Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Halloween Pet Style!

I"m not a pet fanatic but you have to admit these pets are too funny! Pictures from PetSmart.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

My very first Quilt - Inspired by Aunt Mary

Here is my first quilt ever - a log cabin. Of course made with dress fabrics from JoAnne Fabrics, except for the center white squares which were my Grandma’s old sheets (Aunt Mary’s sister).

Ever since I was a young girl and had the beloved Aunt Mary's quilt I wanted to make quilts. But no one close to me quilted - by the time I was old enough Aunt Mary had died.

Anyway, in 1978 while I was in High School I took a Home Ec class that did all different kinds of needlework. So we finally got to the quilt unit! Our assignment was to make a log cabin pillow! Well me wanting to make a real quilt couldn't stop at the pillow! So I made the whole quilt while the rest of the class struggled with just getting a pillow done! :) We weren't allowed to work on the project at home - for fear our mom's would do it for us I guess (that is a laugh, no way my mom was going to!). So I spent hours after school in the home ec rooms. Finally when it got close to the due date the teacher finally broke down and let me take it home a few nights once I was hand sewing the back flaps down (this was kind of like a quilt as you go type log cabin). I was 2 days late with the assignment.

The funny thing is I got a 98% on the project. 2 points off, one for each day I was late! While there were girls who hadn't even finished their pillows! Course I was very type A at that point so was so upset at 98%! Now I laugh about it!

But that got me going, and the rest is history!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Aunt Mary's Quilt

A few weeks ago I promised you some picture of Aunt Mary's Quilt. Well here they are! Now my sister took them and she is not a quilter, so you have to realize they aren't the type of pics we probably would have taken of it!

This is the quilt I found in my mom's hope chest one day while I was a little girl. From that moment on this quilt HAD to be on my bed! I loved it so much. My mom always wanted to put it away because in area's it was ripped and torn - but I just loved that quilt and always wanted it on the bed. That need for it stayed even in high school when usually things needed to be the newest and the best, and even through college when I was home on visits.

So recently that quilt has been haunting me. I made my mom dig it out of some boxes where she packed it when she moved to Delaware next door to my sister. And made my sister take some pictures for me. I could remember that it had this awesome purple fabric backing and I could remember there was some bold and guady purple on the front. But for the life of me I just couldn't remember anything else.
Well I finally got the pictures! And oh YES - I remember that purple backing now! Isn't it great! And I knew the blocks were made very scrappy and with some kind of block with many pieces but I just couldn't remember what. I was so glad to get those pictures and renew my memories!

Oh course then I had to ask my mom where she got it. (And at the time I couldnt' remember it was Aunt Mary's quilt either). I guess when my mom and dad were newly married and younger, my grandma (my mom's mom) and her sister (Aunt Mary) would come over for dinner at my mom and dad's house a lot. Since both were widowed and neither drove, my dad would go pick both of them up from their houses and bring them over. They would eat with my mom and dad (and me a bit later when I was a baby) and then play cards until late at night. Then when it got late my dad would drive both of them home - usually to my grandma's house and Aunt Mary would spend a few days with her sister there. In later years when I was in my young grade school years and my grandma lived with us, my dad would still go pick up Aunt Mary for dinner and cards occassionaly. So one visit Aunt Mary brought over this quilt and gave it to my mom and dad - since they always took such good care of her.
WOW - now that quilt is even more sentimental to me! I barely remember Aunt Mary, I seem to recall when she died, but not much else. But I sure remember her quilt and how much I love it. My mom seems to being cleaning out belongings and giving them to the grandchildren (my sister, brother and I got a lot things when she moved a few years ago). And my mom always said I would get the quilt. I bet I get that quilt this year for a xmas present (or at least I hope)! I can't wait to see it again in real life!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Can I have some Cheese with my WHINE

Yes it was one of those days yesterday. One where I"m feeling sorry for myself, feeling very old, unloved and just blue. Then to top it off I got some bad news at work - so I just was blue, blue, blue - and blue isn't my color!!! :o

Anyway, the teens in my house are on one of those spurts where they just hate mom and anything to do with mom - well that isn't so abnormal I know. But for some reason my hormones (or something) just seemed to not be able to brush it off so easily so I was feeling just a bit unwanted and sad. I love my kids so much - so what did I do so wrong that they are just so rude to me. And of course I would just love to give them a big hug and cuddle - but at 13, 16 and 17 - like they would let me do that!!! Anyway, nothing major, just my "mood" getting the best of me.

