Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Happy Birthday my Miss Special K

I can't believe Miss K is 8 years old! We have such a special bond--not only being the oldest grandchild, she LOVES fabric and sewing and designing, etc. She'll come over and tell me that we NEED to go to the Studio. She likes it best when it's just her here by herself with me, then we can play all we want out there. :) Well, since she turned 8, I told her that it was time for her to sew on my machine by herself! She's a bit timid about getting hurt in anyway (which is a good thing), but I thought she was ready. I was making her a 3 tiered ruffle skirt and after a few practice pieces, turned over the hemming to her! I was shocked how much control she had over the machine (meaning...she didn't 'speed'!) and how straight she could sew. I put in little 1/4" hems and she sewed everyone of them perfect or darn close. I love it! Now we can do even MORE things together. She's gotten really good about designing and laying out quilts, but I had to sew them. Now she can start doing her own.

The final result. I had to finish it after she left, so I couldn't take a picture of her wearing it, but I will. I made one for my other granddaughter this summer, so now they have matching skirts. I also made some headbands to match. So...Happy Birthday Miss Special K--I am so blessed to have you in my life!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Stash report and some finishes!

Oops--a couple days late, again! Maybe it's because I have to report I bought a couple yards of fabric. My Friday night quilt group does an annual block exchange and we are to give little samples of fabric we'd like our blocks made from. We found this is the best way to exchange blocks. They still are allowed to add what they want, but in colors I prefer. We are too varied of a group, in fabric tastes, quilt styles, etc. to do a 'blind' exchange. Well, my colors have been sort of predicatible and so I thought I'd throw them for a loop! :) I'm asking for aqua and red blocks. I love that combination, but don't have a lot of it in my stash. So, I bought 4--1/2 yard pieces to give them samples and add to my own collection. Man, it's hard to find aqua right now! I've been sort of looking in my travels since this summer and not coming up with a lot. I'm thinking that retro aqua color. I did get some quilt tops quilted and bound this past week--so that was good clearing out some stash.

Stash IN this week--2 yards

Stash USED this week--9 yards

Stash IN YTD--39.25 yards

Stash OUT YTD--301.25

Net TOTAL--262 yards BUSTED!!!
And for some finishes!! The first one is ALLEGRO, a Terry Atkinson pattern. I taught this class last spring and used all the fabric from my stash. I really need to find a better way to photograph quilts. This one has 3 more rows to it.
The next one is called BQ, a pattern by Debbie Bowles. I really wanted a quick and simple quilt to practice some more machine quilting on my HQ16. I thought I'd take the plunge and try a pantograph. Loaded the quilt, got everything set and did the first row. I could do it okay, but wasn't happy about the size of it. It was a bit small and it would quilt it a little too heavy for my tastes. So I spent the next two hours graphing it out to be larger. Then it had too many open gaps, so I filled them in free hand. And after all that, because it was an interlocking pattern, I could only advance the quilt 4-5"! Well, what fun is that? So, I just traced the pantograph with my finger to 'lock in the design' somewhat in my brain and just free hand quilted it. It 'reminds' you of the design, but really isn't close at all. But that's okay, it doesn't look too bad. I love all the pantos that Mary does, but for some reason they don't look good on mine. I think because I had a mid-arm vs. a long arm, my designs are smaller and I'm not as happy with them. So, I guess free hand is going to have to be it. I see lots of doodling in the future!! LOL

Monday, September 15, 2008

Music poll, cooking and cleanin'

Well, as you can tell by the closed poll on my sidebar, that MOST people do not care for music on blogs. I decided to keep my blog as is..which is that my playlist is at the bottom of the blog page (I might move it higher up in the side bar though) but not make it start automatically, but have the viewers have an option to turn it on if they like. Thanks for all the comments and votes! :)

