Friday, February 29, 2008

Sadie Hawkins Day has arrived. That means it is time to draw a winner . . . WAIT. It's not 8 p.m. Pacific time yet. So I'll just write the rest of this post. By the time I'm done with nearly a week's worth of chatter it will be time to draw a name.
Today I finally got that big basket of scraps emptied out. There was more than one moment in the past week that I feared I would never get there. A couple of times I wanted to cry 'Uncle!' But I soldiered on and finally mid-afternoon today I saw the very bottom of the basket. A sight that I have not seen since the day the basket came into the house and landed beneath my sewing table. I measured the size of the basket when it was at long last empty - 11" deep x 18" wide x 28" long - and it was jam packed with all sorts of goodies.
I culled from it this basket of odd shapes that will eventually become applique flowers, leaves, stems, stars, baskets, birds, hearts and on and on and on . . .
Interspersed throughout I found a nice assortment of fat quarters - 25 in all.
Another very happy stack of larger pieces of fabric that can go back on the bookcase shelves.
A variety of muslin pieces that I like to set aside for labels.
Some little piano key strips, HST's and a lone snowball for the orphan block box. Don't forget the 5" squares, 2 1/2" strips, 1 1/2" strips and 1" strips that I shared previously.
And with all the pressing and cutting, pressing and cutting, pressing and cutting, I came to the point where I just wanted to see the bottom of that basket. So I stopped cutting and just pressed, and pressed, and pressed and pressed some more. Leaving me with this stack of fabrics yet to cut down .Then there is the ironing board that started all the fun. Can you see that I had to add 2 more patches today? There was a lot of heat and steam going on this week. No worries, I keep the patches at the ready.
I want to say thank you to each and every one of you who played along with my silly little ironing board game. It has been so much fun going around having a peek at what you use. A few observations - many quilters have 3 different ironing boards in regular use; a lot of boards come equipped with a kitty cat; there are a lot of cute covers out there, but beauty isn't everything - we all just want a nice, functional space on which to work; and last but not least, it seems to be a rarity that garments come in contact with them.
Finally 8 p.m. has arrived.
I know I left a lot of comments and that said your name is in the hat . . . but I really used a bowl.
Hubby was more than happy to draw a slip for me.And the winner is . . . . . . . . . . . . .
MayBritt at Abyquilt. Congratulations! I just need MayBritt to send me an email with her address and I'll get her prize on it's way.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

I often fall into the trap of believing that a job is going to be accomplished quickly and easily. Case in point - following several hours of work over the last 2 days this is what my basket of scraps looks like now. It almost looks like there is more than I started with. Hubby says it's just 'fluffed up' from me digging around, but I was beginning to feel a bit disheartened.Then I captured some of what has been dealt with so far. There is a stack of 2 1/2" strips, a healthy pile of 5" squares, a basket of 1 1/2" strips, another basket with scraps to use in applique, a few pieces that qualified to be folded up as fat quarters, and some 1" strips that can't be seen here.
Here are all the pieces for the next quilt I plan to do from this book.
Another 50 5" squares that will be re-cut into 2 1/2" squares for a project I'll be starting this week. I guess I did get a lot done, there's just a lot more to be done.

While the rain continued yesterday, Harper did perk up some once she was in charge of the remote control. She does become very pleased with herself when she gets in my chair.