Well then I woke up yesterday morning and knew we had some talks at work about retirement. Two sessions - one for people who wanted to retire within 10 years and one for people who are going to retire after 10 years. So that gets me to thinking. Hmmmm, I've been with this company for 21 years - ughhh that sounds bad. And then I start thinking - geez, if I have to wait to retrire to get full benefits I have to work here another 22 years! No that sounds even worse! Doesn't it almost seem like a waste to do similar work at one place for 43 years - that just kind of blows my mind. Made me feel like I would never make 43 years in the same industry, but also old because the thought of changing jobs and even looking just seems so scarey. I'm comfortable in my job. I like my work, LOVE my boss, and have built up great vacation time and flexible hours to work around the kids. Not so bad - but the drive stinks, I drive about 2-1/2 to 3 hours a day round trip - that really stinks. And just the thought of another 22 years working with young fresh out of college brains - gosh that is just a bit intimidating. OK - you get the picture of where my brain was on this subject yesterday morning.

So I get into work and am greeted with a ton of major issues first thing. I've been doing a lot of global work lately, so of course Europe is already well into their day and trying to wrap things up just as I'm getting in about 6:30/7:00am. So I"m working away with problems the minute I step in the door. Then to top it off there are a multitude of "internal" fights over some "bad data" in my dept. I'm stuck in the middle. Each side was swearing it was the other persons problem to fix. I really didn't care - I just needed the fixed data.

So about this point I"m just needing to vent. My boss who I love working for, walks by and asks how it is going. So I laugh, tell him not to worry, but I was going to "vent" on a few things just to feel better. So I tell him whats going on. He then proceeds to say, "hmm, we should talk later. There are going to be some changes in the dept that are going to effect you and Bob (ficticious name). We should probably get this straightened out before that happens." So I"m looking at him with wide eyes, I just know what is coming - but how can he say that and then walk away and leave me wondering! So I say "I'm not going to like this news am I". He says, "oh it isn't so bad as it could be". Great, just great I'm thinking. Come on just tell me. So he says, I have someone waiting downstairs for me, but ok I'll take 10 minutes and give you a quick fill in. So yes, my worst fears were voiced - there are going to be more re-orgs in our dept (I can't even count how many we have had over the last 5 years - continual major changes around here lately) and I once again will have a new boss. One that I've had a before (twice) over the last 21 years. He is ok, but compared to my current boss - STINKS. He only hears what he wants to hear, and only deals with what he wants to - lets the rest fall on me. And I get all his GARBAGE work. Anything he doesn't want to deal with, or anything that he feels is beneath him goes to me. Great, Just Great. Just what I need. I just wanted to cry. Well ok, in fact I did after I left my boss's office, but hey, by this time I'm feeling so deafeated. So I ask my current boss what he thinks could be worse - he laughs and says - ok they wanted to put you under your last boss who I really, really, really hated. In fact most people in the dept hate him - I won't even get started on that. So OK - I see his point. He fought to get me in this new developed group that actually my skills and knowledge can fit into in a strange sort of way, and I love and work well with 2 out of the other 3 people (Bob is the 3rd) - there will just be 4 of us and then this new boss in the new group. So ok, that is better than the alternative. And he made it clear to our new head of the department that my last boss CANNOT, he repeated cannot go in this new group with me. So he did fight a battle for me, but I'm just so bummed.

So no quilting chatter today - and sorry for the long winded whine, but you know, sometimes you just have those days - and yesterday was one of them. I think it was Darcie who mentioned awhile ago that she can chat about other things besides quilting. And my thought was - boy am I boring or what - I can't. Quilting is like my only sunshine in my life. It is what keeps me "up" and something totally trivial to love. So how could she do that?

Well, here you go - no quilting chat - but is sure is one of those tiny violin stories. Hope you all decide to visit my blog again after this post!

Oh and I did find 2 pictures of Wine and Cheese fabric!

