Friday, February 25, 2011

We Do More Than Just Talk

JoAnn said those words a day or so ago - quite an insightful remark, too. Our quilt group meets every other Friday, and we do have finishes to show for ourselves! We are very focused on completing projects, but we also cover a wide variety of conversational topics, too. Of course!

Here's JoAnn showing us her recently completed wall hanging, above. It's complete to the binding step. Below, is a wild hourglass quilt that JoAnn made using leftover fabrics of pants she wore in the 70s. I can relate to these plaids!!  I'll bet a few of you can, too!!! While we visited this morning, she stitched down the binding.

Terry had this darling baby boy's quilt to share. It must have been binding day at the quilt gathering, for she, too, was stitching down the binding.

Here, Sheryll shows us her recently completed quilt top called Long Road Home. This is the new project I have been working on. I'm still in the tiny 9-patch stage, though. I love how her quilt turned out, and am inspired to keep plugging away at mine after seeing Sheryll's! She said she added both width and length to hers, as the pattern is smaller than she wanted. I will probably do the same because I think her quilt top is just perfect!

Our 5th quilter had to miss this morning. I worked on attaching a label to the back of a quilt, and then pinned the binding on. It's ready for the sewing machine at this time. I will be stitching my own binding on this weekend. It's the quilt I alluded to in an earlier post that will be gifted, so I can't post a picture just yet...... ssshhhh.....

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Two Final Distractions

It was a 3-day weekend, and I've only shared through Sunday the many distractions that prevented my getting any sewing/quilting done all weekend long.

So we have Monday's activity. After the careful planning of my sister Carol, all the women in my immediate family met for lunch at Red Lobster.

Women from four generations of my family are pictured here. My 94-year-old grandmother, my mother, my sisters Sandy and Carol, along with me, Sandy's daughter Abby, and my daughter Emma. (my other daughter, Erin, again, of stolen car fame) was unable to return to southern Ohio for lunch.

We did this at Christmas time of 2009, at Olive Garden. Here is the picture commemorating that event. Erin was present for this one; Emma was not. Maybe next year, both my girls will be able to participate.

Aren't I lucky to still have my Grandma??? This is the same grandma who was a quilter. She never owned a mat or rotary cutter. All her quilts were made by tracing templates onto fabric and cutting out individual pieces. And she hand-quilted every one, too. She stopped making quilts about 3 years ago. She says she's just not interested anymore. It hurts her back to sit at a quilting frame. Believe it or not, she just about used up all the fabric she ever had. I would say there's not much more than a box of fabric remaining in her closet.

And, finally, this coming Thursday is book club night, so I have to get my book read! I've barely started it! Fortunately, it's pretty easy reading, and an enjoyable story, so I think I will be okay.

Quilting will wait a few more days...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Other Presidents' Weekend Distractions

Continuing the story of why I got so little accomplished in the sewing room this past weekend, I will share the remainder of the weekend's non-quilting activities.

After Frienzies (see previous post), I had to make a dessert for the After Prom Committee fundraiser - a dessert auction being held at the varsity basketball game Saturday night. Then I had to take said dessert to the school, and attend the game (senior night; some of DD Emma's classmates' last game on the MHS court), then we attended a little after party with some close friends who'd been at the game.

On Sunday, we had to take DD Erin (of stolen car fame; see earlier post) back to Columbus. Normally, she wouldn't need to go back before noon, but she had special plans for the afternoon, and we (her parents) were involved. She works for newly elected State of Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel. His communications and PR staff needed pictures of him for websites, brochures and other literature coming out of the Treasurer's office. Family and friends of members of the treasurer's staff were ready for action!

Our state treasurer is a very young man, as you can see, 32, to be exact. He is extraordinarily personable, and exudes confidence. He's surprisingly experienced for his age - he's a military veteran, having served 2 tours in the Middle East, and in addition to getting started in politics in his home town of Lyndhurst, he's served in the Ohio House of Representatives.

