Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!

What a year! Shew! I'm tired just thinking about it. But smiling, too! I have travelled and seen so many things that I never dreamed. Visited with friends and family that I hold dear in my heart. It has been a great year. I won't bore you with the details, but you can take my word for it!

We will be spending the evening quietly, here at home. Sounds so lovely. I made a pot of funny soup- it'll be funny if anybody eats it! Just some of this and that- with almost no carbohydrates- something else I did this year. I ate way too much! Time to moderate!

These little blocks were designed by Sandra Peterson. (Check out her gallery at ) She is a local quilter- who got 2nd place at Paduccah, this year. Nice to know a celebrity, huh? And she's just as nice as she can be. Well, she made up these blocks for a paper piecing class that I had the chance to take this fall. I choose most of my fabrics from a new line of Tonga batiks. You didn't expect more than a brief foray into the world of flannel, did you? I was hoping to finish a small wallhanging of 4 blocks in time for the holidays... but somehow, time got away from me. Wonder how that happens? So, two blocks are done and I am hoping to finish the next two in the coming month. No hurry now that the year is at an end, right? As I get older, I have started to appreciate the winter months more. No, not the cold, but the time. Months stretched out before me with no weeds to worry with, no getting out because the roads are treacherous... just some time. When I was a kid I just hated this time of year- the months between Xmas and Easter. Cold and lacklustre. But now, I see it as a perfect opportunity to slow down and enjoy the time. Time to cook a pot of slow-simmering soup. Time to read to the children- who aren't busting to get outside to play. Time to sew, and quilt, slowly, with no deadlines or obligations. Ahh... winter. It's not so bad as you might think!

Have a blessed year, my friends in blogland. I love our time, together, learning new things, meeting new people, and just laughing at ourselves, sometimes! ~Nina

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Smiles all around!
We have returned from our trip to Alabama. Most of us had never been there and, I think it is safe to say, we all had a wonderful time! It was much warmer there than here at home. Imagine that. When we visited one of the state parks(Tannehill) down there, the girls sighed and said they sure wished they could put their feet in the water... and I figured, well, why not? It was 45* and that seemed rather springlike to us. So in they went. And I'd just like to say for the record- not a sniffle has been heard and the water exploration happened days ago. I whispered to Bill that I didn't figure they'd last very long. I gave Eva 10 minutes- 'cause she's a duck and Bekah 2 minutes- 'cause she really doesn't like the cold. 30 minutes later, I was having to coax them out. I'll say it again. What a wonderful time we all had.
I am too tired to get much done, today. Just spending the day loafing and sleeping. Trips will do that to you, but my mental batteries have been all charged up and I am full of ideas of things that I would like to get done as soon as my old body catches up with my old brain!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Happy Holidays From Our Family To Yours!!

Holiday Cheer!

Told you I was gonna work with something other than batiks, eventually. I had a pretty good time, too. These are all flannels- Maywood Studios, Benartex, Marcus Brothers and Moda. I haven't worked much with flannel- it seems that people either love it or hate it. I thought it worked nicely- you do have to open some seams when there is a lot of bulk, but I do that with the batiks, so nothing too bothersome. I found this pattern in an old magazine- sorry, can't find it right now. But it was super simple with just hour-glass blocks and bear claws. Guess what? I put a dark green/watercolor minkee on the back- talk about a snuggly quilt! Hope you all have a wonderful Xmas!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Evabeth's feast...

Last, but not least... Evabeth is 8. She is a sweetheart, in a grown-up kind of way. She tends to take things seriously. She was with John when he last fell on his face and she promptly checked him out, said he was bleeding and then burst into tears. Give that girl a job, though, and you can count on it getting done. She is very attached to her younger sister. When Eva and I went shopping for her feast, she must have asked me 5 times, "What do you think Bekah is doing, now?" The only time you find them apart is when Bekah gets too cold outside and Eva still wants to play. Eva would stay outside all day if I let her. (Every 6 months we take her picture in this exact spot. It is at Riley Childrens' Hospital, in Indianapolis. My nephew is a patient there, also, and I think my sister should take his picture there, too. OK, Lisa?)