Monday, October 24, 2005

Not much to show

Well I did get to quilt some this weekend, in fact I did all kinds of quilting odds n ends - but I have nothing really to show for it - YET. I did all those non-fun things you need to do to prep stuff.

So I traced a ton of patterns on freezer paper for applique, got some cut out and ironed fabric. Traced some patterns and cut out for a wool xmas mat, did a lot of hand quilting on my fall moon wall hanging, finished some signature blocks for my daughters raffle quilt next spring - now I just have to get the freezer paper ironed on those so she can take them to school and finished the gift bag challenge top. Wheh!

I did finish putting together another sun block for the quilt shop demo class I'm doing. Demo last Monday was on this block, so this weekend I was able to finish it up from all the parts I demo'd.

Can't wait to see what everyone else was up to. I feel like I was so busy but have nothing to show for it!

Friday, October 21, 2005

Thanks Everyone for your help!

Thanks everyone for your responses to what to do about borders on my gift bag challenge. I think I'll make the binding for the recipient and leave it as it. Woo Hooo!

I finished another block for my Millenium Garden quilt I"m applique'ing so wanted to share that with you! I only have 3 more blocks to go! I"m so excited!

And I've been quilting away on my fall moon wall hanging with my new hoop! The more I use it the more I love it! When I get the quilting done I'll share another picture with you.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

OK - what for borders? Or Any?

OK - here is my gift bag challenge quilt so far. What do you think?

My biggest question now is - do I put on a border? And if so what so that it doesn't look like I slapped on a border. I considered maybe a few rows of checkerboards since that is on the bag? Rough idea below from EQ5. What do you ladies think?

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Chickens for Nina

Today's quilts are some old quilts I made about 5 years ago. I loved her picture of chickens so had to share my chicken quilts! I just love chicken quilts! Hope you enjoy them also - these are "Just for Fun" !!!!

Monday, October 17, 2005

I played at artsy this weekend

By now you know I"m not artsy. But I am in this "gift bag" challenge, where you buy a gift bag you really like, put in 6 FQs of fabrics that go with the bag and then they got exchanged. You then make a wall hanging out of most or all of those fabrics, and you can add some fabrics of your own if you want.

I found I like doing these because it forces me to use colors outside my normal range and lets me play at new things that maybe I wouldn't have done otherwise. For some reason it makes me relax more about trying new things or colors.

Well - the challenge has to be done by Nov 1st! So I decided I had better get going on it. Now for the last month I had been planning what I wanted to do - so I had that part done. And collected a fabric I wanted to add into the pile of fabric I received for background. Even enlarged the pictures I wanted to use for templates! Just was afraid to make those first cuts!

This weekend I bit the bullet! Made the square in a square background - easy part! Then I ironed on freezer paper to the back. Next I rougly drew some curved lines on the freezer paper to make "leaves". Put some registration markes on the pieces so I could remember how to put them back together - no matter how much you think you can remember - you can't - so I've learned to put them on! And in several places and different color pens! Next I took my rotary cutter and cut the pieces near the drawn lines. Sometimes the rotary cutter just makes better curves and motion than my pencil! Adjusted any registration marks I needed to.

Then the fun part! I took any piece that was to be a leaf, pulled off the freezer paper and ironed onto some green fabric. I labeled the freezer paper pieces green 1, green 2, green 3 and green 4 first because some leaves are multiple parts. Cut out the shapes with about 1/4" seam allowance. Now since artsy isn't my thing, I have to do this next part slow. I relaid out the pieces (freezer paper side up). Then I figured out what needed to be put back together first. I always tried to put a green on top of a background - you'll see why in a minute. Once I determined which piece would go together with another, I glued sticked the seam allowance under onto the paper side of the freezer paper. Laid it slightly over the background piece (or other leaf piece), roughly matching registration marks on back, and then zig zagging the piece onto the touching piece with a very small zig zag in matching thread. I use a 1.0 width and 1.0 length on my machine and it works well. I use matching thread because I like to press - and I always worry about pressing with the invisible thread. This way I don't have to worry about it.