I don't think I've pictured myself on this blog yet, so here you go, followers! Josh Mandel, DD Erin, myself, and DH Kevin.

Erin's office is in the Rhodes Tower where, quite to my surprise and delight, a quilt exhibit was on display.

I know absolutely nothing about this exhibit, but I've asked Erin to get me details. I thought this was particularly attractive - and quite large!!

This one was of particular interest to me. The background is, of course, made of neutral Ohio Stars, and the snake represents a state landmark, Serpent Mound, which happens to be right here in Ross County in neighboring Adams County. It's an ancient Indian burial mound. Very cool.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Fun with Frienzies

The Frienzies are a group of women who worked together with me at CHS. The 8 of us had lunch together every day for many years. Then, one by one, we hit retirement. First, Kay, then Sherrie, then we realized that we weren't gettting to see each other as often. So we met for dinner one December about 3 years ago in a local restaurant. We named ourselves the Frienzies as it combines 2 words - friends and frenzy, which most of us felt described the pace of our lives!! It was hard work finding one day each month that everyone would be free to meet for lunch or dinner. We agreed that none of us were so frenzied that we couldn't devote one meal each month to keeping this group together. And so the Frienzies was born! We celebrate whatever needs to be celebrated - birthdays, Christmas, kids' graduations, births of grandbabies, retirements and so on.

In the meantime, Lyn retired, then moi, then Pam. In just a few days, Sharon will join our ranks. That leaves the "young'ns" - Susan and Hettie - among the working.

So our February Frienzie gathering was Saturday at Susan's home; she had prepared a brunch for us followed by an "activity" - her cousin had begun selling cosmetics, and she wanted to do facials on us.

Susan's table was adorable. The food was delicious - muffins, quiche, fresh fruit, and cherry cobbler and ice cream for dessert! YUMM.

Kay had a show and tell - a quilt for her granddaughter which she'd recently had quilted. She and 17-year-old Regan worked together on the piecing process over the course of about 4 years. Now it's quilted and ready to be delivered to Regan later this month. Those fabrics are all batiks, and Regan helped pick them out. I will have to look up the details on the quilt - I know it was on the cover of American Patchwork and Quilting at least 4 years ago.

This is our hostess Susan getting the beauty treatment from her cousin. Next month I will be the hostess and we will be celebrating Sherrie's birthday as well as Sharon's retirement. It will be a fantastic day.

These women are among my dearest friends. They were not only workplace colleagues, but true friends who have shared in some of the highest and lowest points of each other's lives. We truly enjoy the company of one another, and look forward to our Frienzy dates. Girlfriends are one of life's sweetest blessings.

Stepping Stones and Stolen Cars

Well, it took me long enough, but I finally finished attaching the borders to my Stars and Stepping Stones quilt. Here it is spread on the guest room bed. It's night, and the light is insufficient - sorry!

I had truly planned to have the quilt top finished last Wednesday or Thursday, but some days just have too many demands outside of the sewing room. Some of those demands are regular, everyday things like grocery shopping, preparing meals, running the sweeper, and so on.

Then there comes that phone call out of the blue that you just never, in a million years, expect.

DD Erin, who lives and works in Columbus, called on Thursday evening while I was preparing supper (spaghetti alla carbonara). She sounded really odd, and just like a mom, I knew something was wrong. Her car had been stolen! Aaaah! I know! What can a mom do when she's standing in a kitchen an hour away with a spaghetti strainer in her hand?

I drove to Columbus on Friday afternoon to pick her up from work. She had gotten a call during her lunch break from the CPD informing her that her car had been recovered and she could pick it up at the city's impound lot. So that's where we went next. Here's the shape in which we found her car:

The driver's side door had been pried open.

The grille had been removed. and that's the ground showing through the opening.

The license tags had been stolen, and a cavernous void stares out from where the engine should be.

This is just a part of the distractions that interferred with sewing these past few days. Fortunately, this one was the worst of them, too. And you know, this was not at all bad...our family has a good habit of seeing the glass half full - we are optimists. So many far worse things could have happened. A car is simply a possession. She (and we, her parents) are somewhat inconvenienced, but it can all be fixed. She can get another car; she walks to her office; there are friends nearby who can fetch her to and fro, if necessary.

