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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A view from the "NOW"

Just a little post by phone while on an evening walk before daylight runs out! It's been a lovely January Florida day!

There will be quiet sewing time tonight and tomorrow we do it all over again!

PS --- Not to rub it in or anything, but it was 80 degrees today ;c)

Home Away From Home!

This is a very disjoined post because I have had a very disjoined day! And I’m writing this to post tomorrow which might even make it seem more disjointed, but when you remember that I have been UP since 3am and it is now 11:15pm as I am writing this..well heck. This is the way things are!

I’M IN FLORIDA!! And it was a freakingly-wonderful 73 degrees today! WHHHAAAHOOOO!

Why am I so happy about this? Because it was a really stupidly foggy 36 degrees when I left Greensboro, NC on my 5:25 am flight that took me up --- for a 17 minute flight, and down again to land in Charlotte, NC where I had to hang around for nearly 4 hours before catching my connecting flight to Florida ---- flights were delayed due to FOG. In North Carolina. Many flights were cancelled, so at least I was able to get to where I was going!

The really DUMB thing? Guess what I forgot?! ((And yes, I guess it is understandable being as we left that house at 3:30am to get me TO the airport –Here, let me best capture it THIS way for you…..My text conversation with Miss Lisa!

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I may have just as EASILY left my shoes….at least I would have had my thimble to keep my fingers busy – and I would have had less to remove and run through the security check-- :c/

OH!! The security check! I forgot! Get this --- I go up to the TSA guy and hand him my boarding pass and my license…..he runs his flashlight over it, looks back up at me, looks back down at my license---and breaks out into strains of HAPPY BIRTHDAY right there in the terminal. COOL! Yeah, I was embarrassed, but everyone was smiling ---beats getting a pat-down, doesn’t it? :cD

I met Betty at the baggage claim and told her of my thimble-less plight. We shop-hopped to a couple of places to find me one, and then stopped by here for lunch:

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Troyer’s Dutch Heritage --- Amish Restaurant! I had to really laugh at the inside of the menu, and I don’t know if you can read it because my pic turned out blurry, but here---catch a glimpse of the “LIGHTER APPETITE” side:

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LIGHTER APPETITE – Amish Favorites:

Creamed Chicken with vegetables and mashed potatoes and biscuits.

LIGHTER SIDE?!!?!! HELLO!????

NOODLES over MASHED POTATOES.

LIGHTER SIDE?!??!??!

What a hoot! And of course you can add the salad bar to any of the above meals for $3.49 but who would have ROOM for salad after all that starch and gravy?

I think they were more talking about the color value of the food being on the lighter side ----than say a spinach salad, which would be on the darker side….you know….mashed potatoes and noodles neutral to dark green?

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This is my digs for the next 3 nights! I’ve got a sweet and cozy 2 bedroom mobile home in a lovely quiet park all to myself!

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I brought my machine with me..and some units to work on as time allows. What more could a girl ask for her birthday than a solo retreat in between other things with other quilters?

Speaking of other quilters….

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Meet 5 crazy gals from the Wilds of Winnipeg, Manitoba area! Oh, and I’m going to blame my tiredness on the reason I can’t remember names right now! The gal to my right lives down here, the gal to my left and the 3 behind all came down from Canada to escape the cold and take a couple workshops with me! AND --- they treated me to my birthday dinner! I was gifted beaucoups of stuff Canadian style --- including a piece of Canadian flag fabric and a great hockey hat! I know the pic is dark and grainy, the flash was off, and our waiter was helping us out with the photos. We had a roaring good time and it’s going to be a fun couple of days down here!

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The birthday key lime pie! YUMMY!!

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And let me tell ya, if you are going to take a pic of me blowing out the candle, I am going to take a pic of you too! LOL!! Love the key lime blouse that matched the key lime booth behind her ;c)

And this is as far as this disjoined but happy post can go….and I’m setting it to auto-post in the morning because I have to be picked up at 8:15 for the workshop, and I’m dragging myself off to bed…

Happy Tuesday, Everyone!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Fifty is Indeed Nifty!!

