Wednesday, December 31, 2008

San Antonio was Wonderful

I can't say enough about what a good time we had, even though our team, in overtime, lost. DH was thrilled to be in a sea of purple:


and at the game.

We started our day at The Alamo (did you know that alamo means cottonwood?). And where did we park? Right outside the wall of the fort:

We couldn't believe we found the perfect parking place where we just fed it quarters every couple of hours.

Oh, and I was there, too. I loved the fort and the mission and the people working there was not only knowledgeable but enthusiastic about both the history and the women who saved and now run the fort and mission.

We ate on the River Walk (mushrooms sauteed in a tomato & oil sauce and covered with melted swiss cheese = yum!) and then shopped in a couple of very nice antique malls. And here I have to say that all of the locals we talked to or did business with were so very nice and helpful. I can't remember being in a city and being treated so well. Anyway, by the time it was time to head for the Alamodome, I was ready for some sitting time.

The game was really fun. Northwestern led most of the game and both teams played well, for the most part. What was also nice to see was so few penalties. We would have loved to see NU win this game but since they were 2 touchdown underdogs, we were mighty pleased with their play.

It is a 14 hour drive from San Antonio to home, especially when DH has to stop every time he sees "Antique Mall" on a sign. But even with that we were home by 10:30 and I was in my little bed by 11. Now I need to get off the computer and unpack the car so I can get in the studio and pick out my fabric for Bonnie Hunter's New Years Eve Day Mystery Quilt. Being gone I am so far behind everyone else. Oh, well, tomorrow is another day (didn't I just say that?)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

This holiday season it was interesting to see how much our family loves us. At Thanksgiving we went to DS & DDIL’s house where they served Weight Watcher’s planned meals. It was wonderful that they were so thoughtful and we lost 2# over that weekend. In mid-December we received an email from DDIL in CO. She likes to bake wonderful cookies for Christmas but before making some for us she asked if we would prefer to not be tempted. While saying “yes” to her, I also was able to tell her how much I appreciated her thoughtfulness in honoring our efforts toward a more healthful way of life. Then for Christmas dinner our DD made a wonderful and yet Weight Watcher friendly meal. She, of course, is also on WW so everyone was helped by her thoughtfulness. But over this month I have been impressed by this very loving show of our children’s support.

I have had a great weekend: I have been in the studio. I have been working on my Black & White challenge quilt. Prior to Christmas I had cut all the strips and since Christmas I have sewn all the blocks (30). I did have to laugh when I looked at my design wall and realized that there are once again three UFO on the wall with me working on something else. For the challenge I am using left over fabric from this B&W project plus some new pieces. I am not showing anything of the new quilt yet because the plan is kind of coming as I sew. LOL

And there will be no sewing for the next couple of days. We leave very early tomorrow morning to go to San Antonio for the Alamo Bowl: DH is a Northwestern Graduate. Living in Al there are very few NU games we can get to. I did make DH something to wear for the game:
I couldn't find any of these things in purple so I dyed them. I was really happy with how they came out and DH is planning to wear them. He also got a new NU tee shirt from DD so he will really be outfitted.
Anyway I am not taking the computer with me because we will either be on the road, visiting the Alamo, at the game, or sleeping, for the next three days.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Today is the day that we celebrate the birth of the Christ. It is a joyful day and also a day of remembrance of Christmas Eve's and Christmas Days gone by. I remember, vaguely, the Christmas' with my parents and grandparents and with more nostalgia the Christmas' with our four children. We were always financially struggling but oh how we tried to make those Christmas' good for the kids. Of course there was the Christmas my husband gave me the electric blanket (which I had said I didn't want) and in the night it started to flash at me, but we won't remember that, will we? Now our Christmas is much quieter, as it is just the two of us. We have made new traditions to take the place of the bustle of kids and we have come to enjoy the peace and quiet those Christmas' can bring. One of our newer traditions came when we had broken water pipes on Christmas Eve: we went out for Chinese on Christmas Day. Now we eat Chinese every few years, just for the fun of it. But this year we will be going to our daughter's house for Christmas dinner and gifts. We will enjoy her children and grandchild and then come home to the peace and quiet of our house.

This is one of two placemats I made last Christmas (Quiltmaker). I love them but we have never used them. I put them on the table but my husband prefers to eat on his lap in front of the TV so these placemats look just as good they did when they were new. At least they make the table festive.

I have been blogging now for three months and I want to thank everyone for the acceptance I have received. I wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas and/or Happy Holiday.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The picture quality is not great (cell phone) but isn't this the neatest way to enter into Christmas week? What you are looking at is great grandson, Skylar (Sky) with his Grandpa Santa.

