Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Let Birthday Month Begin

Halloween 2012
Tomorrow, November 1st, is the beginning of BIRTHDAY MONTH.  And this is a really important birthday: I will be turning 70.  For that reason I made sure to dress holiday appropriately for Halloween even though I spent most of the day at home.  It’s funny how many holiday pieces of clothing I have accumulated over the years.  Confused smile  And they never wear out when I only wear them once or twice a year.

Funky Chicken
The only real sewing I have gotten done this week is to get this chicken appliqued.  I still have two to applique and then tomorrow a new one comes out at Fat Cat Patterns.  Oh, joy, it is fun with batiks, again.

I know that most people have been glued to the TV watching Sandy working her way to the East Coast.  As one who has experienced several hurricanes while living in FL, my thoughts and prayers were/are for the people who probably didn’t have any idea what they were in for.

We lived through Erin, Opal, Dennis, Ivan, and Arlene before deciding to leave Florida and return to Alabama.  To work through the trauma of the storms and the difficult decision to move I made this:
Flight to Alabama
This is “Flight to Alabama.”  At the bottom you can see the sandy beach, water and seagulls under a blue sky.  Then, going up, the skies darken and we see the whirling storms.  In the quilting are the names of the significant storms that I didn’t want to experience again.

Then the sky lightens again and we see the clay colored soil, the trees, and the path through the trees to my swing, all on our 5 acres in AL.

Hurricane Snady 10-2012
All of the above  is leading to my idea for a quilt: Tracking Sandy.  Both because I relived my own hurricane experiences while watching this and because our youngest son and his wife live in MD (and are all right) it was the first thing I thought of when I saw this on our TV.  I am still thinking  on this idea but don’t be surprised if it shows up in fabric sometime.

And now Halloween night is coming to a close and, yippee, tomorrow we wake up to BIRTHDAY MONTH. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Almost November

fuzzy frogs
These are the frogs that are completed: all the applique done and they are squared.  I still have 9 more to square and then I will be sewing the sashing strips to them.

I don’t know if you noticed that one of the frogs didn’t have eyes.  When I was fusing them I found that two of the whites were missing.  I decided to continue with the applique and do these eyes later.  However, while appliqueing those little tiny eyes, I decided that this one frog could be sleeping.  I think he is a really cute addition.

I did get all of the insects squared and ready for sashing.  They were planned to be “in the hoop” appliques but I decided to do them as just embroidery.

almost finished
Toward the end of last week I had my Christmas 1 quilt on the frame.  Can I tell you that I was really excited when I could see I was almost done?

quilting done
And then there was the celebration when the quilting was done and off the frame.

binding started
On Wednesday I started the binding which I completed yesterday.

Walter Fiorini
Thursday  through Saturday I was in an machine embroidery workshop with Walter Floriani.  This is not a good picture of him but he was constantly on the move so even this was hard to get.  I learned a lot about digitizing and editing embroidery designs and am really looking forward to working on practicing what he taught.

Christmas 2 on frame
But after three days away I was itching to get back to my machines and projects.  So the first thing I did was to sew the backing for Christmas Quilt 2 and get it loaded on the frame. 

However, I must say that when I first start, and all that quilt is lying out in front like that, quilting it appears to be quite a daunting task.

So I left it like that so I could work on my frogs and insects.

forrest paths
Over that past few weeks DH has been using our Deere to create paths in our woods.  Can you see this rather large one here?  The puppies and I are having so much fun running up and down the paths.  And DH says he is going to make some more so we should be able to get some good exercise right here at home.

And we are not the only ones who are playing in the wood.  Here are Ms. Murphy and Abby at the end of playing hide-and-seek.  What good friends they are.

Now, as much fun as I have had showing you what I’ve been up to, it is time for me to get to the laundry and dishes so I can return to the studio and sew, sew, sew.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Another Design Wall Monday

DW 10-22-12
This has been such a fun week.  My work plan has been to do a little work on each project every day.

Cristmas Quilting
The first of the projects is Christmas Quilt #1.  It is on the frame and I have been quilting one pass a day.  It is an edge to edge panto.

embroidery quilting
I am quilting through the embroidery.  They were done by 12  different people but I don’t think any of them will complain. 

As you can see on the wall, I completed my Carol Doak BOM block for October and the applique on two funky chickens. 

applique done
And in between all of these other projects I worked on frogs.

I drew, light fused, cut, fused and then appliqued most of them. 

As you can see I did the legs with a blanket stitch and satin stitch for the bodies.  Usually I don’t like the satin stitch but I do like using two different stitches for variety.

I still have 4 frog bodies to applique and all of the eyes.  Then I will be embroidering their mouths and the fold in the legs.  I forgot to take pictures of all 6 insect embroideries that will be the sashing cornerstones. 

After all this work DH and I took Sunday off for taco pizza.  Then a swing through Staples ($$), a visit to Publics for groceries (no tax in FL) and then to Chill for yogurt.

yogurt and fruit
What you can’t see in this picture is the Decadent Dark Chocolate yogurt topped by the Cheesecake yogurt, topped by strawberries and blueberries.  Oh, my, this was good and low in points, too.

Today will be mostly housework (except one pass on the frame) but then it will be studio all the way.  I have to get a lot done because pretty soon it was the beginning of November and then I will have 3 new BOM blocks to make.  Who me?

Thursday, October 18, 2012


What a great week, so far.
I finished quilting Jack and was going to bind it but decided I need to get back to the deadline projects.  I brought it in to put on my end table and decided I like the rough look so it is going to stay that way until after the first of the year and then a quick binding, just because I will tire of this look pretty quickly.

Jack backing
This is the backing on Jack.  It is fabric I have had for at least 7 years.  I had planned to make a vest but, as you can see, that didn’t happen.  I used to really enjoy Halloween when the kids were little but now, way out in the country, we really don’t celebrate it much.  I have put out some of our decorations but we don’t get very excited over it.

Monday night was another of our great grandson’s soccer games.  We really do have fun watching them run and kick with almost no idea of which way they should be going.  Confused smile

Tuesday I spent trying to sort out a closet.  I have filled 3 bags with clothing and old comforters that will be going to Goodwill tomorrow.  And, of course, I haven’t made a dent in what needs to be sorted.   Surprised smile

And yesterday, well for the most part it was spent sitting on the deck with a good book.  It was one of those beautiful Fall days, warm, sunshine, breeze, leaves falling, way too nice to be inside doing anything productive. 

BOM pieces on chicken
But late in the afternoon the book was finished so I went inside and appliqued one chicken and cut the pieces for the Carol Doak BOM for October.  Here they are all stacked up and labeled, ready for stitching.

3 dn 1 2go

And this is where I stopped: 3 sections done and one to go.  However, it was my turn to cook dinner so I had to leave.

Today it is raining.  I can sit on the deck but, after the obligatory housework is finished I am headed back to the studio to finish what I started and move on to other fun stuff.  Interestingly, I will be all caught up on the 3 BOMs I am doing.  I was very careful to not let me get overwhelmed this year with BOMs and that has worked out great.  I have had to miss out on several I would like to do but the lack of pressure has been wonderful.

healthy breakfast  Since I stopped working for Weight Watchers I have found that I have been “forgetting” everything I was taught and had been teaching for the last 3 years.  So I am back on plan.  I hadn’t gone very far astray but I could see the old habits coming back and I just can’t have that.  This was my breakfast this morning: whole wheat toast with sugar free pumpkin butter (yum), sliced apple and coffee.    When I am thinking about it I eat slowly and that means that when I am finished I feel satisfied and comfortable.    I did share some of the apple with my parrots:  they love 0 points fruit and veggies.  Open-mouthed smile

Monday, October 15, 2012

Design Wall Monday

Wow, this has been a busy week.
Dr. Jack started
First Rhonda posted this free pattern.  That was right after I had decided that I was not going to start anything new until I was done with the few things I am making for Christmas.

all fused
However, isn’t this terrific?  Here he is all fused and I really already have him appliqued.  I will get him quilted and bound today, hopefully, and then he will be hanging around until Halloween is over.

So, what do you supposed are these?  Well, they are a small part of a project I offered to do and that I am not at liberty to share. 

bugAnd this is another part.

label 1
In fact, my embroidery machine was hard at work all week.  We made one label that is ready for the quilt on the frame.

DW 10-14-12
In fact I also got another label embroidered, not finished, as well as three insects.  Small things for my design wall but three different projects seeing progress.

fall color
Meanwhile the seasons are changing, even here in the deep south.  Here this tree is called a Sweetgum tree and is the most colorful tree we have on the property.

We also have several oak trees.  Here you see the little acorns.  There are now hundreds of them on the ground and on the deck.  They are so small they fit in the cracks between the deck boards.  However, they don’t feel very good under bear feet!

But none of this activity or change is interfering with Ms. Murphy’s beauty sleep.

So, quietly please, hop on over to Patchwork Times to see what other quilters are working on.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

This Week So Far

On the frame
Bright and late (after a bunch of housework) Monday I finished loading Christmas Quilt #1.  I chose the panto I am going to use, found the thread and wound 5 bobbins.  I even took some time to practice using the panto cam I have kind of installed (using tape to be sure everything is where I want it before using stronger a adhesive).  After that I did some stitching before moving on to other fun things.

fabric chosen
I had already drawn the parts for Teapot #3 so I cut them out and then pulled fabric. 

teapot #3
Tuesday morning  I fused the teapot.  It looks a lot like one I have in my kitchen only mine isn’t bright orange.  Crying face

I then had the privilege of spending time at our LQS where I gave the owner some of the things I have learned about setting up and using a pantograph.  It is really fun to know something and be able to share it.

New toy
Our daughter had called to see if we were free for lunch but said it would be late.  So we visited a local antique mall where I found the comic book stand.  DH collects B Western comics (1935-55) and now has an official stand to display them.  Right now they are sitting in front of the fireplace but he has a little while to find a better place cuz nothing comes between me and my fireplace.

Lunch with Lisa was lots of fun, as usual.  We do a lot of laughing so it is a good thing that the lunch hour was over and we were almost the only people in the restaurant. 

sky 10-1-12
Later in the evening we went to our Great grandson’s soccer game.  He is 4yo and cute as a button.  And it is a lot of fun watching all those very short people chase the ball.

Halloween visitors
So, today I spent a good deal of time with my deck visitors.  It was such fun to spent time reading with occasional stops to search out food.  But tomorrow I will be back in the studio: quilt one row on the Christmas 1 quilt, applique 1 chicken, cut Carol Doak BOM fabric, and, if there is time, embroider a label.  Ambitious? 

Monday, October 8, 2012

It Was A Very Good Week

This past week was a really good week.  I’ll start with the last part when I got another Funky Chicken (#10) ready for applique.

Block #10
Isn’t he cool? 

set so far
This is going to be such a fun quilt.  With only two  more blocks to come it is about time to start thinking about a setting for them.  I want it to be unique so I will need to give it some thought.
I also got Teapot #3 drawn and the fabric chosen but that’s as far as I got when DH invited me out for lunch and some antiquing.  How could I resist?

J's quilt backing
I got the backing done for the first of the Christmas quilts.  I sewed these strips together while I was embroidering the back of a shirt (see below) so I had two machines going and loved the sound of being productive.

backing close up
The black fabric has been in my Christmas stash for a couple of years but never has suggested what it wanted to be so I used all I had as the center of this piece.  The outside “borders” are what is left from the front.  I’m not doing stash busting but if I were this would really be a coup. 
This backing made it to the quilt frame but that’s as far as I got. 

problem resolved
This was what I was working on while I was sewing the backing.  Isn’t it great?  I was so pleased with it while it was sewing out.


possible problem

This happened.  Can’t see what I mean?

for sure problem
Take a closer look.  It seems the shirt “jumped” onto the embroidery bed and got itself stitched into the embroidery foot.  Stuck good and proper.  I finally got it off the bed and finished the embroidery but there is still a big lump of fabric sewn together that I will need to do something about, later.

I did stitch out two owl t-shirts, see the last post, and I really like these designs.

Mary Alice 10-5-12
Friday I went to a machine embroidery workshop where Mary Alice Smith was teaching some great software.  Can you see her face there in the center?

back of the room
I was sitting way in the back but could see what was going on because of the monitors which were connected to her computer.  Ain’t technology grand?

busy hands
Well, I had decided that I could use my time well by working on the hand applique for The Dragon.  I didn’t get a lot done but that was a whole lot more than I had done in the last couple of months so I felt pretty good about it.  Once I had it out again I realized how much I really want to get this quilt done so it will be on the top of my “to do” list soon.

ready to go
Lastly, I finally got the label sewn onto the quilt I am sending to Gene Black for a children’s charity he is donating to.  This is a Jelly Roll Race quilt I made last Spring but hadn’t decided to whom it would go.  I love the cheerfulness of it and hope it brightens the heart of the girl who receives it.

Oh, one last thing.  Last week I finished the 22 lessons in EQ7.  It was a lot of work but I learned a lot.  Mostly, I learned that the program does a lot more than I knew and that there is still a bunch I still need to learn.  Maybe I will begin this next stage in my learning while I design my new chicken quilt?