Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Bindings and Friends..

I had the weirdest experience this morning. I woke up about 5:30am to the sound of BEEP from the power going off....and back on....and back off...and back on..and back off...I finally got up when it came back on again and dragged myself downstairs only to have it go back OFF again...right in the middle of my picking the meat out off of the bones of the turkey carcass I had cooked in the crock pot. PITCH BLACK. It was still dark outside...the whole neighborhood was dark....and I stood there in my kitchen in total darkness waiting for the power to flip back on..and of course it didn't!

I found my way to the drawer in the kitchen where the BBQ lighter is. It wasn't there! But I felt around for the spare, and found it still in it's package. I opened it by feel...clicked it on..and voila. A little flame of light. I made my way through the kitchen and family room lighting every candle and kerosene lamp in sight, and then recommenced picking the turkey meat off the bones, and bones out of the turkey meat by lamp light!

It was also very quiet in the house at this hour, and without TV or music, I was able to do a lot of thinking about my friend and her illness. (The power came on at some point during the morning) I went and spent a few hours with her this afternoon. It was very difficult. She didn't look like herself at all of course...I think she has lost 1/2 her body weight (which wasn't much) in the 10 days since I had seen her. I'm grateful for the time I got to spend with her today. She is in and out of sleep..(mostly in) thanks to morphine...but she did wake up enough to recognise me and I talked to her a bit....I am grateful for hospice care and that she is surrounded by her family and not feeling much pain.

I'll go spend more time with her tomorrow....I keep thinking of what an inspiration this gal is. She has been a real dynamo. She hasn't let her cancer slow her down one bit...Heck, several times I'd stop by to see HER, only to be told that she was out running this errand, doing this girl's on the run thing, or at soccer practice with her kids, or substituting school....you couldn't pin her down for anything! What an amazing lady.

I finished the binding on the 4 patch and furrows quilt. Here are some pics of the quilt hung on my fence outside, and my attempt to show you some close ups of the quilting...


Monday, December 25, 2006

Borders Done...

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!

Last night was so fun.....the two Christmas Eve services I sang for went great, and there was a beautiful meal prepared for the choir in between...ham, roast beef, all the trimmings, lots of desserts....and here I thought I was going to be able to cut back on food since we returned from the cruise! NOT! I got home about 1am and fell promptly to sleep. (without the visions of sugarplums dancing in my head...)

This morning was restful and leisurely. It is sure nice having older children who sleep in a bit. I remember those 5am Christmas mornings....I can't tell you if I miss them or not, maybe just a little, but sleeping in on a Christmas morning has it's good sides too.

My big pressie? a ROOMBA robotic vacuum! What a hoot! I think the boys are having more fun with it than I am...and I get clean floors in the process. It's a win-win situation!

We had a lovely turkey dinner as a family at home. The pumpkin pie is still waiting for tonight....but the turkey carcass is simmering in the crockpot for tomorrow's (and the next day, and the next...) turkey soup.

I was able to finish the snaggletooth border on the stashbusting stars quilt....and it says it is DONE to me! I think binding will finish this one off just fine, and because the snaggle teeth are all sizes, the points won't be cut off in the binding seam, and if some do...I don't care..it's part of the effect. I'm really happy with how this top turned out, and SO FAST! If I had known it would be so fast, I would have started it sooner? Mostly it was because I have had an abundance of blue quilts in my recent past and playing with another just stumped me.....I still have one more set of blue swap blocks that I won in a block lotto to work up into a quilt too. Can we say blue overload?

We went and saw "Night at the Museum" at the movies for Christmas Afternoon....it's been a tradition the past several years to go to the movies after Christmas dinner. It was a very fun family movie, hilarious in parts, and we really liked it. I recommend it for kids of all ages :c)

I got a bad email this afternoon....my friend Mary Kay has become very ill with her cancer. The email from her hubby said she is now under hospice care. They don't expect her to last long. This is very hard for me because I was just working with her on getting that tshirt quilt and pillow cases done for her daughter. I just saw her before leaving for our cruise, and in a week's time she has gone downhill so very fast. I'll call tomorrow and see if she is up to seeing me. This has to be so hard for her family right now. I just can't imagine it.


