Saturday, February 28, 2009

This has been a very busy week. Thursday I
finally got busy on the deck rail project
affectionately called “keeping Abby in.” I went through all of our wire cutters (5) and decided that these were the best.

Then I got out the new electric staple gun and found that the @#%@& guy at the hardware store sold me the wrong size for the gun he sold me. So a trip to the hardware store was arranged and just to make it worthwhile I also did the grocery shopping.

After a late start I cut and stapled six sections of the deck rail. I left four, that I don’t think Abby can easily get to, for another day.

Here is Abby and Jessica, our Maltipoo, wondering why they can’t just tick their heads (and bodies) through as they have before.

However, despite the fencing that takes away some of their fun, they really have enjoyed running free on the deck while I sit on the swing and read.

On a sadder note, on Thursday night I heard from my daughter that her niece, a 20 year old mother of three under 4, lost her husband in an auto accident. This wife and mother is also a nursing student and she and my daughter have become very close while studying together. All Thursday night I would wake up thinking about this little family and what could I do: I do not know them personally. However, Friday I had to go to Pensacola for a professional meeting and went from there to my favorite fabric store where I bought these.
My plan is to make rag quilts for each of the children using these fabrics. I will be putting aside all of my current projects as I would like to have these done as soon as possible. I have only made one rag quilt, a denim one for my DIL several years ago, but I don’t think it should take me too long. However, with three to make, I really wish I could afford the Accuquilt Go cutter. Wouldn’t that be loverly?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Another Quilting Day

I am making some progress. I completed the comfort quilt, Under the Sea.

I sewed the binding on to the back and brought it around to the front and machine sewed it with a decorative stitch. I decided that since this quilt is going to a child the binding should be on good and sturdy. And, I think the stitching is decorative, how about you?
I have gotten 21 of 28 appliqu├ęd blocks done for a give-away quilt and today I need to work on the block swap blocks I did the embroidery for (no pictures yet). I also am going to be white board drawing for some quilting to be done on another old (2005) BOM I have the top done on but nothing else.

Do you ever have those mornings when you wake up thinking quilting? I did this morning. I used 7 BOM blocks to make a valance for my bedroom. I love the valance but still have 5 left-over blocks that I had planned to use in a throw for the bed. This morning, as I found myself focusing on the valance, I began mentally planning how to put the leftovers together. DH came into the room and asked why I was staring at the wall: I think he was worried about me. LOL
Of course this came after I completely forgot to go to the guild’s workshop night last night. I had said I would come with my machine to work on three quilts the guild is going to be giving away. I even told someone at WW Monday night I would be there. The meeting started at 6 and I remembered at 7:30. Maybe there is something wrong with me.

Anyway, it seems like I have a full day planned for me so I better get to it.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Although I have been working in the studio this week, I have nothing to show for it. I will get the Under the Sea quilt bound this week so I have a finished UFO for the challenge in Feb but other than that I seem to be in the middle of several things with nothing done. But I love putting pictures on my blog so today I am showing some of the storage ideas I have come up with.

This is my cutting table. It looks like a storage unit because for some reason I have been pulling things out to look at them for current or future projects and they have just be piling up there. The plan is that when I finish posting this blog I will go back to the studio and CLEAN UP THAT MESS.

However, at the end of the table is my idea of a scissor and rotary cotter holder. I found this rack in an antique mall in Jacksonville, FL and it is perfect. Since I got it home I have also been using it to hold small items that I am putting together: block pieces, piping for a quilt, binding makers, etc. It is almost perfect. It rotates so I can get to anything on it and it doesn’t take up too much room.

My DH bought me this pants/tie holder. He said he knew I could find a use for it in the studio: it took me three months but I did. When I came home from a Bonnie Hunter class I had all these 2 ½” strips that I didn’t know where to keep them. Now look at the pants holder. On it now are the batik strips I just bought and the January block for the Calendar Challenge quilt. I was really shocked at how it slowly filled up but how easy it is to get the strips I want. I have now used it for three quilts and love it.

Besides quilt I also embroider. I have a growing collection of embroidery threads, which I also use for quilting, and had outgrown the portable holders I was using. I found this

at an antique mall in St. Augustine, FL. I have no idea what it was originally used for but it is perfect for thread. I can see everything, it holds hundreds of spools of thread, and everything is dust free. And it makes a beautiful, colorful, large art piece in my sewing room.
And this is the oldest antique in my studio: me. The studio is three rooms and this is the quilting room. There is just enough room for the quilt frame, some shelves and me. It is the only room where no TV runs because I can’t watch or even listen to TV when the HQ 16 is running, both because I have to concentrate and because of the noise. However, I do love this room. I have a bay window, facing south, on the other side of the frame and two large windows that face west. It is so light in that room that I only have to turn on the lights at night.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Happy Quilting Day

I see that other's are posting pictures of Spring and I didn't want to be left out. Although some grass is trying to poke itself up through the dead stuff, this is what I noticed. Here you see little tiny buds on our oak tree. You can also see the hull from an old acorn still hanging on from last fall. But the little buds say that new leaves are not too far away.

