Monday, April 30, 2007

Finds & Finishes

I got an email from Lucy this morning saying she made it home safe, and they didn't even question her at customs! Lucy is the QUEEN of packing...she had all this fabric, all these gifts for her family, clothes she bought while here, and TWO QUILTS to get home and she managed to fit it ALL in two suitcases and kept them both under 50lbs each, and got by customs without being checked! Whewwww!

Today is Queen's Day in the Netherlands, so she is at the Kermis (carnival) with her kids. I'm sure she will be pooped by the end of the day and it may be a few days before she gets her body clock back on Netherlands time and can catch up with her posts.

I spent last night finishing the last of the flying geese border to go around the crazy string lone star with the atomic orange background. At first I thought it was going to be "over the top" to do a double geese border, but I'm glad I did because it made the orange spaces look not so HUGE. I'm happy with it. I used the last of my light 2.5" strips to cut the background triangles for the geese....so now I will begin the process of cutting up the culled fabrics bit by bit to spice up my scrap strip bins.

Here is the fun string quilt I bought in TN! Isn't it Fab?! I love that there is one block that makes a complete bullseye...and the rest of them are jumbled. This was definately a scrap bag project and the fabrics scan many decades. There is a poison green that is probably before the turn of the 20th century. The mourning print could be nearly as old, but could be dated through the early 1900's. The plaids and stripes are so great as are the dots. And then here and there are some 30's and 40's (and I think even 50's fabrics! The quilting is done on the diagonal in the blocks, and the sashings have 3 lines of quilting in them, all the stitching is quite primitive. For $75 it was quite a find!

I've cleaned the house, done the laundry, got Jeff off to school....so it's back to the real world for me. And I can't find my daytimer! I'm lost without it. I don't know if I have any massage clients today....maybe I left it in my drawer when I worked all day before going to the airport to get Lucy. I called the office to see if it was there, left a msg on the answering machine....I think it is going to take a few days to get my brain straight too!


Sunday, April 29, 2007

Lucy & Bonnie Do Paducah!

I am home....and Lucy is at this moment winging her way back to the Netherlands. According to my calculations, she should be home about 2 am eastern standard time...Poor Lucy! I hope she is sleeping on the flight, because we sure wore each other out on this whirlwind trip!

There is so much to cover, and I think it will be fun to give Lucy a chance to catch up and post which pictures she wants to post. She was our shutter bug on this trip, and since she is so good, I just let her keep the camera, and uploaded all the pics we took onto my computer before she left. I will tantalize you with just a few of our funniest shots!

The reader's digest condensed version:

I picked Lucy up at the airport on Saturday the 21st. We rushed her over to Olive Garden where my son Jason had us seated in his section, and our dinner was taken care of for us!

Then, because Lucy was so worn out, we came home, put her to bed......she needed it!

Sunday the 22nd had us running down the road to Charleston where we spent the day. She took pics of everything and was really enamoured with the historic section of town and all the old buildings. I'm sure there will be lots of pics on her blog to come of those!

We also hit every antique shop we could find, and since most quilts were an arm and a leg, we took pics of all that interested us for inspiration. I think the pics we took are my favorite souvenir of her trip...so many quilts to dream of making, and to use for inspiration! I'm sure many quilt pics will show up on her blog in the next weeks too!

Monday we headed for Paducah....with no set time in mind. We stopped at every antique mall that had signs posted on the interstate, antiquing our way from SC to NC to TN and to KY! We made it as far as Nashville monday night....worn out! We bunked at a Day's Inn just outside of Nashville and started our day Tuesday by looking for a huge guitar store we had found earlier on the internet where she could find some goodies for her hubby. More antiquing followed....and we rolled into our lodgings at Big Bear Resort on Lake Kentucky at dinner time. Yes folks, it took us 2 days to travel what should have taken us 8 to 9 hours...*hehehe*

This was my first trip to Paducah, and it was well worth the drive. It did take us 3 days to see and do everything we wanted to fit in, and all but one night we fell asleep early, unable to keep our eyes open.

Thursday night we met up with Dawn and her bunch! What a fun group of ladies they are, I never laughed so hard! one of the members was a semi-finalist in the show and her quilt was wonderful! We had a great time with them and were so amazed by the friendship and gifts we were bestowed, a couple of worn out strangers that we were! But because of the wonders of the internet, we fit right in and felt like we knew everyone instantly!

