Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Time-Out for a Free Kindle Book!

I’ve been sewing like a mad woman….even madder than normal! These stars have taken over the plans I had for my day, but they are so fun, easy and cute that I just can’t stop! Right now there are 11 of them all laying on top of the long arm machine rollers….shining like little star-pointed soldiers. Five more to go – I think I’ll stop at 16!

I just took a break and found a little goodie that sounded intriguing so I’m passing it on.

The Last Call, by George Wier is free today in the Kindle store.
Bill Travis, an unmarried, unattached investment counselor rapidly approaching his fortieth birthday, conceives that he may not live the most exciting of lives, yet Julie Simmons, his first appointment that Monday, is deeply in trouble.
She has taken a North Texas quarter horse racer and liquor baron named Archie Carpin--the last of a dynasty of criminals from the 1920's--for a ride and cleaned him out of a neat two million bucks. And thus begins the adventure of Bill’s life.
Ensues a chase north across Texas to recover the money and shake the pursuit of a couple of rednecks with a penchant for rifles and rigged explosives. Yet, through all this action the compelling tale of yet another mystery—an 80-year old missing person’s case—begins to unravel.
Sounds like a good action/mystery/whodunnit/intrigue, yeah?

Check to make sure it’s still free when ordering because they can change without any notice ---I just post them when I find something that I want to read myself!

I think my sewing afternoon is about to come to a halt. I went up to the kitchen to get a bowl of cereal for a snack a bit after 3pm, and lo and behold --- the MILK was gone! Don’t you hate that when you’ve already poured the cereal into the bowl? :c/

***Note to Self: Please file this under “Things to expect when a 21 yr old moves back home!” ***

We’ve got some packages to drop off at Fed-Ex. We’ll have to go get groceries – AGAIN! And since we are out and about, I think DH has in mind that we’ll just stop some where instead of waiting to come home to fix something.

But more blocks will be waiting tomorrow --- CUTE!! CUTE!! CUTE!!

What a Novelty!

For years as I’ve been working on keeping up with my Scrap User’s System, I’d divide fabrics to be cut into strips by size –and that was fairly straignt forward.

But occasionally I’d be gifted things like leftover novelty prints. Just HOW do you slice those down? Because EVERYTHING loses its head or arms or legs or becomes undetectable if you start cutting it into narrow strips!

Sometimes this is a good thing! HA!

But other times---the fabrics would be better shown off if I left them in bigger chunks.

When I was in Columbia SC, working as the Charity Quilt Chairperson—The CQC if you will—We did some kid’s quilts with 4.5” squares, and I found that size to be pretty user friendly as far as novelty prints go. I never have done much with charm squares or 5” Nickles ---they always had to be cut down to something else, or at least most of the time. But 4.5”? Sounds like a nice good round number to me.

So I have a STACK of these squares! And I’ve been hemming and hawwing over what to do for this baby quilt for my new nephew who is supposed to arrive mid to late January, right around my birthday.

I need to scale back a bit. Not EVERYTHING needs extreme piecing and eensy-teensy blocks, right? Even though that is what I LOVE to do --- I gotta be realistic and realize that if I WANT this baby quilt to be used…it needs to be fairly simple. I don’t want to give something “too good to use”. I want it bright, I want it eye catching to hold the baby’s attention --- and I want it fun for ME to sew. Sound like a good plan?

I also have a big ziplock baggie of 2.5” tone on tone textures and prints. I was going to do SOMETHING with them at some point, but you know I can’t remember what? But I think they will play just perfect with these blocks!

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I got busy sewing! And having my Cheddar Bow-Tie parts right there as leader/enders meant that THIS basket was filling up too:

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Hehehe! Do you SEE that green one on the top?! It’s that lovely 1970’s style calico ----VINTAGE is IN, right?! :c) This quilt is going to come with EVERYTHING in it ---that’s for sure!

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One block! What a cutie! Nope, not rocket science or a new design at all --- just a simple Evening Star --- and I like it! No idea how I’ll set them yet, but that will come ---

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And before I knew it, I had TWO! I’m just picking a novelty square, and then digging into that bag to find 3 different colors of strips that will go with the center square. I like projects with as few rules as possible!

I’m thinking I need 16 to 20 of these blocks. But it depends on the setting ----

And of course everything ELSE on the “to do” list just got pushed to the back burner for a bit! I’m going to have to kick myself into gear and not let this top take over my whole life and lead me away from what I SHOULD be doing!

And with that --- I better head off to the gym!

Be sure to check back on yesterday’s post for our Mystery Monday Link-Up! We’ve hit 90! Whoot!!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Blog Gremlins?

I was sure there HAD to be a glitch going on with the Blogger Archives this morning when I tested some things out…and this was AFTER I got this message from a reader:

Hi Bonnie,

I was on your blog this morning and saw a previous blog you had on April 30, 2011 about a trip you took to the Lancaster area.

My sister, a friend and I are going to the Lancaster Quilt show in March and I am in charge of making sure we see everything we need to see. I have made notes from your April 30 blog and wanted to see the next day or so blogs to see what else you did on your trip.

However, I when I click on the May blogs, it only lets me see the last couple of days. What am I doing wrong that I can't go back and see all of Mays blog entries.