Now a puzzle: what in the world are these? No prizes as I am all gifted out what with Christmas, but I think they really look funny.

I think we are almost ready for Christmas. We have either made or gotten all of our gifts with the exception of two: one is still on backorder and the other will be a gift card that I will get getting tomorrow.

We have heard from my SIL: they got electricity shortly after I posted that they were out. However it is snowing there now and they are expecting another ice storm soon. It's a good thing they got a new cord of wood for the stove, it sounds like they may need it.

And here in the South, we are supposed to be going down to 22F tonight with a brisk breeze. I should tell you that I really don't like to be cold. But at least we won't have ice to wake up to.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Busy but not Quilting

This has been a busy week. I have been using my embroidery machine more than the HQ16. This is a free standing lace gift tag. I have made several for different family members but ran out of time to make them for everyone. This is the one I practiced on: for hubby.

I have also been working on my Black & White Challenge quilt. I have cut all the fabric and designed it in EQ6. I plan to start sewing on it on Jan. 1.

In the "plan for the future" section of my mind, I have been making plans to get some UFO's and other quilts done. I usually work on two or three projects at the same time. One of those will have to be a UFO or one of the "kits" I have already put together with a pattern, usually of my own design. I have two shelves of "kits" but I tend to forget to go get them when I want to start a new project. So, I have come up with this new idea. I sure hope it works: I really like some of the ideas that became "kits."

And one other bit of news. While I was in Lakeland I bought a kiln. I have wanted to get into fused glass and now I am going to. I have also purchased some glass and some of the tools so I am almost ready to go. I have a plan (another one) for setting it all up and hope to try it out next week. I only want to make jewelry and buttons right now but I think this will be another outlet for creativity: pictures to follow (?).

Addition: We just talked with DH's sister in NH where she has been without electricity for a week. She reported that they are expecting 12" of snow tomorrow and another ice storm over the weekend. Fortunately they just had a wood burning stove installed and cook with gas. However, this has been a really rough time for them. Our prayers continue to go their way.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Back Home

Short but good trip/visit, lots of driving (9 hrs each way), feeling good sitting in my own chair.

This is what my mother gave me as a birthday gift.

She knows that I am the primary finance officer in the family. The $$ that goes in the His Money pig drops right down into the Her Money pig. I love it, don’t you?

When I got home it was time to put up the tree and decorate it with the ornaments I bought last Christmas.

The balls are Jim Shore’s 12 Days of Christmas with quilting motifs. The snowmen are a tribute to the Styrofoam snowmen that were on the tree when I was a child. I always love those snowmen but they disappeared so I finally able to get some of my own.

So now I am sitting by my tree and fire (in the fireplace), resting up from my trip and avoiding any thoughts of work. I did empty the car but nothing has been unpacked and won’t be tonight. Tomorrow is another day…..wonder where I heard that?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Away from home

Today I drove to Lakeland, FL for a short visit with my mother. I am staying at the Hyatt and what a neat room this is. That TV is a 50" plasma, just for me. It swivels so I can watch from the bed or the 8' long couch.

Right now I am sitting in that corner, stretched out on the foot stool.

Anyway, I woke up at 4:30 am and heard rain. I checked the weather online and saw a BIG storm coming my way. So, I finished packing up the car and took off, just ahead of the storm. On the road for 8.5 hours, a little rain and the traffic was well behaved. Of course that might have been because there were more state troopers on the interstates than I have ever seen: lots of flashing lights. I, of course, was perfect and sailed along.

No quilting going on this week but I have started a "to do" list both for the end of the month and the first of the year. My LQS is doing a BOM (Eleanor Burns) next year and it will be the first feed sack type of quilt I have ever done. My UFO's include one BOM not sewn and one BOM not quilted. I guess that means I better get busy on what I have while I start another one, huh?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Quilting Again

Today I spent almost all day in the studio. I worked on some small Christmas gifts but also started on a charity quilt (guild project). I got the polka dot fabric on sale and the center square was a $1.00 fat quarter. I love fabric sales. The white is shirting that was given to the guild and I use some of it in every charity quilt I do. I will probably use the same as the backing.

Anyway, this is going to be a disappearing 9 patch so this is what happens when it is cut. I have only cut the square and will probably turn the parts a few times before I begin sewing.

I love the colors and the brightness: I hope it will brighten some child's life.

I am leaving in two days to go to central Fl to visit my mother for a few days. And, I am trying to get everything for Christmas done before I go. I think all the gifts are either made or purchased so tomorrow I will try to get them all wrapped and ready for the mail. Then I will leave them for DH to mail, his contribution to Christmas preparation. lol

Happy Birthday, again, Linda.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

It's beginning to look like........