Friday was the last day....we wrapped up the show by going out with Dawn, Laura, and Linda for dinner at Texas Roadhouse! You can't do a trip to the South without a trip to Texas Roadhouse!

Saturday we got an early start and drove home all day. We arrived here about dinner time. A stop at an antique mall in Lebanon TN resulted in my adopting an old string quilt! It's dark now, so I'll get a pic later..but I couldn't pass it up at $75.00

As for my purchases....well....I'd like to say I did really well in the fabric department as far as curbing my buying goes, but after a couple of days, I threw caution to the wind and tried to keep up with Lucy! My biggest purchase was for FQ's of background fabrics, so I guess they are legal. There were some other colors I was low on and I needed to round out those a bit. And then, when things get to be $1.00 an FQ.....well, need I say more? I started to buy just because I liked them, and I'm glad my money ran out!

This morning while Lucy was packing and talking to her hubby on yahoo (Fun to see them webcam each other!)I started culling through my FQ drawers. I am ALL OUT of light 2.5" strips, and several colors are depleted for making scrap quilts. I am down to the dregs in my bins of strips in the 2" and 2.5" size, so I'm going to cut fresh strips from the culled FQ's. Lucy was great at giving inspiration! "Strip that one!" "No, save that one"....."bllllkkkkk...DEFINATELY strip that one!". So now I have a laundry basket full of culled FQ's and partial pieces to be cut into my scraps so I won't be so tired of the same ole same ole anymore. This pic is of the pile of FQ's I culled out of my drawers.....

Tomorrow is monday,and life has to get back to normal. I wish I had another weekend to recover!


Thursday, April 19, 2007

My Previous Life....

You know how weird it is to discover your PAST on EBAY!?

I used to design doll and animal patterns under the name "Needle in a Haystack!!" in the 1990's. After vending at Quilt Market a few times, I was picked up by the Butterick Pattern Co, and had quite a run with them, until coming up with 6 new designs every 6 months while raising two small children got to be too much to handle. Besides, how many bears, chickens, cows, racoons (yes, racoons!) can someone come up with before they all start to look alike?

This was also when the "made in china" crafts began to flood into the US and the really fun "craft malls" with handmade items were shortly over run by cheapy imports.

It was when I decided to give up the pattern designing and let it peter out that I bought my longarm machine and have never looked back.....

2 more sleeps until Lucy comes!!!


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Leaders & Enders....the adventure continues....

I had an email from a lady asking what else she could do with 4 patches if she kept making them for leaders and enders. I haven't done 4 patches for a while so I thought I would start throwing some together and see what I could come up with.

I like two-block quilts...they tend to have alot of interesting elements when you start to put two different blocks together. I monkeyed around in EQ and this is what I came up with usuing a variation of a jacob's ladder block and a variation of 54-40 or fight....Because I have a hard time naming quilts, this may become known as "Stars and Ladders." Original, huh? :cÞ

I'd like to do this using my brighter 2" scrap squares (the blocks finish at 9") various lights...but have the star points and the red/black of the jacob's ladder block consistant. To me the quilt layout has a stained glass look to it. The Choir I sing with rehearses and performs at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Columbia SC. The building is pre-civil war, and the stained glass is breathtaking. This mock up kind of reminds me of the colors in the stained glass when the lights shine through...but I'm concerned that the quilt might still have "too much light" in it. So we will see..... These are my first two "test" blocks. Hard to see what it will look like from here if I keep going.

Oh....the tri recs rulers are awesome for the star blocks. The pieces fit together perfectly. The star points and background wedges are both cut from the same width of strip ...3.5" The triangles in the jacob's ladder blocks are also from 3.5" strips and cut with the easy angle ruler. The 4 patches could be "speed pieced" with 2" light and 2" bright strips too.....so it could go together quite a bit faster than just "leaders/enders"

And yes, I shouldn't have my mind going off on another project when Lucy is going to be here SATURDAY! (5 more sleeps! WEEEEE!)


Sunday, April 15, 2007

From First to Most Recent Completion....

This week's Stashbuster Topic asks us to talk about our first quilt. What was yours?

This is a pic of my first completed all the way 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. This was before rotory cutters! 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, 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 for the borders. 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!

Mary is now expecting her 2nd child, and I just finished the binding on the quilt (it's a boy! I found out today!) while I was at Tonyas. How's that to make someone feel old? I made a quilt for her when she was born, and now I'm making quilts for her kids!