I can't wait to go to Obies, Zooks and Sauder Fabrics. Oh what fun.
Any help you can give me to get me to see your blogs would be appreciated. Thanks. Linda

Well, I have to admit that my first thought was that she wasn’t clicking “OLDER ENTRIES” at the bottom of the page that would allow her to go back further.

So I went over to the blog myself, went to the month of May just as she had --- and lo and behold…just the last few days of the month showed up, and there WAS no “OLDER ENTRIES” link at the bottom!

Is anyone else experiencing this? It’s quite perplexing!

And the only way I could figure out how to fix it and make things more accessible to everyone scanning archives was to go into my dashboard set up, into the Settings tab, and under Archiving—choose the option for “Weekly” archives instead of "Monthly".

The only thing I’m not crazy about is that it now takes up SO MUCH SPACE in my side bar --- and I went to click a bunch of down arrows to shorten my own personal view of the list…..but it’s better than not having the posts accessible at all?!

Thanks Linda for letting me know you weren’t getting access to where you wanted to go. I hope you have a wonderful trip to PA! I love that whole area!

My day is kind of getting away from me. After this morning’s post ((Did you check all the links yet? Did you?!?)) I headed out to the gym. I put in about 25 minutes on the elliptical trainer until it was time for yoga to start…..that yoga instructor can totally kick my butt into oblivion. I know I needed it, but the rest of my day has been zombie mode!

I soaked in the hottub, I took a shower..I ate --- and then I undid all the workout and yoga effort I put in ---- I ATE the last piece of pumpkin pie, and finished it off with the last of the cool whip too! :c/ *SIGH*

Of course, this was all in an effort of fridge cleaning, so I could get the empty pan and container out of there, right? :cD

Tonight my bee is meeting at Mi Pueblo for our November bee meeting. I’ll probably be bad there too---but I know I’ll be in good company!

And with that, I think I feel a nap coming on….

Enjoy your afternoon!

Mystery Monday Link-Up! Part 2!

Have you been busy bees, even with the holiday hoopla gaining force in our lives?

Someone made a comment on our Quiltvillechat email list that even though November and December ARE extremely busy months, that taking this small bit of time out for herself to keep up with the mystery steps each week added a feeling of peace to her other wise busy chaotic Holiday season.

I mean, think about it --- if you don’t take time to fill yourself up, you’ll be running on empty! And the only one who can recharge you is YOU! Even if you are only able to get half the number of units made during the week that the pattern requires – it was time you took for yourself. And doubtless while you were cutting and sewing, your mind was busy thinking through all the other things you had to do in your busy life, putting those things in order, figuring out ways to get them done in the most streamlined way possible.

I know if I sit and ponder things out a while, an outline and a plan forms in my mind --- and then when I put myself in action I’m not going 100 different ways all at once, I’m better prepared mentally to tackle what needs to be done. And because I took some time for myself, I feel recharged, less stressed and happier with what else needs to be accomplished in the upcoming busy week.

See those lovely string blocks at the top of this post?! Those belong to Blog-less Becky! She is using lime greens where I used blues for my Step 2! Aren't these little string units FUN!?

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Yesterday I took a trip up to Forest, VA – about a 2.5 hour drive from my house – for a fun sew day with a group of great quilters! We met at Quilt & Sew Studio – a great shop with lovely bright fabrics! Lots of batiks and Kaffe fabrics for us to drool over. Shown here is the trio of fun! Becky on the left, Kevin in the middle, and Susie on the right! '

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Susie is busy working on her Glacier Star while Becky came dressed to match her project---her lime green string blocks for step 2 of the Orca Bay Mystery! Her shirt is a Kevin Womack Original – he does wonderful dying!

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Kevin also teaches classes at Quilt & Sew Studio and travels a bit doing lectures and trunk shows. Here he is working on a lecture sample showing a color theory equation.

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We had a bit of impromptu show and tell! This is Susie’s Scrappy Bargello, all in Kaffe Fasset fabrics. She says it’s only a Queen..but come on…doesn’t it look BIGGER than that?! I love that I am not the only one who makes giant quilts as if it is a normal every day thing. :cD Great quilt Susie!

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This is Kevin’s String Spider Web in progress! This is a great quilt to save all those small Kaffe fabrics that he can’t bear to toss out either! The orange centers are gorgeous…..I think they said it was a print called “line dancing”?? But I could be wrong.

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We ordered in pizza for lunch! YUMMY!! And I’ve come to the conclusion, that no matter the fact that I love pizza, and I’ll eat it from ANYWHERE at ANY TIME ---I have to say that I like Pizza Hut’s Pan Pizza crust the BEST over any other. Hands down. This was a win win! Which is why I’m dragging my overloaded carcass off to the gym this morning! HA!

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What did *I* work on?! A border for a quilt! And these pics come with a disclaimer! These are NOT --- I repeat --- NOT for the mystery! Yes, they are red strings, but they are going for something else.