I proceeded to put the pieces together until I had the whole thing back together! On one background piece I also appliqued (same way) a bias stem that the tulip will be put on. Wanted to do this before I sewed that seam so it looks like it is coming out of the leaves and not appliqued on separate. Once finished squared up the piece - you'll have jagged edges - and Waaa Laaaa! You have what I show on top! Next I will machine applique (invisible - like I did the leaves) onto the stem. Had to enlarge the tulip a bit more at work today, so didn't get any of that done. But it is taking shape!

Below are some in progress pics. I'll keep you updated as I make progress on this!

Gift Bag and fabrics I started with:

Cutting the leaves in progress:

My gift bag and fabric I sent - I wonder how mine is looking?

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Great Niece #5

Great Niece #5 was born last Thursday and I got to see her last weekend at only 2 days old! Oh she is soooo precious! She is so tiny and adorable compared to my 4 big klunky teenagers! Didn't get a picture of her until today! This is the baby the star quilt is going to - at least I don't need to make a second boy one now!

Friday, October 14, 2005

Quilt for Darcie - well kinda

OK, so this quilt doesn't exactly maybe look like a Darcie quilt. And I'm not sure if she appliques - but her hawk pictures made me think of this quilt. And why I have no idea because folk art crows are not at all like hawks! But what the heck! Since I haven't made much progress lately in quilting might as well post this quilt I made last winter on a whim! I love it.

But I did treat myself last night to this awesome chocolate/oatmeal dessert and hand quilted with my frame on my fall moon! So that made me happy! I got this recipe in a shop newsletter yesterday and decided I had to try it. Oh my GOSH - it is to die for - but you have to eat it warm for the full effect!

Oh - and sorry Darcie - guess this isn't going to help your weight gain whineing is it?

Choc-in Oatmeal Bars

Blend 3/4 cup butter or margarine, 1 cup brown sugar (packed) and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add 1 1/2 cups flour and 1 cup quick cooking oatmeal. Press 2/3 into an ungreased 9 x 13 pan.

Heat 1 can condensed milk with 1 cup chocolate chips and 1/2 cup nuts. When warm, spread over mixture in pan. Top with remaining crumbs and press lightly.

Bake for 25 - 30 minutes in a 375 degree oven until lightly browned. Cut while still warm. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Tonya and Finn - I got it!!!!

OK, I got exactly what I need to use for my free form fans! In fact it is a quilt I basted together last winter and was going to do clamshells on it, but the spray marking stuff I wanted to try didn't work, so I was going to hand mark it - well never got to it. So it is just sitting there! I'm going to free form fans on this! It is small like Tonya suggested so I can actually finish it! I think it is about 20" x 20"!

Now the fun part - what color pearle cotton/crochet cotton do you think I should use?

I"m going to have a breakdown!

What happens when you can sew/quilt for a week? A quilting breakdown! I think I'm going to have one! The kids are keeping me hopping with activities and work has been so busy I haven't had time to quilt at all for the last week! In fact I haven't had time to catch up on everyone's blogs since last Friday either! Oh my! What am I to do?

So I have no fun pictures of things I've been working on to share. Isn't that like the major pits?!

So I dug deep on my hard drive for at least an old picture. This quilt I finished years and years ago. But I use it on my bed in the summertime. I still love all those houses. It was a challenge when I made it - course now I've learned so many ways to do it better since then! But I still love it and it is still special to me. Oh and you can't see the quilting - but it is the first large quilt I quilted myself on my regular home machine!

Friday, October 07, 2005

One other note

I also forgot to mention I finally got my pictures loaded to my webshots area of the quilt show I went to last week. The gym was very dark and the quilts very close together so it was hard to get great pictures, but some turned out ok. You can see them here.

I loved this quilt - I can't believe the lady hand appliqued all those leaves in the borders!

My 5 minutes of fame - if it is even 5!!!!

Back in 2002/2003 I finally bought EQ5 and started learning how to use it. I found on the electric quilt site that they did monthly challenges which really helped learn new techniques and helped think outside the box. Well they also had electric round robins and I joined several and had a good time making electric quilts. They all get posted on the website. After about a year of the monthly challenges and round robins I had mastered what I wanted to know about EQ5, got busy with work and didn't do anymore - it kind of fell of the radar screen.

