Saturday, February 27, 2010

What's in a name...

When I started on this journey of quilting, I decided that I would try all methods.

No prior judgments allowed.

No "I don't think I'd enjoy that".

Learn new things and try them all.

Are you chuckling or shaking your head yet? Let me introduce you to "Flying High"--the one and only machine applique quilt I will ever make. Maybe it should be "Flying High because it's done"?

And if I didn't have a grandson who has been so patiently waiting, I probably would not have finished.

Maybe it was part of the method. When I first try something, I stick with the directions and rarely deviate. Perhaps I should have reduced some of the layers in this one. I did very little quilting, because I felt that some sections were "stiff".

I am happy that Grandpa managed to create a picture with Henry as the astronaut captain. So we finished this one and move on to the next.

Any of you have a "boy, am I glad this one's done?"

Friday, February 19, 2010

What she did for my birthday...

So, I must have really been on a roll complaining about the snow in Indiana, because this is what the card read:

Here's hoping that your snow filled garden soon looks like these sunny blooms! Happy Birthday!

Yes, Theri is not only multi-talented, but is a thoughtful best friend.

(Now, between you and me, wouldn't you be sick of looking at all that white stuff outside the window?!)

And both sons remembered to call. If you're the mother of both sexes, you will understand and be happy for me. And my grandchildren sang on the phone. At almost 5 and 7, this is a highlight of grandma's day. And none of the words were mumbled or rushed...a beautiful job.

Thursday morning (my big day) I awoke to find my little dog limping badly. So we had to go off to the vet and both of us hate this trip. Tux goes all over (I mean everywhere) with me, but get him within a quarter mile of the vet or the groomer and he starts shaking. And then I feel like this MEAN mom--I did better when I had little kids. Geez.... Well, he is twelve now and I have to admit that I do worry. Have you ever been lucky enough to have a dog that is excited to see you every morning? But hopefully the pills we are trying will be the answer, or we head back for x-rays next week. So I spent most of the afternoon being quiet, checking all kinds of blogs and watching him sleep. And no bad news is a gift of its own!

My husband took me out for my favorite rib dinner. Meat that melts in your mouth! He gave me the choice of ribs or steak...I chose ribs. You need to know that Fred has a restaurant with a filet that he thinks is perfect for birthdays, anniversaries, you name it. BUT, my birthday was on Thursday and ribs are the "special" at the other place on Thursday only. Is that a no brainer for you? It certainly was easy for me! When he told me that turning down this steak meant it was gone forever, I said I could go any night. His reply was "listen to Miss Money Bags"! Silly man...all you have to do is cook some lite meals for a few nights and he'll offer again.

Look! My books came today! Like I really need more. I probably have enough "quilt wishes" to last 3 lifetimes. As long as I am good about not going out and immediately buying more fabric, I should be okay. And when I went to JoAnn's I was really good about buying needles only. I read on one of my yahoo groups that they are recommending topstitch needles for quilting because of the depth of the layers. Might come in handy for "Flying High" with all the applique pieces.

And here's a picture of our pal helping with the new
books. Next time I'll send a pic of the cute end!

And here's my gift to you! Have you ever heard of the "Quilt Whisperer"? Her name is Carla Barrett and this is an incredible slide show of her work. Just click and enjoy...

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Colorful and bright!

Since I last posted, I decided that the layout for the sewing room (aka dining room) just wasn't working the way I thought it would. A couple of years ago I read several postings to a Yahoo sewing group about choosing a room in your home that was dedicated to your sewing. How many of us have used the kitchen table, a corner of the living room, whatever? Many told of using an extra bedroom once the children started leaving. I was already using one of the extra bedrooms and it was not light/bright enough. And I knew there was no way I would talk my husband into moving out of the master bedroom!

That led to choosing the dining room. That sort of worked for awhile... But the layout and my sewing habits just made it seem (and it was) cluttered most of the time. AND I found myself jumping from one project to another---with nothing getting finished. Same room, new idea!

The design walls were on two adjacent walls. Just plain dumb! Now that they are on the same wall, they will hold separate projects or one big quilt. These "walls" are simply 8'x4'x2" insulation sheets (1 ft. cut off the top) with white fleece for coverings. The fleece is simply draped over and can be removed for washing. Quilt designs stick to them quite nicely and only need pinning to the boards once they are sewn and get heavier. So they remain portable and could be transferred to the garage or another room if I really need the dining room.
Fat chance!

The cutting table will only have the leaves open when I am actually cutting; it took a lot of space. This made a tremendous difference. In the first configuration, this was completely open and it became a catchall. Plus, there was a small ironing board on top. Now, I walk about 20 feet to the laundry room to press and this also helps me get the exercise I need on snowy days.

The sewing machines are on the trestle table, although I may put the embroidery machine away unless I want it out for a specific use. The fat quarters, etc. are in plastic storage pins under the table with larger cuts stored in the hutch.

Bet you're thinking "this will never last", but I've been working on the "Flying High" quilt all week and the room still looks good. Maybe this old dog learned a new trick?!


Friday, February 5, 2010

How they win your heart...

So the first real quilt was for our granddaughter (the second grandchild) Aimee. I really pondered this one, since I had worked on another with a lot of machine embroidery with bright primary colors...and then discovered my daughter-in-law didn't like primaries for babies' rooms. Sigh...She said that I could do whatever I wanted, but I wanted this to be used and loved.

So when I found Patched Stars by Kaye England, it definitely looked like this had real possibilities. The colors were all wrong, but pastels would probably be perfect.

So I began buying fat quarters. Some I didn't even care for, but I needed a lot... And if you haven't guessed by now, those are one inch squares! Pretty foolish for a first, you say?

We took the pics on a somewhat cloudy day and the colors don't look as vibrant on the full view, but I was truly pleased with this one. And Aimee can use it for years--it even makes for a nice lap quilt as she gets older.

Her mother even asked if I would do a valance for her room (some 100 plus inches long), so I knew she really liked it too.

I even managed to play with my software program and digitized matching stars for the borders, so I was able to use the embroidery machine after all.

This was for her very first birthday and the best part: when Aimee opened the package, she knew exactly what it was for...she crawled onto it and laid down. They don't have to do much to win your heart! And all that piecing is worth it...

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Early Bird

Look! I don't have to stand on my head after all...

After my posting, Theri asked if "the early bird eats
the worm" sounded familiar. Well, yeah, but that's not quite it either. Ta dah! She found this on Amazon...well, of course, why didn't I look there? Simple answer: she has more brain cells left than I do. The pattern (pamphlet) is no longer available, but you never know, I will probably keep checking. Now it is confirmed that it came out in 1982 (didn't I say the 80's?) and the authors/designers were Faye Anderson and Hank Parker.

I dragged the picture of my version back so that you would see how I changed the layout. Since this would be a wallhanging behind the sofa,

this shape was better for its location.

Isn't it funny how you can have something around for years and decide that you will move on and you've done enough of that "theme" for awhile? And since Alice's challenge of first quilts, I have realized I miss this silly thing. Just might have to locate a copy or draw it myself...

But this isn't the last of my chickens! My every day dishes have Rhode Island Reds on them...