I was piecing a string border for a project, and needed 3.5” sections of border. Do I really want to piece small eensy teensy strips for a border? Hope! How about we cover a WHOLE phone book page…and then sub-cut THAT into 3.5” sections? It’s slick this way. I can get 3 3.5” sections across that page with nearly nothing left over…

And if you look closely, you'll see that I even joined short strings end to end to make lengths long enough to cover the page -- so even small stuff was getting used up!

So how much border got done yesterday?

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Hopefully ENOUGH to get the job done! I figured I needed about 350”, and I think I’ve got just about that here..if not more! What a fun day with terrific friends that I don’t get to see often! 2.5 hours drive is just far enough to make it not easy to get together as often as I’d like to.

Did YOU work on your Unit 2 string blocks? This is the post where you can link your own blog post and share with us what you’ve gotten up to this week! Those of you still plugging on unit 1? No problem --- these Mystery Monday Link Up post are for ANY progress on ANY Mystery step!

Feel free to link your blog post below! Remember that we need the url of the specific POST, not the address for your whole blog. To get the correct address in the linky –right click on the title/subject line of your post you wrote about your first quilt. Chose “copy link address” and paste this url in the form when you link.

For instance, my blog address is http://quiltville.blogspot.com but that isn't enough. I can't link to the WHOLE blog, I need the address of the post. The address of THIS post is http://quiltville.blogspot.com/2011/11/mystery-monday-link-up-part-2.html See the difference?

If you link to your whole blog, I’ll have to remove your link and have you try again because I can’t fix it FOR you.

We'll leave this open for a week to give you time to write your posts! I LOVED seeing what links came in last week! If you missed those, you can find them linked in the Orca Bay Mystery tab at the top of the blog ---just look at the bottom of that page below the step links for the Mystery Monday Link up Links --

There are also a lot of GREAT links still coming in for your first quilts HERE! Please note that you can not link to your facebook page in these links, even if you wrote a note about your first quilt there. It doesn't work. It's got to be a blog page :c)

Have a terrific Monday, everyone!



Sunday, November 27, 2011

Show & Tell Sunday!

Today I am on my way up to Lynchburg, VA for a sew-day with some quilty friends! I’m really looking forward to this…we are going to sew on our projects like maniacs, laugh a lot, talk a lot ---order pizza for lunch ((delivered! YAY!)) and sew all the way til dinner time!

We’ve planned a dinner out --- and after dinner I’ll head back home.

Last night DH and I were out late, at a dinner party with our friends from Kenya and Uganda --- Yes, I got to love on baby Michelle quite a bit, but it’s sad to say she doesn’t remember me! After all it’s been about 3 months since I’ve seen her– my how time flies and how much she’s grown!

I’ve been sewing like crazy on projects I can’t show you yet…..and that left me with nothing to blog about this morning.

I was actually thinking of posting “Gone Quiltin’-- will post later!” But there are some lovely emails with pictures attached in my inbox and I knew it wouldn’t take me long to do a bit of sharing with you.

This is a pic of me and Dorothea! I met Dorothea when I taught in the Stuttgart area of Germany last February!

She writes:

Here are pictures of my finished Cathedral Stars quilt. You know I was such a beginner in February when you taught the class in Schönaich. I only started to quilt in July last year. Your tutorials are great and easy to follow.

Well, I kept at it and I was actually finished with the top in July. I had taken up correspondence with your friend Aby and she agreed to do the quilting for me. Finally in September she could fit in my quilt and did a wonderful splash pantograph with blue variegated thread in an amazingly short time, she is wonder woman.

I wrestled with myself for the longest time before deciding to go all the way and make it king size. It was so big I could not lay it flat in any room anymore. When the quilt came back from Aby it seemed smaller and very manageable and like a real quilt. I still cannot believe I did it. Just think you sewed a small seam on this yourself and your blue tape still marks my 1/4" and perfectly guides my fabric.

Dorothea, this quilt turned out SO lovely! I’m so glad you sent the pics to share with us! Great job!

Our next quilt up has a very special story --

Deborah Boutwell writes:

Bonnie,

I had to shoot you an email after I saw your Sunday Show and Tell post.
I just finished quilting a very special sampler quilt all in purples.

Some background first, my mother and grandmother were both great
quilters, all by hand. As my grandmother's health, declined she could
only piece quilts, but tried to spend 30 minutes every day doing that.
(she was 97). My daughter (a fashion major with arts background, 23
years old) and I also quilt.

My mom was diagnosed with pancreatic
cancer last year.

I quickly realized that I would soon be losing a
huge part of my family and my heart...but also a huge part of my
quilting heritage. Traditional techniques learned at the knees of my
great-grandmothers was quickly becoming a thing of the past.

I told Mom and Grannie that I was going to start giving quilting classes, to teach those techniques they had learned and passed down to me. It was a good way to spend our last few months together, talking about what to teach and what patterns each of them loved.

My mother passed away in January and in March I started my first
class. My grandmother passed away in March, after I got to share with her the success of my first few classes.

Since then, as I have become more and more aware of the disease that took my mother's life, pancreatic cancer, I decided that all the
blocks that I was making for the quilt classes as samples would be
done in purple (the color for pancreatic cancer). My plan was to do a
quilt of all the techniques I taught and all the patterns and give the
finished quilt to the American Cancer Society.

