Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Freehand Baptist Fan Quilting

While waiting for flights at the airport, I got a little bit of quilting done yesterday. The general idea is freehand Baptist Fans, but I decided to really just do one big fan in each corner extended out until they all meet in the middle.

Work is crazy, but good, so I can't write more now. Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Holding on until Friday

Remember this simple quilt top, my Bright Future baby quilt?
Yesterday morning before work, I sandwiched it and basted it and started quilting it with freehand baptist fans. I'm hoping to steal a few moments here and there to work on it, because this week is shaping up to be pretty intense at work. Which would be OK if last week hadn't been intense and I hadn't had to work all weekend this past weekend.

Friday is the carrot I am dangling in front of myself. That is day 1 of the annual quilt guild retreat, and I have had that day earmarked for vacation since the date was set months ago. Judi is letting me borrow her machine, and while I have no idea when I'll have a chance to prepare my fabrics for the workshop, I plan to be there. Only 3 more days. I can do anything for 3 days, right?
In the meantime, I am listening to The Aloha Quilt in the car, and really enjoying it. I find myself driving slower, hoping to prolong "storytime" as much as possible, and sitting in the car once I arrive at my destination, just until the end of this chapter. Sound familiar, anyone?

Saturday, April 24, 2010


I've been in need of some sewing therapy. Work has been over-the-top stressful, and you already know that my family life goes 300 miles per hour, so I was thrilled when I finally carved some time out for myself to sew on Thursday evening after the kids went to bed. I starting making these two little blocks, trying to use up the scraps I had of this cute dog fabric, planning to make some journal covers.

In between sewing those pieces together, I put a couple more of these snowball blocks together (I see a juvenile I spy type quilt forming),

and sewed some more of my ribbon quilt together.

Everything was going fine...until it wasn't. My machine froze up on me. I couldn't turn the handwheel, the presser foot just made the machine give a mechanical groan, nothing. So I took it apart, cleaned and oiled every moving piece I could find, rethreaded it, and still nothing. I wanted to cry! Not only did that stop my sewing for the evening, but my guild's quilt retreat is next weekend, and I will need a machine! Any ideas? It is just a $99 Singer from WalMart, so taking it to someone to fix would probably cost more than getting a new machine, but I can't really afford to get a new machine right now, either. Aaarrggghhh!

Let's look on the bright side...

1) I received these plaid flannels from Angela at Country Scrap Quilts in the mail - thanks Angela! I will put them to good use. I need to revisit my Flannel Buzzsaw quilt sometime soon.

2) I checked The Aloha Quilt byJennifer Chiaverini out of the library. All they had was a sound recording, but since it looks like I'll be doing some hand quilting until I figure out my machine woes, I have the perfect story to listen to while I quilt.

3) I have to go to work this morning, then rush to the airport to hop a plane to go to Atlanta to work for the rest of the weekend (no, that's NOT the bright side). However, I bought Arlene Sachitano's new book, Quilt As You Go over a month ago and haven't had a chance to read it yet. I'm thinking that this weekend's travel will provide the perfect opportunity to curl up with that book (actually, not even I am small enough to curl up in those miserable airplane seats, but I'll be curling up in my mind).

For everyone who has a quiet, relaxing weekend planned, please relax a few extra moments in my honor because I don't see any rest in my future until May 1.
(sigh) Calgon, take me away...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

They are home!

THEY being my husband AND my camera. I missed them both.

So, are you ready for the orphan quilt? Remember, if chaos makes you queasy, don't look any further...

I love all the flying geese and the log cabins. I'll definitely make another one of these one day, once I have more orphan blocks to throw in - I used nearly every orphan block I had. Yippee!

I leave you with one last photo from Saturday's test - isn't that belt the most beautiful blue you have ever seen? Blue is my new favorite color (until I get my red belt, that is...)

Oh, and I'm down another two pounds, five pounds total in four weeks. This walking at lunchtime is really working! Only 5 more pounds to go!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Am I the only one?

Am I the only person who doesn't have a camera on her cell phone? I finished the Orphan Block Quilt top last night, but I can't show you a photo because my husband has my camera. Ugh!

Boy, was it ever fun to put together! If something didn't quite fit, I just added a strip or lopped it off. Woo hoo! And there is so much to look at. Once I get a photo on here, I warn any of you who need order in your life to NOT look at this quilt - it will make you nauseous!

