Saturday, May 12, 2007

Happy Mother's Day!

To all mothers, daughters, sisters, friends.....wishing you a wonderful day!!

Today's project for me (after choir) is to press those paired up strips open and cut them into the 2" subsections. It is so hard for me to do things a step at a time and walk away in between. I'm an all-or-nothing kind of hyperfocused gal (no kidding?!?)and it really is a challenge to say "okay, time's up on this one, move on to whatever else you need to be doing". But in the long run, I think I'll get more done this way, than if I pushed everything else aside and kept going. There is less guilt this way too :c)


Setting Goals....

All systems are go for the donation quilt I am making for the annual fall bazaar at Trinity Cathedral. They've never had a donation quilt and ticket sales before, so it has been a bit difficult for me to get people to understand that YES, you can raise more funds with a raffle, than you can in a silent auction, especially where quilts are concerned, and a raffle gives EVERYONE a chance to win, not just those with big bucks.

In between everything else I am breaking this quilt down into steps. Working (hopefully)1/2 hour to 1 hour a day on getting this top together in the midst of everything else. I can do it. I know I can. I am starting with the 4 patches first. I have gone through my 2" strip bins and pulled all the jewel tones and the neutrals. I have cut more neutrals because they were really depleted! While Lucy was here I culled through my FQ's finding ones that I was wanting to pull out of those drawers, cut into strips to spice up what I had in the strip bins. I've cut more jewel tone colors from those to add to the strips I've pulled.

This morning I started sewing light/dark pairs....about a mile of them! Next step is to iron them open, and then cut into 2" sub-cuts. The next step after that will be to sew them into 4 patches. I only need about a gazillion 4 patches! After those are done, I will choose the next step, which will either be 1/2 sq triangles, or the Tri-Recs star points. One step at a time...I don't want to get ahead of myself. I need the quilt finished and bound and ready to sell tickets by August 1st. Can I do it? I hope so!

I've had requests for my banana bread recipe! So here you go. I always felt it wasn't worth all the effort for just one loaf, so I usually make two loaves at a time. One to have, one to give. Enjoy!

Bonnie’s Banana Bread

2 loaves.

Preheat oven to 350. Spray two loaf pans with Pam or non-stick cooking spray.

1 1/3 cup shortening
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
6 over-ripe bananas, mashed
4 tsp baking powder (not soda)
1 tsp salt
½ cup milk
2 tsp vanilla
3 cups flour
1 cup chopped walnuts.

Cream shortening with sugar. Add eggs and beat well. Add bananas, vanilla, salt, milk and baking powder until well blended. Mix in 3 cups of flour, scraping sides of bowl to mix evenly. Stir in chopped walnuts.

Divide mixture between two loaf pans. Bake at 350 for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Be careful not too over cook or bread may turn out dry. Done when knife inserted into loaf comes out clean.

Allow to cool in pans for 10 minutes, then remove from pans to finish cooling on wire rack. Banana bread is best aged a day or so in the refrigerator for all flavors to blend and ripen.


Friday, May 11, 2007

Fun Pics In My Email!

First off I want to thank you all for understanding my rant. I know we can't please all the people all the time, but we can learn something from this....to be a bit more sensitive to other people's lives and needs and treat each other as if we were real life neighbors.

I had a wonderful surprise last night...a call from TAZZIE! We counted and figure that we have known each other for 10 years. I've never met her in person, but I love her to death. Even if my DH considers you all my "imaginary invisible friends" without the internet it is highly unlikely that all of us from all corners of the globe would cross paths and enrich each other's lives the way we have. With that closeness comes some bumps and scratches and maybe hurt feelings....but perhaps those stumbling blocks can become stepping stones. Those growing pains can become our strengths.

This morning I recieved these great pics in my email! Another reason I am so happy for the internet! Louise contacted me a while back asking if she could use the Diamond Strings tutorial to teach to her group at the senior center. She just sent pics of three completed quilts from this workshop! I'm not sure where the quilts are destined, but I love seeing the variety and individuality that comes from quilters. So may these pics inspire you today! I know the rectangle zig zag one has inspired me...I HAVE to try that!

The banana bread was devoured by the choir on wednesday night, and yes...I came home with more bananas with a big request to make more. Our last rehearsal is next wednesday, and then we are off until after labor day, so this will be the last banana bread feast for a while. I'll make the bread this morning and then freeze it until wednesday.

The A/C has been off at the massage clinic. I'm hoping they fix it today. It was over 80 in there by the time I finished my last client at 3:30. She was fine and comforable...sure! She had nothing on but a sheet! But I was soaked.....I suppose I could just consider it a dual purpose massage and sauna! And our humidity isn't in full swing yet....

For Today....my challenge for everyone: Find something today that fills your heart. Spend a few minutes if that is all you have doing something that makes you feel like YOU without all the extra hats of mom, taxi driver, cook, bottle washer, maid, employee, etc. Connect with your inner child and say "hello!"


Thursday, May 10, 2007

Feeling Sad

I just got home from work and found an email from Finn at Pieces from my scrapbag asking to be removed from the mavericks ring.

I'm sorry she wasn't happy with the ring and felt it didn't fit her. But every time someone airs their feelings about why something doesn't fit, there are those who have to vent their feelings over something that happened or didn't happen with in the past 2 years for them either. And it snowballs in people's comment sections, cackling like a bunch of unhappy chickens.

Some complained that the ring didn't feel the same because it got too big...but when I tried to limit the size, those applying who were turned down for whatever reason got upset. (seem's that "invitation only" isn't understood by the masses either)..so we have people complaining about it being too big and impersonal, and people complaining that they weren't allowed in. What the heck am I supposed to do?!

I have had the following on the homepage for a while:

"Thank you for your interest in Quilt Mavericks. At this time we are not taking new ring members. It is the feeling of many that the ring got too big and we lost our sense of community once the ring was bigger than our ability to travel through the ring in a timely manner and comment on each other's blogs.

Community is the reason why we started this ring. Community is why we desire to keep the size limited. We hope you understand, and will keep up with our blogs by travelling around the ring often!"

Does this explain to anyone how I feel that we have lost our sense of community? And do those who feel like outsiders to the community understand, or are they still taking it as personal and will mouth off about the mavericks being "cliquish" every chance they get? If this were a ring strictly for amish quilts.....and you didn't make amish quilts, didn't even like solids...would you feel bad that you weren't invited?

When Tonya and I started this ring, we wanted to represent a certain genre of quilts. But tonya's ideas and mine are somewhat different,so there were differences of opinion! I HATE hurting people's feelings....I'd take in EVERYONE if that was the purpose of the ring. There are other rings out there that do. I don't like having to categorize quilters, and after Tonya turned the reigns back over to me, I was more lenient with the guidelines. Then people who had not been invited BEFORE were upset because now I was letting so and so in and why not them?

It's a MESS ladies. I ask any of you.....do you want to be in my shoes? Anyone?
I can't make everyone happy. I have tried really hard to get along with everyone and keep the peace. I don't have as much time as I used to to travel around the ring and feel as big a part of it. I do try to keep up on my blog, and I don't comment on every single post that everyone makes. I'm working two jobs and some days feeling like I can't keep my head above water. It is NORMAL that some people are going to find more of a connection with each other than others. Some people who live closer together may see each other in person and do things. It isn't that they are leaving anyone out of "their loop". This is just life.

I've gotten to know many of you, in and out of the ring over the past several years and I value each and every one of you.

I don't want to think that Mavericks is EXCLUSIVE. Maybe those who are on the outside looking in feel that way....and I have no answers. If anyone wants to leave, as Finn felt she had to, just let me know.


Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Hanging By A Shirt Tail!

I have projects that I can't even CALL UFOs....because there are only a few blocks of this pattern or that one that I did just to try to see if I liked it or not, and it isn't a UFO unless I intended it to go anywhere. I guess you can call these FALSE STARTS!

A while ago I was on a plaid shirt fetish....remember? I now have unassembled thrift store plaid shirt parts coming out of my ears and pushing past the conifines of their bin. I also had 3 false start projects that I started with them. Jacobs Ladder, Some sawtooth square in a square thing that I saw in an antique quilt but don't have a name for, and these plaid rose bud blocks. I love the look of plaid quilts, but for some reason, the colors are so subdued that I lost interest in working on them and moved on to something else. Has that ever happened to you? I know Mary was talking about the same thing happening to her on her blog.

Today found me working from home, and while digging for something in my bins, I came across all three baggies of these blocks. they all seemed to want to go together so I thought what the heck, laid them out on the floor and started playing. In the baggies for the rosebud blocks were some 5" plaid strips and some 3.5" plaid strips, destined for making more blocks. I used these for the sashings.

When I first got the quilt to what I thought was the finished stage....it was too long for the width. For some reason I don't like really narrow tall quilts! So...I sewed more strips together and added two more side borders.

Again..I have no clue when this will be quilted, butit didn't take long at all to throw together from blocks I had laying around that were going nowhere. I think this quilt is also crying out for baptist fans. You know, maybe if I broke my leg I could sit and quilt and stop piecing and actually finish some of the gazillion tops that are stacking up around here?

Let's see what else! Oh, I turned in the "love in the lost and found" quilt last night along with some others for the show. I'll get pics when they hang. I'm glad I have that off my plate, all labels and bindings were finished by the end of guild meeting. Talk about the nick of time!

Sunday I came home from choir with an overload of ripe bananas. They were going to throw them away, and I snatched them for banana bread. Today I made 4 loaves, and they will go back with me to choir tomorrow night for our break time snack!

Here is a pic of Jeff in all his glory.....his "blame the dog" Tshirt! It seems to be all we do lately, blame sadie for chewing quilts and deck posts and whatever else she can get her mouth on that she shouldn't! (And yes, we have supplied her with LOTS that she can chew, she just chooses to be naughty...)


Saturday, May 05, 2007

Binding & Sleeve.....

Quickie post! I have to have quilts ready to take to guild mtg on monday night...all show entries need to be bound, sleeved, labeled and have dowels cut to size so the library folks can hang them with fishing line or whatever they are doing for display. All quilts will be hung against walls, so I think that is how they do it without racks.

I got the binding (black) and sleeve (lime green to go with the elvis dots!) on the back of the little quiltlet Tonya quilted.

How's this for a new title??? LOVE IN THE LOST & FOUND!! *hehehehe* Kind of goes along with the title of the "Love on a shoestring budget".....

No pics to post today...too much to do and no more time to putter around the puter...

In Stitches - - - -

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Love.......Not Lost, but Found!

When I got home from work yesterday (hellacious day.....I had clients booked all afternoon with my last client at 6:30, putting me home after 8pm....yawn!) there was a package from TONYA!

When I was down there a few weeks ago and we made my "Love on a shoe-string budget" quilt, there were some left over reject blocks. She made some crumb blocks, and we set out to see if we could turn this little "Lost" Love into a quiltlet. Tonya offered to quilt it for me, so how could I not let her? ;c)

Her hand quilting is so wonderful....and I still struggle to quilt without a hoop the way she does. I love the fans in the border, and how she quilted each block piece with just what it called for...it is perfect! And of course, I love the backing fabric...ELVIS!!

I also received some sad news this past week while I was on the road trip with Lucy to Paducah. My friend Marie passed away on Monday from pancreatic cancer. I will miss her laugh and her smile and her stories so much. She was a wonderful remarkable lady who will be dearly missed by all who knew her.

With true friendships, even with friends who have passed on, I am celebrating Love FOUND, not focusing on Love Lost. When it comes down to it, Love is the reason for everything. They say "You can't take it with you"....but with love, I think you can.

A close friend sent me this yesterday, by Mother Teresa. I think we can also substitute the word LOVE for LIFE:

Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.

Life is beauty, admire it.

Life is a dream, realize it.

Life is a challenge, meet it.

Life is a duty, complete it.

Life is a game, play it.

Life is a promise, fulfill it.

Life is sorrow, overcome it.

Life is a song, sing it.

Life is a struggle, accept it.

Life is a tragedy, confront it.

Life is an adventure, dare it.

Life is luck, make it.

Life is too precious, do not destroy it.

Life is life, fight for it.


Monday, April 30, 2007

Finds & Finishes

I got an email from Lucy this morning saying she made it home safe, and they didn't even question her at customs! Lucy is the QUEEN of packing...she had all this fabric, all these gifts for her family, clothes she bought while here, and TWO QUILTS to get home and she managed to fit it ALL in two suitcases and kept them both under 50lbs each, and got by customs without being checked! Whewwww!

Today is Queen's Day in the Netherlands, so she is at the Kermis (carnival) with her kids. I'm sure she will be pooped by the end of the day and it may be a few days before she gets her body clock back on Netherlands time and can catch up with her posts.

I spent last night finishing the last of the flying geese border to go around the crazy string lone star with the atomic orange background. At first I thought it was going to be "over the top" to do a double geese border, but I'm glad I did because it made the orange spaces look not so HUGE. I'm happy with it. I used the last of my light 2.5" strips to cut the background triangles for the geese....so now I will begin the process of cutting up the culled fabrics bit by bit to spice up my scrap strip bins.

Here is the fun string quilt I bought in TN! Isn't it Fab?! I love that there is one block that makes a complete bullseye...and the rest of them are jumbled. This was definately a scrap bag project and the fabrics scan many decades. There is a poison green that is probably before the turn of the 20th century. The mourning print could be nearly as old, but could be dated through the early 1900's. The plaids and stripes are so great as are the dots. And then here and there are some 30's and 40's (and I think even 50's fabrics! The quilting is done on the diagonal in the blocks, and the sashings have 3 lines of quilting in them, all the stitching is quite primitive. For $75 it was quite a find!

I've cleaned the house, done the laundry, got Jeff off to school....so it's back to the real world for me. And I can't find my daytimer! I'm lost without it. I don't know if I have any massage clients today....maybe I left it in my drawer when I worked all day before going to the airport to get Lucy. I called the office to see if it was there, left a msg on the answering machine....I think it is going to take a few days to get my brain straight too!


Sunday, April 29, 2007

Lucy & Bonnie Do Paducah!

I am home....and Lucy is at this moment winging her way back to the Netherlands. According to my calculations, she should be home about 2 am eastern standard time...Poor Lucy! I hope she is sleeping on the flight, because we sure wore each other out on this whirlwind trip!

There is so much to cover, and I think it will be fun to give Lucy a chance to catch up and post which pictures she wants to post. She was our shutter bug on this trip, and since she is so good, I just let her keep the camera, and uploaded all the pics we took onto my computer before she left. I will tantalize you with just a few of our funniest shots!

The reader's digest condensed version:

I picked Lucy up at the airport on Saturday the 21st. We rushed her over to Olive Garden where my son Jason had us seated in his section, and our dinner was taken care of for us!

Then, because Lucy was so worn out, we came home, put her to bed......she needed it!

Sunday the 22nd had us running down the road to Charleston where we spent the day. She took pics of everything and was really enamoured with the historic section of town and all the old buildings. I'm sure there will be lots of pics on her blog to come of those!

We also hit every antique shop we could find, and since most quilts were an arm and a leg, we took pics of all that interested us for inspiration. I think the pics we took are my favorite souvenir of her trip...so many quilts to dream of making, and to use for inspiration! I'm sure many quilt pics will show up on her blog in the next weeks too!

Monday we headed for Paducah....with no set time in mind. We stopped at every antique mall that had signs posted on the interstate, antiquing our way from SC to NC to TN and to KY! We made it as far as Nashville monday night....worn out! We bunked at a Day's Inn just outside of Nashville and started our day Tuesday by looking for a huge guitar store we had found earlier on the internet where she could find some goodies for her hubby. More antiquing followed....and we rolled into our lodgings at Big Bear Resort on Lake Kentucky at dinner time. Yes folks, it took us 2 days to travel what should have taken us 8 to 9 hours...*hehehe*

This was my first trip to Paducah, and it was well worth the drive. It did take us 3 days to see and do everything we wanted to fit in, and all but one night we fell asleep early, unable to keep our eyes open.

Thursday night we met up with Dawn and her bunch! What a fun group of ladies they are, I never laughed so hard! one of the members was a semi-finalist in the show and her quilt was wonderful! We had a great time with them and were so amazed by the friendship and gifts we were bestowed, a couple of worn out strangers that we were! But because of the wonders of the internet, we fit right in and felt like we knew everyone instantly!

Friday was the last day....we wrapped up the show by going out with Dawn, Laura, and Linda for dinner at Texas Roadhouse! You can't do a trip to the South without a trip to Texas Roadhouse!

Saturday we got an early start and drove home all day. We arrived here about dinner time. A stop at an antique mall in Lebanon TN resulted in my adopting an old string quilt! It's dark now, so I'll get a pic later..but I couldn't pass it up at $75.00

As for my purchases....well....I'd like to say I did really well in the fabric department as far as curbing my buying goes, but after a couple of days, I threw caution to the wind and tried to keep up with Lucy! My biggest purchase was for FQ's of background fabrics, so I guess they are legal. There were some other colors I was low on and I needed to round out those a bit. And then, when things get to be $1.00 an FQ.....well, need I say more? I started to buy just because I liked them, and I'm glad my money ran out!

This morning while Lucy was packing and talking to her hubby on yahoo (Fun to see them webcam each other!)I started culling through my FQ drawers. I am ALL OUT of light 2.5" strips, and several colors are depleted for making scrap quilts. I am down to the dregs in my bins of strips in the 2" and 2.5" size, so I'm going to cut fresh strips from the culled FQ's. Lucy was great at giving inspiration! "Strip that one!" "No, save that one"....."bllllkkkkk...DEFINATELY strip that one!". So now I have a laundry basket full of culled FQ's and partial pieces to be cut into my scraps so I won't be so tired of the same ole same ole anymore. This pic is of the pile of FQ's I culled out of my drawers.....

Tomorrow is monday,and life has to get back to normal. I wish I had another weekend to recover!


Thursday, April 19, 2007

My Previous Life....

You know how weird it is to discover your PAST on EBAY!?

I used to design doll and animal patterns under the name "Needle in a Haystack!!" in the 1990's. After vending at Quilt Market a few times, I was picked up by the Butterick Pattern Co, and had quite a run with them, until coming up with 6 new designs every 6 months while raising two small children got to be too much to handle. Besides, how many bears, chickens, cows, racoons (yes, racoons!) can someone come up with before they all start to look alike?

This was also when the "made in china" crafts began to flood into the US and the really fun "craft malls" with handmade items were shortly over run by cheapy imports.

It was when I decided to give up the pattern designing and let it peter out that I bought my longarm machine and have never looked back.....

2 more sleeps until Lucy comes!!!


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Leaders & Enders....the adventure continues....

I had an email from a lady asking what else she could do with 4 patches if she kept making them for leaders and enders. I haven't done 4 patches for a while so I thought I would start throwing some together and see what I could come up with.

I like two-block quilts...they tend to have alot of interesting elements when you start to put two different blocks together. I monkeyed around in EQ and this is what I came up with usuing a variation of a jacob's ladder block and a variation of 54-40 or fight....Because I have a hard time naming quilts, this may become known as "Stars and Ladders." Original, huh? :cÞ

I'd like to do this using my brighter 2" scrap squares (the blocks finish at 9") various lights...but have the star points and the red/black of the jacob's ladder block consistant. To me the quilt layout has a stained glass look to it. The Choir I sing with rehearses and performs at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Columbia SC. The building is pre-civil war, and the stained glass is breathtaking. This mock up kind of reminds me of the colors in the stained glass when the lights shine through...but I'm concerned that the quilt might still have "too much light" in it. So we will see..... These are my first two "test" blocks. Hard to see what it will look like from here if I keep going.

Oh....the tri recs rulers are awesome for the star blocks. The pieces fit together perfectly. The star points and background wedges are both cut from the same width of strip ...3.5" The triangles in the jacob's ladder blocks are also from 3.5" strips and cut with the easy angle ruler. The 4 patches could be "speed pieced" with 2" light and 2" bright strips too.....so it could go together quite a bit faster than just "leaders/enders"

And yes, I shouldn't have my mind going off on another project when Lucy is going to be here SATURDAY! (5 more sleeps! WEEEEE!)


Sunday, April 15, 2007

From First to Most Recent Completion....

This week's Stashbuster Topic asks us to talk about our first quilt. What was yours?

This is a pic of my first completed all the way quilt! I was 20 when I made this in 1982 as a baby quilt for my baby sister when she was born. It's faded over the years of course, but it touched me when Mary sent the pic that showed she still had and treasured this little humble quilt. DH's grandmother showed me how to make cardboard templates, trace them and then cut the pieces. This was before rotory cutters! It's a wonder I ever finished this thing at all because I really hated that process, but it got me well on the way to my quilting obsession, and I haven't stopped since!

The fabrics came from a children's clothing outlet in Boise, Idaho. They would sell the bags of factory scraps, I had bought two bags, one pink, and one blue floral stripe. I guess I didn't know too much about contrast then! I quilted it in the ditch, not knowing any other way to do it, and learned to do prairie points for the borders. Oh, my quilting thread? Regular sewing thread, a double strand! I'm not sure I buried knots on the back either...Oh how far we have come, and enjoyed the journey!

Mary is now expecting her 2nd child, and I just finished the binding on the quilt (it's a boy! I found out today!) while I was at Tonyas. How's that to make someone feel old? I made a quilt for her when she was born, and now I'm making quilts for her kids!


Back From Tonya's!

Hi Hi Hi!

I'm home! Oh man, what a wonderful whirlwind quilting week I had at Chez Ricucci!

I ended up leaving later than expected....leaving here about 4:30 pm on Easter Sunday. I made it as far as Daytona, and had to stop and spend the night, just too tired to go any farther. Tonya's was about 3 hours more outside of Daytona, and I couldn't keep driving any longer.

I checked into a nice clean Day's Inn, and it was lights OUT! The next morning I got up, trundled off down I-95 and made it with no problems to Tonya's, arriving just before lunch.

I didn't mention that the day BEFORE easter....I got a new car :c) So this was the virgin voyage in my new Saturn Vue! It's raining today, so not a good day to get a pic, but I'll get one. It's silver, and I love it! It is the end of an era, Bonnie not being seen toodling around in her PT Cruiser, but life goes on.

I showed some pics for inspiration the week before I left...and the one that kept coming back to me was the string pieced lone star from many diamonds.....I have this quilt in a big book on antique quilts, and every time I'd flip through that book it would call to me "some day...some day..." Well, some day arrived! Before leaving for Tonya's I thought I'd do a few test diamonds to see how they'd look...and then, well, before long..I had enough for one BIG diamond (25 little diamonds!) and I knew it would work. So that was the main project I packed.

I brought a bin of crumbs/strings and we set out sewing! After completing the big diamonds, we had to go shopping for setting fabric (Oh horrors!) I had ORANGE on the brain because Susan was sending me some orange, and it hadn't arrived in the mail before I left (nor did I think I'd get so far as to need it yet) so orange it was..turns out the orange I found was BRIGHTER (does ATOMIC describe it well!?)than what Susan sent! I couldn't tell from her pics how bright what she was sending was...Borders are needed, not sure what I'm going to do yet. Flying geese come to mind...hmmmm. Just for fun....can you find the FLAMINGO fabric in the close up pic? :cD Have to have a flamingo in there to remind me of my trip to Florida!

After the star was set, we started playing around with a "bonnie" version of Tonya's LOVE quilt. I had wanted to do one, and made it fit my style by inserting string X blocks between the Loves. It needs one more border. It is SO cute! I'm thinking of calling it "Love on a shoestring budget" :cD Tonya and I both pieced the letters. Hers are better than mine. Let's just say I am very V challenged!!

Everyone here at home is fine and glad to see me. I'm also getting a lot of teasing about being a 'loafer' because Lucy comes this next weekend and I have the week off with her too and we are going to Paducah! Weeee! (Can't wait to meet up with Dawn and her friends too...)

Tired and happy in SC,