Here is a picture of my pitiful ironing board cover. I got this large ironing board at Costco a number of years ago and very carefully saved the information on how to get a replacement cover. When I decided that I was ready to place an order a couple of years back, I learned that they are no longer made. Now I'm a quilter, that's for sure, but rather than figure out how to make a new cover I went for the easy fix - iron on patches. It's a pitiful sight to behold, but it works just dandy. I'm due for another installment of new patches soon. It's easy to do and allows me to spend my sewing time with fun fabrics.
I bring all this up because I recently read a blog (sorry, I don't remember which blog) where she apologized for her ugly ironing board. So here's the deal. In honor of Leap Year and Sadie Hawkins Day, share a picture of your ironing board and leave comment on this post. On February 29th at 8 p.m. Pacific time, I'll draw a name for a little give away. Please remember to post a photo and make sure I have a way to contact you via email.
It's here! Sign ups for the spring installment of the Four Seasons Quilt Swap. Hurry over and get your name on the list - maybe we will be partners. It's a lot of fun.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Good news! I am a quilter. From time to time I manage to finish a quilt. Trust me, I was beginning to have my doubts. Yesterday in the late afternoon, I put the last stitches into the binding of this bear paw quilt from Prairie Children and Their Quilts. I went back through my blog archives and found that I had pieced the top and did the quilting save the border back in November. I amazed at the small amount of time it took to put in those finishing stitches. Why do we - I mean I - allow these things to languish so near completion for so long?This morning I got the last of the binding stitched down on this little quilt, too. It was pieced and quilted in early January and sat waiting for me to cut the scallops and make the bias binding. It is a wonderful thing that quilts are patient. I don't think I will make a scalloped border on something this size again. Those are some pretty tight little curves. I used a juice glass to mark my cutting line. Next time I think I'll just do a gentle free-hand wavy line. (The quilting is not as prominent as it appears in the photo. I used a monofilament and it is really picking up the flash from the camera.)
Today I plan to tackle this basket. It lives under my sewing table and catches all the spare fabrics as I'm stitching. It is hard to believe that I have already cleared it out once. A couple of weeks ago, I pulled out all the pieces that are fat quarter size or larger and everything civil war, no matter the size. It is still filled to near overflowing. I hope to end up with 5" squares, 2 1/2" and 1 1/2" strips. The rest will go into a basket for applique shapes.
It is raining again today. It has been a few years since we have had a winter with normal rainfall. I had almost forgotten what that was like but I am enjoying it very much. Poor Harper is not. So I am trying to make every excursion to another room or out to the garage a fun trip where we run, skip or take along a tug toy. She's catching on and she's not amused by my antics anymore.
She didn't even bother to stir when the flash went off. We should have some drier days next week and all will be forgiven.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

This week all of Hollywood has been buzzing with preparations for the 80th Academy Awards ceremony that will take place this Sunday. With all of the talk of what will be worn on the red carpet? will the weather cooperate? who will win? what will be the most memorable acceptance speech? I am brought back to 1985 as Sally Field stood at the podium and gushed, '...I can't deny the fact that you like me, right now, you like me!' Right now, I'm feeling just a little of what Sally must have felt on that night.
Recently I have been honored to receive some blogging awards and I certainly do feel special. First there is The Daily Dose given to me by Stephanie at Scraps - bless Stephanie for being so patient with me, it has taken me so very long to post this.
Someone named Xandra created this award:
"Xandra started the Daily Dose to celebrate sticking to blogging. As she says,
'I’m calling it The Daily Dose award, and it goes to the blogs that I must read every day without fail. Seriously, I might as well mainline new posts…it’s that addictive. I feel acute disappointment when I go to my favorite blogs and find old posts (no pressure here, girls!).
So here’s to all the blogs that you’ve discovered that you can’t possibly live without. They make you laugh, cry, think and feel connected every time you read a post. They give you a thrill as you see them loading into your browser and you get an equally satisfying thrill when you see that they have commented on your blog.'"

Then Elke at Quilterin sent an email to let me know she was sharing this with me. She said,"I awarded you the "Best Blogging Buddy Award". I want to say thank you for your regularly visits and all the time you spent to leave a comment. It´s really wonderful!" Isn't that sweet of her? I love reading what each of you is up to and leaving a little note here and there. I think my family would quickly tell you that it's easy for me to have something to say on just about everything.

Then last but certainly not least Chris at Cats On My Quilts gave me The Spreader of Love award. Wow! I'm going to have to be very careful here - my ego could begin to inflate, causing my head to swell. Hubby always fears when that happens that I might not be able to get through the door. Chris left a note about how much she enjoys the quilts I share and that she's jealous of my California weather. I'd gladly trade a few balmy 72 degree days for the chance to build a snowman right in my own front yard.

None of these awards came with restrictions; therefore, I would like to pass all three along to everyone of you (even the lurkers - I know you are out there.) I enjoy every aspect of blogging and without it, I would not have come to have the global community of friends that I have found in it. So while I am grateful to be given these awards, it's really to you all - my fellow bloggers and blog readers - that I say, 'I can't deny the fact that I like you, too.'

