from a Debbie Caffrey book "Open a Can of Worms". I had 4 blocks done for a class, and then finished the other 76 in Canada this summer and then realized I didn't bring border material. So, I just sat down and assembled the blocks and added the borders. Another one for the quilting pile! They do add up quick, don't they? I wish I were as prolific as Mary in getting my quilts quilted.
I also didn't have my camera for my Quilt Pink Day. Neat be continued. I finally found my camera--so I can take a picture of what blocks we made, but not the people. :( oh was a great day anyway.
On a personal daughter (who is pregnant and due next week) went to the doctor last week and saw the nurse practitioner. She told her, the way. The doctor (a female)is having a bit of trouble with her 'on call' staff because they want more $$ for her increased business and they can't settle on a pricing structure, so she is without them for the moment. AND the hospital won't let her deliver babies without that on call staff and since the Dr. was going out of town this week for a conference, she hasn't been able to work out a deal. SOOO, long story short--find yourself another doctor! Yes--my daughter left the Dr.'s office, had to go back to work and start calling Dr.'s to see if anyone would take her at 38+ weeks! After about 10 calls, (most of them either couldn't fit her in their schedule or was appalled that she would try to find a Dr. so late in her pregnancy!), she found one. He was most sympathetic and said he knew the situation and would be most happy to help her. But he needed to see her immediately! So, I went with her yesterday and he was very compassionate and understanding of her situation. Plus, he was REAL easy on the eyes! heehee (the Mom's agreed he should be her Dr.!) So, with a week left to go, she now has a Dr. she has met and he was very kind and understanding. But wow! What an unprofessional Dr. she had! First of all, she didn't tell my daughter herself and she was in this situation the last time she saw my daughter. And she delivered her other two babies. Apparently there is more to the story that they were letting on, like she lost her liability insurance. So, stay tuned...grand baby #5 will soon be here!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

24FQ Challenge is done!

Well, it started clear back in February, when another group of friends wanted to do the 24 FQ Challenge with me. We all plugged along and MOST of us hung in there to the very end. I chose a bundle of fabric my hubby bought for me, "Feedsack Reproductions" by Windham Fabrics. Not my usual type of fabric, so it was a challenge to take 30's fabrics and make them a little more contemporary. I did for most of them, but I did so some very traditional patterns too.
1. We had to make a twin size quilt.. remember Judy's One Hour Challenge, Gratitude? Here's mine!

2. Then we had to do a's my off-centered version..3. We also had to do an applique..I showed this month's ago..remember "The One who Got Away" ? 4. My traditional quilt, this fabric just screams for a few traditional quilts...

5. And "Remember Me?" -another one I have shown before. Made using some of my Grandma's tea towels.

more to come.........

24 FQ Challenge, #2

and continuing on (I had to do it like this since Blogger doesn't like to load lots of pictures at one time, we'll see how I do at trying to fool blogger! LOL)
6. "Tower of Spools"- I've always wanted to do a spool quilt--and so I did! I designed it in EQ6. and forgive the crooked pictures, I can't decide if I put them on the wall that way or I take crooked pictures! Sorry if you have to lean your head all the time! LOL7. "Spinning Stars"-one I designed in EQ6, it was supposed to be a large table topper, and oops! not enough fabric..then a small table topper..still not it's a Table Runner now! 8. "Scrappy Tumbling Blocks"- I just love doing these little things! I've done so many now that doing "Y" seams is a cinch! I don't even mark them anymore, but I do have a mark on my presser foot that tells me when I'm 1/4" away. 9. 8-point Stars--I can't decide whether to make these into two pillows, one rectangular pillow--or alternate them with plain red squares and make a BIG pillow? So, they are not 'complete' quite yet... 10. Postcard--I decided this was a great way to remember the challenges that I have done..the fabrics are all right there! and now Blogger would like me to quit..but I'll be back....more coming...

24FQ Challenge Finale!

And now I was down to just bits and scraps of fabrics, but we were supposed to use 100% of the fabric (okay--that's my personal goal. I suspect some of them threw the last bits away!) If you remember the last challenge, I made a Thread Bowl out of the rest of tidbits. I didn't want to do the same thing, so I crazy patched a foundation piece and was tired of doing it. I thought I'll just make it into a pin cushion and stuff it with the rest of my fabric bits and finish it off with stuffing! And marked it, #11

The Ends! :)
and there you have it folks--100% of 24 Fat Quarters (plus no more than 2 additional fabrics)! I have the other gals pictures of their challenge quilts on my website if you'd care to see what they did. Scroll down the page and click on the link for Quilt Challenge.