Thursday, December 27, 2007
There is a small group of quilters that I discovered last summer while we were at the cottage. The small town nearby has a community center where we meet every Monday morning, either for a meeting or for sit-and-sew. One of the group projects is a batik pineapple quilt that must be done for the show in June. Of course, I opened my mouth and said that it would look good with appliqued borders..........you guessed it - I'm appliquing like a mad woman! The picture is the auditioning of fabrics, most of which I'm using and there will be a narrow pink border between the appliqued one and the quilt. It has to be at the quilter by the first of March so push time has arrived. I don't think I'll do quite as much applique as I originally planned, but I think it will still look good.
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Zoom forward to 2007. Those two young ones are now in their mid-twenties and the question "are we having a treasure hunt this year?" was presented to us. Oh dear! Jim had to dig deep to find those rhymes and clues but we had not one, not two, but three! treasure hunts devised and they also included Anne, Chris's girlfriend.
Now to backtrack again....... Each summer at the cottage the two guys would pair up with their cousins and spend many hours playing board games. Their all-time favorite was the game Hotels that Grandma had given to their cousins. Weekend after weekend for many years, the four spent time on the floor gathered around the coffee table playing the game. For years we searched garage sales but could never find the game. Finally, this year when the cousins were all together talking about those fun memories and Anne said "oh I LOVE that game!" we decided to hit E-Bay and see what we could do. We got the game and I'm not sure who was more excited that we had something that none of the three would ever guess. So, on Friday night as we gathered around the table, Jim passed out the first of the clues. Such laughter and giggling! My my my....one would have thought we had struck gold in them thar hills when they finally found the package under the sofa!! They pushed aside all else and began assembling pieces, talking about the way it was played, the fun times they've had and how much they wanted to get right to it. The game started as soon as the rest of the presents had been opened. By 2 a.m. they were nodding off but staunchly hanging in there not wanting the game to end and as the night turned into morning, they gave up and went to bed. It's for sure they will remember this Christmas hunt and it will be right up there with the rollerblades, the Legos, the GI Joes, the Micro Machines and all those other wonderful Christmas memories. We will remember those special peals of laughter as well. Christmas is such a delightful and magical time! I hope yours is special too!
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Retirement means very little time alone - the kind of time one needs to get quilts made for your husband! I've managed to get the quilt to the point of binding, but I think he is suspicious. Oh well.....he'll just have to act surprised instead of being truly surprised.
Jim is a woodworker and loves to putter in his shop. He also likes to make wooden jigsaw puzzles - like the kind you buy at Wal-Mart only better. He takes a photo, has it enlarged, adheres it to a special piece of wood and then works his magic. His puzzles are all interlocking and can usually be picked up by one corner and the whole puzzle stays intact.
Anyway, a couple of years ago on a quilting weekend, my friends suggested I make Jim a puzzle quilt and even went so far as to buy a pattern. The pattern had squared off "bumps" and wasn't interlocking. So I designed my own and came up with a puzzle quilt for him. I don't even want to guess how much I spent searching for all kinds of novelty fabrics depicting the things that he likes.........from french fries to a muscle car to our special pup, Jordan. The bumps were all sewn on by hand and that took some evenings in the upstairs when he wasn't around.
I'm down to binding it now and hope to have it all done by Christmas. It isn't a pretty quilt at all. But it has all the things that mean something to him. I think he'll like it!
Saturday, December 1, 2007
We have walls, a roof and altho the picture doesn't show it, windows, a furnace and some plumbing. The upper left window is in the kitchen area, bottom right is the laundry room with my quilting area behind it. The place isn't real big but it will greatly improve life as we know it when we have kids or company come to visit us at the lake cottage! And...I get to have some space where I can spread out and just close the door when I want to leave it.
Mom has been here for the past week. As part of her Christmas present, I took her to see the Radio City Rockettes Christmas Show. It was really awesome, especially the live nativity. Mom enjoyed it all and it made me glad I took her. She is 84 and still loves to get out and go. I saw the Rockettes in NY in the late 70's, enjoyed them then and again this past week.
Quilting has taken a back seat for several weeks. Other than making several go-green grocery bags, I haven't done any sewing at all. I'm really ready to get some done! There's been just too much going on and I want to be organized when I go back to my projects. So, patience is being practiced, much against my will!!
We are experiencing a blast of Ol' Man Winter today. Lots of icy stuff all over the ground and the car when we came out of Macy's after doing some Christmas shopping. It is one of those days when a fire, something warm to drink and a bit of quilting feels good. I'll get back to it in a week or two......