So, with everyone else in Blogland posting pictures
of Christmas decorations, I decided I need to get on the stick. Here you can see the first of the village pieces finding their places in front of the almost quilt. I am really loving how it looks.

The carolers in this picture were made by my parents several years ago: the outfits were knit by my mother.

Here is some more of the village. Please note the clean fireplace. I played Cinderella and cleaned it: the logs weren't getting any air underneath because of all the ashes. The two stockings were machine knit by me many years ago. That year I knit 16 stockings for family members: each one was unique. That was truly a Labor of love.

The last part of the village is here. We put a trunk (lighthouse and airport) and the coffee table (ice skating rink, tree sales shack, and McDonalds) together to form a bi-level plane.
There are still some decorations that need to be put up including the tree and a train. But this got done between sewing projects.
One more note: Weight Watcher's weigh in today = 2# loss. Daughter had a 3# loss. Not bad following a Thanksgiving weekend, huh?

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Back to the Real World

But before we get there I do need to share my birthday gift from DS and DIL: a visit to Alligator World.

Today I spent all day in the studio. I embroidered a Christmas shirt for me (I try to do one a year) and started on some free standing lace gift tags. I also started organizing my fabric strips as per Bonnie Hunter and cut and started sewing my minki throw. I enjoyed multi-tasking so much I even began cleaning up the cutting table and sewing room. Wow, writing about all that has left me exhausted.
On the left you will see a new give away picture. Daisy's Quilts has been online for one year and she is celebrating. I would encourage everyone to enter her give away but I really want to win so check it out but don't enter. lol

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope everyone has had as nice a Thanksgiving as we have. Our DS and DIL prepared a wonderful dinner and even have the Weight Watcher's points all figured out for us. We ate well and didn't go over our alloted points: what more could one ask for?

For the last year I have been involved in a "Birthday Project." I made pillows for every member of the family for their birthdays. Each pillow was made from a shirt and was embroidered with designs chosen especially for the person. The funny thing is that it began to seem like we had more family members than I remembered. However, last week I completed the last of the birthday pillows: front and back.

These were given to our DD, DIL, and DS on Wednesday. I really enjoyed making the pillows and shirt covers but was glad to see this project come to an end.

Tomorrow we will be celebrating my birthday (66) and then Saturday we will be headed home to put up Christmas decorations. I am also hoping for some quilting and sewing time as I always need that quiet time after being away on a trip.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

This is how far I have gotten on my Christmas wall hanging. The reindeer are all appliqued, the trees are only stuck on. Unfortunately I am out of time. This piece will be background for our Christmas village which will go on the hearth when we get back from our son's (Thanksgiving and my birthday). So, we will admire it as is for this Christmas and then I will finish the applique and quilting. I only hope I get it done in January rather than waiting until next November.

Here are the fabrics I bought with my birthday discount. Here are the quilting fabrics: I see 4 different projects there.
Here are the Minki-like fabrics. I got the animal print last November and the coral now. Back to back they will make a great throw and possibly a couple of pillows. All of this will be after Christmas projects.
And now I need to get packed. My DH, DD, and I are leaving early tomorrow morning to travel to St. Augustine for a family Thanksgiving. This will be a first in a long time that my twins (now 40) will be together for this holiday and I am really looking forward to it. I don't know if I will be online while we are gone but will try to take pictures to share. Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Tomorrow is another day

Despite all my good intentions, I have not been sewing. For the last three days I have made plans to spend time in the studio, working on a birthday gift and a Christmas quilt. And all three days I have gotten in my car and driven to NW FL. On Friday we, DH and I, drove the 60 miles down to one of my favorite fabric stores where I was able to use my birthday discount to purchase a minki-like fashion fabric plus some on sale quilting cotton. I love sale fabric! We also went to Lowes to get some plastic drawers for me to begin storing left over "squares, bricks, and strips" as per Bonnie Hunter.

Saturday, as I was preparing to enter the studio to sew, I decided that we hadn't done anything about Christmas gifts. So off we went, back to NW FL, where we did quite a lot of Christmas shopping and, just by chance, some us shopping, too. I have a fondness for dark wood antiques and couldn't resist this:

It is a hand-made secretary. The top part is about 4' tall and the whole thing is almost 8' tall. I don't know what I am going to display on the shelves but I am sure it will come to me.

I also bought a new/old lamp:

It was on sale, 80 % off, I think because it is so big, 4 1/2' high. But it is perfect for me and will be even better when I put some crystal fringe on it.
So on with my no-sewing story. Today we had to go back to NW FL because the secretary was too big to put in my car yesterday. Then when we got home I spent the afternoon rearranging the furniture to accomodate the new finds.
So as far as sewing goes, "tomorrow is another day."

