Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Yes, that's me giving a big sigh. I finished a new row this afternoon. I promise that I won't show it row by row, but I did want to show my progress. I'm still in the uphill battle phase. The next two rows will be longer, then I can roll back downhill with shorter and shorter rows.We had our first rain of the new year yesterday. I noticed the 'wet moon' last week and new it was coming. Rain was in the forecast and our local whacky weather guy said the morning commute on Tuesday would not go well. I woke up to sunny skies and felt a little cheated. Around 8:30, the clouds rolled in, the sky was dark and we got a nice gentle rain most of the day. Usually January is our wettest month of the year. I hope we can get a little catch up in February or we are in for a brutal summer - fire danger will be so high.
The real fun is watching the weather reports. "Storm Watch 2007" complete with a logo and theme music. Even though I am a native and a good rain storm is the most severe weather I have experienced, the absurdity of the entire news team going on location and filing special reports concerning rain falling from the sky is just comical.
For sure rainy weather makes for good quilting days. Nothing like a warm fire, a hot beverage, a good movie and a quilt project to while away the rainy afternoon.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Here it is - the sum total of my week's work.
I have been taking a picture (or two) each evening when I put everything away on this project. After sewing a lot of strips together, cutting them apart and putting them back together again, this is what I have to show.
The strips are cut at 1" and you can see a penny in a couple of the photos. I just had to take a picture of the back too -- it fascinates me how ruffly and soft the back is. There's really not much place for the seam allowance to hang out. I'm quite boggled by how much time this is taking and the amount of organization that is required. I have little piles and notes all over the house.
I'm still working away on Bob, too. I've begun stitching the applique on the last corner. I came up with a new border idea that I like better than what I previously had in mind. Not only do I like it better, but the pieces will be much larger. A bonus right now.
Okay, time to get outside for a walk. The fresh air will do me good. I'm a little behind on blog reading and commenting. I'll try to get around to everybody to say 'Hey' by tomorrow.

*I know there is a duplicate picture in the collage -- I didn't want to fuss with it too much to get rid of it.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

From one extreme to the other.
Ann teased in her comment that she is going to start calling me 'Little Bits' because I love to work with little pieces. Now it is true, I am a sucker for those little pieces. They are just so darned cute. I do from from time to time make things that are much bigger. This quilt is from a pattern called Pigeon Toed Star and is just one big block with a couple of borders.

A new day and still more strips to sew together. I have been working diligently on the postage stamp quilt. It takes a long time to stitch those strips together and get them pressed just right. So no new pictures of that project yet -- it just doesn't look that different from the last one.

Those strips are not sewing themselves. Time to get off the computer and get to work.

Monday, January 22, 2007

I pulled out a long neglected yet not forgotten project over the weekend. It was one I came across when I did the clean up of my supplies a couple of weeks ago. Of course, I have not abandoned Bob, but right now it's only handwork and I like to have something to piece on the machine at the same time. I started working on this project about two years ago.

As you can see, I did lots and lots of cutting and began the sewing. I was really having some difficulty in following all the instructions and put it aside for another day. I got out the pattern yesterday afternoon and read it over very carefully. I think I understand what I'm supposed to be doing this time around. There is a lot of sewing, unsewing, re-sewing to put the blocks together. After a cup or two of coffee, I should be alert enough to take it on.
Wish me luck.
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Tagged! I was tagged by Chris to list 6 weird things about me. I went to her blog to read the rules so here goes . . .

1. I enjoy the musical stylings of Wing
You must listen to a sample of some of her songs. It's music you can sing along to, many favorites that you know and love. It is impossible to be sad when you listen to Wing.

2. I'm not always a rule follower. That said I'm only going to list these two things. Not because there are not odd things about me, but because I don't want to scare people away *s*

If you want to play along, feel free to join in -- it's not easy.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Introducing Bob, the new working name of this quilt. I had been mulling over what I wanted to appliqué in the corners, looking at quilt books to see what might tickle my fancy. I noticed that the plume-y things that I always thought of as big leaves are sometimes called Princess Feathers. I had pretty much already decided that I wanted to use birds. Now I was on a theme -- feathered star, princess feathers, birds with feathers. Who knows maybe even a little embroidery using a feather stitch. Then, I came up with a name. I thought it was clever and I was very proud. So proud that I called Hubby at work to tell him all about it. I listed and the elements and asked him to guess the name and he came up with Bob. So Bob it is.I still like my name. So in order to incorporate it, I thought about movies on Lifetime - 'television for women'. They are so fond of using a colon then a subtitle. Bob: A Feather In My Cap. After I made a huge mess auditioning fabric, I spent the afternoon cutting out the pieces and getting them glued down. Now I can cuddle up in my favorite chair and stitch away the evening. I'm so happy.I went to the quilt show yesterday - Road To California. A very enjoyable day. I have to say that I am horrible about remembering the quilts. I look at them, I like them, I appreciate the hard work that has gone in and then it's over. By the time I get home I can't remember what I have seen. I know they inspire me because I always have the feeling that I just want to get home to sew. But not before I have a chance to peruse the vendors. I think I did well there, too. I have been collecting books from the various state quilt documentation projects. This year I added Virginia and Tennessee. Some hand-dyed fabric that I have been wanting for a couple of years now, and a piece of Daiwabo Taupe that very nicely coordinated with my other purchase.I finished early enough to beat the traffic home. That gave me time to stop at a quilt shop I had never been to before. I will have to add it to my favorites. It's about an hour from home, but the sale room was sensational. Everyone was friendly, they had lots of samples, just a terrific atmosphere.Harper spent the day at doggy daycare. She loves to go but she is more than excited about coming home. She just jumps and spins and can't seem to settle down. Nothing can bring a smile faster than a puppy pal that happy to see you.
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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

A little bit of housecleaning -- several of you asked about the pattern source for the block I posted yesterday. I used Marsha McCloskey's Feathered Star Quilt Blocks I. The completed block in the picture is 17" -- just like the book said it would be. Imagine me doing the Happy Dance all around the room on that one. Today I added a border. Just like the 'design inspiration' in the book. Not wanting to be a total copycat, I'm moving on from there. Next I plan to turn the block, now 25", on point and add corners, square in a square style, where I can do some applique. I have an abundance of the little hst's that will more than likely make another appearance in an additional border. Will it end there? Stay tuned . . .

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Here is the sum of my work for the last couple of days. The majority of time was used in pressing the seams of the little hst's (I made far too many.) I also made three different center stars. I wasn't exactly sure what I wanted. In the process, I found that I very much enjoy piecing with a set-in seam and will explore making more of these blocks soon. Now to work on borders. The book I'm using shows a border that I like, but I think I will want to add another -- maybe even a little applique to soften up all the pointies.
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Monday, January 15, 2007

Looks like it's going to be a pictureless post today. I have some pictures on my camera, but my computer does not want to download them. No problem, I'll just blab about something that I already have a picture of. Wait . . . no, can't do that either. Blogger doesn't want to cooperate. Fine! I'll paint pictures with words.
Thank you all for your birthday greetings -- I really had an outstanding one this year. Hubby bought me some really fun gifts -- all things I have been wanting for some time. Red splatterware for picnics on the patio, a hoody sweatshirt (an important part of my daily uniform), some lavender soap, and the cutest popcorn you every saw -- it's very tiny and I will show real pictures when the moon and stars align. The Princess sent a beautiful crystal bowl. It makes beautiful sound and has cherry blossoms etched all around. I'm thinking of making a triffle to serve from it. It will be lovely to look at even if it doesn't taste good.
On the quilting front, I have been working on a feathered star block. Back in September, I shared a photo of a fat quarter pack that called to me. It has been ironed and waiting all these months. I had made all the hst's (more than enough I think) and got bored with pressing the seams, crammed it all in a box and moved on to something else. Saturday I pulled it all out and finished up the pressing. Today I got a very good start on piecing it together. I have been saving a spot on the wall in the bedroom for this quilt -- I'm tired of looking at that big, blank spot.
I'm going to Road To California quilt show this week. I'm getting very excited. For the last two years I have not attended the show. I'm hoping to see some beautiful quilts on display and have plenty of time to peruse the vendor mall. I don't 'need' anything, but I often find a book or two to purchase that I haven't seen in my area. Also there are vendors that carry nice wool -- not always easy to find in southern California. I bet I find a piece of fabric or two that I just can't live without.
This is my 100th post. I was surely surprised when I noticed the number creeping up the other day. Back at the end of July when I started my blog, I had no idea I would have so much to say. My family might beg to differ -- I do love to tell a story. I also had no thought that I would meet so many wonderful people from all around the world. I couldn't have imagined that my little spot would be inviting to so many and that each and every one would be so warm and friendly.
I have been inspired by your work, saddened by your troubles, felt joy for the good things happening in your lives, and best of all warmed by the embrace of your friendships. I hope that I am able to give back just a little of what I have been so fortunate to receive here.

Friday, January 12, 2007

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Today is my birthday. Now that I am 47, I can say that I have grown a full head of hair. I once hated having chubby cheeks, but now realize they won't show wrinkles as easily as the thin ones I once dreamed of. I still have this dress, but it doesn't fit me anymore -- I've grown much taller. It's still easy to make me smile. Laugh and I'll laugh, too. I didn't make quilts back then, but I had my 'best blanket' and it went with me EVERYWHERE!
I got to have my 'party' first thing this morning. It's too hard for me to wait to open gifts. The Princess called and we had a nice long talk and I opened her gift in front of the webcam. Harper and I went out to lunch -- McD's drive-thru. The rest of the night will be quiet one at home -- a simple dinner and probably something silly to watch on televion. Just the way I like it. I hope the next 47 are just as good as the first.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Today I made a Red Velvet Cake. This cake just fascinates me for some reason. I didn't grow up with this cake. I think I first heard of it on television -- Food Network, most likely. Sometime later I purchased a cookbook called Buttermilk Cookbook: The Rest Of The Carton. All of the recipes call for buttermilk. Looking through the book, I stumbled upon a recipe for the Red Velvet Cake. I had to try it and have been making one every-once-in-a-while since then. Every time I do, I am a little alarmed by how much red food coloring it takes.
But look how vibrant the cake turns out.
There is a little bit of cocoa powder in the batter which give just a hint of chocolate-y goodness. I split each layer before I frosted. Usually you can just split the layers with a nice piece of dental floss. All of the floss in this house is minty flavored. What could I use without making my cake taste like mouthwash? YLI quilting thread, of course. It is good and sturdy and did a dandy job.

I put just a few drops of color in the frosting to tint it pink. A little contrast against that white plate. I'm taking the cake to a little get together tonight -- I can't wait for the surprise when the first cut is made.

Now I'm off to have a nice glass of buttermilk. I like mine with salt and pepper stirred right in the glass. That's the way my dad taught me when I was very young. Give it a try -- it's really good.

Monday, January 08, 2007

From this . . .

to this . . .

in only two marathon sessions,

How is that quilting supplies can get in such a mess? Don't we fret over precise cutting and accurate seam allowances? It seems as though we would also be meticulous with our supplies. Well, it seems that way.
This room has been a disgrace for months now. It started back in August when we painted our bedroom. We moved a lot of things around to spare them from paint. Most things have been moved back, but a few items are going to now take up permanent residence here. Add in a couple of shopping sprees -- in person and on line, where the loot was stacked up on the bed to put away later. Next came the holidays. Gift wrapping supplies are also stored in here. A scrap of paper, a tossed piece of raffia (I like to use brown craft paper with raffia for ribbon and occasionally through in a piece with some color for fun. When The Princess was younger we had a 'Laura Ingalls Wilder' Christmas that included brown paper and no tape. I really liked how the packages looked under my tree. Now I wrap this way for all occasions.)
This week I'm back to my weekly class. That means a new project and more to add to the mess. I couldn't take it anymore. There are still some things to be put away. I need to make a quick trip to buy some storage boxes. I have decided it's time to graduate to official storage containers and leave the cardboard boxes behind. I have a list -- a box for wool, punchneedle supplies and pre-cut strips 1",
1 1/4", 1 1/2", 2" and 2 1/2". There are projects in progress in various cardboard boxes. I'll think about their fate on another day.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Done with the old -- Done with the new. I don't intend to make any lists of UFO's or set any hard and fast goals on what I want to accomplish in the new year. In 2006, I sat down and did just that and then promptly lost the list of UFO's (it's in this desk . . . somewhere) and worked on what I felt like anyway. While I am fairly good at completing what I start, there are those projects that have fallen by the wayside over time. The reasons vary to explain why a project gets set aside -- a gift needs to be made, a seasonal project comes along, a technique too difficult, poor fabric choices. You get the idea.
Millennium Garden is one such quilt. I came to it late in the game. I knew nothing of BOM's or that fabric lines come out and then go away. I saw the quilt completed and knew I really liked it. It was still 2001 and I could complete it before the millennium year was over. I began my search for the pattern(s) and fabrics. I found a shop on-line that still carried it and had everything in stock (except as it later turned out block 6 which I scoured local sale bins to find). When the box arrived in the mail, I got started right away and I enjoyed every minute of it.
In 2001, my dad was very ill with what turned out to be his final illness. I prepared all the applique blocks to have on hand for traveling to his house and in no time the applique was complete and the top was assembled. Still a very portable project, I took it with me on my trips and worked on the hand quilting. Plenty of time to complete it and have it hanging before 2002 began. Then as often happens in times of stress and illness, family dramas began to crop up. It was not a good time and just like I was tired of looking at some of my family members, I grew tired of looking at this quilt.
It aged for a while in the corner. When I next picked it up, I could still smell the perfume of a particularly unlikeable member of the family. Back in the corner it went. I really had a bad attitude about this quilt. For as much as I loved the pattern and fabrics when I first started, I honestly toyed with chucking the whole thing in the garbage to rid myself of memories from that time of turmoil. But I just let it sit in the corner, wadded up and waiting. Last January, I made my list of UFO's and there it was front and center. The oldest project on the list. I got it out, it didn't smell anymore and I quilted away. But I still thought about those bad days. Back in the corner it went.
Another new year. On a Yahoo!Group there was some chatter about the various stages others were at in completing this quilt. I went and pulled it out. Had a little look to see what was left to do. Quilting the borders and part of that was done. How ridiculous to allow this to sit anymore. I got it out, threaded my needle and got to work. Two evenings and two movies. That's all it took to finish the quilting, add a sleeve and stitch down the binding. Guess what? I really like this quilt. We slept under it last night and now it is hanging in the dining room so I can look at it all day long.
This morning I finished up the little table runner made from the kit I purchased earlier this week. You remember, the one that I just couldn't give as a gift. The top went together very quickly, the applique was a snap. With minimal quilting it looked good to me. I stitched the binding on while Hubby read the paper.
The first two quilts completed in the new year. Done with the old -- Done with the new.
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Thursday, January 04, 2007

Finally -- a dreary, cool day. We even have reports that there might be a little rain. I am a coastal girl and all of this dry air and Santa Ana condition is making me feel parched -- inside and out.
Today I'm going to start a new project -- a table runner made from Daiwabo Taupes. I have been eying these fabrics for sometime. Judy has shown her BOM using these fabrics and it is outstanding. I found a little kit at the quilt shop yesterday and HAD to have it. I was supposed to be shopping for a gift exchange gift. There was only 1 kit -- I was FORCED to find something else as the gift because the kit had my name all over it.
Here is the latest 'fence' quilt. This was the first applique project I made. Purchasing the fabrics was exhausting. I still believed that my fabrics had to look just like the pattern. I have learned a lot since I made this quilt. I think it has found a perfect home.
*please excuse the photo -- it's taken through the window and the screen, both a little dirty right now *
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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

A quick update on my hexagon progress. I started this project last January. I began with only inspiration from a photo of an antique quilt -- no pattern. I pulled a bunch of fabrics that I liked and began basting hexagons. The original plan was to baste until I thought I had enough. Enough for what, I don't know. I decided I had better try to figure out some sort of plan. Armed with lots of little baggies filled with different colors, 1 yard of black and 4 1/4 yard cuts of lights all basted, I began to put some of the stars together. I stitched until I ran out of black and now know I can make 9 stars. Continuing on I used up all the lights and know that 1 yard will make 14 stars. I think I would like to make 36 stars in total.
The last time I shared my progress I forgot to give a size reference. The pieces are 1/2" and the last photo shows a penny covering one piece. I'm so glad I took the pictures today, I am inspired to keep going when I see it all laid out.
I wonder how many January's I will be updating my progress until this is done?