Especially when I have such nifty Quilter-Friends!

The other night when DH and I were headed out to dinner, I opened the front door to leave the house, and walked right IN to this HUGE BOX left on my doorstep via UPS!

HOLY COW! How did the driver not give himself a hernia just lifting this thing!

I had been given the heads up because, well, you know you can’t blog about ANYTHING and expect it to stay secret! Read Bingo Bonnie’s Nap Time News post HERE!

Uuuuuhhhh…so I’m guessing this box weighed close to 40 lbs. And I decided to wait until Sunday because that is the day that Jeff and I were celebrating!

So the box sat in my dining room waiting til Sunday, and when we returned from the movies Saturday afternoon, we stopped at the mailbox --- and it was CRAMMED FULL of all this other mail, and I knew something was up!

I forced myself to wait until Sunday morning to open up all the goodies. And I cried. And I squealed. And I read each card and each note and ran my fingers over each block and piece of fabric, and soap and chocolate ---and cried some more.

You guys are really too great. You really are. I’m so happy to have you in my life from wherever your corner of the globe is.

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And yes, I started at the top of the pile, leaving the big box for last….and there is no way to get this all in here…so here are glimpses. If you sent something, you might see it! I’m thanking you all from the bottom of my heart for making this birthday such a memorable special one for me! ((The dots are where I blocked out addresses—though mine is out there due to my website, I didn’t think you’d want yours to be!))

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Birthday blocks! Special “50” ones! And fabric, and chocolates, a starbucks gift card and soap and lovely cards….How do I capture this all?

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I have the distinct feeling that there will be another orphan block quilt to commemorate my 50th year this year! In fact, Lori was just emailing me about doing a 50th birthday quilt, all of us that are turning 50 this year and I said I didn’t have TIME ---uhhhh..well, now I have the push and the plan!!

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Love these blocks! There are cheddar bow ties, several stars in all their variations, and a cute birthday chickie!

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There are spare parts commemorating Orca Bay, and several cute Tea Mugs! An appliqued heart --- on top of….OH NO!!

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Just when you think you’ve seen EVERY Millenium fabric that could have possibily been printed in 1999 --- Here’s another! What a fun way to turn 50 --- I think I’ll have to throw all these in here too!

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Trying to get a bit of EVERYTHING in the photos…I love the “50” block! I think that’s gotta go front and center, don’t you? THANK YOU!

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And that big box?!? Thank you so much, Bingo Bonnie! DH looked at me like…WHAT?!? Why do you need MORE shirt parts? Well – these are different than the ones I have! Does that make sense to anyone else? I’ll have fun using these. I want to re-do my Sister’s Choice quilt using all shirt prints ((And maybe cheddar or Poison Green)) And call it Brother’s Choice because I have all boys! This just might get me started!

My heartfelt thanks to each and everyone one of you --- you know who you are! Awesome doesn’t begin to describe you!

And with this post – I’m off to Florida for my visit with the Venice Quilter’s guild! It’s a fun week with a Happy Scrappy Houses workshop, and a My Blue Heaven workshop --- we’ll be up to our elbows in scraps and living it up in the Florida Sunshine!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Lazy Sunday Afternoon Edition: Free Kindle Book!

I spent time opening a bounty of mail-box gifts this morning! It's going to take a bit to play with photos and get that all ready to post, so be expecting that in the morning!

The “body bags” are packed with quilts for me to take to Florida tomorrow…

It goes like this…I stuff in what I think I need, we grab the hand held scale, I lift the bag, and DH says “TOO HEAVY, TAKE SOMETHING OUT!” ((Wait a minute, why am *I* doing the lifting, and he is doing the critiquing?!)) There is one quilt that just would not fit, so I’m going to take the bigger suitcase for my clothes and put it in there. There must be a way to get it there!

