Tuesday, April 26, 2011

There is a Shiny Green Button~~~

In my left side bar!

Yes, Down there, down below the profile stuff—See it?

We have a blog tour coming up! Quiltmaker Magazine’s 100 blocks, Vol 3 Blog tour begins May 2nd, and goes through May 6th! Save the date of Wednesday, May 4th, because that is MY day for the blog tour!

And Look what came in the mail the other day!! **EXCITEMENT!!**

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I’ll be giving away TWO signed copies if you come back on May 4th and leave a comment on that day’s post! You won’t want to miss this issue…it’s SUPER!

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Do I dare give you a sneak preview?! Just a wee one? I love this block, and will be posting a complete quilt layout on May 4th!

With the anticipation building, I was tickled when a box arrived in yesterday’s mail:

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A mug with ALL the blocks! ((Yes, it almost matches my one from the previous issue, if I keep this up ((which I intend to!)) I’ll have a whole set after several more issues! And these huge buttons make GREAT coasters. Now I’ve got two!

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Can you find my block, right there in the center?! The crew at Quiltmaker has done such a splendid job of putting yet another terrific issue of 100 blocks at our fingertips!

Things are gearing up here for my road trip to Pennsylvania. The car is “mostly” packed – I’ve got a few things for my suitcase in the wash, and I’ve been running between errands and other must-do’s ((Had a great meeting with my bee last night! Thanks gals!)) and trying to figure out what to do for borders on the cruise quilt. It’s still on the floor. I’d like to get it OFF the floor and clean up the studio so it is nice and tidy for my return home! This is a short trip, luckily, I’ll be heading home on Sunday.

It’s a beautiful North Carolina Tuesday Morning – Time to get busy!

Monday, April 25, 2011

When All Else Fails….

Take A Hike!!

Yesterday afternoon, though we probably decided to do this too much into the middle of the day, forgetting that it was 80 something out there, DH an I took a 7.12 mile hike around Salem Lake!

The green balloon you see is the starting/ending point, the numbers in circles are mile markers...how accurate they are, I'm not sure! But I did use the GPS and "map my fitness" on my iphone, and from what I can tell, it tracks the route/mileage pretty well!

It was a beautiful day, and let’s face it, after yesterday’s emotional outburst, we both needed a bit of nature to cool our jets. Being outside amongst the trees and water does have a calming effect. Hearing birds, and seeing big buzzing things being busy with their own joie de vivre does seem to calm jangled nerves and allow you to slow down and ponder and work things out.

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Doesn’t this trail look inviting?! It really smelled good out there, even though there were many sneezes through the day, the pollen is in full force out there!

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However, this looks more like an Australian scene than one from Winston Salem, NC! They are rebuilding the dam for Salem Lake, and water levels are SO LOW…the sun is baking the revealed mud into interesting patterns, and the turtles and such have had to find a way to move further in from the tree line, to the center of the lake where there is still “some” water.

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Let’s just say that after the hour and 50 minutes it took us to hike the 7.12 miles, we were starving and headed straight out for dinner. Which meant no cooking for me. And I was FINE with that! After that, long Sunday afternoon naps were indulged in, and the day progressed slowly without any further conflict.

And I sewed!

I’ve got the “cruise” project, alas still nameless, all the way to “just add borders” stage! What those borders will be is still a mystery to me. I’m letting it percolate a bit, but I’m liking it so far! And there will be options…to make it bigger, to make it smaller, to make the project your OWN, not a “kit kit” where everything is the same. We are calling what I am kitting a “Starter Kit!” And fabrics can be added, subtracted, replaced, traded for and personalized. I’m much happier than I was.

I want to thank everyone for the words of wisdom and encouragement. You know, sometimes the best medicine is just knowing you are listening. Sometimes we can’t FIX things, but just knowing that there are listening ears out there really and truly helps. Today is another day. We try again. And we try and we try and we never give up.

I’m meeting up with Karen and Lisa for an Indian lunch at Nawab at 11:30. Oooooo! Nothing is better than lunch out with GFs on a Monday!