Sunday, December 24, 2006

Wonky Snaggletooth Border

I decided to frame the quilt with a wonky snaggletooth border ala' Gwen Marston! I have always wanted to do one of these, but thought it would be a lot of work....since I didn't have much work in putting the top together, I decided I could take the time to piece in the border....more and more it is coming together!

I'm going to have the snaggleteeth change direction in the center of each side...not sure what I'll put in the corners...it's a 4" border..so anything in there would have to be very small...if anything. Maybe just plain background squares for eye resting spaces.

And here in a bit I better get my act together and get myself ready for christmas eve!


Stashbusting Stars....

When I graduated from Massage Therapy School 13 months ago (has it been that long already?) The Stashbuster's group stuffed my mailbox with squishies! Stars of all shapes and sizes in blue/neutral.

These have sat for a year because I just didn't know how I was going to put them together....the sizes are 3", 6", 9" and 12"....and that can be a bit of a challenge!

This morning I pulled out the blocks and started playing with them on the floor...this is what I came up with!

There was one place where I needed ONE MORE 9" block..and I just didn't want to have to piece anything so I started digging through orphan blocks to see what would work. I found a blue chunky churn dash in a 9" size that fit the bill....it can be me odd-ball maverick block because I just did NOT want to cut and piece a 9" star *LOL*

Now I have to start sewing the sections together and into a top. It feels great to be able to have time with my machine. I don't do any machine quilting for anyone else until I get back from visiting Tonya on Jan 3rd, so this time is for me and my UFOs!


Double 4 Patch & Furrows Quilting

I took some pics of the quilting before I got it off the frame to bind, I thought I would upload it here for you to see!

I got this panto from Willow Leaf Studios and it is called WILD AT HEART...(Just love their stuff!)and it is JUST what I wanted. I'm not big on cute hearts, never have been...either that or I was seriously burned out on them...but this is the first heart panto that I really like....it goes good with the pink I think ;c)

I hope to finish the binding tomorrow...tonight will be too busy with singing for the 2 Christmas eve services.....


How Much Quilting on a Cruise?

When we left on the cruise I had two sides of the borders just about completed with the baptist fans. So while on the cruise, I was able to quilt the two remaining sides, and start on the inside of the quilt where I have quilted some of the sashings and 3 of the blocks of string piecing. It is slower going on the inside than it was on the outside, but I am really liking it!

My callouses are good and strong now, so I can't let them get soft again, right? I'll be bringing this quilt with me to Tonya's when I go see her on the 28th. I feel like such a traveling girl :c)

I have also started sewing down the binding on the double 4 patch and furrows quilt...I'll post a pic of it as soon as it is done. My mom does the neatest thing for us for christmas, she makes DVDs of all the great old movies, and sends them..I love them! Last night I watched "bringing up baby" and "adams rib" with Katharine Hepburn...I love those old movies, so funny! So I worked on the binding while watching those classics...

Tonight I am singing with the Cathedral Chorale for two Christmas Eve services. I am really looking forward to it. I really feel like I have found a community there and the music fills my heart and my soul. It's good to be home.

I am wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a terrific and quilty New Year...Happy Holidays if you celebrate in any other way and may 2007 be the best one yet...

Love to you!

More Cruise!

I have more pics I want to post. I still can't get over the color of the water in the carribean....it is luminescent! Like it is lit from below, you know?

The swimming with the stingrays and the mayan ruins in Tulum were my highlights. To get to the sting rays on Grand Caymen, we bussed out to the other side of the island, and then boarded a fishing type boat where we went out to sea about 1/2 hour...very CHOPPY water, it was so windy! And there in the middle of the ocean is a reef where it is only 4 feet deep. The water is about 80 degrees, and crystal clear. And it is FULL of stingrays that are so friendly. You can pet them, and if you stand still they will sweep up your legs as they swim by. We had snorkels and masks and could swim with them...it was just AMAZING.