Well this past spring I got an unexpected email from Penny McMorris at Electric Quilt saying that someone from Prentice Hall had seen a round robin quilt 4 of us had did posted on the site and wanted to put it on the cover of an upcoming American Literature book! She needed our permission to use the picture! How cool is that! So we all gave permission and the "deal" was that we would get a cover of the book and the title page with credit to us for the cover design. I figured they may not even end up using it, and if they did the credit would probably be in the book but I wasn't going to hold my breath at ever seeing the cover.

So about 2 months ago I thought I would browse around Prentice Halls website and see if I could find any new American Lit books. Well of course there are thousands of them. And I had no idea if it was grade school, high school, college or up! Never did find it. Well Wednesday night at our guild meeting we had a speaker who recently had a quilt on the cover of a quilt mag so it kind of reminded me about the book. So I went out to Prentice Hall's website again yesterday and what did I find! Right on the top of the "new books" listing was the American Lit book with our electric quilt pic! It was so exciting! I posted a picture of what the electric quilt looked like at the end of our round robin below. You can click here to see it on the book cover!

And my favorite part? The book is a consise anthology of American Lit but is 2400+ pages! That is one hefty book! Hate to think of the non-consise version!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Best I can do for Halloween Quilts

Tonya - this is the best I can do for sharing Halloween quilts!!!!!

Closeup of quilting on crow sign:

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

24 Hour Challenge

Well I promised some pics and information on my youngest daughter's middle school 24 hour challenge. Our 6th, 7th and 8th grade holds a 24 hour challenge each fall where the kids run 1 mile about every 2 hours for a total of 10 miles over a 24 hour period. It is a huge event. And at any point in time there is some team running.

This is Emily's last year as she is in 8th grade and had a good time. It is an amazing event. I think the parent's get into it just as much as the kids!

You have a tent city for the girls and a tent city for the boys, with fire pits inbetween. The kids are required to stay on the track or in the tent areas - if they leave they get kicked out and sent home. And between 2:00am and 4:00am they are required to stay in their tent. (As a mom - wow, 2 full hours of required tent time to sleep - like that happens!)

This year Emily volunteered an old tent we had, so Thursday night I had to go to the field at school and put up the tent! Then Saturday morning take it all down! At least Emily is good at tents and helped a lot. The other girls she slept with wouldn't help at all - geez. Course part of the fun is all the food they eat! They have coolers outside each tent for drinks (kids bring their own) and then one parent got them Subway for lunch, and the school orders out pizza for all the kids Friday night. At 8:00pm I got a call - "Mom, can you bring us ice cream!" So at 8:30 I'm off to the ice cream shop where my middle daughter works to get blizzard type things for the girls! Saturday morning the parents cook pancakes and sausage for the kids. Oh and of course the kids bring all kinds of snacks and games for the tents!

Now this sounds not so bad until you realize how many kids there are! This year it was just under 300 kids! Talk about one big party! But they have this down to an exact science and it is unbelievable how smoothly it all runs and how well behaved the kids are. Everyone shows up at the track on time - there is no mingling in the tent areas between girls and boys (couse they can all hang out in the fire pit area together), and you wouldn't believe the number of parents that come to just sit around the fire pits all night long!

I think Emily had a great last year. But boy she slept most of the day on Saturday and went to bed at 8:00pm Sat night! I don't know when the last time was she went to bed that early willingly!

Enjoy more pics here:

Monday, October 03, 2005

Final Star for Finn

Well as promised here is my final star for Finn. I do however have a TON more quilts made with stars - I think every quilter has a ton of star quilts.

This quilt is called Sun, Moon and Stars! My kids just can't figure out why I can have a sun and a moon out at the same time! :) I did this quilt this summer at an overnight retreat and just love it! The star points are put in with pivot seams. Once we got the hang of the placement they went really fast.

And I thought I would show you one other star quilt I have that was a BOM I did online years ago. Very different fabrics and colors for me but it did turn out pretty cool. I figure this one is almost a Tonya quilt with the purple.

I had such a busy weekend I don't know where to start. Basically had a fun time seeing my mom and sister for a few days and did a ton of running with the kids! Tomorrow I'll have some fun pics of Emily from her 24 hour challenge at school. Oh and I went to a quilt show that was ok, but I was expecting more so that was a bit of a disappointment. Fill you all in later this week.