Have a great day y’all!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Thoughts---

Wherever you are, be it near or far from family, I am wishing you a restful, pieceful ((and peaceful too!)) day!

There isn’t a lot of activity over here at Quiltville, but that is fine with me. I’m enjoying the end of my “week home” before I head off to the wilds of Pennsylvania on Wednesday.

This week I’ve cleaned, I’ve puttered. I’ve read, I’ve sewn. I’ve sat on the porch swing. I’ve walked the neighborhood. I’ve loved on Emmy the Cat, and Sadie the Dog, and watched a movie on Netflix.

A bit of this, and some of that, and in between I’ve done normal things like laundry ((Yes, finally washed that bathroom rug and hung it over the porch railing to dry)) and I’ve gone through some closets and pitched out in an effort of spring cleaning, organized a bit, but not too much.

Yesterday I even treated myself to a sparkly-pink manicure, AND a nap!

But this is where I get real because I need to vent.

Holidays always have me waxing a bit reflective. And there are some things in my life I’ve really been butting heads with. Many of you have emailed with support before when I've broken down in frustration over a “should be grown” child who is just not finding motivation in ANYTHING. And it is still very difficult. It’s difficult when I feel like my hands are tied from “saying anything” because I am told to back off, back down, take it easy, just relax by a DH who has different ideas on parenting than I do. Many have said “TOUGH LOVE” is the answer….throw him out, let him fend for himself, find his own way --- ((I’m talking in reference to the son, not the DH here!)) and yet, my hands are tied.

I have a 21 yr old son who has dropped out of a GED program 3 times, can’t seem to find a job, ((Oh, I’ve heard it so many times how no one is hiring, yet no one is out LOOKING?!)) and seems happy to stay home and play video games and watch TV in his room all day.

And I’m feeling piney through this holiday, with memories of the kids growing up, with so much potential, and feeling like no matter how much you give a child, train a child, teach a child, love a child, anguish over a child --- does it really influence who they turn out to be? To have a child so unhappy, so unmotivated, so unfulfilled --- is more heart breaking to watch than anything I have experienced in my life. I feel hopeless.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Four Patch Fever!

Sometimes the simplest things are the best. Simple shapes, simple designs, and MEGA repeat of pattern. I love a quilt where the design repeats and repeats and repeats and gives SO much to look at!

This little basket is just chock-full-o-four-patches just waiting for future projects. I just can’t stop making them as leaders & enders even when I don’t know where they will be used.

Oh the possibilities!

And these are the kinds of quilts that just warm my heart when I find them.

Yes, this is day three of Antique Mall Roadshow! I told you there was way too much to appreciate to do it in one post!

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Isn’t this just a sweet country quilt!? And the colors are still very springy. The 4 ptaches were about 6” in size I think, and it was just adorale with the plaids and prints in it. It had some really bad spots, so it would be just a “fold and display” piece, and I have SO MANY of these at home that I’ve pretty much relinquished myself to just bringing home PICTURES to drool over. Maybe they will inspire someone to turn to their scraps and rereate their own version. I just love the simplicity of 4 patches!

And THIS one had to be my favorite of ALL:

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16 patches! I was nearly giddy yesterday when I saw Lynn’s post at Klein Meisje Quilts because she just finished piecing her OWN 16 patch top! I left her a message to come see this one today, and I hope she does! Unfortunately, THIS one was priced out of my range, and I would have loved it. But you know?? Who says I can’t make one!?

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Just look at these wonderful fabrics! The red and yellows really spark for me…it has fabrics through the 1950s in it.

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Lots of solid red, just like I love it! Yep, I took LOTS of pictures of this one just because it was such a happy quilt! You can click the pics to biggie-size them and get a closer view.

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In some places she even joined 4 blocks that had a common theme together! See the pink rose fabrics in the center of the pic? Whether this was intentional or not we will never know…but I like it! I do!

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I of course LOVE the ginghams in here. I have never met a gingham that was not happy. Even a black gingham is just crisp and cheerful and I love seeing them mixed with all the other dress prints and solids…Isn’t this a wonderful quilt?