Monday, November 12, 2007
The cottage where we have spent many summer weekends over the past 30 years was built in the late 40's by Jim's Uncle Jay. He raised his family there and we've done the same with our guys. It is a very small place (700 sf) and now that our sons are older, we need extra bedroom space. Rather than tear down the cottage, we decided it to be smarter for now to demolish the garage and build a new one with living quarters above it. My sister in law and I spent countless hours playing around with floor plans this summer and finally landed on one that works. We'll have 3 bedrooms, 2 baths and a living/kitchen combo or about 900 sf upstairs. Below will be a laundry room, workshop, space for one car and possibly a quilt room for me!
Demolition took place a few weeks ago and today we heard that framing has started. Long distance building isn't real easy, but we make the trip there about once a week to see the progress. The builder promises that it will be framed in by Christmas and then Jim will finish the inside work during the winter. Picking out cabinets, lights, appliances and some furniture should keep me busy during the cold winter months. I'm also planning quilts for all the beds and how I will set up my space with all my quilty stuff. Isn't dreaming about quilting time a lot of fun?!
Thursday, November 1, 2007
In September I was fortunate enough to go to a retreat at the same place as the one I went to in May. Many of the same gals were there and we had a great time! New friends were also made. The amount of talent in that place was phenomenal! We laughed til we cried and ate enough to make us explode, but we also got a lot of quilting done. One gal, Mary, issues a challenge to us and this time it was the Paint Chip Challenge. She went to the paint store and got one of every color of the paint strips. Then she placed them face down on the floor, mixed them up and chose three at a time. Those three went into an envelope with instructions. We all picked an envelope at random. I think I lucked out! That same weekend when we went to Shipshewana as a group, there was an endcap with fabric that I think looks pretty good with the paint strips! My plan is to make a Vera Bradley kind of tote for quilting stuff. Of course, I have until September to get it done so it may be a while!
Mary also issued a challenge for the May Retreat. It is a bit harder and I haven't come up with a good plan. We are to make a quilt (36" or larger) that shows inspiration, or how our May group made us feel. Lots of hand applique ideas are floating around in my head, but I need to be realistic on time.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Let me tell you a little about Drew.....well-liked, kind, brother, son, college student, teacher of indigent children in Turkey, teacher and worker in a small mission in Mexico, environmentalist, full of life and energy. He died at age 21, and over 1000 neighbors and friends came to the celebration of his life. Drew was the son of a gal who became a good friend when our son needed a career counselor. Drew was a college student and gave up his summers to work with children in poor areas and then, gave up his car for a bike because he felt his car wasn't environmentally sound. Unfortunately, he was killed while riding his bike.
After Drew's death, I told Amy I'd like to make her a quilt from Drew's shirts that she and her husband could use as a hug when they needed it. It took her nearly two years to be able to get the shirts together for the quilt - it has been a very rough time for them - and once I got them, I knew I had to do it right away. It was an emotionally hard one to make and truly a labor of love for a friend. It will be a Christmas gift for her husband.
I put the top together during my recent retreat and it didn't go quite as my graphed design indicated, but it is done and will be sent to the quilter this week. I hope it will provide a tiny bit of comfort to them.
Monday, September 10, 2007
It has been a busy few weeks and I keep thinking that I need to post........ Going between the cottage and home has it's pluses and minuses. The minus part is getting to fight Chicago traffic and then trying to get everything caught up at home before returning. I'm happy to do it, though, because I realize that life is good whenever I return to either place! Today the lake is a mirror that followed an early morning of steam rising from a warm lake into cooler air. The ducks and swans don't seem to mind the cool air, but my toes and nose do!
It's almost time for our church's annual garage sale and I am in charge of it. That takes a lot of time and while we were home last time, I called a meeting of the helpers. While chatting with one of my cohorts, she asked me if I had a room dedicated to sewing. Well, sort of.......I share it with a twin bed in case we need it, but mostly it is mine. She then asked if I would like to have her thimble collection that was displayed in a printer's drawer. Of course! She has traveled all over the world and has collected everything from Waterford to Mickey Mouse. She had a few little things in it that aren't thimbles but will they fill the holes until I get around to putting mine in with hers. Mine are mostly antique ones but these are fun and fancy, not utilitarian. The second picture shows a few of the ones I found interesting.
Tonight is the start of a 5 day retreat that I am attending near the cottage. I've had my project list made for weeks and am excited to go and laugh and sew! Hopefully, I will finish the applique on the quilt I call Bee Quilt #1 and will get the blocks done on the Bee Trees quilt. Then, if I can find sashing fabric for a T-shirt quilt, I'll try to get that one sewn as well. The T's are all fused to the non-woven backing and are trimmed to the right sizes. The group will go to Shipshewana for breakfast at the Blue Gate on Saturday, then we will shop at Lolly's and Yoder's, both wonderful quilt shops. Hopefully, I'll find just the right fabric for the T-shirt quilt. I've made my Pretzel Kisses, have my share of tonight's dinner ready to go (potatoes and Tornado Cake will be my part) and by mid afternoon will be headed to the lakeside lodge and a few days of fun! Wish you were here to join in the fun!