A bit of advance reminder: The first Saturday of February for Yard Sale Saturday is February 4th! Be thinking of what you want to clear out quilty-wise so we can do a linky and hopefully move it for you! More on that to come in the next week or so ---

The first Monday in February is 2 days later – Feb 6th. This is the day we are doing the FINAL link-up for Orca Bay Progress. You can show your progress in any stage ----and we’ll leave that open for a week so you can show how far you’ve come on it!

Onto the Freebie ---just found this one:

Finders Keepers is free today in the Amazon Kindle Store.

It’s received 4.5 of 5 stars based on 10 customer reviews.

Genre: Drama/Romance

From Library Journal

Antiques dealer Elizabeth Hayes hopes to expand her shop by purchasing and refurbishing the Chalmers House next door. Zachary Chalmers, an architect who recently inherited the house, wants to tear it down and build an office.

The resulting feud drags the town into a battle of historic value vs. personal property. The only one who doesn't care is Nikolai Hayes, Elizabeth's adopted Romanian son.

He's interested in persuading Zachary to be his father and in listening to Boompah's stories of the "nachos" who tyrannized Europe during World War II. Nikolai's endearing attempts to master English provide levity in a romance that tackles deeper issues than land rights. For Palmer fans. Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Hey, it’s got my love of antiques in it….and I love children’s butchered English especially when English is a second language. Worth a shot. Check to make sure it is still free before clicking, who knows how long these last. Sometimes not long at all. I wonder if they only let so many copies go as “free” and once there has been that many clicks --- the freebie is over?

The pictures in this morning’s post were just NOT great – so I took some time to go outside and take some better photos of my birthday quilt find in natural light:

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Doesn’t this look much better than those taken in the yellow-light of the kitchen? I just love this quilt!

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Bottom left corner….love those half blocks and how the sashing stripes are not even or straight!

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Bottom right corner….FUN FUNKY STARS!! and yet, most of her centers matched and points are intact? What a quilter!

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And there is that fun “mostly red” block I fell in love with!

Enjoy your Sunday Afternoon!

Happy Birthday to Me!

There are good GOOD things about taking a partner-in-quilt-crime antiquing, and there are BAD things!

JUSTIFICATION TIMES TWO! ((Is this the GOOD thing or the BAD thing? You decide!))

As Lisa and I were laughing and talking and browsing, I turned a corner and spotted THIS along one wall. And my heart stopped….and dropped into my stomach.

Oh! Oh! Oh!

This is “MY” kind of quilt….scrappy stringy crumby with no rhyme or reason! And look…the sashings don’t go all the way around the outer blocks…see? We saw a large amount of this style just wandering around!

Can we get a closer look?

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Oh wow…it has odd borders! Even better! See those pieced border stripes? and a PINK side border? I love quilts that have odd borders..I could hardly wait to get it out and unfold it!

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There is a LISA behind the quilt! And!! The piece de résistance for me --- a row of HALF BLOCKS at the bottom!! BE. STILL. MY. HEART!

It didn’t take much for us putting our heads together and deciding that YES it was my birthday and YES this NEEDS to come home with me! Shopping by myself I may have waffled on my decision and decided to think about it more and maybe come home another day --- but with Lisa buoying me up, I bought the quilt!

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I took this pic on my kitchen floor ----the light in the kitchen always yellows things --- but don’t you love the quilting on this? 3 close rows, and a wider space, 3 close rows and a wider space, 3 close rows and a wider space…..LOVE IT!!

The quilting knots are on TOP of the quilt --- love that too!

And even though it is fairly primitive ---- most of the points of the stars are sharp and intact.

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I loved this very low contrast block! It looks more like a spiderweb than a star! We get so fussy fussy and try to distribute our colors evenly and have everything “matchy” but look at this!

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Can you see the knots on top of the quilt in the right hand sashing?! And can you see that two of these star points could have been made from larger left-over 4 patches? I love that 3 of the star points are whole fabric, not pieced….what a wonderful scrappy mess!

