Irish Lake Quilter

......snippets and quilts, family, pets and friends....

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Windy Progress

The blizzard went through last night leaving us with some icy and treacherous driving and about 6" of a very heavy, wet snow. But now it is warmer and raining and quite dreary looking and the snow is melting. A great day for staying in and quilting! However, tomorrow is my birthday and the kids are coming home today for dinner. We could have gone out, but having been out the past 2 days, I opted for staying home and enjoying my company.

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..( , 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 I the only one who has that problem? In any case, it won't be long until another UFO is done done done.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Where are my sunglasses?

Wow! A day of bright fabrics, but it is done and ready for quilting. The picture doesn't show the border fabric off quite enough, but it is really a cute one. There wasn't enough for a wider border, but "make do" and stash quilts aren't always perfect. I think I'll tell the gal who quilts it to do something funky and fun...purple thread or maybe variegated thread, lots of circles, squiggles or whatever she likes. Once I got past the urge to jump in and put it together block by block, it went well. These patterns must be done in order and can easily get messed up.....and I'm just the one to test that theory! It was a fun one to make but I doubt that I'll make another for quite some time. The debate has been raging inside me over whether to make quicker quilts for fun or to make quilts that are going to mean something some day, i.e. heirloom quilts. I guess I'll just have to temper it with alternating between the two. It has been quite a long stretch of quilting just for fun and making for others. In January I sent 7 tops to the quilter and there are now 3 more ready to go. I'm thinking it is about time to get back to some serious hand applique and get a couple of the harder ones done....the kind that takes months to do. It's kind of like taking a nap - after a while one gets energized and can go back to what needs to be done. Maybe I'm there.......or maybe I'll just take a nap and think on it.

Brights from My Stash

We're inching upwards to the 40* mark, something we haven't seen in many, many days and it feels wonderful!! It was delightful enough to go out for a walk with the Leah, the pound pup.

The Quilting Bee that I belong to recently decided as a group to do a Buggy Barn Hearts and Stars. This kind of pattern is totally out of my usual range of quilts and I originally decided not to participate in this activity, which we have agreed is OK. However, one of my goals is to reduce my stash so that I can feel free to do what I want and not let my drawers and closet of fabric dictate what quilts I make. So, I went to my LQS (closet :>) and pulled some brights. I think they came out pretty good - can't go too far wrong with brights, eh? The border is a leftover from a quilt I made for the our church's VBS program. Yellow sashings and hot pink cornerstones, add the border and it will be ready to go to the quilter. To whom it will be given is a mystery to me yet....I'll wait until it is quilted and then see how I feel at that point. I know an adorable 4 year old, but donating it for charity also works. In any case, my box of brights is minimally reduced. I have plans for a bright string quilt this summer while at the cottage and that will reduce the contents a bit more. Signs of bright flowers and Spring! I'm anxious for both!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Fussing and fidgeting

I've really been fidgeting the past few days with my stitching, bouncing from one thing to another. I do have things that need to be finished; some wouldn't take much time, but I'm ready to move on to something different. Maybe it's cabin fever? We've had many days of single digit weather so staying in has felt better than braving the elements. I'm thinking a drive to a far away quilt shop might do me some good, don't you agree? :>) Today, being a bit warmer, I headed out to an estate sale. Oh my, the house was gorgeous and the furniture was exquisite. I found a picture that I really wanted, but another gal decided that she was "thinking about buying it" and I got tired of waiting to see if she really was going to buy it or not. However, I found two twin coverlets that weren't handmade quilts, but were so soft and looked like quilts, so I bought them. Aren't they sweet looking?

I got bitten by the Redwork/Bluework bug again and pulled some Kona Snow out of the closet Friday night. I traced some teddy bears from patterns and started on one of them using blue thread. It will be for someone's little boy someday. I remember doing the rhyming thing with my guys when they were little and to have a quilt with such things as "Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, Turn Around; Teddy Bear Teddy Bear, Touch The Ground" and so on will be fun for some one. I'll post one as soon as it is completed. Good handwork for an evening in front of the TV and a toasty fire!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Leftovers and Leah

Today is a gorgeous day with bright blue skies and wonderful sunshine bathing our snowy world outside. We received nearly a foot of snow over the past couple of days and it is truly beautiful out there. The second new furnace went in yesterday and I spent the day sewing on some blocks that will go to a charity. It is a simple 4 patch and I got to playing around with them forming different patterns. Finding the one I liked, I left it on the floor - a disaster by DS's Black Lab, Leah. LOL!! She went skidding through it and of course it didn't go back the way I had it. Oh well, with DH's help, I got it put back together and then sewed it. I didn't dream that getting the design back would be so complicated! (In the picture, she is the one chasing the stick, not holding it! :>)

The darker quilt that I've posted is another stash/scrappy one that I made last Fall and gave to my niece for Christmas. It turned out to be one of my favorites. I'm trying to make a quilt for each of my nieces and nephews and their children. So far, the nieces and their children all have quilts with the exception of one little newborn. Fortunately, the number of nephews is smaller!