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There is more 4 patch love going on here in this basket! All of this “stuff” was displayed on TOP of the quilt, and I didn’t bother to unpack the tub to get the quilt out, but this too, with its 30’s prints and solids was a definite eye-catcher for me!

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Here is another case of really having to keep an eye out for possibilities. Do you see what is hiding in this picture? It looked to be SILK!

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And it was just LOVELY when it was unfolded! All Square in a Square, playing off the positive/negative aspects. But---the silks were VERY shredded. And it made me sad that this was folded and stuffed into a pile with an old sailboat on top Sad smile

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These stripes created kind of an optical illusion…and I love the black/white/grey combo with little spots of color. It looks almost modern, doesn’t it? You can see some of the shredding going on…..

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This little Stringie caught my eye! It’s a rainbow! I love how the red corners make “butterflies” where the block quarters come together. These are probably more “hatchet” blocks than strings, they look fairly uniform. and the rainbow of sashings? I can see this on a child’s bed when it was made, just so HAPPY!

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I love quilts displayed on ladders and racks and furniture and…..Don’t you just get all excited at these treasures?

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Even the Double Wedding Ring seemed to be sporting it’s best Easter Colors! I love the purple in this one. I made ONE double wedding ring quilt in my early quilting years. I cut each piece by hand, tracing a template I had cut out of a butter tub lid. Jason was about 3 when I started it. I hand quilted and finished it a couple years later. How those rings laid flat I will never know! But I know this – I will NEVER make another one! It’s in the closet somewhere…..

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I loved the feel of this one..the weight of the batting, the density of the stitching, and the fact that it has been used and washed and loved and used and washed and loved.

Easter will be quiet here. Jason has to work, and Columbia is just far enough (3 hours) away that it makes it difficult to do the trip in one day ---drive up in the morning, stay a few hours, and drive back in the evening --- so it will be just DH, Jeff and I at home. And that is fine with me. I plan to sew, to reflect, to love those around me, to appreciate with gratitude, to slow down, to be.

I am missing the things we used to do when the kids were little. Color eggs, have hunts, fill baskets, hang decorations. But I remember them all, and maybe sometime in the future there will be a next generation to do these things with.

Okay, and before I get too weepie and sentimental. It’s time to go clean bathrooms! Flirt male

Happy Easter, Everyone! Bunny

Friday, April 22, 2011

Lazy Friday!

Well, it’s a Good Friday kind of Friday! Spring rains, kinda chilly --- a definite tuck-in day for sure!

I had one of those rough nights last night. You know the kind, where you toss and turn and try and try to fall asleep, but 2 hours later you are still NOT there? I did my least favorite last-resort-only kind of thing when I looked at the clock and it was 12:30am. I took some tylenol pm to help the ache in the hamstring that has been causing me problems ((Yes, you know it is bad when it hurts when you are just LAYING THERE!)) and hoped the pm part would take care of getting me over the edge and finally IN to sleep.

I slept until 8:40am! Which is REALLY late for me, and I spent an hour or so wandering around in a benedryl ((that’s what is really IN the tylenol pm in the first place)) induced hangover-coma.

A big Mug-o-tea and some Pillsbury-cinnamon-rolls-in-a-tube ala Jeff put me well on the road to recovery, and I was on my way into Winston Salem by 10:30am for my 11:00am appointment with Steve, my massage therapist, for 90 minutes of hurt-me-please-bliss!

Main objective was to work out the knot in that right hamstring, but let’s face it, I’m really one big ball of knots everywhere, and we worked them out all over! By the time my hour and a half was DONE…I was such a noodle I had to sit in the car and collect myself until I thought it was safe to drive!

From there I made the big mistake of going to Sam’s club. Yes. I know. It’s Good Friday! Everyone and their mother-in-law are at Sam’s club buying EVERYTHING for their Easter dinners. It was a total complete zoo! But did I stop when I saw how full the parking lot was? NO!!?! I found a spot anyway….and WENT INSIDE!!!