I finished quilting the quilt this week, in time for it to go on
display during the month of November (pancreatic cancer awareness
month) at a local Hallmark store. I do still have the binding to put
on this week, but I think I'm on track to have it done.

It has truly been a labor of love. It's the first large project that
I have machine quilted, using my mom's machine. We had gone to
classes together to learn to machine quilt and she was going to show
me how to use her machine. She never got the chance, so this was a
learn as you go project and I'm not ashamed many stitches got ripped
out and lots of tears were cried. But I was honored to do it.


My mom is buried on our family farm. This beautiful fall morning, I
decided to walk out to the graveyard and took a picture of the quilt
over the iron fence. I've attached a couple of pictures. As I said,
the binding is not on yet, but I wanted you to see the results,
because hopefully it will not be in my possession in a few days.
Thank you for taking the time for sharing all the quilts. I love your
website. It always inspires me.

Deborah Boutwell

Deborah, this story is SO touching, and such a tribute to your mother and your grandmother! Thank you so much for sharing it. You did such a beautiful job!

Shannon writes:

hi bonnie *wave*

just a quick email to share the picture of my latest finish.

my husband gave me a couple packs of BaliPops for Christmas a couple years ago and i used your Weed Whacker directions to make the quilt.

Shannond

thanks for all you do! i love reading along with you on your blog!
happy kwilting, be pieceful!

Shannon "DoodleBug"

Great Job, Shannon! And Great Job to your hubby too, for gifting you those bali pops! What a guy! The colors in this quilt just shine! FUN! Thanks for sharing the pic of your lovely quilt with me!

Our next Show & Teller is Jan!

I had emailed you on suggestions for all the plaid fabric that I was given back at the first of the summer. (3 cases). You suggested I start with Smokey Mountain Stars. Attached are pics of front and back. I decided to "pay it forward" and am donating this to the new Veterans Home being built in Tyler, TX.

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A lot of the pieces I donated to people at the Tippicanoe Quilt guild in Lafayette, IN for making womens shelter quilts. Still have plenty and making Rectangle Wrangle. (From Scraps & Shirttails II) This stuff multiplies.

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Thanks for all your great patterns and lessons. Looking forward to the next mystery.

Jan Copas

Thanks for sharing this Jan! I love this quilt, it’s one of my favorites – one that really got me sewing with the recycled fabrics and loving it. I love what you did with the back too! FUN! And such a worthy cause….bless you for your giving heart!

How about one more?

Susie writes:

Hi Bonnie -

Attached is a photo of two quilts I made using your Sister's Choice pattern. Okay, the quilts aren't truly scrap quilts, but I did use lots of reds, whites & blues from my stash, with a few pieces actually purchased.

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I love the technique you used in the pattern for making the 9-Patches. Brilliant!

These two quits are going to the American Heroes Quilts Project.

....Susan....

Thanks again ladies, for sending me pictures of your gorgeous quilts and allowing me to share them here! I’m always touched by the stories BEHIND the quilts, and how generous quilters can be with donating these wonderful quilts to such worthy causes, or to create them to honor someone so dearly loved!

If you’ve enjoyed seeing these quilts, be sure to click back to YESTERDAY’S POST --- we’ve been having a Link Up of our FIRST QUILTS and their stories! If you have a blog and wish to write a post about your first quilt and link to us…please do! If you’ve written a first quilt post and it is archived somewhere back in your blog you are welcome to link that post too! The more that share, the merrier! Click HERE to view that post and add your own link!

Remember to come back on MONDAY for our Mystery Monday Link Up….and add a link to your progress on the Orca Bay Mystery --- especially those Part 2 units you are hopefully having a ton of fun with!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

First Quilts!

The first recognizable traditional patch-working I ever did was an Ohio Star block we made in home ec, my senior year of high school --- but I’d been sewing since about the 6th or 7th grade.

I LOVED to sew. My mom would take me shopping for remnants, looking at the little bundle wrapped with a paper label, telling us how much yardage the rolled up piece contained. Even today I get excited by remnant bins and their possibilities.

Mom always had a basket of scraps left from clothing construction, and I graduated from using these for doll clothes, to deciding to make “decorator” patchwork pillows as found in a magazine that we had laying around….It had to be about 7th grade, because my friend Julie, aka Jules, was with me, in my room, cutting out squares with scissors. Of course, NO template…just cut a square, they will fit together somehow!

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This Thanksgiving, my friend Jules, whom I’ve reconnected with via facebook ((Oh the wonders of the internet!)) went back home to spend time with her family – they still live in the same house in San Jose, California ---Almaden Valley --- that was around the corner from my childhood home!

Imagine my surprise when she plastered my facebook wall with pictures her parents had taken of us when we were inseparable in our early teenage years! These are photos of photos, so not the greatest quality, but there we are.

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This has to be about 1975 as far as I can gather. Dang, I’m old! LOL!

Why am I bringing up this story? Because my first experience at trying to make a pillow from rough cut squares, my attempt at following a pattern in a magazine left a mark on me!

It also left a mark on Jules, which she said she still has to this day, more than 35 years later --- She sat on the scissors, put a gash on her thigh, and had to have stitches! She’s got the scar to prove it! So when we reconnected, and I said I was a Quilter, she said it didn’t surprise her one bit.