It feels good to be home and in somewhat of a normal routine. Like cooking and even cleaning. I follow Flylady's routines and have done that clear back to when it was Peggy and Sue were doing it. (SHE's--sidetracked home executive--which I was!). It seems hokey a bit to admit, but I feel calmer and not so edgy when things are in order. Too bad I have to play little games with myself to do it. But hey..it works! And I'm beginning to kick some butt on getting things done again. I was beginning to wonder what was wrong with me. Seriously--I was on edge all the time (could it be the Big 'M' starting?) and felt SO out of sorts and on the verge of anxiety attacks. But being home just a week and no travel plans the rest of the month, I'm feeling like I can gain back some control. Anyone else ever feel that way?
House? back on track and looking good--not great, but good again! Cooking? I'm loving being able to cook again on a schedule......I've been totally engrossed in Pioneer Woman's blog......she is a hoot! and gorgeous with a hunky Marlboro Man.....homeschools her kids....writes some kickin' stories (you ought to read her story on how she met her man!)....and has some pretty awesome recipes. Last week I tried her Crash Hot Potatoes and they were awesome! Even my daughter who loves everything really made a point on how extra good they were.

Made up another batch or two or three of freezer corn with a friend. A bit of work--but ahhh, so worth it! And then today we made 2 batches of strawberry freezer jam and put up 16 quarts of tomatoes AND while the tomatoes were cooling, we made this cute little thread holder. This website gives the instructions--so quick and easy..although we stitched the inside seam with a tiny zigzag rather than stitch it by hand. oops--went back and looked at hers, and she folded it down farther...hmmm. makes me rethink doing the inside seam with a zigzag...cuz now it shows! I guess it pays off to read the directions thoroughly instead of skimming. ! Not gonna take out that seam--it's a thread catcher, for crying out loud. But you bet I'll be making it a little bit prettier next time around...yep, getting out that hand needle. But ain't it cute?

Tomorrow, we're doing more jam and I have a surprise...we're going to make the Apple Dumplings from Pioneer Woman's website. And then I'm taking her fabric shopping (she's a new quilter and I get to help choose fabric on someone else's dime!).

Well, I've rambled on enough--I write blogs all day in my head--I really need to get at the computer and type them in! I'm trying to catch up on all the blogs I read..and I just keep adding more to the list. I love peeking into other quilter's lives--and how the world seems so small when you sit in front of a monitor peering into their homes. Thanks to all the bloggers who share...

Stash bustin and a whole lot more!

First--the stash busting report. It's time to put it in writing..I wrote about it when I was in San Antonio, but didn't put it in my report. I did it--I bought some more fabric! 9 yards ...mostly in 1/2 yard increments and mostly black/whites. I did buy some to go with a charm pack to make a purse, small quilt or something. So what did I do this week? Tried to massage my guilt--and finished the quilting on one quilt top (well..it still needs binding) but I used fabric for the backing and binding from stash and then pulled some for another quilt. It's still on the frame though. So--here goes..

Stash in this past week (actually 2).. 9 yards (edit. note: it was really 11)

Stash USED the past week(s) ...........9 yards

LOL--I didn't plan to do tit for tat, it just worked out that way..so no new figures to my YTD totals, and I don't feel quite so bad. And actually, my husband made me do it!! Okay--I really wasn't trying to lie--and who am I lying to anyway? Me? LOL But I went to take a picture of what I bought to show you what tempted me...and I forgot about a few pieces I bought as well. Oops! Oh well, it still wasn't too bad. But I did use 9 yards of fabric.

YTD totals:

Stash IN 37.25 yards

Stash OUT 283.25

NET total used/out 246 yards

Friday, September 05, 2008

Humidity and quilt markings

yep, you guessed it...I hauled my hand quilting project (first one in over a year!) to SC last weekend to work on. I never got to it...so I brought it with me to San Antonio. I pulled it out of the bag and guess what? Most of my markings are gone!! ACCKKK!! I knew it was hot and humid, in fact, the TV said it was 100% humidity. Doesn't that usually mean it's raining? I guess not--but it was wet enough to make my markings made with a WATER erasable pen disappear. Now I've had AIR erasable pen markings go away after less than 24 hours, but never the water ones. And of course I had marked all my cables at home (stencil not with me). I did have a small ruler with me, so I could mark the straight lines. And on a side note to self: don't take so long inbetween hand quilting sessions--the lack of quilting is showing up in my stitches! AND the callouses will come back.
I did get a chance to go visit a few quilt shops in San Antonio. All I can say is Thank Goodness for TomTom's! Set with addresses loaded in, I took off from the downtown area. First stop, Creative Sewing Center. Nice big store that sells Berninas, Brothers and HQ16's, they had a nice selection of fabric. I'm not an Oriental lover, but they had more than I have seen in one location. Of course, lots of variety everywhere. I limited myself to a yard and a half of fabric for an apron (I got the pattern free if I bought the fabric--good deal, huh?) and then started the argument with myself after drooling over some yummy black and whites. And a gorgeous white on white that would be awesome for backgrounds. I bet I spent 1/2 hour debating whether I should get some fabrics--just because. I've been so good all year...using up so much stash.... but I have a whole closet full of pretty fabrics..and on and on in my head. I finally ended up buying 1/2 yard pieces of 8 different blacks/whites and 3 yards of that yummy WOW (background, ya know?). So..I added 7 yards to my total. Do I feel bad? a little--but I'll get over it! :)
Second stop: Seventh Heaven..a little bit deceiving when you see it and walk in the store. It's a deep store that keeps on going. They did have the new line of Kaffe's fabric, but I demonstrated great will power and resisted. I did pick up a fall charm pack--not bad.
Third stop: Plain Jane's....I thought I blew it on this store--I was in an Industrial area with all kinds of warehouses, etc. Tom said I was there--and the address was correct, but all I saw out front was a wooden shutter. As I was turning around, thinking it must be out of business, I saw the sign sitting on the ground..Plain Jane's. What a quaint store! Lots of antiques, old suitcases, shutters, and the neatest old small wire carts (like little grocery carts), all chock full of FQ's, jelly rolls and Layer Cakes. Admittedly a "folk art" store with lots of homespuns, civil war reproductions, it was still a fun store to poke around. One of the owner's was there, cutting up FQ's--she said they have a booth at the Houston Festival and they have to get a good jump start. No wonder they look familiar, I'm sure I've seen them before. A bonus: they had a sale bin and she had a bundle of FQ's of bright's from a line of Citrus or something that was 1/2 price! I picked up a bundle to go with a charm pack that I've had for a while. Add 2 more yards to the total...oh well. :)
Fourth stop: Memories by the yard:(sorry--no link for them) another warehouse area and when I walked in, all I saw were home dec rolls. But quickly saw quilt fabrics in a nice bright area. There were quite a few samples and had great eye candy. They recently had a Shop Hop and they had a nice looking quilt featuring Texas style blocks. One of the few sampler type quilts that I actually liked. I was tired by then and was a little worried about getting back to the downtown area before rush hour began, so slipped out of there empty handed.
All in all, a good day and not too much damage to my stash busting efforts. And was able to enjoy another city's selections of quilt shops. I missed a few, but I figure that means I might have to return one day!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008


As you can tell, not a whole lot of quilting has been going on at my house. My husband runs a big FastPitch Softball Showcase 2 times a year for high school athletes in their quest to play in college, hopefully for a scholarship. This past weekend was another one--8 hours from here. So, that's what I've been doing for the past week. Made 24 doz. brownies (I get to feed the staff and coaches) before I left. It was in Rock Hill, SC and boy, was it hot! and humid! Whew! I felt sorry for the umpires in all their gear and the girls that had to play in the heat. I took some hand quilting with me, thinking there would be some free time to quilt--ROFLOL!!! Oh well, I can always hope. And I was SO close to Gastonia--where the famous Mary Jo's is located and couldn't even make it there. Good thing--it would be bad for my stash busting.
Since I have no quilting pictures to share, I thought I would share a few from my hubby, who was fortunate to be able to attend the Olympics in Bejing this summer. He didn't get to SEE Michael Phelps swim--but that certainly was the buzz! He mainly went for softball, since we know quite a few of the Dutch players/coaches and a few American players.

Here is the 'taxi' the hotel called for him! Kirt thought HE should be toting HIM around!

Entrance to get into the softball stadium: the security was tight EVERYWHERE!

A view of the "Bird's Nest Stadium"

A view of the softball field

For those who didn't have tickets, they could buy an ice cream cone and have front row seats to the TV inside the ice cream truck!

And I'm off on for a few days with hubby as he goes on a business trip to San Antonio. Good deal for me--he works, I play! Actually, I hope to do some hand quilting done and do some reading. Nothing like going out of town to get some things done!