The whole quilt, sashings and all is hand pieced. Who was this woman? She obviously had a sense of freedom with her piecing, but yet had enough skill that star points were not all chopped off and corners “mostly” matched. She’s my kind of piecer! She didn’t have to purposely push it all the way to the REALLY wonky side for someone to think she wasn’t just a bad sew-er!

I also love just a bit of carefree whimsy with my piecing….I don’t pin EVERY LITTLE SEAM, and if some end up a needle’s width off, I’m mostly okay with that..just let it be.

While perusing another booth, I glimpsed a familiar shape peeking out from amongst dishes and kitchenware --

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Does this look familiar to any of you?

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It’s a puzzle box….that holds vintage machine attachments! I have one of these…and decided right then and there that it needs a companion! This one has pieces that my other one was missing…

But what the HECK is this?

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Wouldn’t it be great of ladies from that era could give us Youtube videos on what they did with all this stuff? LOL!

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This is something we could use today…a quilting guide!

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And THIS! My favorite seam guide! Always glad to have a spare of these to use on my featherweights or other vintage machines. I love these better than any foot with a guide attached ---

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The date on this box? Patented February 19, 1889.

Tonight we are planning a family birthday dinner. My birthday is tomorrow, Jeff’s is the 25th ((Wednesday)) and I’m leaving for Florida in the wee small hours tomorrow morning ((How does a 5:25am flight sound to you?! ACKK!)) so we’ve got plans to celebrate tonight. Ever since Jeff was born 2 days after my 28th birthday we’ve been celebrating together and I cherish those days. Often it meant not having a cake on MY birthday, but sharing one on his ---who needs TWO cakes?

Wishing you a restful pieceful Sunday!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Rainy Saturday Afternoon Edition–Free Kindle Book!

When I first started posting these, I thought, as an avid reader, that some out there might like the same things that I am reading.

I figure, if we like the same kinds of scrappy quilty things, we might like the same kind of food things ((Hence recipes every once in a while when I decide to cook!)) and book things! I’m always up for passing on a freebie.

So many have asked how I find these…there really is no secret. Just go to the search engine on amazon.com and type in “free kindle book” in the search box. That’s all there is to it.

There are all kinds of genres ----self help, cooking, how to manage your retirement funds, way too much pushy religious stuff if you ask me.

Things I don't have an interest in are horror, fantasy, or sci-fi --- but you can find them if you look.

I generally stick to mysteries, humor, and some romance, but not explicit stuff. I like life stories and dramas that span decades, stuff I can sink my teeth into. I like LONG books that take me deep into the characters thoughts and lives and might take me a long time to finish. I like true stories of amazing times and even more amazing people. These are the things I post.

The thing is, the books are out there, but you have to search through all the riff-raff to find something good. And I hope my postings here make it easy for you to find something good.

DH and I are out the door to go see a movie! It’s rainy, it’s dreary and we love escaping to a Saturday Matinee when I have a Saturday at home, so that’s our plan.

Since you aren’t coming with us..I thought you might find THIS funny! It was still free when I clicked it just a bit ago.

Never Buried by Edie Claire is free today in the Kindle store.

Book Description:

"A funny, fast-paced, clever, and unusual mystery that will have readers clamoring for more. Sheer delight." --Carolyn Hart

"A thoroughly delightful debut. Bright, breezy, and witty. I couldn't put it down."—Tamar Myers

The truth about what happened in 1949 went to Paul Fischer's grave... Too bad his body didn't!

Advertising copywriter Leigh Koslow doesn't pack heat--just a few extra pounds. And she doesn't go looking for trouble. When she moved into her cousin Cara's refurbished Victorian house, she wasn't planning on discovering a corpse--certainly not one that had been embalmed ten years before. But as anyone in the small Pittsburgh borough of Avalon could tell her, her cousin's house has a history attached. A history dating back to two mysterious deaths in the summer of 1949.