Her feast was scrumptious. While she and I were in the kitchen preparing her feast, Joe hollers in that she needs to hurry up because he is starving- he likes to tease the girls. She yells back, "The longer it takes, the gooder it will be!" Joe had a good laugh over that one! I think she was trying to create the atmosphere of a fancy restaurant, because she had Jacob stroll around the table playing his violin. He has a very loud violin-did you know different ones sound different- like a personality? Finally, she had to ask him to go ahead and stop, so we could hear ourselves think. She had chocolate dipped strawberries- she dipped them herself and they were soooo good. And she also had orange wedges in a big trifle bowl. She had to have candles at her feast because she knows how much the boys like to squeeze the oil from the peels and make sparks over the flame. You haven't tried that? Well, it is a lot of fun and I don't normally condone such behavior... but it WAS feast day!(Bill is getting nervous that the boys' table manners are going to shock the southerners... I have a feeling I know what he'll be talking about during their 9 hours of captivity on the drive down to Bama.) She had chocolate milk in stemware- Abe is going to be so happy when the fancy glasses get put away. He has to cover the top of the cup with one hand as he lifts it and brings it to his lips- to keep it from spilling over! He is so careful. Her main course was waffles, polish sausages and poptarts. giggle. But they thoroughly enjoyed everything. Her dessert was angel food cake with strawberries and whipped cream. She went around the table and used her best British accent to take their orders for dessert. When they said they'd have both strawberries and whipped cream on their cake she'd thank them for co-operating!


We found a deal on her gifts. they were clearing out some shelves at Walmart- making these little stationary kits down to 10cents. We bought about 20, at least. They had a stapler, extra staples, tape and a hole punch- all in a cute little plastic duffle bag. She was so tickled with the find- she loves to draw and doodle and paste and punch. She could stay quite content in my scrapbook supplies- she has her own collection of less expensive papers. All in all, the feast season passed very well.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Paper garland...

Do we take Xmas cards for granted? I sure don't! I just love them!! I get all excited when we receive them. Will it have a wonderful pastoral scene? Or better yet, glitter? Oh, I do love the glitter ones. Or maybe something funny? Or whimsy? Or some adorable woodland animals? They are just so much fun to get! Of course, the fact that they come from loved ones and family and friends... well, that's nice, too! But can you imagine what a cool thing it would be to get these colorful little creations say, 100 years ago? What a treasure! I do have a problem with them, though. I can't bear to part with them. Just throw them away? Oh, say it never comes to that!! This is just one of the uses we have found for cards around our house. We make garlands out of them. Isn't it just too festive and fun? We crop them down to a nice size- I love the cropper- it has done for scrapbooking what rotary cutters have done for quilting. Sometimes, we even get 2-3 peices from a card. We punch holes in the upper corners and string them on satin ribbon- I get a whole roll for 50 cents. Ivory usually looks best, I think, but blue would be pretty as well as traditional green or red. I go under the card with my ribbon so that it doesn't cover any of the picture. They look great over the mantle- if you have one, or across a window sill or sash. I have ours hanging on the wainscoting. We also make gift tags from them and even hang them on the tree- very pretty. But the one most people rave over is the garland. It makes a really wonderful, homemade, thoughtful gift- at no expense! It is kind of victorian and just charming. And it saves a beautiful peice of paper from being thrown away. So it's "green", too. Cool.

Closer look at garlands...

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

John's Feast...

Some of you may feel that this isn't a good picture of John. Trying to find a picture of John where his lip, eye or mouth isn't bashed in... now that's a challenge. His older brothers keep threatening to teach him to put his hands out and catch himself. And yet, to no avail. John is like that. He's funny and happy. Happy and funny. He is 11 years old and a bundle of energy and enthusiasm.