The summer after 7th grade I went to girl’s camp ---and our camp counselors taught us embroidery on squares of denim. The squares were embroidered with flowers, with rainbows, with other symbols popular in that era! I remember owls and – mine--- a grouping of mushrooms, with red tops and white spots on them. Doesn’t that sound 70’s to you? When the blocks were completed, they were joined and we all took our turns tying this beautiful ((!!)) quilt with bright red acrylic yarn. I remember the backing was red flannel, and the binding was the backing turned over the edge and machine stitched to the front ---

All the girls who submitted a block put their names in the basket, and a winner was drawn ---guess who won the quilt? Me! I had that quilt for years and years and years until it finally wore out. It was the BACKING that gave up, but really, it was in shreds, and I don’t remember specifically when we let it go to wherever quilts go when they really NEED to….go ---I wish I had a picture of that quilt.

After highschool, but before marriage, I made a denim quilt “TOP” out of random cut up pieces of denim, crazy patch style. That thing weighed a TON and I can’t tell you how many needles I bent or broke in the process. I used a record album cover as a template --- to trace on top of my funky denim blocks and cut them out with scissors to square them up and join together. I have no idea whatever happened to that top either ----

When I headed off to College, thinking of dorm room living, I marched down to JC Pennys and bought two twin sized flat sheets in a print I liked. White with blue flowers. ((Of course they were a blend too! Percale! Lovely!!)) and my mom and I spent a weekend removing the hems, tacking them in the 2X4 frame we made for tying quilts up in the attic room of her house in Kuna, Idaho --We layered those sheets with a double layer of poly batting in the middle and tied it with WHITE acrylic yarn. I'd bought a twin sheet set to match too, and I was off to college life in style! That comforter was really NOT a quilt, but it had quilt elements. It finally hit the trash heap when we lived in Columbia, SC about 7 years ago or so. It was so soft and cozy, it was the one the boys wanted when they were sick and couch-bound. No quilt I have ever made since has replaced their sentimentality over that raggy tied sheet thing. I don't GET it!

This is a pic of my first “REAL” 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 with scissors. 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 and 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 instead of binding. 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!

DH and I were married in August of 1981, and Jason was born to us in November of 1983. When he was about 9 months old I went to work part time at the “Art & Craft Supply” store in Ontario, Oregon. They had some fabric, and I made shop samples of all kinds of things from dolls to stuffed animals and even a bit of quilting. When a neighbor lady heard that I loved to sew --- she donated me a WHOLE BOX of scraps from her dress making business. This was when the “prairie skirts” were really big, and most everything was 100% cotton. Gunny Sax dresses were also very popular ---remember? That box was SUCH a gift to me. I knew I wanted to make a quilt out of it, but what to do and how to start? The pieces were really odd shaped,and I needed something that would work with them.

Remember, this is before rotary cutters, rulers and mats. They were coming shortly, just over the horizon, but this is about 1984 ---I had a baby, a part time job to help out, and a husband in college who also was working a full time job driving forklift at a place that made trailer house molding to support us. I had to make do with what I had --- and my $99 kenmore machine was my best friend!

I used a yard stick to mark lines on the back of the fabric, using the width of the yardstick as my guide. I cut on my lines with scissors. I started a log cabin quilt using all the scraps in that box. I knew from pictures that Log Cabin quilts traditionally had red centers, and I liked that idea---but I didn’t KNOW that some of my fabric wasn’t 100% cotton. I sewed with what I had! My red centers are a poly/cotton broadcloth.

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This is that quilt today……well worn, very much used. I backed the top with drapery lining I got at my job at a discount. It’s more of a sateen weave than a cotton weave, almost slinky. I didn’t know any better. Polyester batting was the thing of the day. There’s not much of it left inside this quilt!

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I hand quilted down the center of each log ----I didn’t know anything about squaring blocks up before joining, and I KNOW some of these logs are wider than others, but I didn’t care. I put all the neutrals on one side of the block, and all the colors on the other side. You know what? I still pretty much follow this formula, don’t I?!

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Do you recognize some of these prints? No one told me that the border should have as much quilting as the quilt center…and I didn’t know what else to do, so I quilted one line down the center just to hold everything. Wide binding! And I hadn’t figured out mitered corners yet either….but this was the first “bed size” quilt that was completed and used. It went on Jason’s first “big boy” bed ----

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At this time, I thought that I’d number all my quilts and embroider my initials and the date for posterity to see --- that went by the wayside long ago! But I’m so happy that I did do it here. Quilt #3, Mary has Quilt #1 ---Quilt #2 is long gone with the using. 1986. I was 24 years old with a small 2 year old, a hubby in college struggling to make ends meet --- and filling my quiet time by putting the pieces together.

You know what else I just remembered? I entered this quilt in the County Fair. And it won 1st place….another lovely polyester batting was the prize! LOL! Would I enter this quilt NOW? HECK NO!! I’d be laughed right out of competition, but I love the place it’s played in my history ---

Do YOU have a first quilt or quilts and a story to go with it? Feel free to link your blog post below! Remember that we need the url of the specific POST, not the address for your whole blog. To get the correct address in the linky –right click on the subject line of your post you wrote about your first quilt. Chose “copy link address” and paste this url in the form when you link.