Big. MISTAKE! But, I can justify myself with the fact that they were handing out free samples of EVERYTHING, and so basically I grazed a whole lunch worth of samples while wandering the store and standing in line waiting for check out. I’m now back home, and planning on having an easy rest of the day. Heck. Make that REST OF THE WEEKEND!

So how bout some of those other lovelies from the Antique Mall Roadshow?!

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This was so simple, and so fetching with the pink and yellow going on too! ((I especially love the wonky tan plaid one in the second row up from the bottom ~~)) I LOVE simple traditional blocks! The 4 patch cornerstones are an extra cute treatment, and I like that this had no borders..it just ended where it ended, the sashing didn’t even complete the outer edge.

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Of course, I love string quilts in all their varieties. Do you see how the last row in this one is offset from the others? I’m not sure how or why that is, but it is recklessly fun! This one was pieced on to muslin, and it also uses a wool blanket as the backing. It was heavy and warm!

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Love these sweet 30s fabrics mixed with the other plaids and stripes and such.

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This is a corner of the wool backing, and you can see how it was quilted with fans, the backing is brought to the front to bind.

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This one had simple Star blocks, but they were BIG and splashy! And that aqua color for the sashing is very fun.

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This was one of my favorites! It had 9 blocks..but there wasn’t room to open the whole thing up. Isn’t the solid red and blue just VIBRANT!? I really like this one….

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And another little stringy with double sashings. VERY fun quilt! Also no borders…click the pics to biggie-size them, the fabrics are wonderful!

It’s nearing 3pm and this day is moving on whether I want it to slow down or not. I better get this posted and do some much needed “house” stuff around here! And then maybe some hand stitching while watching movies tonight? What do you think? A Friday night at home with no where to go? Sounds good to me!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Antique ((Mall)) Roadshow!!

Do you watch Antique Roadshow? I’ll catch it now and again, and sometimes I am quite amused by the things that people think are worth a lot, but turn out to really be junk!Flirt male

Mostly because I know that the “value” we put on things ourselves has more to do with our attachment to the object, and the memories it has, than what the actual “monitary value” can give.

If one persons trash is another persons treasure, then I will surely be found in the midst of that trash!

Of course we are always looking for the elusive museum quality quilt that someone has a $10 price tag on at a yard sale, or that $25 featherweight machine – ((I’ve not found one yet, but I know some who have, the lucky quilters!)) but more often I find OTHER things to inspire me. Like this cross stitch at the top of this page. What a life statement that is for me! I tend to pick up the cross stitcheries at places like Good Will where they surely aren’t valued as much as they were in this antique mall. I love the quotes and sayings and they can be found all over my house.

One of the other things I like to do is find the WEIRDEST thing on display! I was wandering through this mall while talking to DH on the phone and I had to say “Hold ON! I gotta take a pic of this..I’ll call you back..I’ll phone-mail it to you..you aren’t going to believe this!!”

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The first thing I noticed was the sale sign….and THEN…what the heck? What ARE those things in this tall glass vase? Are those???? No way! It couldn’t be….is it? IT IS!!!


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Yes, my friends, this item gets the “Weird award” of the day! Just how LONG have those cheetos been in that glass vase? I have no idea….will this get bugs over time? I don’t want to think about it! I was laughing so hard I didn’t even stop to find out what the “SALE” price was on this item. Disappointed smile

Something else I saw quite a bit of….remember these folded star things in hoops?

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I think “back in the 80s” I made one of these…and the thing used SO MUCH fabric that I never ever made another one! They were impossible to dust too, and when I started finding them at yard sales a few years later, I’d buy them on the cheap and take them apart and USE the fabric for real quilts! Each of those squares is folded something like 4 times, so there is a LOT of fabric in this one thing.

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Here’s another one with the ever present “country lace ruffle” and it’s been poofed out to give it a 3-D effect…MORE FABRIC! No, these didn’t come home with me, just a blast from the past and a “remember when!” It’s kind of funny to see these labeled as “vintage quilt hanging” though! ((Yes, I suppose it has been 30 years?!))