Sunday, August 19, 2007
It's a gloomy, rainy day and almost a bit chilly at times. We had huge thunderboomers last night with lots of unneeded rain. If this keeps up, the mosquitoes will be of a size to BBQ! Tonight I'm going to sew the bindings on two queen size flannel quilts that I made last winter. It has been too hot for handling flannel and tonight is a good night to do them. Hope you all are staying high and dry!
Saturday, August 11, 2007
They jumped out at me and I had to take them home with me! These are the Moda charms from the Roman Holiday collection that I purchased at the Chicago show in April. I bought them at The Creative Stitch from North Manchester IN, a small town near the cottage. I frequent it fairly often. One of these days, they promise to have a website. We are getting ready to build a garage here at the lake with living area above it and I'm thinking I might like this in one of the bedrooms. The sashing is Moda's Crackle in a light gold and that would be kind of pretty on the walls.
Currently, we are moving a couple of walls in our teeny-tiny cottage kitchen and putting our fridge where there was a closet. Now that most of it is put back together, I know it looks like we've done nothing. My grandmother always called it a "one-butt kitchen" ..........now we'll have room for two butts! :>) It's amazing how big the footprint of a fridge is! As Jim works on the electrical or the plumbing, I sneak in a few seams on the Roman Holiday squares. The rest of the time I've been the cleaner-upper or the gopher. He does a great job on these projects but we're always happy when they're done. The next phase calls for cabinets that he will build, new counter tops and some new flooring. We're trying to make the proverbial silk purse out of a sow's ear but it's cheaper than starting from scratch. You'll be hearing a lot about the old garage demolition and the new construction. I'm excited about some extra space for company.
Tonight is a night alone - just me and my gal, Leah. Jim is at his class reunion.........a good time for some extra stitching, don't you think?
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
The dog days of summer are here. I wonder why they are called "dog days"? In the small town where I grew up, there were Dog Day Sales with the local merchants. Maybe hot, summer days are slow, lazy days - just like some dogs? Our love, Leah, doesn't seem to mind the heat as long as there is a rabbit to chase or a ball to retrieve, but she definitely hits the floor in a big FLOP when she comes in and recharges her batteries. Here she has parked herself in the car wearing her "you're not leaving without me!" look. My days have been slow and lazy lately as well. The snuggly feeling of fabric just isn't high on my list and those long days of doing nothing but quilting are but a vague memory right now. Yesterday a few blocks got sewn together as I sat in front of a breeze off the lake, but even that breeze wasn't enough to entice me to stay at my sewing machine. The swing and a good book called and off I went. How are you spending your dog days?
Friday, July 13, 2007
Wednesday, July 4, 2007
As I entered the church, almost with a feeling of reverence for where I was, there was a bit of excitement in the air. Old friends greeting one another. The white haired lady taking money was a former grade school teacher and the slightly graying lady in front of me was one of her former students. They greeted each other with hugs, smiles and laughter, catching up on each others' lives. I wish I could know more of my former students! As I joined the crowd, others could be heard renewing their annual hellos and catching up briefly on what was going on while those like me, quietly looked and touched with glove-covered hands.
In what we have always called the "vestibule" and others call the "narthex", there were piles of quilts that had already been spoken for, off to the side. Beautiful hand appliqued bed size quilts hung from the dividers and had price tags on them. I wondered how anyone could let go of such beauties. My experience has always been that an appliqued quilt becomes too much a part of my life simply because of the hours, life events that get stitched into the quilt and the thoughts or memories that go with those bits of fabric. I would never be able to come up with a price fair to either me or the purchaser. The sanctuary was full full full. Racks held completed quilts, Christmas tree skirts, lap quilts and wallhangings. Quilt tops, donated and not yet quilted, draped over the backs of the worn oak pews that have held hundreds of worshipers over the years. I wonder how many of those who have sat or now sit in those pews are quiltmakers. I love old church pews.........there is something about smooth, old, wood that is well worn by the touch of hands, that tugs at my heartstrings.
I found a top that will get new borders before I send it to the quilter. This top will go to a young man who just moved into his first apartment. The price was such that I couldn't buy fabric for the price they were asking and different borders will give it a new, more masculine look.