His feast was an extravaganza of kingdomness. At least, that's what he said! He had the table decorated with a golden lame table cloth, lots of candles, the good china with the gold edges... and colored twinkle lights. His gift was an assortment of mugs. His meal... well, his apetizer was Totino's pizza rolls and a pomegranate- (have you ever eaten a pomogranate? If you haven't you really need to try them. They are yummyliscious. Even if I can't spell them correctly. We just score the peel- like you do when you are peeling an orange and pull it apart. Now, there are a lot of seeds but well worth the effort.) His main course was home-made macaroni and cheese with little smokies in it and... beenieweenies. Wouldn't you just love to visit this kingdom? "Sire, your beenie weenies are served." A regal dish. And he had pomagranite floats or rootbeer floats. His dessert was orange dream popcicles. What a kid!
And I forgot! He also made crowns for everyone out of gold foil and glued little plastic jewels on them. So I had a table of royalty!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Do you see what I see?...
do you see what I see?... a star, a star...
Nope, scratch that! ...a pucker and a pleat, just waiting to be quilted in...
It's not nearly so poetic. And it ain't pretty, either. See how taut the quilt is on the bottom- which is the right side of the quilt- and how floppy it is on the top(left side?) Today, I'm going to take a minute and describe the problem, the cause and the remedy. Just in case some of you are mystified. And I know that this has probably happened to all of us, but we don't want it to ever happen again, now do we? This is not by any means an exhaustive study on the topic, just what works for me...
This quilt is basically a quilt of borders. Just long vertical stripes. I think it is a cute quilt- love the colors. It's for a 3 year old's daybed. (Guess what? The backing is horizontal stripes. Another quilt of borders.) The cause of this extra fabric on one side of her quilt is simple. She started on the right side and kept adding to the left. She would sew on a strip- until she came to the end- and then lop it off, add another strip, lop it off. Guess what happens? Yes, the fabric that is being sewn stretches and grows with every additional strip until the finished quilt is 7 inches longer on the left than on the right! No kidding. Now that the quilt has lots of fullness sewn in, there is no way to quilt it out. No way to cut it out. One just has to ease it in. And I consider myself the queen of ease, but there is only so much one can do with 7 inches. I did get the finished quilt to be only one inch longer on the left side, but with a fair amount of puckering in the quilting. You just can't tighten it flat because the right side is stretched to it's limits. Understand?
Now that we have shown where the fullness/length comes from, and some of the things that won't fix it (I don't consider puckers in a quilt top an acceptable fix) let's look at a more reliable remedy. Any time you are adding strips to the side of a quilt-such as in borders- always measure the quilt across it's middle, cut the strips to fit and then with a few pins, make it fit. Please avoid the temptation to make the quilt fit a strip. There is just too much room for variation. But think about it. If I am adding a 50" strip to both top and bottom of my quilt and a 62" strip to both sides- my quilt is going to be the same size all the way around. The sides are the same and the top and bottom are the same. Ain't that cool? Now for a quilt of vertical stripes, I'd think the best way of tackling it would be to cut all of your strips to the desired length and then, starting with the middle stripe, add a strip to each side, pinning, until completed. It only takes a few pins to hold the strips in place- one in the middle, one at each end and maybe two more in between the middle and the end. No more oddly shaped quilts! And it is such an easy step to do- a little measuring and a little pinning. No puckers, no floppy borders... ahh... all is right in the world.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Jacob's Feast...

Jacob(14y) is our third son. He's very quick on the up-take- you know, the kid who always gets the joke a few seconds before anyone else. He has always been a very easy child to be around- as long as you didn't expect him to do things like the other boys. He is more than capable of entertaining himself and never minded being different. He's very creative and loves being outdoors. He loves to read- especially books about survival or animals. He has an extensive rock collection and can spot a geode a mile away. He plays the fiddle and likes bluegrass music. Not your typical teen. And we like that about him!

His feast was uniquely his own. He popped in a bluegrass cd and took the children their gifts before they were invited in- bandanas in different colors and designs. The had to wear them to the feast. His bluegrass music was a hint- he was having a hoe-down! He had removed the kitchen table and had set up a "fire ring" in the middle of the kitchen floor. He had gathered some big rocks from the borders of my flower garden- no simple feat considering that they were covered in snow and frozen to the ground! Inside of his fire ring, he had stacked some wood, some flickering light bulbs and a kerosene lamp. It was really cool. We all sat around the "fire" on quilts and he served up a super feast of down-home food, all offered up in big cast iron skillets. He had boneless bbq chicken wings for an appetitzer, pop in bottles, and then steak, mashed potatoes, corn from the garden and white rolls- I don't rememer the last time I made rolls with white flour, but there was a whole lot of pounding on the floor, that night! Apparently, they liked them alot. We had also sweetened our butter with a little powdered sugar and cinnamon. His dessert was Texas sheet cake- which everyone groaned as they ate because they were just too full! It kept, and I noticed the whole pan had disappeared by lunch the next day. A couple of the older boys cringed over the choice of music, but they were good-natured about it. It really was a great feast!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Joe's feast...