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Oh what a beautiful morning . . . for the first time in 5 weeks, Hubby does not have to go to the office over the weekend. I'm such a happy girl! Lazy weekend mornings reading the paper, sipping coffee, fixing (and eating) a yummy breakfast are just the best.
Today's menu included banana pancakes. I had a bit of a hitch when I was mixing up the batter and I blame my grocery store! They have apparently changed the color of their milk cartons and yellow is now 1% sweet milk rather than buttermilk. The batter came out a little thin.
But the cakes cooked up just fine. Note to self - always read the labels. You cannot trust your market to look out for you.
There was also bacon. I cooked it in the oven rather than on the stovetop for the first time with some very pleasing results - crispy, yet not all curled up.
Yesterday afternoon I put the last stitches in the Williamsburg Welcome top - my take on Marcie's pattern Williamsburg Medallion. It was so much fun to stitch up. Marcie's patterns are so well laid out - easy to read, in a logical order, etc. If you haven't tried one yet, I recommend getting one (or two, or three . . . ) and try it out for yourself.
Recently I was 'tagged' by Beth and Lil to post 7 random or weird facts about me.

Here again the rules:

1. Once you are tagged, link back to the person who tagged you.
2. Post THE RULES on your blog.
3. Post 7 weird or random facts about yourself on your blog.
4. Tag 7 people and link to them.
5. Comment on their blog to let them know they have been tagged.

1 - I don't always care to follow rules. I prefer to set up my own parameters and go from there - a maverick, if you will. Since I've posted weird things about myself here and here, I'm afraid I may start frightening folks off if I divulge too much more. Instead I found this little ditty over at Calico Amy's - a way to share and not scare.

One Word...
You
Can
Only
Type
One
Word

(It is not as easy as it looks)

1. Where is your cell phone? Wallet
2. Your significant other? Beloved

3. Your hair? Soft
4. Your mother? Deceased
5. Your father? Same
6. Your favorite thing? Disneyland
7. Your dream last night? None
8. Your favorite drink? Cola
9. Your dream/goal? Simplicity
10. The room you’re in? Americana
11. Your ex? Who?
12. Your fear? Crowds
13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Home
14. Where were you last night? Home
15. What you’re not? Thin
16. Muffins? Sure
17. One of your wish list items? Acreage
18. Where you grew up? Lompoc
19. The last thing you did? Dishes
20. What are you wearing? Sweatshirt
21. Your TV? Sony
22. Your pet? Charming
23. Your computer? Reliable
24. Your life? Charmed
25. Your mood? Happy
26. Missing someone? Princess
27 Your car? Pickup
28. Something you’re not wearing? Shoes
29. Favorite Store? Jimbo's
30. Your summer? Touristy
31. Like someone? Lots
32. Your favorite color? Red
33. When is the last time you laughed? Today
34. Last time you cried? Last night

*whew* That was not all that easy, but I encourage all of you to give it a try. Leave a comment so I can read your responses. Off to play with Hubby.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

We are all familiar with the saying, 'The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.' It certainly has become the case for me this week. We'll have no new quilt on our bed for Valentine's Day this year. The top is complete; the back is pieced; I don't have batting large enough. I keep a roll of queen-size batting on hand that has always fulfilled my every batting need. But Fever measures larger than the 90" width of the roll. I will be at the quilt shop tomorrow and I'll pick up a package of king-sized batting then.
In the meantime, I've begun work on Williamsburg Medallion a pattern by Marie at Patchalot More. I chose an applique pineapple from a Linda Brannock pattern for the center of my medallion. This has been a very fun pattern to use - easy to read and clearly laid out - go check out all of Marcie's patterns.
There was a touch of excitement in our neighborhood last night. Someone cut the corner, hit the fire hydrant and sent a geyser shooting into the sky and flooding the street. Hubby said he heard the 'thud' and squealing tires while we were having dinner, but when I didn't say anything he figured it was nothing. While we were cleaning up, I went to the garage to put things in the recycling and it sounded like there was a running car in our driveway. Curiosity got me, I popped open the garage door and saw many of my neighbors in the street watching the show.We had low water pressure in the house for a bit. Today all that remains is some wetness in the street. It was sad to see all that water just running into the drain. No one was injured so a little loss of water isn't so bad in the long run.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