As I made my way through the maze of friendly quilters and quilts, I saw several of the gals from the quilt group near the cottage and after a few words, an invitation to Tiffany's for lunch was given. Of course I'd go - I never turn down an invitation to lunch!! :>) Tiffany's is a small, white building with a large parking lot lined for cars and a hitching post for horses. The food there is really good, down-home cooking! Homemade chicken and noodles, served over real mashed potatoes (I think it is a midwestern thing), pork manhattans and homemade pies. Yum Yummmmm. Almost sinful! The German Chocolate Pie was sinfully good as well - and I ate the whole piece! Lunch time brings in the locals as well as the area visitors. The Amish lady across the aisle, reminded me of my grandmother who was born in 1883 and was raised with religion reflected in her clothing. Men with farmers' tans, young Amish girls working as waitresses and lots of quilters filled the large room with noise.
Following the much-too-much for lunch, we headed to Shipshewana and some shopping. Shipshe is becoming very commercial, but there are two very good quilt shops there that always get my attention several times during the summer. I found sashing for a T-shirt quilt that I'm helping a friend do at Yoder's, some 25% off fabrics at Lolly's and a few birthday gifts for quilty friends before I headed home. It was a truly delightful day - just the kind a quilter loves to have.......quilt ideas, friends, chocolate and fabric purchases on a sunny summer afternoon!
This year was the last year that the show would be held in Topeka at the church. 33 years is a long time reported the gray haired lady at the checkout. It will be moved down the road a ways to Honeyville where there is more space. On the way home, the urge to drive thru Honeyville hit me. There is a very large quilt sale held there every year and my curiosity got the best of me. Honeyville is small - so small that there are no stoplights and only one stop sign, a few homes and an old school where the show will be held. A former general store sits empty and another antiques shop is at the edge of town, but the local color of buggies and bonnets is missing.
I suppose after 33 years it is time to move on, but the setting and the comraderie felt in that little brick church was something special. I wonder what they will do with those pretty pink signs.
Saturday, June 23, 2007
We walked the few steps to the house and down three steps into what would be the family room in most homes. To my complete and utter surprise, there were three Mennonite ladies sitting at an old quilting frame working on another quilt for the shop! I was hit with a feeling of returning to my Grandmother’s era. White starched net hats covered their snowy colored hair that had gentle waves reaching back to the buns on the back of their heads. Summer weight dresses in pastels helped with keeping cool on a hot day. My delight with this discovery was evident and the fact that I had come to get recipes autographed was no longer as important as what they were doing. I was more intrigued by their quilting skills and immediately went to each one’s section to admire tiny, tiny stitches loaded on their needles. Mary Alice explained to them that she had offered autographs and the ladies were happy to share the recipes that they had submitted. When asked why they turned in certain recipes, the stories began about "Grossmommy" and chocolate gravy and so on. Two of the ladies happily chatted and signed various recipes. The third, Elizabeth remained a bit quiet and kept working so I went to her and asked about her tiny stitches and other quilt related things. After a bit, I asked her to sign the book as well, but she said that although her name was Martin, she wasn’t in the same family and didn’t have any recipes in it. I asked her to sign it any way as a memory for our afternoon adventure and Miriam encouraged her to put her Strawberry Pie recipe in. Elizabeth neatly wrote the recipe from memory and signed the her name below it. She proudly told me about her recipe and some tricks to making it better. They all invited us to sit and stay awhile and even place a few stitches. We declined - but in hindsight, I might have learned to some ways to improve my quilting if we had done so. The offer was also made to open the quilt for us to see, but with respect for their work and time, we said we wouldn’t ask that of them. The quilt was nearly finished and the four women had been at the frame for almost five days, sitting and chatting with each other about the things that make up their lives.
If I had had my camera with me, I’m not sure I would have asked for a picture. Most Amish do not want their faces photographed, but the Mennonite may be different in that way. I’m not sure. It would have been a wonderful printed memory. However, there is a wonderful picture stored in my mind that I’d love to see framed - that of four white haired women sitting at a homemade quilt frame, laughing and enjoying a sleepy summer afternoon, doing what they love to do.
Monday, June 11, 2007
The bright yellow star quilt is done and on it's way to the quilter along with three others. It was a fun one to do and I'll probably donate it to charity. This week I'm going to try to finish the Bee Trees and work on the center of my Baltimore some more.....
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
It has been way too long since I posted, but things have been busy. It is difficult to do a lot of computer work at the cottage where we've been for the past many days and with the holiday, things got hectic. Some sewing was accomplished - I got all the blocks done for another charity quilt, this one for a boy, wherever he may be. The sashings have been started and it will go much faster now.