Meet Joe. He's 17 and a perfectly nice fella. People tend to really like Joe. What's not to like? He has a ready smile and a quiet way. I was trying to think of the right words to describe Joe and I asked Abe, "What's a good thing about Joe?" and Abe answers back real quick, "He loves us." Yep, he does. He is very sweet with all of his brothers and sisters. I've never heard him complain about them getting into his things or bugging him. Joe likes to read and draw and is working, full-time, for Habitat For Humanity. He does have a facial hair fascination, but no one's perfect.

Joe's feast was a great event. He had decided that he would buy the kids a movie to share as their gift and then he would serve up a "movie night!" How fun is that? He bought them the new Harry Potter movie and you should have seen the raptures over that! Joseph got a big kick out of the girls' squeals and their big eyes! Because he works and doesn't get home until dinner time, he kept his feast simple but full of the things that the kids like the best. We had our Bible reading and prayer in the living room and then he shooed all of the kids up to the family room. He served them pizza and soft pretzels and, of course, popcorn. He had a 5 gallon bucket full of ice and canned pop. His dessert was the biggest bowl I have, filled to the brim, with candy. Talk about a sugar high! It took Abe two days to mellow out!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

July 4th...

Well, yeah I know it isn't July... You see, this is how it starts...

Every spring, around April, I get all geared up to make a Quilt of Valor. A quilt for a soldier. I figure that I could finish it by July. Seems, kinda, more patriotic that way. Does it ever happen? Nope. The quilt always gets done, mind you, but closer to Christmas than 4th of July. And every year, I have no idea where the quilt is going...but by the time I am finished, someone has told me about "this soldier" and suddenly my quilt has a home. It just works out that way. Quilt done by Christmas and going to a soldier that knows somebody that I know. So I don't consider it a failure. Just a slight delay.

I think this quilt has a cool story. I started it in, yep, April. Some of you may remember the starter block. I messed around with the design until I came up with something I (and the guys in my family) liked. I loved the printed batik. Maybe not traditional patriotic fabric, but it works for me. So I have my design and a stack of fabric and I start cutting and sewing. I had to put the project up at the end of May because I was going on a big trip out West, to Oregon. Here's where it gets kinda fun.

I waited in the airport for 5 hours. No, this is not the fun part, but it had a vital role in the unfolding of this story. There was a rainstorm in Ft. Worth, so the planes were all delayed. When we finally boarded our plane, I was a little stir crazy and knowing me, I strike up a conversation with my flight companion. Now, I don't always do this. I flew all the way to Boston with nary a word passing my lips aside from, "Diet Coke, please." See? I can be quiet when I wanna be. But I had sat and sat and sat at the Indianapolis airport... and I was ready to reconnect with the human race. So... my flight companion. He was an older gentleman. A sweet face. I said hello and aren't you glad we're finally taking off and why are you traveling to Ft Worth? Yes, it was nosy and I hate to say it, but I'll get a whole lot worse in just a few minutes. He says he is going to help his daughter take care of her new baby while her husband comes to Indy for the 500. I said how sweet that was. Then I ask if he's retired and he said no, he was going to retire, but then his wife passed away and what was the point of being home all day, alone? Well, that is very sad, indeed. How did she pass?- oh, yes, I did. Can you believe it? Well, he starts to munch rather slowly on his package of trail mix... She had been sick for a while and then she took her own life. Oh! I am so sorry! And incredibly shocked- not at all the answer I would have expected. But you know what? He seemed to really want to talk about it. I'm not just saying that because I pried it out of him. He didn't get into details, thankfully, but he was really working through his grief and it was, oddly enough, a beautiful thing to hear and watch as he described how he had finally decided that her actions weren't a reflection of him and their 40 year marriage. She was a good mother and wife, but she had diabetes and mental illness and a failing mind can kill you just as fast as a failing heart can. That made a whole lot of sense to me. Chronic illness takes it's toll on the whole person.