OK, this is a boring post. Hey, does anyone want a book on how to draw celtic knotwork? I got one in my book bundle at auction, and I'll never use it. Say the word and it is yours. (I'd show a photo of the book, but I don't have a camera...)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Finding a home for the orphans

Friday night, the boys and I sat outside under the stars at the drive-in movie. While there, I saw a couple spread a quilt on the ground, and it took all my willpower to not go over and investigate (they looked pretty lovey-dovey to me, and I didn't want to interrupt). But I admit, I was envious. I want a quilt for the drive-in, for picnics, for sunbathing, or whatever I do outside. But it takes so long for me to make a quilt, not only do I not have any quilts to spare for that purpose, but once I've completed one, I'm not sure I want it used in that way.

But yesterday, when I went down to my sewing studio, a light bulb went on! What about all those orphan blocks I just got from auction?

Those would make a perfect outdoor quilt - it would go together quickly, and I wouldn't feel so concerned about all the hours that went into each block when they got grass stains, or mustard stains, or any other type of stain. So, last night, I got started.

What fun! Putting a quilt together is always like a puzzle to me, but this is taking it a step farther. These blocks are all different sizes and colors and styles - how do I make them fit together? I decided not to worry about making them somehow "fit" aesthetically, I'm just trying to make them fit physically together. I've thrown in some of my own orphan blocks, too, some leftover from other projects, others UFOs that I know I will never finish.

I wish I had my camera so I could show you what I've come up with so far, but my husband is out of town and has the camera with him. I'm at least half way done, and feel certain that I will finish the top today. If I tie it, I could have it ready for the drive-in movie this coming Friday (Alice In Wonderland). But I really prefer to quilt it. Perhaps I could tie it, and then hand quilt it when I have time...

I also wish I had the camera because my kids are superheros today, Batman and Superman (no surprise there). Donald is wearing one of our many Batman costumes,but we seem to have lost our Superman costume. Jason stuffed slippers under his shirt on his shoulders for muscles, taped a homemade paper S emblem on his chest, and borrowed some red fabric from me for his cape. I love how my kids are so quick to improvise!

And, my last bit of news - Jason and I both tested for and received our Blue Belts in American Freestyle Karate yesterday. Ki-yah!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Just had to share

Yesterday, I spent nearly an hour in a doctor's office waiting room. I got a little bit of hand quilting done on a project I've been working on for myself (yes, for myself!). I thank goodness for handwork to keep my mind occupied during times like those. I'll show a photo once I'm done, but I wanted to share this article with you from the Wall Street Journal about truckers taking up quilting and knitting during the down time between loads while on the road. It's great, and if you can, I encourage you to watch the video embedded in the article.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Quilt Guild Auction Finds

Here's my take from last Saturday's auction at my quilt guild meeting:

1) a sewing machine for Jason and Donald to share! It seems they always want to sew when I am sewing, and while I want to encourage them to sew, I don't really want to share! This will help solve that problem! Now, two of us can sew at the same time. You should have seen their faces when I brought it home - definitely a Kodak moment (of course, I didn't have my camera ready)

2) Lots of fabric! First 10 1 yard cuts of various quilt shop quality fabric, including a Jinny Beyer:

Then lots of plaid scraps and yardage - I've done two plaid projects in the past month, so I'm excited to replenish that which I have just used.

Some random scraps up to about 1 yard pieces:

Plus lots of pre-cut squares from 2" up to 4.5". Those went straight into my scrap tins. (no photo)

3) Some books

the one I really wanted was the one on the left - there are two quilts in there that I absolutely love - this one, that I am not nearly brave enough to try to make, (sorry for the lousy photos)
and this one, which I definitely plan to make, but am trying to hold off until I finish some other projects.

4) A whole slew of orphan blocks! I can't wait to put these all together into a free-for-all type quilt, much like V at BumbleBeans made, probably for charity, but possibly to keep.

While at the auction, I kept my hands busy quilting so that I wouldn't bid on absolutely everything. I finished this frayed edge quilt, and threw it in the washer when I got home.

I love the way it frayed. I dried it on my new clothesline, and it smells absolutely lovely. I just wish it were bigger so I could snuggle up in it!
I've washed all my new fabric and dried it all on the clothesline. I hope to get a chance to use some of it this week.

Monday, April 12, 2010

I've got lots of good reasons (excuses)...

I've got lots of good reasons (excuses) for not blogging last week.