The holiday was a lot of fun! We had 7 guests between the ages of 23 and 26, one, a friend of Anne's, was from Australia (far right) and the rest were friends of our guys. It was a time of lots of laughing and way too many big bodies in a too-small cottage, but we all scrunched and enjoyed the time even tho it wasn't such a great weekend weatherwise. The front yard was full of good natured ribbing and games. One, the lake version of golf, went on until the darkness came and when the lights came on, the bugs drove everyone inside.
We're home again for a few days so that such things as lawn cutting and general chores can be done. Then we're off again to the cottage where we will start plans for building a new garage. Everything there is from the 40's and is beginning to fall apart. We need more space and will make an apartment above the garage. Then, someday, we might tear the cottage down and build a year-round home. That is still on the back burner.
While home, I'm putting together some projects to take back with me and hope that I can get a few of them done. No promises! :>) But I do promise to get in as much quilting as I can!
Friday, May 18, 2007
Wednesday, May 9, 2007
Monday, May 7, 2007
I am making a bee tree! Each member of The Monday Morning Strippers, a bee that I attend occasionally, is making a quilt called The Blossoming Tree. I call it My Bee Tree - no bees, but I like the the name. The first few blocks went rather well. I worked on them while I was at the retreat and the batik colors are fun to work with. However, having made a mistake in cutting, I didn't have enough of the small batik blocks and didn't have more fabric with me, so it was put on hold until I returned home. I'm anxious to get the remainder of the blocks finished.
I did make a quilt top at the retreat that is similar to one I made and gave as a Christmas gift. I loved the look of the appliqued border and when I found the fabric again, decided to make another. The first one had dark setting triangles and the 9 patches popped a bit more. I think I prefer the dark triangles. This is hanging on a clothesline on our deck, thus the half quilt look.
While at the retreat, I shared my Baltimore Tribute applique blocks with the group. (I posted pictures of them a month or so ago.) This album quilt has been in the making for several years and I have struggled to "get 'er done". Some blocks have been easy to do (as the one at the left) and others have really presented challenges. I've tossed it all aside several times until I've gathered enough stamina to go at it again. I work at it rarely but the retreat ladies were sooo encouraging and so positive about my work that I made a commitment to them that the quilt would be done by the next retreat in May. If it is handquilted, that means it needs to be done by Christmas. Guess I had better get busy, eh? I wonder if I am the only one who lets a bunch of little fabric pieces intimidate them?! :>)
Wow! I returned yesterday from a quilting retreat and my head is still buzzing with all the laughter, ideas and warm fuzzies from a great group of ladies. I knew I would arrive late on Thursday due to the drive from Chicago to IN and I was quite nervous. In fact, I almost didn't show up. Not knowing anyone and walking into a roomful of gals who either knew each other or had arrived at the same time everyone else had was quite intimidating. But, I pulled it together and went and am I ever glad I did! Not only did I accomplish a fair amount of quilting, but the comraderie and friendship was phenomenal! These gals came from all walks of life and ranged from 20-somethings to 70-somethings. The center is on a beautiful lake near our cottage and is primarily used for summer church camps for youth. The weather was perfect and we even got to see an outdoor wedding, complete with white dress, veil and white lawnchairs at lakeside just a few doors away. We all ate til we couldn't hold any more, laughed until we cried and some sewed until the wee hours of the morning. It doesn't get much better! I feel renewed! This is an annual event and I can't wait for the next time to come around again.
Sunday, April 29, 2007
Several days ago, Carolyn tagged me with the Blogger Thinking Award and I am to pass it on to 5 others. I am not too familiar with a lot of bloggers, but Alycia of CO is certainly one to whom I would pass the torch. Alycia has made QOV for soldiers for some time. Not unusual that a quilter would do that. However, she is doing it with 2nd and 5th graders! Being a former 5th grade teacher, she caught my attention with this project. I love the idea of her teaching children that volunteering is a great thing to do as well the teaching of an art, quilting. My next one would be Nancy. Nancy makes quilts for children, families who are in crisis or for those whose life is turned upside down. She is selfless in her efforts, making beautiful works of art for those who need a big hug. I know this isn't 5 but you get the idea of my choices.....people doing for others, paying it forward.
Tonight we'll go home for a couple of days to check the mail, cut the grass and do the homeowner routine. Thursday starts a quilt retreat that I've signed up to do and things have to be readied for that. It is held only a few minutes from here and is a group of mostly Indiana quilters. There are no assignments; just bring what you want to accomplish over a 3+ day retreat and plan to laugh a lot. I am so looking forward to being with quilty women and getting a few things done. I'm planning to take a bit of applique, a lot of piecing and some Redwork. Who knows? I just might get it all done!