He had a very gentle way about him. He went on to describe his family and you could just see how proud he was of his son and daughter. His son was in the Navy and was due to retire in 2008- he loved the Navy, but he knew he needed to be home with his wife and three small children... Eureka! Yep, I just got my military quilt an assignment! (I was even more forward and asked him for his address and his son's name... and believe it or not, he gave it to me. I guess I looked harmless enough.) And then he was telling me about his daughter who had finally had her first child at nearly 40 years of age- after years of wondering if it would ever happen- guess who that "Leaping Lizards!" quilt is for? Alex Rex is his grandson.

It's funny how a little conversation with a complete stranger... who had such sadness in his life... made me feel better about the world. Yes, there's a lot of brokenness around us, but there is a lot of strength, too. And that should encourage all of us to keep trying. Maybe, to be more watchful of opportunities to serve and help. Service seems to be politically incorrect, but really, it's a pathway to joy.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Bekah's feast...

This is Rebekah and she's 6 years old. And her favorite color is purple. She's a very sweet girl with a timid soul but a very courageous heart. I say she is my bravest child because the others are so fearless, they have little to overcome. Bekah isn't like that. She's plenty afraid, but she pushes herself past that and is just a really lovely person. She loves taking care of people and is, oddly enough, our only child to have suffered a broken bone or stitches. She's good company and a pleasure to be around. She loves hanging out with me and is most often found wherever I am, drawing pictures of beautiful princesses with long flowing hair.

Her feast was last night and we had such a good time in the kitchen, together. "Mom, you just keep cooking there, while I take care of this bread." She's a natural at the cooking, herself, and even I was amazed at how much she knew. She made "nuthins" for her appetizer- blueberry muffins. Her main dish was spaghetti- 'cause it's daddy's favorite- and italian bread. Her dessert was chocolate chip cookies-also daddy's favorite... do we see a trend here? and ice cream sundaes. We had to get vanilla ice cream because... yep, it's daddy's favorite. As you can tell by the picture, he was very appreciative. Apple cider to drink and "chrismassy lollipops" for her gifts. Every now and then, she would holler out through the curtain to her siblings, "I hope I'm not taking too long! I'm certainly trying not to!" So funny. Such a responsible hostess.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Abe's Feast...

This is Abe. He's four. He's been called a lot of things...snickerdoodle, buggerhead, snugglebug, and sugarplum...just to name a few. Abe has a very sunny disposition. He is the youngest of our eight children. He is adorable and it would be very easy to baby him...if he didn't have 5 older brothers. His brothers have pretty much made a stand that he isn't to be babyfied- just 'cause he's the youngest. They treat him like a man, and usually he lives up to their expectations. He does get a whole lot of attention, but what ya gonna do with 10 people living in the house? He ran errands with me a couple days before his feast and we were gone for 9 hours- not a whine or a wiggle. As good as gold. One and a half hours was spent with the dietician- he ate breakfast there and drew on the paper napkins. I spent an hour in the quilt shop- he sat and played with his one puzzle. The rest of the day was spent in and out of the car and he just kept hopping... in and out, commenting, ever so politely, about the weather and the state of the roads- they were "slick as snot." OK, that was my observation, and he spent the rest of the day amazed by the quantity of snot on the roads. "It's really gross, Mom." I finally explained what a "metaphor" is and he seemed quite relieved.

Abe planned his own feast. He's been plotting for quite some time, because when I asked what he would like to serve his guests, he immediately listed off his appetizer, entree and dessert. If it didn't sound so much like him, I might have thought he had been coached. The older boys like to use him like a ventriliquits does his doll. "Abe say, What's up with the dealio?" And he's a brilliant mimic. He had apples with dip- that caramel stuff. When we were shopping, he saw the mini marshmallows- the rainbow variety, and says, "This would work, Mom." And they "worked" very nicely. He served fetticini with bread sticks- which he twisted himself and dipped into garlic butter. His dessert was jello. What 4 year old doesn't love jello? With fruit in it, of course. And whipped cream on top. He picked the brightest of my tableclothes for the table. (A vintage one with red morning glories on it.) We found some chandelier parts from the thrift shop and paired them up with a couple candlesticks from the dollar store- sweet! Added two red tapers and Abe had his feast. I almost forgot about his gift. He found these glow sticks that are attatched to these funky mouthpeices... anyway, when you are all standing in a dark room it's a riot!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Daniel's Feast...