Someone wants Leigh and Cara out of the house--someone who has something to hide. But that someone doesn't know Leigh's impetuous cousin, and when Cara digs her heels in, Leigh looks to her old college chum, local policewoman Maura Polanski, for help. But the answers the trio find only point to more questions. Were the scandalous deaths of fifty years ago really an accident and a suicide? Or were they murder?

The nearer the women get to the truth, the more desperate someone becomes. Because some secrets are better off kept. Especially when they hit close to home!

Originally published in mass market paperback by NAL/Penguin, Putnam, Inc. in 1999. Large-Print Edition published by Thorndike, 2002.

About the Author

Novelist and playwright Edie Claire has published five mysteries in the Leigh Koslow series and two Romantic Times "Top Pick" mystery/romances. When not writing novels or scripts for church theatre, she can be found acquiring new pets, teaching childbirth classes, herding her three children, acting on stage, volunteering, avoiding housework, or sneaking caramels. Please visit her website at www.edieclaire.com!

Girlfriend Time! ((Antique Mall Adventures!))

Have you ever had a stack of errands to run ---and found yourself meeting up with a girlfriend who ALSO had a stack of errands to run, and decided to run them together? That’s just what happened yesterday!

Lisa and I had planned to meet up for lunch in the midst of my errand running --- bank, post office, etc ----but knowing how my time was NOT going the way I had planned, my errands were as yet un-done when it was time to meet up for our favorite stirfry place. Text on my phone said “I’m in Office Depot if you get here early!” My reply? I’M JUST LEAVING THE HOUSE! --- yeah, my morning was one of those!

I’ve picked up another “traveler’s cold” --- started feeling it a couple days before I left California, and since the first tickle have been taking airborne, and dosing myself with cold-eze lozenges ---I swear, as soon as I get on any kind of long trip at all WHAMMO!

So that’s why I was late – I haven’t been sleeping well, my head feels like it’s going to explode and I was late out the door! I made it to the restaurant on time, but that left all the running around to do.

As we visited over lunch, we plotted and planned about how we could fit this all in together if we went in one car instead of two ----because running around with a friend even to do mundane things like a post office drop-off is more fun than doing it by yourself!

((Yep, those are our FORTUNES from our cookies above! Fun!))

And don’t you know there is an antique mall around the corner from the restaurant? And Lisa had never been there? Oh boy ---let’s just say that SOME of the errands got pushed off until later so that we could have time to wander!

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There was a quilt sighting the moment we walked into the lobby! These 1940’s string quilts are plentiful in this area. I think there were more of these made during that era than any other pattern known. This one was fun because the blocks don’t turn symmetrically! One thing we often see in this area as far as antique quilts go…the sashings don’t go around the outside edge of the quilt…the binding just finishes the edge!

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Here’s another one..a fun string star--- look at those giant sashings and red cornerstones, they almost over-power the blocks! Heavy thick cotton batting, made to be WARM more than to be made beautiful---the sashings don’t surround the edges of the quilt, even though there are borders!

I love how the diagonal quilting in each sashing turns whichever way it wants to with no rhyme or reason either -- look closely! Could you be that free-wheeling with marking your diagonals?

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Close up of one block. I love how this whole quilt, with all its colors was quilted with black thread!

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A Crazy Quilt was draped over a chair ----the fabrics in it were really interesting! I wonder which articles of clothing these patches came from? There was everything from plaids to florals to chambray and even some corduroy. The pieces were topstitched with feather-stitch embroidery, and the quilt was tied.

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Lisa and I both ooh’d and ahhhh’d at this Orange Peel. I don’t think I’d ever attempt this pattern. And if I ever did, There is no way I can make a quilt that has only 2 fabrics in it! The quilting was really nicely done by a very experienced quilter with tiny even stitches!

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A very puffy 1930’s string star! I don’t think this one has ever been washed…the fabrics are as good as new in it --- especially that bubble gum pink!