In tomorrow's post, I will share some of the other distractions of this past weekend. And they are really happy distractions, too!

Happy Quilting!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Eventide Arrives!

Oooohhh, this was in my mail yesterday! Is there anything more pleasant than presents in the daily mail delivery?? I think not! Look at the tag - a cupcake with a daisy - 3D creativeness!!

Thelma at Cupcakes 'n' Daisies sure makes a pretty package. And what's inside is even prettier!

A few weeks ago I entered a giveaway at Cupcakes 'n' Daisies, and learned last week that I had been the lucky winner! So here is my Eventide pattern by Carrie Nelson. *uber-excitement!!!* It just so happens that I have made several of Miss Rosie's patterns over the years, and really love their looks. This one is getting me pretty excited, I can tell you! If I didn't have several already queued up, I would start on this right away. I am considering, however, moving an item or two down on the list, to make room for inserting this project...hmmm, we'll see.

Thelma is leading a quilt-along group for Eventide. Check it out at this location. Also, Nicole at Sister's Choice Quilts has a nice post today about fabric selection for this quilt.

Thank you, Thelma, for the giveaway! I am so, so appreciative!!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

New Blog Design!

OMG!!! I am certainly the slowest learner of all times. I have spent the better part of 2 hours trying to create a new look for this blog.

Finally, after playing the tutorial from Shabby Blogs for the umpteenth time, I figured it all out.


I'd be interested in knowing how you like it. (*hinting for feeback*)


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Civil War Catching Up

Short post today- many things to get busy on (outside the sewing room, mostly). I needed to get the remaining pieced block finished for the Civil War Quilt project.

It's called Texas Tears. As with all these Civil War blocks, I am enjoying making them. I wouldn't otherwise be doing them, and it'll be cool to see what I end  up with.

Still deciding what to do about the Seven Sisters block - an applique. It sounds like I have an aversion to applique, which is not the case at all. It's complicated...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The "Other" Man in My Life

He drives a distinctive truck and brings me the best gifts. He doesn't visit too often - we wouldn't want to upset DH, you know! He was here just today (I was hoping he'd come yesterday-you know-Valentine's Day-*wink,wink*)

Okay, I'm leading you on a bit; teasing, you know???

Here's the distinctive truck I referred to:

Here's the kind of gifts he brings - it's uncanny how he know exactly what I want!

So, here's what I got from BN:

These are the title of the books my book club will be reading over the next few months.

And here's what I got from Fat Quarter Shop:

Have you met Miniatures? It's a line from Windham Fabrics by Julie Hendrickson. I couldn't resist the neutrals in this line. I've been using up quite a lot of my neutrals, so I took advantage of a recent special they offered - 30% (or was it 40%?) off. A deal, regardless of whichever it was! I'm loving it, especially that darling polka dot on top!!!

So, here are some updates on what I've accomplished in my sewing room today:

I made a binding for a (shhhh!) surprise quilt that will be going to a good friend next month. I cannot wait to show you the quilt! It is a very happy, whimsical quilt!

My Stars and Stepping Stones quilt top has finally been put together. I now need to audition some potential border fabrics. I hand-pieced these blocks, but used the machine make the top. I suppose that I began working on those blocks over 5 years ago. It's a UFO that's been a long time in the making!

Have a great remainder of your Tuesday! I've got a date with my Ohio State Buckeyes tonight - Beat the Spartans!!

Monday, February 14, 2011

It Fits Perfectly

I spread out  my Dressmaker's Quilt on our bed yesterday, and it's a perfect fit!

Really pleased with those log cabin borders. Also really loved gazing at it, noting each fabric, admiring the variety - gosh, I just love it.

It is now folded up and on a hanger in the sewing closet - it's joined the ranks of 8 other quilt tops awaiting quilting.

