Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Bit of Both

Our Sad News first: our wonderful little Maltipoo died on Monday. Jessica was 11 years old and over the last year had been slowing down and displaying a little arthritis in her limbs. On Monday morning DH was awaken hearing her moaning and crying, a little. He also noted that her stomach was distended. So up he got and took her to the vet. I was called about two hours later to pick her up and when I got there the vet showed me her x-ray and showed me a tumor that appeared to be filling her stomach area. The vet who does the surgery was not in so we made arrangements to bring her back on Tuesday morning to decide what to do. I brought her home and she was a little listless: I figured that they had sedated her so they could poke and prod. She seemed to have disappeared but I found her sleeping in the bathroom so I left her to be able to be quiet. When DH got home that afternoon, he found that she had died in her sleep. It was with tears we buried her but with smiles and laughter as we remembered all the joy she brought to our home.

On a more positive note, I got my jelly roll block 3 done. Isn’t this pretty? I am really enjoying making these blocks. They are easy and the fabric is so pretty, kind of like an island paradise. I may have to make a second set so this can be a bigger spring/summer quilt.

And, I think, the reason for spring is the reminder of renewed life. Here is an updated shot of my first rosebud.

There are now several smaller buds on the bushes but this will be the first rose of spring and I am so excited.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Design Wall Monday

So this is what is on my design wall today. Yesterday I found that I had not made enough sashing strips: I guess I just can’t count high enough. So I made two more and cut the outer borders and corner stones. So now we know what this quilt is going to look like.

Yesterday I also got the backing for the Purple Rail Comfort quilt made so I hope to get it on the frame and quilted this week.

And two nature shots. I found this vine in our woods. The vine twines itself around the trees, probably killing the tree, but at this time of the year the blooms are beautiful. Interestingly, there is no scent in this flower.

With all the beauty that is beginning to show up around here, it is getting very hard to stay in and sew/quilt, but I am trying to balance my time wisely. Yea, Spring!!

One last thing: this is my baby quilt and my finish for March. It took me until last week to find the right fabric for the binding. I used a light green with even lighter green polka dots.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Bunny Hill, Owls, and Spring

My design wall has changed. I have 5 of my Bunny Hill BOM basket blocks completed: the others only need a little hand embroidery. Last week I found some lace I have had for several years and came up with this layout. I cut the sashing, red, and then overlaid it with the lace. I have only basted the lace on as it will be caught in the seams and then I will sew it down at the edges. Next week I will cut the cornerstones and borders (same fabric and the top will be ready to sew together, if I can only get that hand embroidery done. This little quilt is so out of my comfort zone as I just don’t do frilly but I like it because it is different.

And as long as I was working on the Bunny Hill blocks, I decided to get started on her new BOM. It is a series of snowmen and she has posted 3: I hadn’t started any. So I spent part of the weekend copying the designs onto the Heat & Bond and put the first block together. I think that when I get the basket blocks done, I will start the embroidery on these so I don’t have all of them to do at the end. The background fabric has silver metallic so there is a lot of shine behind this little snowman. I have the designs ready for blocks 2 & 3 so will have them fused before the week is over

My new glass owls arrived this weekend. Here it is (the little clear one) nesting nicely with a small selection of my collection. Also in this grouping is the first glass owl I ever got (light brown furthest left) and the clock my paternal grandpa bought for my grandma following the birth of their first son in 1907. Also you can see my collection of batiks: isn’t this a wonderful set of shelves? No wonder I love going into my studio.

And last but not least is a sure sign of spring. Here is the first rosebud on my bushes. We have lots of new leaves but it appears that this will be the first flower of the season. Today it was 74 with sunshine and I took advantage of it by sitting outside designing a snowball quilt.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Painted Pants

Well, really they are painted overalls. As requested by a couple of people, here is a picture of the overalls I bought at the Art & Crafts Show last weekend.

And this is a picture of the ones I bought last year.

These are so very comfortable, especially for long days of sewing.

Today was spent with our daughter and her husband (his 45th birthday). We drove 110 miles to eat at a Bass Pro Shop restaurant and the she and I went off (left the “boys” to shop on their own) to secretly purchase a HDTV as a surprise gift for him. This was her birthday and “thank you” gift for all his support while she was in nursing school. When we went back to pick the guys up he was asked to move a package from the back seat to the back of the truck. Imagine his surprise when he saw what he was moving. It is really fun to see a wife, or husband, going to great lengths to be nice to her/his spouse.