Another charity quilt on the frame. I usually don't name
charity/comfort quilts but this one is Under the Sea and I love it.

I quilted it just like I drew it on the white board and I think it came out great.

The top has a kind of sideways meander to emulate clouds or sky
movement. Then we have waves all through the water.

And when we got to the bottom we got "peacock feathers" because they filled the space and seemed to mesh with the "stuff" on the ocean floor. They disappear on the front so I am showing the back. This was a first time for me to do the "pfs" but it went really well, I think. I am learning to quilt a little slower which is giving me much more control. I also worked on the leveling of the frame, which really helped a lot. I don't think I will every get it perfectly level but it is so much better. Anyway, now I only need to get this bound and I will have a finish for February.

This is a peek at a quilt I am doing for a giveaway. Lots and lots of applique. I started it several months ago and put it away when I got tired of "draw, cut, press, cut, press, stitch" over and over again. Yesterday, after hunting and hunting for some pieces, I finally got three more of these done. Now, only hundreds more to go.

But today is laundry and housework day. While the washer, dryer, and dishwasher are all going, I am going to be outside (if it gets warmer) putting this hardware cloth around our deck to keep Abby, you remember her, from jumping through and off the deck. I did buy an electric staple gun (POWER TOOLS) so it should not be too hard but still my hands, fingers, and back and not looking forward to this activity. Maybe I will go have lunch first. LOL

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentne's Day

This is the one and only Valentine's Day, or red/pink, quilt I have made. It was made as an internet group project in about 2005 and was really lots of fun. And, now that I have seen some of the beautiful and whimsical quilts others have done for this day, I, for sure, will have to make something else to celebrate it, too. For now, all I can say, is I hope you are with the one you love, either in body or spirit. Happy Valentine's Day!!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Today I was doing housework (?), which means that I was in the house and not in the studio. But, as with all work situations, I was taking a coffee break. I decided to spice it up with popcorn and found that all my mini-bags were gone so made a family sized one. Good thing, too. It was one kernel for Buffy, one kernel for me and the rest of the handful for Abby. We cleaned out that bag in no time.

I got them together for the picture but believe me we all ate further apart. Abby is not good at sharing when it comes to food.

This reminded me of when our twins were infants (one born 5 lbs 5 ozs and the other 8 lbs 11 ozs). when I fed them it was 1 spoonful to Lisa and 2 spoonfuls to Todd, 1 to Lisa and 2 to Todd. I guess Buffy and Abby are here just to make me wistful for my babies. LOL

One might think that this picture suggest that I am desperate to find something to put on my blog. However, as I was making lunch I realized that I was practicing my meandering. I also realized that since I have to use both hands to squeeze the mustard out, it was not unlike guiding the LA. Cool, huh?
Several weeks ago I bought 6 yards of ticking (60” wide). Today I washed, dried, and ironed it, not an easy task. Then I cut a 12” strip off of the long side. The plan is to make new leaders for my HQ. I used to have several sized leaders but decided I needed some that were stronger. After reading some posts on a yahoo group, I have decided on about 5 different sizes and should be able to get all of them out of the ticking and still have some left over. Tomorrow I will serge the cut side and then sew on loop side of Velcro to attach to the poles. Then I will do it all over again until I have enough for all the leaders. I wonder if I will be able to count this as a project completed for the UFO/WISP challenge? But when I have the right ones made I will be able to load my Under The Sea charity quilt and get busy on that.

So, what is everyone doing for Valentine’s Day? Right now we have no plans: I do hope that changes.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Today I started embroidering again but only got two squares done: 10 to go. And this time I have a corrected design to work with.

However, I couldn't stick with it so I decided to do my February BOM from Sandi of Legacy of Stitches. The directions call for two shades of red for this heart block. I, however, am still thinking about putting these appliques on the Calendar Challenge strips. So, my heart is yellow.

And, after looking in my fat quarter drawers, I found this flower print that I thought made a perfect center. Again, I am not stitching them down until the end of the year. I still have no idea how I will finish the Challenge quilt so I don't know how or where to place them.

While looking for the fabrics for the above heart I came across this panel. I remember buying it several years ago but never came up with a plan for it. So today it moved into the charity quilt category. It is about 36 x 44 so will make a great child's quilt.

My next challenge is how to quilt it. I have been watching several technique videos online and took some time to practice on the white board.