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Just for scale --- here’s Lisa’s hand showing how BIG these diamonds are! I Love how the print fabrics float against the pink……Solid fabrics are just GREAT for giving your eyes a place to rest, but still holding the intensity of color that a white or a muslin wouldn’t have. Whoever said to never mix solids with prints because the solids would read as flat was just PLAIN WRONG! I love it!

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How about a sweet child’s quilt? Scrappy squares of 30s stitched in rows and separated by muslin sashings. Wouldn’t this be a simply easy Leader/Ender quilt?! I might have to do something like this with my overflowing box of 2.5” squares!

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This one was hand quilted in fans with blue thread. Look at those cheery squares of red gingham ---gingham ALWAYS looks happy to me! Love it!

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We caught this lovely hanging over a cupboard door. And the funny thing is, I think I blogged about this one before in an earlier post --- so the quilt is STILL here! It’s an old top that has been more recently quilted. ((I use that term recently loosely, it’s got a poly batting, the muslin on the back looks new so it hasn’t been washed since it was quilted, but it could have been quilted 30 years ago –who knows?)) The blocks themselves are mid to late 1800’s…

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Here’s Miss Lisa peeking out! You can see this is another one of “those” where the sashing doesn’t go around the outside edge of the quilt. Why do we think it always HAS TO to be right?

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Do you see what *I* see?! Look at that bit of blue indigo and muslin peeking out on the 2nd shelf! We both gasped and held our breath simultaneously!

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It’s definitely a cutter --- it’s so worn it is falling apart. But that means it has something that unused unwashed quilts do not have --- MEMORIES! This quilt was special to someone who slept under it for many many years.

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Close up of the blocks ----it’s 6 point stars set with alternate tumbling blocks of muslin….Hmmmmmm….could this be the NEXT english paper piecing project?! Or maybe…a chance to try the ink-lingo I’ve been wanting to try? It’s all one size of 60-degree diamonds. Can you see my mind turning here? The only thing I think I would kill myself over is piecing all that plain muslin…it’s gotta go scrappy, just a bit, if I’m going to do it!

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Sometimes we come across beautiful workmanship, with colors that make us shudder! This one one such quilt. I think this block is known as “strawberry” and it was done well, but the colors…egad! LOL!

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Some quilts are made quickly, layered heavily with cotton batting and tied by many hands to be warm. I loved the red sashing and the cheddar cornerstones around these giant double 9 patch blocks!

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Here’s another! I should have named this post “No sashing on the outside!” These blocks were really fun, all from simple half square triangles! Look at that cheddar/black one on the bottom. POW! In your face! Fan quilting, black thread ---and a giant floral that felt more like a curtain fabric for the backing, turned to the front as binding.

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More sweet string blocks, this one used a common blue fabric as the center fabric down each block diagonal. VERY SWEET!! These are the ones I love the best.

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The one we HOWLED at?! A double wedding ring. From double knits. With a brushed tricot lining that was about falling apart. I remember my mom making a quilt with a tricot backing and how it itched and caught on rough knees and feet and hands as I was growing up! Some things should never be used in a quilt --- tricot is one of those things! This one did have a lot of work put into it. Bless the lady who had time to work with double knit AND piece a double wedding ring by hand with it! The red back ground --- she gets my RIGHT ON!! for that ---but---this quilt did NOT come home with me!

What DID come home with me? Will have to wait til the next post! I need to take some better photos and this post is out of room! ((Don’t you love suspense?!))

And if you’ve made it this far….I’m feeling panicky! Look at the email I got from my friend Aby:

Dear Bonnie,

Now if there's anything you wanted to do, any mountain you wanted to climb, any quilt you wanted to make before you turn 50, this is the weekend to do it!

Sending you all my best for a wonderful birthday. And, take it from me, 50 is not so bad! We have a lot to share (in the quilting world), and now is the time to share it!

Oh Geeeeze! The pressure’s on! Does this mean I have a good reason to sew all weekend? After all – it’s raining and yucky out there, it’s warm in the basement, I’m nursing a head cold --- and I have 2 days to finish ALL I wanted to do before I turn 50!!