Today, my sewing machine and supplies have been returned to a warmer sewing room and my plan is to put the batik blocks together, add setting triangles and a border. That's my plan.....

Monday, February 12, 2007

Dazed and Confused!!

I've been trying to post to the blogs of those who leave comments on my blog. However, I am unable to post to anyone outside the Stashbuster Ring. Is this common? Or am I doing something wrong? I am using Google in the new format. Any suggestions?

On a happier note, I am watching the snow fall in the woods once again. It is covering up all the tracks and the trees are loaded. It is cold in my sewing room still, but new furnace #2 will be installed on Wednesday to warm the downstairs. The new one for upstairs is really making it toasty up there! I'd rather buy fun things - until it gets single digit cold!

Here is a picture of Anne's second block. She is taking to applique in a hurry and I love it!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

More Baltimore.......

Here are a couple more pictures of the Baltimore. Additional small touches of embroidery or embellishment are needed before I can call it quits. The birds are part of the Baltimore Tribute. The open wreath is the start of another quilt.... just because I love applique! :>)

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

A Big UFO!

Suzette mentioned that we share our
UFOz.....and I do have a few! UFOz are usually created when I reach a point where I have hit a place where I don't feel comfortable with the way things are going. So, I put it aside and go on to something else. Unfortunately, my biggest and most frustrating one is the Baltimore Tribute quilt that I've been working on for over 10 years. It has been nearly a year since I worked on it last but it will get done - someday! The center block needs to be finished as well as one other block. Then the remainder of the blocks need some small embroidery touches or details added. This is the center block complete with a few pieces of fabric that are being "audtioned".

This second block is one that has given me trouble for a long, long time. The hummingbird just doesn't look right when I put it on - and I've put several on! ARGH!! This one may work; I certainly hope so - but it looks like it needs to be a bit brighter ........ what do you all think?

Monday, February 5, 2007

Well, the SuperBowl outcome wasn't quite to everyone's liking here in Chicago and the temp dipped to -10* this morning at 7:30, but the sun is shining and there are many other important things to be thankful about! My sewing/laundry room is quite chilly for some unknown reason, so I've moved my sewing machine to the kitchen eating area and the sun on my back feels great. The sewing machine could become a semi-permanent fixture if this cold weather continues! The blocks on the right side of the table are more of the batik blocks that I'm putting together and the runner is one that I made some time ago.
Michael, some of his friends and Chris and Anne were home for the weekend, making it another fun time. Those 20-somethings bring a lot of life to our usually sedate home! Canasta Club on Saturday night meant trying out a new recipe. We often use each other as test subjects! This time I made a torte from Taste of Home Test Kitchen Favorites cookbook. The TOH center is only 45 minutes from us and I love going there to browse their selections of cookware and cookbooks. Often times, the cookbooks are reduced to as little as 3/$5, so needless to say, I have many and do use them all. The torte was quite easy.............

Raspberry or Strawberry Chocolate Torte
1 18.25 oz chocolate cake mix
1 pkg (3 oz) vanilla instant pudding
3/4 cup cold milk
3 oz cream cheese
8 oz Cool Whip (I used about 12 oz)
raspberries or strawberries - approximately 2-3 cups

Bake cake according to directions in three 9" round pans. Cool. (I used two 9" pans and cut each in half horizontally, making 4 layers instead of 3). Beat cream cheese with mixer until light and fluffy. Mix milk and pudding mixture together - it will be a bit thick. Combine pudding and cream cheese together and then add to Cool Whip mixture. It says to fold it in but I found it to be lumpy so I used the mixer on it and it was fine.
Place first layer of cake on cake plate. Spread with Cool Whip mixture and spread berries over it. Repeat thru all layers. The recipe calls for powdered sugar to be sprinkled on top but I spread more of the Cool Whip mixture over the top (not the sides) and then garnished with strawberries. It was very good tasting and looked awesome.
Stay warm and happy stitchin'!

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Thanks to all of you who have left comments on my posts! I appreciate your kind words about my quilts as well. Life wouldn't be whole without the quiltmaking and quiltmakers in it.
It seems that the weather is the main topic of conversation here since it is supposed to get brutally cold this weekend and in to next week. I hope you all stay warm and cozy no matter where you are. The shopping has been done and I hope not to have to go out for a few days. Someone said the wind chill factor is to be -50 in Green Bay and although we're 3 hours south of GB, it isn't going to be very toasty here either. They call it 'winter'? :>) I certainly have enough quilty projects to keep me busy! The Bears are in Miami and we will be rooting for them on Sunday night. However, since we are both Hoosiers and all of our families are in IN, we won't be upset either way.
Today I'm adding a picture of the Oriental Circle block that Anne made this past week. She is DS Chris's girlfriend. She has taken to hand applique quickly and is very good at it at this early stage. I like her choice of fabrics - she's making a 9 block wallhanging and we'll probably need to go shopping for the border fabric(s). It is always fun to have someone enjoy the things you enjoy, don't you think? Enjoy your day!