Friday, April 27, 2007
Since my sewing has been put on hold this week and I haven't taken any pictures of what I'm doing currently, I thought I'd introduce you to my guys. I talk about them all the time, so thought you should know who they are! The top picture is one of Jim at a BSA Award Dinner, along with myself, Chris and Anne. Chris's girlfriend, Anne, is my applique prodigy and we love her dearly. Chris, a DePaul grad is working in dental medical malpractice. Michael, another Eagle Scout, was in CO at the time doing a Wilderness First Responder course and couldn't join us. Jim has been involved in Scouting for over 50 years and loves the involvement with the Scouts. In the second picture, Michael is in the middle with his two buddies. Tyler, on the right, has been his best bud since Mom's and Tots at age 2. Bob, Michael and Tyler went on an 8000 mile road trip in 2005 visiting national parks and doing their hiking thing. They had some exciting days and will have stories to tell their children some day. Oh to be so young and full of energy again!!
Monday, April 16, 2007
The Rosemont IQA Show was a lot of fun. We went on Preview Night but only had 3 hours to see the whole thing. Not enough time! Preview was shortened by 2 hours this year and it really made a difference. There were some awesome quilts and too many vendors for such a short time. I spent too much and didn't get to see everything but what I did see was great.
The quilter returned seven quilts to me on Friday so I have lots of binding to be done. All but one were scrappy, utility kind of quilts and I wasn't thrilled with any of them when they were sent to her. However, the gal made silk purses out of sow's ears! I was sooo pleased with the way those simple quilts turned out. The 7th one was one that will be appliqued after the quilting...a new technique for me. I'm hoping to get it done soon and will post a picture of it. It is called Columbine and was in AP&Q about a year ago. The stars quilt at the left is one of 3 identical ones that I made out of a bunch of blocks that were hanging around after a summer weekend retreat at a friend's lake house. They will make great gifts for Michael's pals or for some needy kidlets. Amazing what some nice quilting will do for a bunch of scraps! :>)
Tomorrow, a special thank you to Carolyn for the tag. Tonight I'm off to put my feet up, watch the dancing stars and do some binding on one of the star quilts.
Thursday, April 12, 2007
My very first post has a picture of my maternal Grandma and her quilt, one of my treasured possessions and something that is an inspiration for me to do some of those tedious quilts. It is a Grandmother's Flower Garden, all done by hand. As far as my sewing career, I don't remember not sewing or quilting in my 60+ years even though there were a few gaps when children took precedence. My earliest memory of sewing is playing with my paternal Grandma's basket of scraps, making things for my dolls. She lived with us, had a wonderful old hickory rocking chair that rocked me often, made pies while I sat on the counter watching her and made her clothes without using a pattern. She also wore those aprons that were soft and snuggly from so much wear and use. My Great Grandma made her clothes (she loved purple!) until her eyesight failed and she could no longer do it. Mom sewed as did my aunts and cousins - and a couple of great uncles who were tailors. It was just something that everyone did and I did as well. Grandma once told me that sewing and stitching went back several generations to a couple of tailors in Germany and it had not skipped anyone in between. My niece is a seamtress and her daughters are learning the skills as well. I think the younger ones are the 7th or 8th generation of stitchers. I would hate for it to become a lost art in the family! My first quilt was a log cabin, still my favorite pattern and it lives on the balcony of our foyer. My true love is applique and Mom says that came from Aunt Helen. Interesting isn't it how we mimic our ancestors?
So to answer her questions about sewing in my life..........it isn't in my life, it has become my life now that the boys are grown. It gives me peace of mind when things get tough, makes me feel good when I can make something for someone else and most of all, it satisfies that inner creative beast that has to be fed! So that's me and my quilting in a nutshell.
I have 7 quilts being returned from the quilter today! Yeah!! She has had them for a couple of months and I was getting antsy about them, but now I have plenty of handwork to do during those mindless TV shows!
Monday, April 9, 2007
It's done! Kinda funky, eh? It is amazing how the colors show up differently when a photograph is taken. Had I looked at it in a photo before stitching, I would have changed a few of the blocks around in the middle but in person it looks pretty good! Those blues really pop in the picture. The corners were in lieu of mitred ones (which I would rather have done) but I didn't have enough fabric. Given that it was from my stash, it is a "make do" and I did just that. I made it for charity but .....hmmmm... I'm feeling kinda needy. :>) Not really - I think it may go to a children's home.
However........last night as I sat in my chair with a fuzzy Chicago Bears blanket over my legs, I realized that nearly all of my comfy quilts have been given away or taken to the cottage and there are none left in the family room for snuggling. It's a good thing that it is summer and I will have some time to make a few more for us. Of course, I could get out the "good ones"(hand appliqued), but I'd rather the dog hair and dust settle on those less time intensive. Am I the Lone Ranger when it comes to spending all my days quilting and having little to show for it?