Feliz Navidad!

Merry Christmas!

We returned yesterday from our cruise to the western carribean, and wow...what a time it was! uploading pics in order is always a challenge, so I hope you will bear with me..the title on the pic itself should give a clue as to what/where it was!

It was a great time, but we learned something...sailing cheaply out of Charleston meant that the cruise was full of fat drunken uncultured rednecks.....it was a riot watching the people...OMG..you wouldn't have believed it! Now before someone gets on me for not being politically correct...I'm sorry, but I don't know how else you would describe this lot. Uncouth in the dining room, tatoos and piercings blaring, loud obnoxious dirty language abounding..it was interesting, let me tell you. It was like the love boat meets hee-haw. And add in a good dose of harley davidson!

Never the less, the Grand Caymans were beautiful...we went on a sailing excursion there and got to swim with the sting rays..awesome. we also snorkled on a coral reef, all kinds of fish...beautiful.

The water is so AQUA clear...

Then we went to Cozumel, and to Playa del Carmen, Mexico.....we travelled out to some Mayan Ruins in Tulum....amazing. I always wanted to see the mayan ruins. It was incredible, the view from the sea, the aqua water, the white sandy beaches, and these ruins...

Key west wasn't such a big deal, but we'd been there before. we were only there for the evening so about all you could do is get off the ship, find somewhere to eat....when you didn't feel like eatting because all you've done on the ship for 6 days is EAT.. ;c)

There was plenty of time out at sea, and I was able to work on my quilting project a bit each day. I got quite a bit done on hand quilting the amish string quilt I'm working on....

It was a great time!


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Pillow Cases

Yesterday I delivered the Tshirt quilt to my friend Mary Kay.....the one we made for her daughter for Christmas. Mary Kay has been struggling with cancer the past few years, and I'm afraid she will lose this fight, she is going through some severe difficulties right now with her abdomen filling with fluid that has to be drained off every couple of days. She looks/feels 5 months pregnant (on her skinny little frame) and the pressure on her organs, etc is painful.

When I delivered the quilt yesterday, she had 4 extra shirts and asked if I could make some pillow cases to go with the quilt....I went online to find a pattern, at least with basic dimensions, and found the body of the pillow case needed to be about 26" by width of fabric (44").....how to get these tshirt panels to work with these funky dimensions? I ended up making pillow fronts 22X26 and then plain backs.

I think they turned out okay, I'd like to see them filled with pillows and put on the bed with the quilt to get a good idea of how they really look. The blue fabric is the flannel we used to back the quilt with...it is very soft and cuddly!

I had JUST enough of the border fabric from the quilt left to do the cuffs for the pillow cases. I needed 10" per pillow case, and I had like 2" left over...wheeeeww! The green accent stripe is left over binding/sashing from the quilt. Just enough of that left too. Some things you just luck out on, you know?


Monday, December 11, 2006

The Borders Win!

One consideration I had with this quilt was the SIZE...it was only 72X78...so not really long enough for a bed, even if all quilts don't need to be bed sized, I kind of wanted this one to be.

I took one of the comments, looking for a green that was a bit darker than the setting triangle green, but still had that same feel, and I found this one....it's a civil war repro. It does the job I think.

The inner border was a 1/2 yrd piece of a burgundy resist type repro in a funny shade of brownish burgundy, and it went really well with the colors in the center of the quilt but gave a break between the pink/green in the setting triangles in the center, and the final green border..I didn't want the inner border to be lost because it blended too much with either the green or the pink, and a neutral was TOO light...

Oh! the 4 patches in the corners of the outer border were leftovers from a project a couple years ago too..so it was fun to pull those 4 orphans out of the box and use them in the corners of the border...they look at home in this quilt!