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Here is another little “Craft” from the 80s…my mother in law used to make beaded Christmas ornaments…but these are “crystal” candlesticks made with clear beads and safety pins! Why did we ever think this was a good idea? Could you ever get the wax out if it dripped? I remember whole sculptures made with beads and pins! I’d rather be quilting!

SO…about the treasures? Of course, the machines always tug at my heart:

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This little table model was a different one than I have ever seen….It still had the shuttle bobbin, but it was electric, in a little “industrial” type table. I liked the brand name –Greyhound!

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And the little Wilcox & Gibbs was just too cute for words. It’s a chain stitch machine, and I’ve got a singer one similar to it here at home.

There are so many quilts I wanted to share with you, but there is commentary on each one! So..I think I’ll just post a few here now, and save the rest for another post Smile

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This little sweetie is an “old” top, newly quilted….or newerly quilted anyway! It had a thick-ish poly batting in it, but they did do a lovely job on the fan quilting, and the prints in it are really sweet! I started one of these star quilts a long time ago, and I ought to pull it out! The little triangles have so much motion going on, and I guess I am in a springy frame of mind because the pink and yellow just brought the sunshine in!

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Can you find the quilt in this picture? You gotta look close! This is what I saw as I passed this booth ---sometimes things are not displayed to “advantage” and you have to HUNT for things that are worth finding ((Yes, that is another life lesson too, isn’t it?!))

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This is what I unearthed! Look at that lovely “Swallows” star in the center! This had the “whisker guard” applied over both the top and bottom of the quilt—And it has so much FUN STUFF going on. We do things so differently today! For instance, we’d probably put those two broken stars in two opposite corners, one top right, one bottom left----are you with me here? We are so about “creating” randomness today, that we plan it out to the nnnth degree! I like how she built up the other bocks with sashings to be the same size as the broken star blocks..and it IS an interesting block in itself, isn’t it:

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I like those “elongaged” flying geese blocks that make the star wonky Smile And do you notice that the units are rotated? Two are up and down, and two are side ways! OOps!

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I loved this bench with the yo-yo coverlet and pillow….wouldn’t this look sweet in an entry way?

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Quilts from simple squares are ALWAYS a favorite, just for the funky fabrics they have in them…true scrap baggers! This one had fabrics into the 50s and early 60s…It’s four 9-patches combined into a 36 patch block, and set in a zig zag setting. FUN!! Whose shirts, dresses, skirts, aprons, pajamas were these? Whose memories are tied up in this lovely humble quilt? We’ll never know!

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Look at THIS riot of color!! And then look closer!

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It’s double-knit! And it probably weighs 30 lbs! Rolling on the floor laughing

Someone did an awesome job on this….many many many hours. This will never disintegrate, fade, or ravel! I wish I knew more about this maker!

And there is more…..lots more! And I’ll save that for another post! As for today, I’ve been heavy at the machine working on the cruise project-- It’s like working backwards for me. I need to “kit” these up. Yes. Kits. Yes. That means everyone will have the same thing. Yes. I know…I don’t sew from kits, I don’t DO kits, and kits don’t DO ME! But we are persevering and I think this will work out great!

So far, we are combining 3 unrelated charm packs to get the “scrap” look I want. NO MATCHY MATCHY!! LOTS OF VARIETY! Lots of stretching and growing for my Cruisers who think they can’t put a modern print next to a civil war! LOL!

Right now it’s a secret project…starting with a “finite” amount of fabric, finding out how far it will go and what I can do with it, all while keeping it at the $35 per Cruiser that I am allotted. Can ANYONE make a quilt from a kit for $35.00 anymore? Not if it is bigger than a baby quilt! So we are a bit limited there, and I need it to be a project that takes THREE DAYS…so there are lots of things in this equation that I am bumbling with.

The cost, the amount of fabric in limited variety, the time it takes to sew it, and the size. Anyone want this job?! I’m just feeling a little bit stressed about it, but I’m making headway!