Thursday, April 5, 2007
Sunday, April 1, 2007
Hershey Hugs (milk and white chocolate Kisses)
Unwrap Hugs. Place pretzel rings on a cookie sheet. Put a Kiss inside each pretzel. Bake in a low oven (250° - 300°) for about 5 minutes. You can tell when they are done by lightly pressing on the tip of the Kiss - it will melt down into the ring and fill it. Remove and allow to cool. Refrigerate for best results. The traditional Hershey Kisses will work, but they don’t melt as nicely as the white chocolate does. I’m not sure who gave this recipe to me, but it is always a hit! I'm considering the caramel kisses for a retreat that I am attending in a few weeks. They might be a little gooey when warm, but when cooled, they just might be pretty yummy! Thoughts?
1 (19.8 oz) brownie mix
1 (3.9 oz) instant chocolate pudding mix
½ cup water
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (8 oz) Cool Whip - thawed (I often use a 12 oz here as well)
1 (12 oz) Cool Whip - thawed
1 (1.5 oz) chocolate bar
Prepare brownie mix according to directions and cool completely. Cut into 1 inch squares. In a large bowl, combine pudding mix, water and milk. Mix until smooth, then fold in 8 oz Cool Whip until no streaks remain. In a trifle bowl or glass serving dish, place half of the brownies, half of the pudding mixture and half of the 12 oz Cool Whip. Repeat layers. Shave chocolate onto top layer for garnish. Refrigerate 8 hours before serving. (I go a little heavy on the Cool Whip and add extra so that the intense sweetness of the condensed milk is lessened.)
This dessert is one where I end up with an empty bowl! Good to the last drop!
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Sunday, March 25, 2007
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Now the car sits in our extra garage bay and gets driven just for fun. Our youngest, Michael, taught himself how to drive the stick shift and now takes it out for joy rides with his friends. So far this year, it has been out a couple of times because as soon as the temp starts to climb in the spring, the car comes out and we "cruise" to DQ, A&W, to the Cruise In at Mickey D's or just around town. Fun! If only we were so young again!
Monday, March 19, 2007
Thursday, March 15, 2007
It has been sort of a busy week, but mostly just messy. Jim has been retro-fitting the kitchen and family room (all one big room) with ceiling/can lights. Shudda had them put in when we built! But he, being the ever-so-kind hubby, agreed to humor me and is working hard at doing a rather difficult job. It will make the room much brighter for these old eyes. My penance is all the dry wall dust everywhere!! To avoid this nasty mess, I went off to work on a few things in my sewing room. The rail fence, made with Holly Taylor's Cub Lake scraps (10 years+ old) has been in the works for a year or so. It just happens that this week was one where I needed some mindless work and it filled the need. I may add a small border and then will definitely do a scrappy binding. This will go to the lake cottage for snuggling on chilly nights.
Evenings bring sitting in front of the TV and applique for me. The swag at the left is one of 18 that I am working on to add to the pink and green blocks that were posted earlier. They have been working up rather quickly. It would greatly please me if they all fit with no fudging!! I am half way through this part and then will add them to the border pieces.
Next week brings more mess to the house. Our wood floors were lightly sanded 3 years ago. The finisher wasn't quite honest and put a poly finish over a glitza (oil) finish and it started to peel within a year. Last summer we had them completely sanded to the bare wood, restained and varnished. A special solution was given to me for washing the floors. However, it leaves a horrible film and the floors look pretty dreary. They also did not have the sheen as promised by the 2nd finisher. So....next week we will completely empty the remains of my sewing items in the laundry room, the w/d, two pantries, kitchen, dining room, foyer and all the closets and place it all in the family room or in the garage. We've packed up and moved from the first floor of our home 3 times in 3 years! ARGH!! They will again screen buff and recoat the floors at no cost to us, at least $$-wise. Dust will reign until we can get everything back into place and cleaned up. Returning the furniture can't take place until a few days after the coating is put on. And....I will return to using my old standby, Shaklee Basic H, for cleaning the wood floors as it never leaves a film. Our son is moving the following weekend and then it is time for Easter. I think I'll play like a bunny and hop off into the woods!! :>) All these projects do keep one moving and the dust can't settle for long when we are busy.
For those of you with the daffodils blooming and for those who are only dreaming of them, I hope you all have a wonderful Spring-y, daffodilly kind of day!
Thursday, March 8, 2007
My second favorite "tool" is a small pillow that I use for applique. If you have ever appliqued, you soon realize that your neck hurts after a while because you are always leaning over your work. By placing a pillow on your lap, placing your work and hands on top of the pillow and putting your feet on a small footstool, your shoulders are forced back and the neck issue goes away. I carry my little green pillow everywhere I take my applique....it is all prickly with a variety of pins and threads hanging from it, but I wouldn't be without it!