The top section will be quilted on the sky, the waves on the water and the "clam shells" for the bottom of the sea. Since this is not a pieced quilt I will be able to put it on the frame tomorrow and possibly get it done this week. Of course I will be quilting in between other quilting experiences. For some reason I can never just focus on one project at a time.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Working on Bits & Pieces

Sunday I really applied myself. I worked on an embroidery quilt block swap: cut fabric for 12 blocks and embroidered the centers for 4 blocks, aee picture to the left. Today I got an email saying that the embroidery design I am doing is not right and I need to use the corrected design. First thought? What!?! I had cut all the fabric for the squares and there isn't anymore. But on second thought I decided to go to the quilt shop tomorrow and buy more fabric (what a shame) and I will use the four squares for corner stones or something when I put my quilt together.

My LQS is doing Eleanor Burns' Egg Money Quilts as a BOM, so I joined. Today I decided I needed to get my block done so I didn't have it to do at the last minute. Now, I have to say that these are not my favorite fabrics as I am not much of a retro fan. I think I see a charity quilt this time next year. LOL

I also updated my February contribution to the Calendar Challenge. I am trying to get several red and/or pink strips, not easy since I rarely use red or pink.

I thought I needed to add an Abby picture. Here she is playing, and killing, a brand new toy. Tomorrow I will be adding hardware cloth to the bottom of the deck rail. It seems that our little puppy can go between the rails and jump to the ground. So, tomorrow I will be "fencing" her in: I like to let the puppies play on the deck when the weather is nice. We are also going to be looking into putting a fence around an area in the backyard, again for the puppies. We have 5 acres but nothing fenced.

And lastly, I reached goal at Weight Watcher's tonight. I am so happy!!!!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Great Weekend Start

On Friday DH and I went to a quilt show put on by the women of the Robertsdale (AL) UMC church and it was wonderful. The quilts were done by local women, were family heirlooms, or were purchased antiques. On my sidebar I have put a slideshow of some of the wonderful quilts. The church was covered by quilts: the sanctuary, classrooms, halls, even bathrooms. They were everywhere. DH and I kept thinking we had seen them all and then turned a corner and there were more. And it seemed that most of them were hand quilted, something I can't get my head around. Please take some time to view the slideshow.

There were three vendors at the quilt show and look what I got:

This was a "jelly roll" of batiks. Aren't they gorgeous? I am thinking jacket. I got a couple of ideas for designs for it while at the quilt show. What a great day!!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Productive: In the Eye of the Beholder

OK, I will get over the puppy pictures....soon. This is Abby and Buffy. As you can see, we are having no trouble with the dogs getting along. The Maltese, Jessica, is not quite so happy but only because Abby is bigger and friendlier and Jess would just like Abby to "get out of my face."

Yesterday, the day normally reserved for laundry, was spent driving all over South Alabama. My daughter needed her laptop taken to be fixed and I volunteered: I figured it was close to a fabric store I had been wanting to revisit. Sure enough, 20 miles away and I was in Fabric Heaven. It is called Front Poarch Fabrics in Ozark, AL and they have lots of Moda and other stuff.

I am not a jellyroll or precut fan but yesterday I bought into it, again.

the jellyroll, spring colors, will be a strip-pieced shirt and the Oh My Dog (imagine that) is going to be a sweatshirt jacket, I think. I had planned to get started on one of them today but it took until noon for the studio to warm up and by that time I was busy doing other things.

One of the things I did this morning was cut fabric into Bonnie Hunter strips.
I cut several red and pink strips to be included in my February Calendar Challenge block. I am going through my scrap stash and my fat quarters (two large drawers sorted by color). On the fat quarters, I am cutting up all small pieces and any edges that have been used for other projects. I am cutting 1 1/2" strips for the calendar and then other sizes for the bins. I am beginning to think I may have enough to do Bonnie's Strip Twist: too cool.

Monday, February 2, 2009

A Bit of This and a Bit of That

My name is Abby. I am the newest member of my household. I have either been named after Abagail Adams or Abby, a character on Momma's favorite TV show, NCIS. The white you see hanging from my mouth is what is left of Daddy's TV Guide: yes I am a lot of fun to have around.

Gari, here. My day was mostly spent in the studio. I worked on the B and W challenge, repeating the same mistake twice. I finally fixed the mistakes but then put this aside until a better day. I did put in some time cutting strips for some future project and that got some scraps out of the scrap bin and out of the fat quarter drawers.

These two pictures are of future projects. I want to make a couple of computer bags so I put together some fabric for these projects. I don't have a pattern so I will probably spend some time figureing out what to do, then quilt the fabric and then make the bags. I thought having two would allow me some variety.

While I was sewing on the B and W, I also embroidered these slacks. They are the ones I wear to Weight Watchers (very light) but I decided I needed something that looked like spring. I have never had embroidered pants so this is something new for me.

And at WW I am 1# from goal. You would think they would just be so happy for me they would forgive that one little pound, wouldn't you? Oh, well, it will probably take me 4 weeks to get past that one.