Back From Tonya's!

Hi Hi Hi!

I'm home! Oh man, what a wonderful whirlwind quilting week I had at Chez Ricucci!

I ended up leaving later than expected....leaving here about 4:30 pm on Easter Sunday. I made it as far as Daytona, and had to stop and spend the night, just too tired to go any farther. Tonya's was about 3 hours more outside of Daytona, and I couldn't keep driving any longer.

I checked into a nice clean Day's Inn, and it was lights OUT! The next morning I got up, trundled off down I-95 and made it with no problems to Tonya's, arriving just before lunch.

I didn't mention that the day BEFORE easter....I got a new car :c) So this was the virgin voyage in my new Saturn Vue! It's raining today, so not a good day to get a pic, but I'll get one. It's silver, and I love it! It is the end of an era, Bonnie not being seen toodling around in her PT Cruiser, but life goes on.

I showed some pics for inspiration the week before I left...and the one that kept coming back to me was the string pieced lone star from many diamonds.....I have this quilt in a big book on antique quilts, and every time I'd flip through that book it would call to me "some day...some day..." Well, some day arrived! Before leaving for Tonya's I thought I'd do a few test diamonds to see how they'd look...and then, well, before long..I had enough for one BIG diamond (25 little diamonds!) and I knew it would work. So that was the main project I packed.

I brought a bin of crumbs/strings and we set out sewing! After completing the big diamonds, we had to go shopping for setting fabric (Oh horrors!) I had ORANGE on the brain because Susan was sending me some orange, and it hadn't arrived in the mail before I left (nor did I think I'd get so far as to need it yet) so orange it was..turns out the orange I found was BRIGHTER (does ATOMIC describe it well!?)than what Susan sent! I couldn't tell from her pics how bright what she was sending was...Borders are needed, not sure what I'm going to do yet. Flying geese come to mind...hmmmm. Just for fun....can you find the FLAMINGO fabric in the close up pic? :cD Have to have a flamingo in there to remind me of my trip to Florida!

After the star was set, we started playing around with a "bonnie" version of Tonya's LOVE quilt. I had wanted to do one, and made it fit my style by inserting string X blocks between the Loves. It needs one more border. It is SO cute! I'm thinking of calling it "Love on a shoestring budget" :cD Tonya and I both pieced the letters. Hers are better than mine. Let's just say I am very V challenged!!

Everyone here at home is fine and glad to see me. I'm also getting a lot of teasing about being a 'loafer' because Lucy comes this next weekend and I have the week off with her too and we are going to Paducah! Weeee! (Can't wait to meet up with Dawn and her friends too...)

Tired and happy in SC,

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Dreaming of Strings....

Some pics of string quilts for dreaming....

I'm heading south to visit Tonya in FL for spring break....and we are trying to come up with something we can sew on as a project "together". Just love these three quilts so much, that I can't decide! Of course, the quilt that uses the smallest crumbs would be great....

I'm knee deep in taxes here. It's gotta get done before I go, so sewing time is limited right now...(good thing too!)


Sunday, April 01, 2007


I finished the binding on Marie's quilt today, and took it over to her this afternoon. She was in very good spirits! Her daughter and granddaughter were also there and we had a good visit.

I have to tell you how TOUCHED and overwhelmed she was with the quilt, and the story behind it. I explained to her that the blocks were made by my online quilting group, blocks were sent to Becky, who pieced all the blocks into the top, then the top was sent to me for quilting and binding. I read her the lable. She was just so amazed that a bunch of women who have never met EACH OTHER (most of us) would make a quilt for someone they didn't even know. She doesn't know quilters very well, does she? :c)

She wanted me to thank each and everyone of you who sent blocks to Becky and to Becky who pieced the top. She said "How ever am I going to thank them!?" I told her that if she is feeling up to it, that her daughter can take a pic of her with the quilt with her digital camera, and send it to me so I can share it with you. I hope she has a good day :c)

I told you how Marie does beautiful water colors. She paints florals in very vibrant colors. The purple of Iris, the Golden Yellow of Sunflowers, the aqua blue of the ocean....and this quilt was SO full of the colors that Marie loves most, even she commented on it that "oh,it's MY COLORS!". Girls, you done good!

Happy and Grateful in SC,