The quilt shown in the picture is my first full applique project. Grandmother's Country Album pattern came out many years ago and I, along with several others online, (Carolyn) decided to make the quilt together. We chatted often and gave each other support. I think I made this quilt at least 3 times! I kept learning new techniques and improving and as that happened, I would do the blocks over. The center cabin block still doesn't satisfy me (it's too dark), but it is done and as everyone knows, done is better than perfect! As is the norm for me, I didn't follow the pattern completely. DH built the hanger and I stained/varnished it.
DH is putting in some ceiling lights this week that I requested and retro-fitting isn't the easiest thing to do in a ceiling. They are small flood lights strategically placed, so my sewing has taken a bit of a back seat while I help him with that. (guilt? :>) The pink and green applique/pieced blocks are now a top but it is taking on a life of it's own. It just keeps growing and taking more and more time - it was going to be a simple throw-it-together -and-be-done quilt.
We are in for some warmer weather and the snow is beginning to melt. There are still big piles of snow yet and we still can't see the grass in our yard, but the sunshine is a promise of things to come!! I hope you have a very sun-shiny kind of day!
Friday, March 2, 2007
Thank you to all who were so kind and sent birthday wishes! Aside from the fact that the number keeps getting higher, it was a great day. Among other things, Chris and girlfriend Anne, gave me a book of inspirational readings called The Quilt of Life. Michael's card played "I'm Walking on Sunshine". Fun!!
For the past several days I have been moving my sewing room from what is the laundry room to what used to be the guest room. As you all know, a laundry room (no matter how large) is a busy place and not always the best for spreading out projects. On Tuesday, the pink and green applique blocks were spread out on the floor, ready to be sewn. Little Dog was quite comfy as she slept on them and Michael was trying to dodge them as he did his laundry. ARGH!! Enough, I said, and made the decision to move to the guest room and that any overflow company would result in the use of an Aero Bed. It is rare that we need more beds, so I felt safe in emptying the guest room. Our home has wood floors thruout most of the main level and they are to be screen buffed and recoated in a couple of weeks, so everything has to be moved out of the laundry room any way. I packed most of it up and enlisted the strong back and arms of a 23 yr old son and moved to the upstairs. It is sooo cozy and I can now spread things out, walk out and close the door and avoid a lot of frustration. I still need to clean out one of the closets in that room (Christmas storage) before I can move my stash up. But that isn't a big deal - I just wanted a place to work without the need to put everything away when laundry had to be done. ahhhh.........
This is Little Dog, or Leah, Michael's pound puppy that he got while in Fort Collins a couple of years ago. She was found wandering the streets at the young age of about 6 months. We had to put our favorite pup down about a year later, so she has taken over a warm spot in our hearts. The picture below is of Big Dog (Jordan) whom Leah has replaced. The reason I'm posting her picture is to show you what a gal did for us - this is all thread and small scraps of fabrics. I sent her a picture and she duplicated it and really did a wonderful job.......the likeness is unbelieveable. It is amazing how these animals work their way into our hearts - even if they do enjoy sleeping on our quilts! :>)
Hopefully my next post will have pictures of a completed pink and green top!
Saturday, February 24, 2007
The bright Hearts and Stars now has a backing. A LQS is reducing their inventory and everything is 70% off until Feb 28. I found this one as well as another one that isn't quite so bright that I'll use in a quilt made from this ones leftovers and also found a very nice green backing for the Bee tree quilt that I need to get going on. A $15 backing works for me any day!! I was good and didn't buy anything else that would create another project!
So on to another UFO....... the picture shows some nearly-finished applique blocks that I did using the backbasting method. These were started about a year ago and still need a few circles or bits completed. I had never used the backbasting method before, always using needleturn or freezer paper underneath and I have found that I like that method. It is very accurate, there are no pins or paper to catch the thread and is very portable. After doing 6 out of 16 blocks .... Lori Smith's Love Always patterns..(www.frommyhearttoyourhands.com) , I decided to get on with it and find a way to call it quits. Originally, I had chosen the black fabric as the border, matched the pinks and greens and was going to applique all the blocks. After they were laid out on the floor, I realized that the black was much too strong for them and that I should do pieced blocks to go along with the appliqued ones. The pieced blocks were quickly whipped together last night along with the decision to replace the black with cream and maybe add some applique on the border, or do a border that will go along with the pieced blocks. I'll have to give it some thought. Now you can understand why I work on 5 or more projects at one time! I rarely follow a pattern from start to finish....am I the only one who has that problem? In any case, it won't be long until another UFO is done done done.