Daniel is 16. He's the coolest dude I know. Without even trying or caring. He loves to hunt- and is very good at it. If he's home, he's either studying or shooting hoops- Indiana has a basketball hoop in every yard, I'm pretty sure. He volunteers at Habitat For Humanity for more hours than they can admit, and is a real hard worker. He loves to eat- must have a tape worm 'cause he is just so skinny. But every time I make soup, he comes in and sniffs and says, "Oh Mom!! I knew you loved me!" What's not to love? Can I just get off-topic for a moment... See that hat? Daniel loves his hats. He has a camoflage Ted Nugent ball cap that he loves. It is tattered and torn and that's what he likes about it. Some of you may only know Ted Nugent as a rocker, but he is some kinda crazy hunting enthusiast, too. Well, a friend of Dan's "borrowed" his hat and took it to Alabama. Daniel didn't know where it had gone, but you should have seen the moping and the searching- he even secretly accused "Elder Carter and Elder Campbell" of lifting it! Those poor baby-faced Mormon volunteers... When Daniel found out that it had been "borrowed" -as a joke, he was so aggravated- stomping around the house, accusing his brothers of being disloyal, as they were in cahoots with the hat-napper- Dan was cahooted. All in good fun, mind you. So the friend sent this Alabama hat as a substitute- it's a very cool cap. He's been wearing it, but we all tease him about being unfaithful to his beloved "Nuge" hat. We're hopefully headed down to Alabama at the end of the month- Dan thinks for the primary purpose of retrieving his hat.

So, about Daniel's feast... he had a cheese theme. Only a 16 year old guy could think of that. He decorated his table with little white lights and Cheeze-its. We kept eating the decorations! His appetizer was cheese and crackers- several different kinds. His entree was what we call Cheesy-Burger buns. My friend, Kim, started that. You use your favorite roll recipe, let rise, and divide it into pieces- layer cheese then a meat mixture(hamburger seasoned with some tomato sauce, garlic, parsley, paprika...whatever, to make it tasty) and then another piece of cheese. Wrap it all up into a ball that is about the size of a tennis ball. Let rise, again and bake with the sealed-side down. The cheese gets all melty... mmmm. He also had chili-cheese fries. Two bucks for what he had for dessert...yep, cheescake with cherries. I could feel my arteries clogging as I ate. I probably don't have cheese even once a month, and here we were eating it by the bucketful. Wallace and Grommit would have been in cheese-heaven. Daniel had Coca-cola in little bottles for his drink. He gave everyone their own pack of bubble gum for their gift. He was annoyed that he couldn't find anything "cheesy" for a gift, but the kids are still chomping on the gum, so it was a big hit.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Leapin' Lizards!

This is a little quilt for a little feller. His name is Alex Rex. Now, I thought that was an odd combination for a name, too. But I'm not one to talk. Nothing near as odd as my kids! Turns out he is named after both of his grandfathers, so I think that's real sweet. Alex is celebrating his 1st birthday this month and I still need to get the label on- it's all printed up and only needs about 10 minutes of attention and then it'll be on it's way. This is a Twisted Sister pattern- called "truly twisted" because the fans run in alternate directions. That was accidental, because I forgot to lay out all of the fabric right-side up when I was cutting around the template. But hey! it's fun, right? And I thought that the lizard fabric was bright and cheery and he'd still think it was cool when he's 5y. Can't wait to show you the one that is going to his uncle. But I didn't have my tallest helpers here today and I could only get a corner in the frame... Maybe next time.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Paul's feast...
The feast days began with Paul this year. (For those of you wondering what a "feast day" is, please feel free to peruse the archives from last December.) