Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Nifty Thrifty's Quilting is Done!

I had three goals to meet today. I needed to get my NC driver's license..Yes, the SS# card arrived in the mail while I was gone last week....and I had some bank/tax stuff that HAD to be done today. I got those errands done,and spent the rest of the day quilting on Nifty Thrifty!

I love how it turned out. I was going to do a panto on it to call it done....a lot of heavy quilting just doesn't suit utility quilts like I am striving for,but this just begged for more. And it shows up, quite well in spite of what I was thinking!

There is an interesting story to the back. In SC I had Merry Maids come every 2 weeks to help me keep on top of things while I was doing massage full time and quilting on the side. Oh how I miss them! *LOL* My two little Hispanic house cleaners loved my quilts,always curious to see what was on the machine. One lady didn't speak much english. One day she came with two huge trash bags of FABRIC for me to use. SHE was decluttering...and I was the recipient!

There were two pieces of madras plaid in the bags. I don't know the age, I just know that they feel terrific and they are cotton. I used them both up in the back of this quilt. Fabric gifts come from surprising places!

It's midnight. I'm off to bed. Orange Crush step #2 is CLOSE to being ready to upload..I just need a couple more hours, but my eyes are too blurry to continue on...*yawn*

Recycle Concious Quilters!

Hey Gang...I've been working back and forth with my editor on how to best get the recycling theme through the book with applying to every day life,not just to quilts from recycled clothing.

I have this idea of with every quilt page having a little "pop up message" (message in a box) with a different earth-friendly tip from quilters.

Some things I have come up with, besides the obvious....are the fact that I'm not going to buy bottled water anymore. I'll keep some bottles on hand to refill, but I don't like these bottles filling up the landfill.

I have ideas for hints using batting scraps in cleaning, dusting etc. Can anyone add their ideas and what they personally do?

I have a little page about ways to piece batting scraps and use them in quilts.

Does anyone make dog/cat beds with their smallest strips and scraps and donate them to animal shelters? Would you write me about what you do? How big,how full, what goes into it, etc?

I would love to know what anyone is doing with selveges other than quilts. After being shown really cute baskets at a couple of classes...oh my. Here *IS* something I've been throwing away. 1/2" strips! Who would have thought. (No, I'm not going there...at least....well, maybe!)

Are there items you have made that are NOT quilts that could be considered earth and recycle friendly?

(Please,no beer can crocheted hats...remember those?! *LOL* or crocheted bread bag stories..those are just...hmmmmm...*LOL*)

We are not only quilters, but we are home makers and wives and daughters and sisters and friends....as an earth concious quilter, what are you implementing in your daily life?

My book is also going to include some simple patterns and ideas for cloth grocery sacks. I'm using the top part of a pair of recycled jeans for this project..it's cute!

I know you are waiting for step 2 of OC...I have tonight dedicated to finishing up the pdf file and getting it out to you.

For instance, I wash zip loc bags again and again. I buy ONLY the freezer bags because they are heavier, more washable and a better value than the flimsy ones that get thrown out "too soon". I use zip locs a lot in my quilting as well...

What do you do??

What do you guys think?

I'll submit them to my editor with your name, city and state, so please include that info in your email/comment!


Dogwoods Still Bloom!

I got home last night...and found that while the Bradford Pears had all gone to leaf, and the blossoms on all the bright yellow forsythia are gone, I have DOGWOODS in bloom!

We have put a picnic table down by the creek in the grove of trees there. I think it's going to be a great spot for gathering, when I get it done. I envision a wooden swing with an arbor over it in the trees there somewhere too..maybe a hammock...and some adirondack chairs. With the leaves already emerging, I already can't see neighbors. Is this a good thing? I think so!

That table looks awful "plastic" sitting there, I want a bright oilcloth table cloth, a big pot of geraniums or something to anchor it down...but it's a start.

Spring is just one of those things that can come and go so quickly, we really need to take time out and notice. I think there is a life lesson in this for me. Somewhere.

I want to introduce you to the newest member of my family! My sister Joy gave birth to her fourth child, a daughter, last night!

Taylor Noel was born at 7:30 pm on Monday evening, April 14th. She was born at an even 9 lbs. and 19 inches long. She has a ton of dark hair and is beautifully chubby! Joy and Taylor are doing great. Except that Auntie Bonnie has NOT finished the baby quilt! The top is done. And guess what...it's scrappy trips! It's been done for quite a while, but hasn't been quilted yet. Soon Joy, I promise SOON! I suppose the baby won't worry if I can't get to it for 6 weeks, but I do!

This is what I've learned since yesterday:

Basically, through my talks with Billie and Easy Made I have reinforced my discoveries on the following:

If someone uses your same block pattern, same size, same method,same number of strips per block but makes their quilt bigger...it is theirs.

My instructions were for the BLOCK, not the finished quilt. Ie...my instructions don't go all the way to the borders, they let you "border as desired" so that alone makes it "different enough."

If someone makes their own illustrations instead of using pics to show the steps....it's theirs.

If someone takes your directions and puts them in their own words, it's theirs.

If someone alters anything in the border, the whole quilt is theirs.

If someone gives the quilt a different title than yours, it's theirs.

If a designer says they never ever heard of you or your website, that makes the design theirs.

The ONLY thing you can protect yourself from as a designer is someone publishing your EXACT words. Basically when it comes to quilting....that's about it folks.

Maybe this will free me up in my own worries in the future.

Oh...I was also told that it is my own fault, and basically I shot myself in the foot for putting my ideas out there in the quilting world for "free" to begin with, because they ARE great ideas. (No Kidding.) In my heart of hearts....this is what quilting has always BEEN for me. Something shouldn't be more protected simply because it was sold for profit.

I have fretted left and right worrying if I was stepping on anyone's toes over a design. I think this is going to loosen me up a lot as far as what is protect-able or not. But then, there is this thing called ethics.

I have 90 pics from my trip to MD!! I had the best time, great hostesses and wonderful guilds for lectures and trunkshows and workshops. Thursday...this is crazy...just to give you an idea of how it goes, I left my hostess's house at 8am to go to Glen Burnie for a morning guild meeting and luncheon. I got lost even with Tom Tom because the address I was given didn't say 1st Ave SW..just 1st Ave. AUUGHH! So I learned to always double check addresses before going anywhere.

I got to the guild meeting in time, but everyone was already there while I was setting up....in comes these 5 "body bags" of quilts....but after my program, we had a fabulous luncheon! We got out of there after 1:30pm, and I was taken quilt shop hopping, and even better...an antique mall (BINGO! I found a lovely book on Indiana Amish quilts!) and a couple thrift stores where I hit the jackpot in the clothing department!

From there I was dropped straight off at ANOTHER restaurant to meet up with another guild....at 5pm!! I still wasn't hungry from lunch, and there I was being fed again. Then we went to the guild meeting from there....I did my evening presentation (yes, unload the car and the 5 body bags, and set up, take down, etc) and got to bed LATE LATE only to have to get up early to do the first Friday workshop.

Friday's worskhop: My blue Heaven!

Happy Scrappy Houses was held on Sunday at Patches, a wonderful quilt shop in an old house in Mt Airy, MD:

I think the most fun class of all was the Happy Scrappy Houses. A couple of CULPRITS, after hearing my lecture and trunk show, stopped at a yard sale on the way to the class, and picked up a bunch of shirts! They were WEARING THEM!! and as I said...ooooohhh...nice COTTON! They took them off and gave them to me. I was floored, little did I know it was PLANNED. So...I took a sleeve off of each of the shirts, and cut it into house units and gave everyone part. I then went and took some not-so-desireable fabrics and cut those up and spread them around telling everyone they HAD to use it in their houses. What a riot. We had so much fun. I have to thank Janie and Susie for the whole yardsale shirt hilarity. Talk about giving me the shirts off their backs! *LOL*

I'm feeling like half of a zombie at this point. The car is not unloaded...I have so much to write about, but first things first.....the directions for step 2 of Orange Crush have to be written and uploaded!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

To Maryland!! Away!!

Hey everyone! I'm in MD this week doing lectures and trunkshows for 4 different guilds! I'm being hosted by the Four County Quilters in Mt Airy, The Southern Comforters in Bowie, The Eternal Quilters in Glen Burnie, and the Friendship Quilters in Linthicum!

These are all places I've never been to before, so I am really looking forward to this trip, we've had it planned almost a year!

I won't be home til Monday or Tuesday, so don't worry if you don't hear from me. If I can get computer access I might be able to send an update, but I'm not promising anything! :cD

Quilt on, gals, quilt on!

Saturday, April 05, 2008

A Wonderful Time In Asheboro!

I returned from Asheboro, NC last evening! First thing I did? Head to the hot tub! I am loving having our hot tub in the gazebo off the deck, watching trees go from blossoms to new leaves, seeing how the grass has become so fresh and green just over the past couple of weeks....spring is definitely arriving! Slow in coming, wet and rainy, but it is spring none the less!

Last night I experienced my first loud thunder-bumper storm here. It was fun being down in the basement studio all safe and dry while the storm rumbled on through. I wondered if our power would go out, but it didn't, luckily. I had to put borders on the baby quilt for my sister who is expecting her 4th baby, another niece for me, any day! I may miss the baby's arrival due to my travels, and the quilt is likely NOT going to be ready to ship for a couple weeks yet, but I don't think the baby will mind.

Anyway, back to Asheboro! Even tho Asheboro is only an hour's drive or so from my house, I had never been there before, so it took me into new territory. One of the fun things about traveling is meeting up face to face with people I have known via the internet for years, but had only communicated via email. I had the pleasure of finally meeting Mary, and got to stay at her beautiful home! Her decorating is so much my own style...or the desire of style, because it sure isn't evident in what I've done so far with this house! But her house is warm, wonderful, comfy cozy, and little quilt vignettes are every where! We just had the best time, and I'm glad she is close enough that we can get together for sew days or antiquing or whatever. I hope we will.

She took me to a fabulous antique mall....I must have hit the jackpot because she said the last time she was there there were NOT as many quilts! But this time...woah baby! And the prices were reasonable! She had her camera and took pics of my shopping fun. I ended up buying 5 quilts...most of them in "cutter" condition, but I bought them because I could so relate to them. I would love to recreate them....I just knew I would have so much in common with the women who made them, even as humble as they are. One is in complete shreds....But the design and the quilting in it are fabulous. (No pic of that one in what she sent me home with, but I'll get pics of it when I can) The deal of the century was in a "junk" flea market mall down the street from the antique mall, where I asked her to read the tag for me.....

"Mary...does this say $10.00?? Or is it supposed to be $100.00??? It was TEN DOLLARS..needless to say, we paid the lady quickly and ran!! *LOL*

This broken dishes in a 9patch variation quilt really caught my eye. LOok at those colors! The red is so vibrant....it's got shirtings and indigoes..plaids, stripes, prints...Everything that just "floats my boat!" The backing...simple home-dyed cotton...which I suppose really isn't all that "simple", I can't imagine what a pain it was to boil fabric to dye it in those days! The quilting is baptist fan, wonky as can be, and executed in black thread. I've got several antiques from this era that use black thread for quilting on utility style quilts. I LOVE IT.....I want to quilt with black thread on a utility quilt project like this. The blocks are big and chunky. She probably had to make it fast out of what she had to provide warmth for her family. And, it looks like the blue piece wasn't quite long enough...so what did she do? Added on some left over green. My kind of gal!

This "Northwind" quilt ALSO came home with me! Who would have thunk that *I* who has been in love with quilts with a gadzillion SMALL pieces would be so drawn to quilts with BIG blocks? I used to not like BIG block quilts at all...and they really have grown on me. This one also has a simple muslin type backing. The fun thing about this one is it is all pieced by machine, even the binding (turning the back to the front) is by machine. It is hand quilted tho...this time in diagonal (well SORT OF!) rows. You know how we would follow the patchwork as a guide to where our diagonals should pass through the block? This one has no rhyme or reason as to the placement of the diagonals..they just go wonky... ;c) Yep...a gal after my own heart (or was it a guy?? who knows?)

Look at that ONE lone cheddar block!? And notice how there is a row of "Burgundy" blocks that goes across the center of the quilt in a stripe? That is something we wouldn't do today. But in lots of old quilts, they grouped "like kinds" together..where we tend to scatter them so things are more spread out and try to avoid having the same thing touch each other. I love that they had less rules than we try to impose on ourselves. Maybe a life lesson in there somewhere?

This quilt was another FABULOUS FIND! The quilting is SO small, and some of these blues I think may have been green at one time...the yellow washed out of those over dyed greens and left the fabric a greenish blue again. The brown is probably hand dyed, maybe some of the others too. This quilt has such WONDERFUL blocks! I love the design. I have no idea where to put all these..but they just have to come live with me, if even just for a while...This is a very EARLY quilt. The batting is so thin it is almost non existent, and the quilting is so close, and echoed and echoed...

The other two quilts I didn't get pics of...so I'll have to do that for another post. I'll leave you wanting and waiting for more!

We met up with a dozen or so quilt guild ladies for dinner, and then off to the guild meeting we went. Mary took some pics...and I just had to laugh. This one looks like I'm doing the quilter's version of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" !!

It's tax prep weekend..along with everything else...and then I'm headed to the DC area of MD on Monday!

Buddy Update....not good folks. :c( The doc got in there and there is more damage than was visible on the xrays. Buddy is going to have to have more work done on Tuesday, they are going to have to put in some plates instead of the simple wiring and pinning that they thought. He really did a number on his carpals/metacarpals when he jumped off the deck...please keep the good thoughts and prayers coming! He's home with us and all bandaged up and on meds until then! Jeff and Dave are going to have to deal with him since I'll be in MD....

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Bad News, Buddy!!

I took Buddy, our Golden Retriever in for his 4 week check on his broken metacarpal...they did x-rays and it just is NOT healing! WHHhhhaaa!

So...I had to go back after they kept him over night, pick him up at 7am, and take him to the specialty vet where he is having surgery today to pin it. Poor Buddy...

He is my big brave boy....the gentlest hugest beast, and so kind and affectionate. I hope his surgery goes okay and that he will soon be on the mend!

This pic was taken about 5 years ago....he was asleep like that on the floor! His lips are so floppy that he looked like he was smiling, I couldn't resist taking a picture. :c)

I'm headed to Asheboro today! Trunk show tonight, and a crumbs workshop tomorrow. It's going to be FUN! And the best part is, I get to meet a quilter that I have known online for years, but we've never met face to face. This is the best part. I'm meeting up with her for lunch, and then she is going to take me antiquing!

Then we will meet up with some guild gals and have dinner before the meeting tonight. Asheboro is only about an hour's drive from me (or less) so I won't be so far away..just a short jaunt. Then Monday I head out to MD! Watch out world! Quiltville's on the road again!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

How Can I Not Blog??

I just can't not blog. My time to travel around and view other people's blogs may suffer, but I just can't not blog!

Today I'm not blogging about quilting...I'm blogging about yummy things cooking in my crock pot!

I'm making chicken corn chowder for dinner tonight. Here's the recipe:

2 boneless, skinless chicken breast, chopped
1 onion, choppped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 carrots, sliced
2 ribs of celery, sliced
2 potatoes, diced
1 teaspoon all seasoning herbs
1 can creamed corn
1 can corn
3 cups chicken broth
1/3 cup chopped Italian Parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper


Put all ingredients, except parsley, salt and pepper in crockpot. Cover and cook on low for 8-9 hours. Add seasonings 1/2 hour before serving.

Monday, March 31, 2008

It's April 1st in Australia!

Because I have uploaded the first step of Orange Crush
a day early...HAPPY APRIL FOOLS DAY!!!


I'll be unavailable for a while...this is what is
going on with me this week:
(from my editor)
Okay, here’s what’s going on and what we need to be
working on this week. I need to get all your people
scheduled. Here’s your team. I’m assured they are all
talented people. I haven’t worked with Brian before,
so I’m excited to see what he comes up with for us.

Illustrations: Eric

Designer: Brian

Photographer: Aaron

Tech Edit: Deb

First, we should get all the illustrations you’ll need
for the book to Eric so he can get them drawn out for
us. Sketches will do, just make them clearly labeled.

Then I need to get the photo shoot scheduled. We’ll
have to plan ahead, because you’ll have to mail the
quilts to me and I’ll handle the shoot. (I’m a quilter
too, so I’ll take good care of your quilts while
they’re in my possession!) We’ll have each quilt shot
straight on (remember to have sleeves on the one’s
over 90-inches long). Then, we need to come up with
some pretty poses with your quilts. These will be
photos of the quilts in a setting with perhaps other
objects in the photo. I’m not sure how we want to
handle this. We can brainstorm ideas to see what we
come up with.

The other big thing to be thinking about is the
marketing materials. We need a name for the book with
a couple of paragraphs describing the book. This will
go on the website, in advertisements and on the back
of the book. I saw somewhere a couple of names you had
suggested, but I can’t find that email right now. Can
you send me what you were thinking. Keep in mind the
“green” theme for a tag line.

Here’s the list of quilts I have going in the book.
Has this list changed? About how many pages do you
think you’ll need for each one? I’m thinking of a page
count for the book. It can be no bigger than 128
pages. We will have a mixture of color and black/white

(list of quilts here)

I think that’s it for now. Have you read the Author
Guidelines? That should have most of the information
you need in it. Ask me questions if you can’t find the
answers in the guidelines.

AUUUGHH! So this is what I'm working on, plus customer quilts, plus a trip to Asheboro NC for a lecture and workshop on Thurs/Fri...and off to MD to teach for a week next week.

If you don't hear from me for a while...don't worry..I've just got my nose to the grindstone!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Wonderful Sunday!

I had the MOST wonderful Sunday afternoon today! Being new to Winston Salem (and to NC in general..the only tourist attraction for me as far as NC went was Mary Jos!) means there are lots of things to discover!

Well, I was told last week "Oh, you know Reynolda House is open to the public next Sunday and I think they have quilts there."

Imagine MY surprise when I find out the "quilts" they have there is an exhibit of African American quilts from the SMITHSONIAN!!!! OMGoodness! I couldn't believe my good luck. The exhibit was free today...but the best part...I came ALONE! *LOL* I can just see that my family of men would NOT understand the attraction in Ghees Bend style quilts. So...I got to bask in their glory all myself. And I am not embarassed to say that they moved me to tears. Literally. I had a docent bring me a tissue. Not only that, she said I wasn't the only quilter who had cried when seeing them, that was why she was CARRYING tissues to begin with.

I've seen these quilts for years in books and magazines and tv, and drooled over them. But seeing them up close and personal (as close as they would allow my eyes to get without touching them) was a moving experience. I could see the weave of the double knit polyester they were made from. I could see the stitches. I could see the quilting knots that lay on top of the quilt. I could see where diamonds were pieced because there was not enough fabric to cut the shape from a single piece.

I thought of these marvelous women who had so little to begin with, but created so much. I read the placards of their lives and words that were posted next to each quilt, and I blubbered some more. I feel like these women are MY sisters.

I couldn't photograph, of course..but I did get a couple shots from the up above mezzanine, without flash. Blurry maybe, but you get the idea!

Here is a printable brochure that contains items in this exhibit, so you can see what I saw up close and personal :c)

The rest of Reynolda House and Museum paled in comparison to what I had experienced in the quilt exhibit. But it really has a fabulous story as well....

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Bunny Love...

I bought this bunny pillow on one of my teaching jaunts through Georgia. When I go places, everyone assumes I'd love to hit each and every quilt shop in the area, when what I am really aching to do is hit the thrift shops and antique malls!

This bunny was found in the upstairs part of a very disorganized antique mall in Augusta GA! In it's former life it was an ocean waves quilt. I love that pattern, and having made one myself, and knowing I would never make another (talk about death by triangulation!)I snatched up the bunny and brought her home with me.

I've got a big basket with an assortment of patchwork bears, and even a pig that was bought in Kentucky. His eyes are put on crooked, he looks more like a bear than a pig (like someone used a bear pattern and stuck on a snout to MAKE him a pig) and he was so pitiful I had to bring him home too!*LOL*

This morning I took the bunny pillow and put it on the quilt top that I was thinking I didn't like. It doesn't look half bad. They DO look like they go together. Maybe the album quilt looks murky to me because it doesn't have enough "LIGHT" as far as colors go? But all in all....as they say....sleep on it, it will look better in the morning!

Thanks for all the pats on the back assuring me it wasn't as bad as I was thinking it was!

Friday, March 28, 2008


I tried and tried and tried to do something cool with these borders,but NOTHING looked good on this quilt.

This is the first time in a LONG time that I've not been satisfied with a project, and I really think what I don't like about it is that it is so much in those old "blue and mauve" colors from the late 80's...Even if a lot of the fabrics are reproductions, it still has that 1980's feel! *LOL*

I tried to salvage it by putting in a brown sashing, and adding that to the border and the center of the border corner stars to tie it all in and tone it down, but it just looks muddy to me. Maybe it will be better once it is quilted and bound, and WASHED to look older? It's just very restful, low contrast and subdued. It lacks the RED punch of the bargain basement quilt. Or it lacks the mustard gold sashings of the original Kentucky Album that inspired it. Maybe I should have used ALL browns instead of blues...but it's too late now!

At any rate, here's a couple shots of the borders and the corner squares I put in. I've pieced a back out of blue yardage I wanted to clear out, and even pieced a batting out of batting remnants that were in a box. It's definately a frugal quilt,so that is something to be happy about too!

Bargain Basement & Kentucky Album...

I finished the binding and the hanging sleeve on Bargain Basement! I also found a great place to photo the quilts. I used to hang them off my fence in SC, but this place HAS no fence,so I was wondering where I could photo quilts away from the wind and direct sun, etc.

The back of the house has a latice wall! It's the perfect height, and clothes pins work great to hang a quilt out of the wind and sun. So that's my new spot.

The only problem (and it isn't really a problem per se) is that the cross hatching of the latice almost looks like the quilt doesn't stop with the binding in the photos! Oh well...if *I* can get used to it, maybe it won't bug you so much either!

So here are the photos of Bargain Basement!I did tall dogteeth borders, and following the lead of our quilters past, I just let the borders end where the borders end...so all the corners are slightly different. Talk about fun and no stress!

The big red plaid in the border was from a lady's jumper that I took apart. There was a ton of red plaid in that jumper! (It was a 3XXX!) The black homespun plaid binding was actually a bathrobe...yes...made out of homespun, just like we'd buy off the bolt. Lots of yardage in that too.

The back....I used up fabric from a skirt...the blue gingham with the fruit on it, and some other older yardage that had a "plaidy-stripe-y" feel to it. Seems like I've been trying to get rid of that bolt of blue noah's ark fabric for ever. I've still got a lot of that in tan too! I used the left over dog tooth border in the back as well.

My report on the gym front....I've been 4 days in a row! And I'm having fun. The ladies there are really nice, the music isn't so booming loud that we can actually carry on conversations as we move around from station to station. I'm a bit sore,but not too much, so I know I'm not over doing it. The last two days I've walked the mile there (extremely up hill on the way there, but down hill on the way home) and did my work out, and then walked home to cool down. It's perfect!

Last night I worked on those crossed album blocks. I'm calling it "Kentucky Album" Because the quilt Lucy and I fell in love with was found in Kentucky...or on our trip TO Kentucky anyway! I've chosen a brown print with blue and coral in it for the sashings.

I wanted something that didn't make it so "blue and mauve" like the 1990s...even tho some of the fabrics I used up must at least be that old too! *LOL* Some of this stuff....my brain was telling me DON'T USE THAT!! and then that little voice in my ear would say "women with a mere scrap bag to choose from WOULD GLADLY use that and be grateful for it.." (Pffft!) so I used it. I figured, better to be in a quilt, than to still be in that strip bin making me grumble every time I dug past it. So...it's IN THE QUILT. Little heart prints, little calicoes...but it isn't half bad...from FAR away! :cD

It needs borders. I looked through books for border inspirations, and nothing is catching me. Maybe I'll just let it stew a while?