For instance, my blog address is http://quiltville.blogspot.com but that isn't enough. I can't link to the WHOLE blog, I need the address of the post. The address of THIS post is http://quiltville.blogspot.com/2011/11/first-quilts.html See the difference?

If you link to your whole blog, I’ll have to remove your link and have you try again because I can’t fix it FOR you.

We'll leave this open for a week to give you time to write your posts!



Friday, November 25, 2011

Afternoon Edition! Free Kindle Book ---


And the fun continues! I love long holiday weekends….still cleaning out closets here! The pile of stuff to be dropped off at the goodwill donation center is growing, and it feels so good to CLEAN IT OUT!

Do you go through this same kind of re-adjustment when the Holidays start to settle in? I’ll go for months without having anything bother me, then all at once..BAM! I can’t leave it alone and have to ream out everything! DH and Jeff are keeping a wide berth!

DH’s latest obsession is his tennis ball machine. It should be named “Who needs a partner?!” But he charges up the battery on that thing, and goes to the tennis court to hit balls. I’m going in a bit to go walk the walking track WHILE he is hitting balls, because watching a man hitting balls shooting out of a machine is only a spectator sport for a limited amount of time!

The weather here has been just LOVELY the past few days ---today’s high is 68 with sunshine. Yes, there are reasons why I love living south, and this is one of them!

Oh yes, and the reason for this afternoon interlude ---

Liberation of Alice Love by Abby McDonald has received an average user rating of 4 out of 5 stars based on 15 customer reviews.

Category: Contemporary Fiction

Book Description:

Mousy London lawyer Alice Love gets her identity stolen and finds her true self in this rocky tale of trust, personality makeovers, and a lying globe-trotting thief.

“She didn’t leave me any worse off, in the end,” Alice says of Ella, a work pal who makes off with Alice’s credit card info to set up a new life in Hollywood. But before the ruse is over, Alice retaliates by morphing into a compulsive stalker, taking on Ella’s identity, and discovering that a lot of little lies add up to a whole lot of fun.

The transformation nearly costs her the love of a good man, but Alice comes (nearly) to her senses by the time she corners her arch-frenemy. McDonald (The Popularity Rules) keeps the pace brisk, but a plot busy with an international chase and Alice’s many reinventions proves on occasion too much to handle, and Ella, paradoxically, proves a more intriguing character than Alice.

What works best is what lies beneath all the frantic action: a good old-fashioned romantic page-turner.

I’m still fighting the holiday thing. My favorite radio station just went Christmas 24/7. UGH! It’s just too much to handle! Boy am I ever glad I found that ipod!

As for the book --- check before clicking that it is STILL free – these things are offered for a limited time only, and I have no clue how long it will be offered. What is free now might not be later!

Enjoy!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Out of the Closet!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you in the USA! Happy Thursday to the rest of you, unless you live in Australia or some such place where it is a completely different day for you as I post this, but I’m sure you are used to the recalculating of dates by now!

I’ve spent the morning reaming out a closet in the guest room.

Last night about 9pm we got the call from Jeff that things to his room mate had come to a head and he just had to get out of there and couldn’t take it anymore. I thought it should wait til morning, but no. DH thought that we should just hook up the trailer to the pickup, drive 3 hours down there, load him up, turn right around and drive 3 hours back, get it done, stop worrying about it and get it over with.

And we did. We got home about 3am this morning…and I slept til 8 or so, but it’s a complete zombie day today, so I am so glad that I am NOT cooking!

So back to the closet.

The past 5 months since Jeff has been gone, I’ve been using his room as the trunk show storage unit. And it was working rather well. I had quilts stacked in categories ((refolded differently every time I’d restack them for those of you concerned—)) and covered with sheets to keep the dust away. And the cat off….if she happened to find the door open, which we tried our best to keep shut tight at all times.

With Jeff coming back home --- my quilts were going to have to go somewhere else! And that “BEFORE” the move “somewhere else” meant there was a stack here, a stack there, some over here, some in the other closet, anywhere I could find a space. I was not going back to this! And believe me, when you have to keep your class samples and book quilts at least until you retire ---this many quilts can take up an awful lot of SPACE!

Fast forward to the guest room closet. It’s a walk-in closet and it really has a lot of space in there, but I had WAY too many clothes taking up all that space. All those denim jumpers and school teacher jumpers from my jumper fetish years? Still in there. Just how many denim jumpers does one girl need? It’s not like they are in fashion anymore…it needed to go. I could whittle it down to being manageable and donate everything else. I’ve got HUGE piles of dresses and skirts and jumpers and jackets and sweaters all ready to be donated. Of course, I know this is going to expand to other closets too, because who wants to make more than one trip? :c/

You will never guess what I found in that closet!

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My long lost Ipod!! Oh I have mourned the loss of this guy..it holds EVERYTHING --- it’s got 160 gig of memory and they don’t even MAKE these anymore.