Mon - Karate after work, then grocery shopping since I had just gotten back from vacation and the cupboard was BARE!

Tue - I had to work until 9:30 PM - enough said! Ugh!

Wed - Two karate classes back to back after work - we test for our blue belts this weekend!

Thu - Our renters moved out of our rental property sometime last month without bothering to tell us (or pay the rent, or clean up after themselves, or even completely move out!). On Thursday, we borrowed a friend's truck and spent two hours lugging out all the CRAP they left - 3 trips to the dump, one to the food pantry and one to Goodwill. The place was a sty! There was food left on the stove, coffee in the coffeepot, clothes in the washer, you name it. I swear it looked like they went out for groceries and never came back! Anyway, it was gross, but also a bit fun as a family project. I gave the kids disinfectant wipes and the Swiffer Wet Mop and told them they could clean anything they wanted. They are still young enough to think that is fun...

Fri - Opening night of the drive-in movie! I volunteered at the booth where they sell glow stuff and t-shirts and stuff, so I had to be there 2 hours before the movie started. They played The Blindside (loved it!) and It's Complicated (we left because I wasn't sure it would be appropriate for the kiddos).

Sat - Our quilt guid had its annual auction where members bring in unwanted quilt related items, and we auction them off to ourselves. We raised over $1000, and I came home with some great finds. There will be photos in my next post, so stay tuned. Then, that afternoon, we had a Bike Rodeo for cub scouts. Again, lots of fun - although the cop who ran the event wanted to know where Donald learned to drive (his bike) in that kamikaze way - he seemed to think it was a learned behavior, and gave me an assessing look. Nope, not me; I am a sedate driver - that must come from his daddy!

Sun - I have been wanting a clothesline for a long time, and on Sunday my hubby went out for the materials, and our family project was setting it up. I LOVE IT! I had forgotten how good line-dried clothes smell! I did four loads of laundry, and spent the time in between loads on the porch reading and sipping sun tea and enjoying the view.

So, I haven't been blogging, but I have gotten a tiny bit of quilting done - again, photos will come in a subsequent post. I've also been reading. I read two books in a cozy mystery series that I had never heard of before, and it is fast becoming a favorite. I finished the first two books,

On What Grounds and Through The Grinder in the Coffeehouse Mystery Series by Cleo Coyle. There are eight books total, and I guarantee I'll be reading the next six.

Tonight there is karate, and then cub scouts, but I hope to also post some photos of my auction finds. If I say it, I will do it (or so I tell myself).

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

April Shower

Last week's vacation ended with a surprise baby shower for my younger sister in Philadelphia. What fun! Here I am with my mom and sisters. Doesn't my sister look glamorous? I don't know how she does it, when I was pregnant I swear I looked haggard at all times.

Here she is again with her growing belly and her growing family.

The food was delicious and the games were fun, but my favorite was the presents. I love giving! The Bright Ideas quilt I've been working on forever was for her new baby - I could just never say it in case she was reading my blog.

And my twin sister is a knitter. Isn't this sweater, hat and mitten set just adorable? I wish I could fit into them.

As you can see, my sister had the same thought!

And here are some random photos from vacation, the horse and buggies that shared the road with us,

the teams working the fields,

a potting table that I want to make for myself.

So, after all that fun, I was dreading coming back to work, but guess what! We got free 15-minute massages at work today! Life is good!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Having a ball!

I'm having a great time with my twin sister here in Lancaster County, PA. This morning before breakfast, I sat on the B & B porch quilting, and saw Amish in their buggies and Mennonite on their bicycles cruise by on their way to Good Friday church service. After breakfast, we hopped in the car and went EVERYWHERE! Obie's Country Store, packed to the rafters with quilts and fabric,

the Goodville Fabric Outlet (Fabric and Outlet in the same title - you KNOW it is good!), Smucker's Quilts (both traditional and contemporary designs), the town of Intercourse with all it's touristy goodness, including the People's Place Quilt Museum

and my favorite quilt in the museum, Plaid Posies,

and finally the town of Lititz, where we found a consignment shop and bought lots of fun clothes.

Here are my quilt-y purchases - yardage of 3 different fabrics, some Jumbo Ric Rac, and a Lisa Boyer book:

I also couldn't resist these horse and buggy socks:

Tomorrow, we're off to Bird In Hand. Better get to bed - my feet are killing me from all the walking we did today.