Irish Lake Quilter

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

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Sunrise at the Lake

The sun rose gently this morning over the foggy lake. The sound of the cardinals and robins woke me early so that I could see the sunrise and enjoy the serenity. At this time of year, the lake is so peaceful and quiet. The majority of the summer people come after Memorial Day and often only spend weekends here. It gets hectic then, making me appreciate this solitude today even more.

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

Meet My Guys

The past several days have been spent at the lake house doing electrical work and some clean up. I did get one of the star quilts bound but not much else. Jim changed the electrical panel, originally installed in the mid-40's, and gave us new and better service. With all that had to be done, we were without power for part of one day and overnight. Not too bad, really. We ran a cord to his sister's house next door and were able to plug in the TV and a lamp and ran another cord to his brother's house which let us plug in the fridge. Sort of like camping only better? We came home on Wednesday to catch up on the mail and a couple of other things. This morning we're returning for the weekend and I'm hoping to get some work done on the Bee Trees that my Bee is doing as a group project and maybe another binding done.

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

Seeing Stars!

It has been a busy few days. We spent the weekend at the cottage and got to spend the time with Chris and Anne, always a fun time. Our niece is getting married in May so there was the family/neighborhood bridal shower to attend and we had lots of laughs. We did a cookbook for her and since she loves to garden, we each took a vegetable and gave her recipes and some seeds for those vegetables. My vegetable was carrots and fortunately I had a few carrot recipes. Wal-Mart also had Easter items on their clearance and guess what - lots of crazy carrot items....a fiber-optic carrot, a carrot baseball bat, carrot bowling pins and a pick up sticks in a carrot. Jim made her a goofy gardener's survival kit with the silly carrots and it provided a lot of laughs. On Sunday morning the dock went in but with white caps on the lake and snow in the air, the boats will wait for warmer weather. Yesterday we woke to 22* and snow. April???

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 Quilting Beginnings.....

Suzette asked....How did you come to start quilting? Was it passed down in the family? What was your first project and is it finished? Where does it live now?

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 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!

April Snow for Rosemont Show

Old Man Winter just won't give up! Michael, our outdoorsman, has stated he'd rather see the snow on a slope than just lying on the ground being wasted! He can't wait to head back to the mountains one of these days. Here's a picture of our back yard yesterday, April 11. So much for getting the deck furniture out!
Tonight I'm going to the Rosemont Quilt Show here in Chicago. They've cut the hours back from 5 - 10 to 5-8. Hopefully, we will have enough time to race thru the quilts and most of the vendors.....will have to be time efficient! I have my list of things that I would like to find while there since there won't be a lot of extra time for browsing and drooling. It is always nice to see the wonderful quilts that have been accepted into the show and see all the unusual ideas. I'm looking for a few Asian prints to help Anne with her wallhanging, a few fillers for one floating around in my head, possibly a black or navy background for Rosemary Makhan's Woodland Creatures (but that isn't a necessity) and then of course, some patterns for redwork and others if they ring my bell. I'll let you all know how the quilts are and if I get some great pictures, will share a few.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Another One Finished!!

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.

The second one is on it's way as well. I'm in a mood to sew, sew, sew - fast and furious - so there won't be any great techniques involved. This one is a batch of T'Berries pre-printed squares that I had from a few years ago and I am putting them on point with pieced blocks. With a few adjustments, it will be ready for the two halves to be sewn together shortly. I'll add a green and then a gold/tan set of narrow borders and then a burgundy final border, bind it in the gold/tan since there isn't enough of the burgundy left. It will also be donated to a shelter or Habitat for Humanity. Feels good to do a couple of these for someone who can use them!

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

I Needed a Reminder!

I am a follower of Carolyn's blog because she and I have been in contact for several years. She showed the picture of the hats that she had knitted for her church charity program and then came her yarn for a prayer shawl for her church program. It has been a while since I donated anything to charity and felt that I needed to fess up and get something going. Being a Mom of guys, I rarely get to do anything with brights and fun colors, so I found a clearance rack at Hobby Lobby full of goodies and then went to the stash. I think this will be a very fun quilt for a little girl! It is so much fun to work with these colors but they are really out of my normal range. Do I make the flowers all grow in the same direction or do I make them grow to the center of the quilt? I'm thinking to the center, but we'll see how it looks when I get a few more blocks done. (There was a lamp right beside the fabric and the yellow washes out a bit but you get the idea.) It truly feels good to do something for someone less fortunate. Hiding in my closet there are some string blocks in these colors as well and one of these days they will find a border and grow up to be a quilt too!

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate!!

Since things have been in a muddle around here for a couple of weeks and this weekend was spent moving our son to his new apartment/condo, I haven't had the time to spend on my quilting like I would like. I got his place set up with everything from a paring knife to a quilt (in picture) for his sofa. The fridge is stocked, dishes, pans, furniture , etc., are all in a very lovely 2 bedroom rehab. Very little has gotten done with my quilting lately, but it will hopefully get back to normal this week. Since cooking is another one of my passions, I thought I'd post two of my favorite recipes. The first one is a true quilter recipe......chocolate and salt combined! Great munching and easily transported to a quilting retreat. Very easy! The second is one that I've taken or served several times and it is always a hit. I hope you enjoy them too!

Pretzel Kisses

Hershey Hugs (milk and white chocolate Kisses)
Pretzel Rings

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?

Chocolate Trifle
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!