We survived 'Super-Big-Fat-Tuesday' and I have a new 'I Voted' sticker to add to my collection. I love getting that sticker. It just brings out the 5-year-old in me. Just like being rewarded for putting my belongings back in my cubby in kindergarten and receiving a star - I want everyone to know that I did my part.
This morning I got crackin' on putting the borders on Fever. Man, borders take a l-o-n-g time. Once it is quilted, I will cut the scalloped edge around three sides of the quilt. Because I intend to use this quilt on our bed, I opted to leave the top just a straight edge with only one skinny border to finish off the blocks.
Not wanting to be left without any piecing to do, I began auditioning fabrics to make Marcie's pattern Williamsburg Medallion . For the center of the medallion, I am considering an appliqued pineapple. Pineapples show up regularly as a sign of welcome in the colonial south. My little tip of the hat to Marcie's original design.
This is going to be a fun project. I can't wait to get started.

Monday, February 04, 2008

It was a great day at the mail box today. My Four Seasons Winter Swap partner was revealed to me. Anne Ida of Quiltoholic in Norway had my name. Here is the lovely quilt she made just for me - Winter Night Stars. I think the night sky in Norway must look just like this - clear blue sky with twinkling white stars on a cold winter night. I can't wait to find just the right spot to display this little darling.Look at all the other goodies that came inside the package. Anne Ida's note to me written on 2 postcards that show the city of Oslo, a mouse mat with a print from the Munch Museum that is nearby, fabrics that are destined to find a home in a quilt very soon, and c-h-o-c-o-l-a-t-e. I must say that I am quite proud that I remembered to take a photo before I opened it for a taste. Thank you, Anne Ida . . . you out did yourself.
But the mail fun did not end there. There was also an envelope from Marcie at Patchalot More. Marcie recently shared on her blog a quilt that she designed called Williamsburg Medallion. She made a little mention that she wondered what I might do with that pattern . . . so I gladly offered to oblige. I have some ideas in my head and a few fabrics in mind.
Before I can begin, I want to finish Fever. I auditioned the 6 fabrics that make up my new banner and found each one to be lacking in one way or another. That left me with only one alternative - to go to the fabric shop and find something suitable. These are all the sashing strips.
and all of the blocks put together in a 'fishnet.' This afternoon I got a good chunk of the top constructed. Just a few more seams and I'll be ready to start measuring for borders.
There is a little bit of magic happening and it just makes me smile. There is a secondary pattern emerging that gives the illusion of circles. That is the bonus fun about quilting - you just never know what might show up.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

February already! How did January disappear so quickly and what do I have to show for it? Nothing! I didn't finish a single project . . . and I'm okay with that.
I have gotten back to work on the Fever blocks. Here they are all laid out so far. The goal is a top that is 9 blocks by 10 blocks - so I need to finish up 8 more and I can begin sewing rows together. I have several red plaids to audition for the sashing and I will use a solid red for corner stones. For borders, I plan to use the aged muslin the same size as the sashing, a skinny red border and finally a wide aged muslin border that I will finish with a scallop edge. Wonder if I can get all that done by Valentine's Day.I have been working on the hexagons in the evenings and have 2 stars to go before I have 41. Then I'll start putting together diamonds. I'm going to need a lot! There was a great response to my last post with the photo tutorial. I tried to answer as many questions as I could, but if you are set to 'No Reply' it makes it difficult to correspond. I hope to post more photos of how I baste my pieces soon. I need an extra pair of hands for that. Hubby has been quite busy with work. Be patient.
Too bad Harper can't hold the camera. She is willing to pose. Here she is in her pink t-shirt. No, I don't normally dress her up. I got this tip from the folks at the local pet store. Harper is VERY frightened by loud noises such as fireworks. She trembles and tries to find a tight spot to hide in. The close fitting shirt (see the knot) helps give the sense of being in that 'tight spot' without knocking over the furniture, etc. and really helps to calm her down. When our Marine friends at Camp Pendleton are practicing their work, we pull out the pink shirt and everyone has a much better day.