We had lots of fun, lots of laughs, and were ready for rest by the time we got home.

No sewing for the last couple of days but hope to get back in the studio by tomorrow afternoon.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Weekend recap and Design Wall Monday

What a wonderful weekend I had. The bad part was that DH didn’t enjoy it as much: bad cold. But Friday morning, leaving the ailing DH at home with the dogs and birds, I took off to Fairhope, AL and their spring arts and crafts show. This show has been going on for 58 years, is HUGE and “high end.” To let you know how big this show is, I walked, constantly, for 3 hours. I did buy glass earrings, a glass pendent, and painted overalls. Of course I saw bunches of things I would love to have but my credo is “if it has to be dusted it isn’t coming home with me” so I bought nothing else. But I had a great time looking at the abundant creativity that was on display. And the weather was perfect: 75, sunshine, and a light breeze.

At home Saturday I finished sewing the center and inner border of the Eleanor BOM. It will be coming off the wall now and I have begun working on the appliquéd borders. One down and three to go, stems only, and next I need to appliqué the flowers.

I have the stems done on the second side border, too. It is moving faster than I thought it would and part of that is that I am learning the correct steps in applying an appliqué border. That first border will show what I didn’t realize, or remember, but I am hoping that the next ones will show that I am paying better attention.

I have been collecting several online BOMs but this is the only one I have started

This BOM is from Moose on the Porch and the blocks are offered every other week. It is specifically planned to use a jelly roll. I am not a fan of jelly rolls but have had one for quite a while and this seemed like a good project for it. Here you can see blocks 1 and 2.

The jelly roll I have is Swanky from Moda and I am very pleased with the soft spring like look of these blocks.

Tomorrow is DH's 69th birthday and we will be celebrating all day, in between getting the oil changed, the class he will be teaching and the Weight Watcher's class I will be teaching. But we will be together all day, except when he will be teaching his class....I will be visiting a quilt shop. Kind of neat, his birthday and I get to shop for fabric. What a wonderful day it will be.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Been a little Quiltin' goin' on

I got this quilt quilted but haven’t bound it yet. I just can’t decide what fabric to use for the binding. I’m not in a hurry since I know of no babies in the near future but I really like to see my quilts getting done.



And, I finally have started putting the Eleanor BOM blocks together (I really need to come up with a better name for this quilt).

I have sewn the vertical rows and now need to sew them together. I cut the blue center border but haven’t done any sewing on them. And I included one of the appliqué borders: it really looks naked with just the narrow stem on it. Then outside that will come the piano key border. Wow, that is sure a lot of work, isn’t it?

We were having warmer weather but today it was cook, windy and some rain. Good sewing weather but not much good for anything else.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Design Wall Monday and more

This was a week a quite a lot of sewing, in small spirts, and quite a lot of computer work, also in small spirts. Almost every day I spent between 1-2 hours working on the new Generations program, learning more and more about digitizing machine embroidery. Between the in person class (3/6), the CD lessons we took home, and the written lessons we were also given, I have been able to figure out most things. Now that is not saying that my efforts are looking good, just that I am getting some of the techniques down. I am trying to spend 1-2 hours a day doing this and am limiting my time so I don’t get too frustrated and quit.

And I did get some quilting done, well actually I got some sewing done.

I finished the top of a comfort quilt.

Isn’t it nice? I have kept it on the design wall just because I love the colors. Unfortunately, it will have to come down today because I also have been getting sewing done on the Egg Money sampler quilt. I sewed lots of the DP blocks together to make sashing halves and there, on the design wall with Purple Rails you can see the strips hung together to form what will be the vertical sashing between the sampler blocks.

I also got ALL of the DP circles sewn together.

Here they are half sewn, ready to press and then they were sewn together. What I learned in this process is that it was better to not repress the seam allowances of the quarter circles so they would nest as they didn’t stay nested very well. Instead it worked better to butt them together and pin the seams. That way I had perfect circles.

I think I have sewn all the strips for the piano keys but will have to wait until we see how big this quilt actually turns out to be. And lastly, I also sewed some of the bias stem fabric so I can start working on that border, too. I have never done an appliquéd border so am a little intimidated by how to make sure the stems meet but somehow I will figure it out, I hope, I hope.

Here is the first border with the stem partially sewn on.

And here are the rest of the stem fabric, some ready to go and some ready to be made.

Now all I have to do is get this thing all together.

Saturday DH and I went antiquing in Fl, one of our favorite projects. We didn’t buy much, just little stuff but what was funny was that DS#3 and his wife were also antiquing but up in MD. I started getting pictures on my phone of glass owls they were finding and would I want to buy them. DH also got pictures of cowboy stuff. It was fun knowing that we were all doing the same thing, just 1000 miles apart. Ah, family togetherness.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Busy Week(end)

When I got home from my travels on Thursday I found a package wedged between the front door and the storm door. It was from Joanne and her most recent giveaway. This wind chime is now hanging from the swing on the deck and makes beautiful music while I am reading my new quilting magazines. The little blue egg held M&Ms but they were gone well before I got the camera out. Thanks again, Joanne.

This is what is on my design wall.

And this is why. I took all the pieces down and stacked them up so I could assembly line sew. I have one piano keys border sewn but still need to sew all those strips together for the other three. I did sew several DP blocks together but have lots more to go. I also took some time yesterday to cut three borders for a comfort quilt: I hope to get them sewn on soon.

My embroidery digitizing class on Saturday was great: I really learned a lot. The class ran from 8 until 5 with only 30 min for lunch. I was so busy that I forgot to take my camera out of my bag so there are no pictures. Then I spent part of Sunday afternoon reviewing the lessons and trying my hand at some simple digitizing. Don’t expect to see any of my designs, it will be a while before I am willing to show any of that work: must practice, practice, practice.

Friday, March 5, 2010


OK, this has been a winter to complain about, so I thought I would show the beginning of spring here in the South.

These two are very tiny flowering weeds in our front yard.

Here we see the new growth leaves on one of the rose bushes: right under the old rose that I didn’t trim off last Fall. I am now waiting until we stop having below freezing nights to prune back these bushes.

Also, note that the Hydrangeas are even leafing.

All of the trees have buds on them, still tightly closed, but ready for it to be just a little warmer.

This is the oak tree that is closest to the house. Look at what I found on it today. That is quite a bloom, isn’t it?

Yesterday I went to get the beads I made in class last Saturday.

OK, these are not professional quality by any means but I don’t think they are bad at all considering this was my first time staring at hot glass through open flame. ;-)

Tomorrow I am going to be taking a class on digitizing embroidery designs. I have noticed that my computer skills are not as good as they used to be: I do not assimilate new techniques as fast or as well as I used to. I attribute this to the fact that I no longer work with the computer as much as I did and am not forced to use new software like I did when I was working. However, DH has some ideas for designs he would like that I have not found online so he is paying for half of the class just so I can work for him. We’ll see how that works out later.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Just Under the Finish Line

Yesterday I felt like a marathon runner who is really slow but finally makes it to the finish line. I have been doing OPAM since it started 14 months ago and yesterday morning decided that for the first time I wasn’t going to have anything finished for February. Then in the afternoon I remembered that I had a 2 yd piece of faux fur that I wanted to make a throw out of. I also remembered that last Tuesday I bought some black minki-like fabric for the back. Well, I got them both out, trimmed them to the same size and sewed them together and, viola, a beautiful throw that I will be using in the studio and at least one February finish. I felt so much better.

I know this picture looks a lot like the one from Wednesday but there is difference, I have sewn together some of the drunkard’s path blocks. I am concentrating on sewing the circles first so I can take everything down and use the wall for other projects. I have cut the base fabric for the appliqué border but that is as far as I have gotten. Next I will need to look for appropriate flower and leaf appliqué templates and I need to find just the right green for the stem. So this week I plan to cut the strata for the piano key border and figure out what fabric to use for the inner border. Then this will be an “ongoing” project to work on while I start new quilts.

Oh, and I did have one partial finish. I finished the quilting on my baby quilt. But I couldn’t get it done for Feb. since I hadn’t even thought about what I was going to use for binding. Usually I have that all ready when I put a quilt on the frame but not this time. So I am starting a UFO pile for quilts that need binding. Lets hope that pile only has one UFO at any one time.

My SIL and BIL stayed a couple of extra days due to the snow they would have had to travel through to get back to NH. One of the inducements I used to help them make the decision was to sign Cera and me up for a lamp work glass beading class. We went Saturday and for three hours played with fire and molten glass. We had a great time, even when I burned my fingers trying to pick up a piece of still very hot glass. Cera was already scheduled to take a bead making class later this month so this just gave her a jump start. I don’t know if I will do any more but I really love playing with hot glass. I didn’t get any pictures because both hands were busy. I am supposed to pick up the beads sometime this week (too hot to take home Sat) so I will take pictures then. Believe me, I quilt better than I bead….so far.