Today, I've been sewing together rows of the beige/red star and stepping stones quilt. Something red for Valentine's Day? Yes, I think so!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Doing Some Catching Up

Having started off the new year with intentions of doing a better job of staying current on my projects, I needed to get back on track with the Civil War blocks I'm making with Barbara Brackman's project-Civil War Quilt. I did really great with her first 2 blocks, then she threw that appliqued block in there called Seven Sisters, and my work came to a screeching halt. There have been 4 blocks since that appliqued block, and I hadn't done any of them either!!!

Well, yesterday I remedied that little situation and finished off 3 of those blocks. If time permits, today I will get busy on the remaining non-applique block and be caught up. I am still deciding what to do about the applique.

This is called Richmond Star (Block 6), and it was really fun to make. I should have taken more time to photograph it, but take my word for it, it's a sweet block.

This is called Kansas Troubles (block 5). I've always wanted to make one of these blocks, but was intimidated by the tiny sawtooth triangles. Yes, they are tiny, but when doing just one block, it's not nearly so daunting a task. I was a bit off in getting my center to match up points to point, but I am leaving it. I restitched once, with no visible improvement, so we're calling it a done deal.

And here's a log cabin (Block 7) - I'm getting to be a pro with these!! (Go back about to see my whining about this!) This particular block used much wider strips (1 7/8-inch) and therefore, fewer strips. It was fun to do. My light side is still pretty dark, but I was going for a look that said "old," so I think this works for me.

The block I  have left to do (if I don't include the applique) is called Texas Tears. Hopefully I will be getting to that today - crossing my fingers! Here is a picture from Brackman's blog:

The quilt-along project is quite fun. Brackman puts up a new block each Saturday. A week per block is a very comfortable pace, actually. In addition, she includes an extensive history on the block, it's significance and accompanying pictures from the Civil War period. Being something of a history buff, I love this aspect of the project. Brackman's thorough treatment of the blocks as well as the time period is really quite satisfying for this history lover!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Returning to Quilts

In what seems like ages, I've managed to find some time to stitch, to cut, to plan and to finish! Yes, I finished the top for Dressmaker's Quilt.

It was such a fun quilt to make, even with the trouble I had working on those log cabin blocks for the border. I have always loved scrappy quilts, and this is a scrap lovers delight. It was so much fun to work with so many fabrics!! Everything here is fabric already existing in my stash --BRAVO!!
I took it with me to the quilting circle meeting this morning; a couple of the girls held it up for me to photgraph. I will press it and lay it out on my bed to get a bit nicer view of it. This is still fun to look at, don't you think??

So, I am glad to have stuck with it, even with the log cabin woes I experienced. This is a really satisfying finish.

Here is what quilt friend Terry had to show this morning. She said she bought the quilt top at an antique store years ago. She had a woman from her quilt guild hand quilt it for her. The ocatagons are all made of feed sacks, and the entire octagon-pieced top is appliqued to the green border. Interesting. Terry had a perfect green print in her stash which she used for the backing and today she was stitching down the binding.

Next up for me is a quilt called Long Road Home by Bonnie Blue Quilts. Here is what it will look like:

I've got it mostly all cut out. It's been a boatload of cutting, that's for sure!!

This looks all neat and tidy, but those stacks of 1.5-inch strips took a loonnggg time to cut. I am eager to start on it! After I finished cutting all of this out, I remembered that those darn log cabin blocks were made from 1.5-inch strips, and I had a ga-zillion of those left over!! I probably could have eliminated the excessive cutting if I'd remembered earlier.

One can always use a supply of 1.5-inch strips, right? I shall keep these handy for projects that await me.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Well-Timed Surprises

This morning I received an email from Thelma at Cupcakes and Daisies telling me that I'd won a give-away on her blog, Eventide, a pattern by one of my favorite quilt designers, Carrie Nelson.

How nice. I am thrilled and very appreciative.