So here we have it. I'm pleased. I want to machine quilt this quick, bind it and use it!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

To Border or Not To Border??

Okay guys... See the quilt below! I've got 1/2 of my stash out trying to find border fabrics for this quilt. It's just not working for me..NOTHING is working for me!

I don't have enough of the green setting print to do anything more than bind the quilt. I have lots of the pink. But the pink is too light for an outer border, and there is too MUCH pink if I border it with pink.

I've tried alternate fabrics from green to brown to burgundy, NOTHING looks right.

Is this one of those old timey quilts that just doesn't need a border? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!


Four-patch & Furrows

I found myself yesterday afternoon pulling out a pile of double 4 patch blocks that had been sitting and aging for quite a long while! I just never had a clue how I really wanted to set them, and so they sat.

These double 4 patch blocks were all pieced with strips from the 2" scrap strip bin, lights and darks.

I finally decided to set them with alternating large 1/2 square triangle squares and give the quilt a "furrows" effect. At first I was thinking brown and pink, but the few sample blocks I stitched up just did NOTHING for the double 4 patch blocks. It was BLAH. So I went back to the cupboard and found this antiquey green that I've been wanting to use, but didn't know where it was going to go. It went really well with the antique dirty pink and I decided to give it a shot. The color is quite a bit off in the full shot, so I took a close up to give a better idea..it's not as blendy as it looks!

I still need borders, but it was fun how fast this went together...the hardest part was spending the evening sewing 1/2 square triangles together....all alike! Scrappy keeps me from being bored. Dealing with just two fabrics...is a challenge!


Saturday, December 09, 2006

Happy Birthday, Lucy!

Lucy isn't home right now, her hubby stole her off on a surprise birthday trip!

I still wanted to post to her Happy 41, and may this be the best year ever...

Happy Birthday, Lucy!


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

In A Blue Funk

I finally forced myself to finish the borders on the blue hourglass star quilt today. I'd been in such a funk about it. I guess the thoughts on the borders were so mixed that I just lost interest in finishing it. I know I shouldn't let other people's opinions cause doubts in my own creativity, but there you have it. I do value what other people say and think and I second guess myself.

The problem was...I had almost all of the hour glass units for the border done before I thought that maybe it wasn't such a good border idea...and my flame went out.

But now, reminding myself that DONE is better than PERFECT..I decided to finish it as I originally thought, and I do like it. Sometimes it is okay for a border to be just "fine" instead of...WOW...I think this is one of those times.

I also finished the quilting on my friend's tshirt quilt. Binding is done too. I think there is a smear on my camera lens...after uploading the pics it showed up and I don't have time to retake everything, so...deal with the smear :c)

I'm winding down finally on customer stuff. Only 2 more to go that HAVE to be done before Christmas. We are leaving on our Christmas cruise on the 16th...and back on the 23rd..so everything that has to be sent out has to be sent by the 15th.

The other fun thing is that I'm going down to FL to spend New Years with Tonya! I found a great deal on cheaptickets.com yesterday round trip for $188 including the taxes....can't beat it! So...I'll be packing up a couple of projects after getting back from the cruise and heading back down to Fl....I'm sure we will have lots of pics to upload while Tonya and I have a sew-a-thon!


Friday, December 01, 2006

Christmas Quilts

Being a machine quilter, I seem to start quilting people's Christmas quilts clear in July....I kind of "ugh" and perservere through those, who is in the mood for Christmas in July? The year spins fast enough as it is, and I'm really not ready for Christmas until after thanksgiving. That's just the way it is :c)

This past week I have spent time quilting this wonderful yet simple Christmas quilt for my customer, Mary Ann. It has printed blocks in the center of the log cabin squares, and I just LOVE the secondary star that is made by the sashings.....the units are similar to the weedwhacker quilt blocks! This gives me ideas for quilts in the future, using these as sashings, not just as blocks.

I'm usually not a "pre-printed" block fan, but I really like this one, I love how the quilting ties it all together!