As I was clearing out purses and bags putting them in the donation pile, I found it in the bottom of a travel bag I remember using when I went to Idaho for Mother’s Day in May of 2009! It’s been in that closet the whole time. And here I was worried I’d left it on a plane, or it had been stolen out of my car, or….worse…buried in fabric somewhere in a box of scraps in the OTHER closet. ((We are not talking about that closet, I’ll deal with it later!))

I am SO happy to have this thing back!

And I’m still cleaning up the mess from taking everything OUT of the closet, though the quilts are all in their new home in stacks by category, back to being covered by sheets, and I need to remember to close that closet door or Emmy Lou will find many new comfy spots to leave her fur.

While cleaning out the closet, I came across 3 or 4 tubs that held antique tops, block parts, vintage quilts, etc. What am I doing with all this stuff?

I’m thinking of having “Yard Sale Saturday” here on the blog for the next little while. I’ll post a pic of a vintage item I want to sell with the price…the first person to contact me gets it, as is. ((I’ll photograph and disclose everything well)) Just like ebay, this will be a “no return” kind of item. I don’t want it back, and I only want to ship stuff once! The actual shipping cost will be added to the bill. All transactions via paypal.

Sound good? If you don’t like paypal, or can’t work with it, then I’m sorry ---these items might not be for you then!

I also found some of my early, early quilts. Oh boy. Some of these are pretty embarrassing! But I think they might be good to share them with you too. What do you think? If I did a post on first quilts with a linky thing, would you join in and post yours? Not sure when I’m thinking of that, but it would be a fun way to let our first attempts ALSO out of the closet…and you can marvel in how far you’ve come, baby! And you won’t feel alone if you are ashamed that your first border waved like a ruffle, or that your binding was as lumpy as a summer string bean left on the vine way too long ----let me know your thoughts!

And with that, I’m back to cleaning the closet….be looking for the first item or items to be posted on Saturday!

We are headed out to our Thanksgiving dinner, the THREE of us --- in a few hours. On this day, I’m grateful to be THREE instead of TWO --- and wish the FOURTH one, left back in Columbia, SC were here to round out the family.

Pumpkin pie is a food group! Remember that!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Turkey Day Eve ----

And I was stupid enough to venture out into the the “dreaded” shopping area of Winston Salem’s Hanes Mall Boulevard.

I know every biggish city in America has this same spread of stores…..It’s near the MALL ((other wise known as the M.A.U.L. in my book, and we don’t go there!!)) and as soon as you exit the freeway you can see Chilis, Applebees, Best Buy, Sam’s Club, Costco is across the street---Home Depot --- Lowes is Across the street—There is every retail chain from Target to Kohls to EVERYTHING on this one stretch of road, probably in the same layout as every other city in America. Welcome to Chain Store USA.

When people go traveling to other cities and go “SHOPPING” I always wonder why they bother? It’s the same dang stuff they can find at home, and now they have to CARRY IT!

But I digress…I have been waiting for this massage appointment for over a week. My hamstrings are all locked up and I just can’t STRETCH them out any better…it feels like there are tennis balls in the middle of my muscles. SO. I went for my massage, thinking I’d left the house early enough to get there….but when I hit the exit off the interstate, and start waiting at the red lights --- and traffic is a madhouse --- I discover that it takes me as long to get from the exit to the massage place, as it did for me to drive from Wallburg to Winston Salem in the first place. And then it dawned on me. PEOPLE ARE TRAVELING?! But it’s Wednesday! Oh…yeah…Thanksgiving is TOMORROW!

I better get a pie!! :cD

I’m not baking this year. I’m not cooking this year. We are putting it off because in a week or so we’ve got to go down and get Jeff and his stuff and move him back up here. We are not making two trips because both Jeff and Jason are working different hours and having Thanksgiving down there just isn’t going to work. Jeff especially, he is working on Thanksgiving. And we’ve no place to stay --- Jason can’t fit us in his 1 bedroom, and I don’t want to do a hotel on a holiday weekend anyway.

And my pet sitter is out of town for her own holiday --- so ----

We are going out! Do I care about not having leftovers? Not this year. This year is NO STRESS ALLOWED!

After my massage I did end up at Sam’s club which was a big mistake….they had just about every check stand open and the lines were half way through the store. I picked up my pumpkin pie, a bag of honey crisp apples ((My fave!)) a bag of clementines, and some bananas. It was all I needed.

And then I spotted these:

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Oh. My. Goodness. They just jumped straight into my cart, I swear! And the only way they could be ANY better was if they were dipped in chocolate!

Wait – has anyone tried that? Cuz if so, I’m in serious danger!

I hope if you are cooking you are enjoying yourself. If family is traveling to you, I hope they arrive safely and the reunion is extra sweet! If you are the one traveling --- I hope your DH is driving and you can do handwork! :c)

I’m going to sew! Gosh it feels good to be home to be able to do this….I’m up to the borders on a project I’ve been working on….and I need to start on a baby quilt for a nephew who will be making his debut around my birthday, toward the end of January!

And yes, there is still endless binding to be seen to, I’m hoping for some movie marathons this Holiday weekend, feet up in the recliner, all is good!

A Day in Labadee, Haiti!

It was unanimous!

There would be NO crazy bike excursions on our last port of call, Labadee, Haiti!

Of course this could be because no bike tours were offered ----

But really, this was our last port before starting our return journey home, we’d had 3 previous days in a row of pedal to the metal ((Literally!)) cycling tours. This was our day to VEG OUT!

Labadee is not a Haitian village --- it’s more like a private resort island owned by Royal Caribbean. Their description?

“On the north coast of Hispaniola, surrounded by beautiful mountain slopes and exotic foliage, sits Labadee®, Royal Caribbean's private paradise. This exclusive destination offers pristine beaches, breathtaking scenery and spectacular water activities…”

No town to go to, no skinny dogs to rip my heart out over, no locals fitting 6 people on a motorcycle ---- All we wanted to do was find a shady beach chair and NAP!

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PERFECT SPOT!! We quickly moved these chairs over under the shade of a tree, planning on spending a few hours just watching the waves. And the ZIP LINE!! Though you can’t see them, there are several wire lines just above the photo ----waiting to watch people do THIS:

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HOLY MOLY! We’d considered it, but it was about $80 for a 40 second ride…..No thanks! The beach chair would do me just fine!

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Can you see the “fly specks” on this photo? Those are people flying down the zip line! I was wishing we had our Olympics score cards --- “8.5 with good form!” One lady didn’t pay attention to the “rules” and sat up, killing her momentum, and they had to come drag her in….DEFINITELY needed a score card for that one! LOL!

We were served a BBQ lunch on shore ---burgers, ribs, chicken, salads, desserts ----I LOVED the fruit on this cruise. The pineapple especially was to die for.

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Ahhhhh! What a view! I read a little, napped a bit --- we only had until early afternoon to enjoy this day, as THIS was the day we had to make an early exit to avoid that storm coming off Bermuda.

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Don’t you think this photo should be our Christmas card this year? ULTIMATE relaxation has been reached!

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It’s amazing how the blue of the water fades into the blue of the distant mountains and into the blue of the sky.

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This was our view as we pulled up to the pier on arrival….that dock used to NOT be there, it’s a recent addition, and most welcome! MILES of concrete.

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On our way back to the ship, I just had to snap this beautiful picture. It was a GREAT cruise and I hope it isn’t my last by a long shot!

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I have to say that even though Labadee is not a “real” village --- it employs many local villagers from just a ways away, on the mainland. The people we talked to LOVE working on the island, there are cruise ships coming and going all the time. Steady employment is helping so many families.

Spending time in these struggling countries really has opened my eyes so much --- and at Thanksgiving time it is something to really think about. Some of us are worried about how to cook and serve our turkey. People in other countries don’t even have a turkey to put on the table and may be living off of bananas and coconuts and having to heat their stoves with coconut hulls.

One thing we did every day was hit the ship's dining room for breakfast, where they seat you with random strangers until the table is full. We like this because it gives us a chance to meet and get to know others.

The morning we docked at Labadee, which was the day AFTER the Dominican Republic – by far the most destitute living circumstances for many of the people – I sat next to a woman who must have been quite wealthy by the way she talked and looked. Her fingers were dripping with jewels as were her ears, and the diamond necklace around her neck was huge. ((This means nothing, I’m just setting the stage here –)) and her comments were so interesting.

“I wish the cruise lines wouldn’t take us to such dirty poor places. I get tired of being approached to buy this and buy that……I am so tired of saying NO!”

I thought of the woman I had met just the day before, taking her machete to coconuts for $1 each to earn her living for her family. I thought of the man who had the bikes in his little shack of a house, trying to make a living by providing a service to tourists. I thought of the vendor that I bought a necklace and earring set from ((It was all of $25.00!)) in order to put food on the table for his family.

We have so much. My heart was so full. And I couldn’t take it anymore, and I opened my mouth and said something to this stranger that I wouldn’t have if she was someone I would ever run into again! ((Isn’t it amazing what you will say when you know your paths won’t cross further?!?))

“If someone wanted a HOMOGENIZED vacation, why not go to Hawaii, or Key West, or any number of other places, instead of choosing to come to countries like this where you know people are struggling? “

I just felt that someone should KNOW, that things are not so up to the par WE have set as our accepted "normal" in these places. How could someone look so down on these people? She booked the cruise, she knew the itinerary. This was NOT Club Med ---and I was dumbfounded.

Our being there WAS helping these people. The tourism industry is an important part of helping these people get on their feet and providing many of them with means for a living……and it’s not hard to say no if you don’t want to buy something.

I never felt pushed, prodded or otherwise coerced into buying something that I didn’t want. I enjoyed the people. I’ll remember the faces and the smiles and the attempts at crossing language barriers. I’ll remember the little girl in the Dominican Republic who ran out to hand us flowers as we cycled by. These people are full of so much joy and so much LIFE, even with the little they have.

And I know it’s kind of a rant, but one that has stuck with me, and I’ve been home for way over a week now!

I don’t want a Homogenized Existence. I want to experience what LIFE is like in other places – the good, the bad, the heartbreak, the joy --- we are all in this world together, and there is so much we can learn from each other.

Thanksgiving in the states is tomorrow, yet I’ve been so grateful for EVERYTHING since we returned home. I’d like to keep this going year round. Things are just things. The most important things in life are NOT things --- it’s people.