For also today, I had to do something really difficult, and needed a pick-me-up. You see, my grandmother's, (yes, my grandmother, age 94) little Jack Russell terrier named Casey, had to be put down this morning, and I was called in to take her to the vet. I was not all that attached to Casey ( I generally prefer bigger dogs), but she was such a good companion for my grandmother, and kept her company. Casey had just gotten old, though, and was failing in a lot of ways; it was my mother and aunt's decision to go ahead with it, after talking to Grandma earlier, and because Mom is laid up with her dislocated elbow (see last post), I was called in to assist.

After it was all over, Grandma was a bit weepy, and so was I, to be honest. It'll be an adjustment for Grandma not having her little 4-legged friend around, but there was quite a bit of not-so-pleasant work in taking care of an aging dog, and Grandma knew that the time had come. Grandma is having her cremated, and the funeral home does this (!) - her ashes will be spread around the tree where she barked at squirrels and stood sentinel over the backyard when tied out.

RIP, Casey.

Here's a sweet video of the importance of dogs to we humans.

So you see, Thelma's email was perfect for helping offset a difficult situation. I feel I should have a picture of a wonderful quilt to post here today. But alas, I have no new finishes; I am one side-border away from having my Dressmaker's Quilt top finished. I'll post a pic of that ASAP.

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Quilting is a hobby for me, fortunately, because if I had to make a living at it, I'd be in the poorhouse most of the time. You see, I have too many other things that I also like to do, plus I am a world-class procrastinator. In addition to other interests, family needs must come first. So this weekend, my mother needs tending to. Here's her Winter of 2011 highlight:

That is a dislocated elbow. Not her actual X-ray; it's generic image taken from the internet. She fell on ice in a high school parking lot. Because she had on several layers of clothing, nothing is broken, fortunately. I'm taking her to an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon at 7 in the morning. We are crossing our fingers for good news.

One of my other hobbies (besides quilting) is reading. I can't remember a time when I didn't love it. Even in first grade, I couldn't get enough of books. For the past 11 years, I've been a part of a really enjoyable book club. We just read Major Pettigrew's Last Stand:

It was wonderful - a mix of intesting characters, clever dialogue and engaging plot. The title character is entirely loveable, and so is the novel.

In the past couple of days, I've indulged in Consent to Kill by Vince Flynn. He is no literary giant, but he sure can keep a reader breathlessly on the edge of the seat with the fast-paced action of hero Mitch Rapp. It's great escape reading.

So, I will  get back to sewing - I'm actually cutting out a beauty this afternoon.
Pictures to follow.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Conquering Log Cabins!

I did it! I am victorious in the battle with wonky log cabin blocks! Around 10 last night I finished off the last of the 32 traditional log cabins; this morning I made the 4 all-dark log cabins which will be the 4 corners of the border.

On the left is the stack of all-dark corner blocks; on the right is the stack of traditional log cabins.

I've pinned together the top and bottom borders, and will head back up to the sewing room shortly to begin stitching them.

I'm really pumped to get this quilt finished. FYI/reminder: it's called Dressmaker's Quilt by Terry Clothier Thompson.

I had a guest in the sewing room this morning.

Is anyone surprised to learn that Gracie, the family cat, likes fabric? If I leave a drawer open, she inevitably jumps into it. Smart kitty!

Well, wouldn't you jump into a drawer full of fabric if you could???

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

February Brings Us Ice!

Hello, February!! Geezo-Pete! We awoke to a gray, dreary day that brought a "no-school" call for my husband and daughter. It remained foggy all day, and the ice accumulated. We are in southern Ohio, and our friends in the northern regions of our great state are experiencing much worse conditions than we are. And our neighboring states, too, for that matter.

Well, we quilters have a remedy for days like this, don't we???

I'm about to finish off the log cabin blocks - will probably do so this evening. I took this picture of my new piecing method on these blocks. I have a long strip of a light fabric on the right and the centers of the blocks are all sewn to it and ready to be trimmed down. This is making my log cabin blocks much less wonky, and infinitely more acceptable for use as my border.

Pics tomorrow of the finished log cabins...maybe I will even have begun the stitching together into border strips!!