Thursday, November 20, 2008






Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Newfound Backyard

Update: The second half of the house has moved. It is not off the property but it has moved about 200' and is just waiting for the licensed truck driver to show up again. But for now the house is sitting next to my studio. I must say that I couldn't stay in the sewing room of the studio while it was going by: way too close for me.

The funny thing is that this truck has been around for so long (almost three weeks) that it is looking like part of the family parking lot.

And this is the best part, the view from my house. It is a little messy right now (and since it is going down to 25 tonight will probably stay that way for a while) but cleaned up and with grass won't this be a beautiful view?

Everything we can see from here is ours and I love it.

My sewing today consisted of shortening the pants I bought Saturday. I even got Petites and had to shorten the legs: it doesn't seem fair. But now I have 5 new pair that fit so I can go back to quilting tomorrow. I need to be working on the appliqued reindeer and have a table topper to quilt, already loaded on the frame. It's funny but living in the quilting world means there is always work to be done. Yea!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Wonderful Weekend

Positive things happened this weekend. Saturday my daughter and I went shopping. We were celebrating her 40th birthday and looking for smaller clothes for both of us due to significant weight loss through Weight Watchers. We shopped consignment and thrift stores, because we plan to loose even more, and had a great time.

And today there was significant movement in my yard. This may sound funny but two years ago we moved into a new house. We had a double wide mobile home that we continued to use for storage for a while and then tried to get rid of it. I offered it for free but no one wanted to try to move it. Then in August my SIL sold it for us: the bill of sale said it had to be moved by November 1. Well no one came to move it until the end of October. They worked on getting the tires on (30 years sitting) and finally on October 30 the parts were separated and the front half was moved from the backyard to the side. But because it was late it was decided that they would move everything the next day. So on the 31st I left for a meeting figuring that when I got home I would have an empty back yard (5 acres) to start working on. Well, was I surprised when I came home and everything was just like I left it. And it stayed that way until today: no one could find the mover. So today one half of the house is gone and who knows when the second half will follow. But I am concentrating on the progress of today and enjoying the empty space in the side yard.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A look back in (my) time.

In September 2007 my quilt guild invited Flavin Glover to teach a class. Until that time I had never made even one log cabin block. On that day I made four little blocks (Flavin uses very small strips for her blocks) and am just now getting ready to quilt a small table topper that has them in it. However, I did do a complete log cabin project.

I made several quilt blocks and stitched them onto a muslin jacket. I made the jacket pattern in PatternMaster Botique.

But on the way I had another idea:

I decided that I could make a jacket with removable sleeves: jacket/vest. And I did it. Now I can't tell you that the vest looks really good on me (really broad shoulders) but the idea is good and it is a great learning tool. And it was lots of fun to demo at guild.

I really enjoyed making the log cabin blocks and plan to make a quilt with them one day but it just seems like I keep coming up with new ideas that then push the old ideas

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

So many people post pictures of the Fall color, I thought I would do the same. Here, in the South, we mostly have green all year round. But, here and there are shots of color. This is in my front yard. We have several volunteer sugar maple trees scattered throughout the five acres and they give us a lot of color in the fall.

For some reason I have not been getting much done around here. It could be that my husband has been around more and keeps interrupting me. It also could be because we got a Wii and Wii Fit and have been playing with it. However, even with all these goings on, I have gotten 2 1/2 gifts done, am set up for the appliqueing on the reindeer, have the parts ready to sew together on a BOM and am almost ready to load a table topper for quilting. And, if it wasn't laundry day, I would be in the studio now getting someting done. So I better get off this computer, get some laundery loaded, and get busy.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Views of the Past

I am sewing and embroidering but nothing I can show right now, so I thought I would dredge up one of my older masterpieces to show.

This is done with swap blocks from my quilt guild. It was one where I suggested the design for the blocks and everyone was to use blue, yellow and white. The blocks were beautiful and I had told everyone I wanted them so when we drew for them, I won. Of course, like everyone else, they sat on a shelf for a while before I decided what to do with them. This is quite traditional but the first time I used a border fabric so I was trying something new.

I quilted circular feathers in the white spaces and meandered around them. The label is embroidered. I had planned to use this in the kitchen, perhaps on the table, but the yellow in there is more of a mustard color so it now graces my studio recliner.

I think I am coming down with a cold: frequent weather changes lately. Although I always have lots to do, I don't much feel like doing anything so I have been embroidering a little and sitting a little. And now, maybe I'll nap a little.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

With no one home to hold the quilt up it was a little difficult to get pictures but here they are:
Front and Back

The quilt had gotten a little dark with the outside border but just adding the light binding decreased that effect. I figure that it will not get too dirty since it will only come out to play for one month a year. The back is left over fabric from this quilt and an internet Christmas quilt block swap I did this spring/summer. Those blocks have not been put together but I already had fabric for the back of it so I could use this. I'm not part of stashbusters (I do love buying fabric) but I have been trying to use as much of my stash as possible:

crowded shelves.

Today I am working on birthday gifts and a log cabin block for a guild swap. Right now I was going to make my bed but the dogs are already asleep on it so that will have to wait until later. I am also going to try to practice some of the quilt designs in Dawn Ramirez's Pajama Quilter Reloaded DVD I

just got. I loved watching it but now it is time to practice. She already taught me how "pebbling" is done so now it is time to

see if I can do it, on the white board. Then maybe later this week I will make and load a charity quilt to practice for real.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

This was a very good quilting day. I completed my Christmas Disappearing 9 Patch, picture tomorrow, and got started on my Christmas wall hanging called Practicing:

I have decided I will have to do some fabric painting on the sky: too many moons. This is the top half and has only been ironed on.

Meanwhile, this is what was going on in the house...

I think they think I make quilts just for them.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

This morning I took my Christmas Disappearing 9 Patch off the frame: quilting done. I used a variegated green thread on the front so it is kind of hard to see the quilting. The back is 10" blocks of Christmas fabric and the quilting only shows on the white blocks (and sometimes this is a good thing): picture to follow. I was going to trim it and begin the binding but discovered that I first will have to, again, clean off the cutting table before I can lay this one out and square it up. I have been working on about three different projects while quilting and each of them has left it's mark on the table.

Oh, I discovered what was wrong with my HQ16: operator error, of course. When the thread broke the last time it came out of one of the threading places. This seems to make a really big difference. I discovered it when my machine repairman called to tell me that he had ordered my new needle plate for my Babylock but the other problem was that I had threaded it wrong. Well, I was embarrassed. My excuse is that my new machine is self threading and maybe I just forgot how to thread it? Or, maybe in my haste, I just did it wrong. Whatever!

And the laptop problem, you may ask? Well, after 90 min with a very nice tech at HP it was decided that I would have to reset it to factory defaults. What a pain! But, did that and have almost completely reinstalled all the programs. I/We think that when I tried to uninstall Norton it took my internet connection with it. But now I have Norton out and McAfee in and all is well.

Yesterday I got two 4' x 6' mirrors: free. My LQS is relocating to what was a beauty shop and she had these mirrors she wasn't going to use. I love mirrors and have them all over my house so I couldn't resist. I put one in my bathroom (I will probably regret that next time I shower) and one in the studio. They are not permanently placed but good enough for now.

And now it is time to return to the studio and clean, at least the table.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

So, Friday I went to the studio, full of vim and vigor, ready to work on projects. First I started embroidering on a shirt (for me). On the fourth design the machine started grabbing the thread, breaking it, and making a mess on the underside. I had just had the machine serviced so I packed it up and took it back to the service person. He thinks it is the sole plate which he had already told me had a nick on it.

Back at the studio I started quilting on my Christmas disappearing 9 patch.

I had decided on a holly leaf and loops motif:

And I quilted one pass and was about 2/3 of the way through the second when my HQ16 jammed. The needle goes down but won't/can't pull the bobbin thread up, just gets stuck there.

Now to add to all of this my laptop has decided to not connect with the internet. For the last week it will only be on local wireless and not internet. I have been so frustrated by it that I haven't called anyone: I knew I wasn't in any mood to try many different things. Anyway, the two machines were just too much for me so I shut everything down, jumped in my car, and drove 70 miles to a quilt shop I had recently heard of. It was very nice and I even was able to pick up some sale fabric.

Saturday I sat down at my straight stitch machine and pieced on my Bonnie Hunter quilt now named Chocolate Stars. I have made about 24 blocks, pinned on the design wall, and will probably make 20 - 24 more before I run out of fabric strips.

I also got the fabric all together to make a Christmas wall hanging. My sky will be the blue and I plan to have 12 reindeer, 6 light and 6 dark, kind of like shadows. This quilt will cover a set of bookshelves that are above where we put our Christmas village set: this will be the background. I have to get started on it soon because we put the village up the first weekend in December, only 5 weeks away.
I guess the moral of this story is that it is good to have several different machines so that when one goes wonky I can just move to a different one and work on a different project. Another moral is that it is good to have decided to not make Christmas gifts this year: no deadlines looming.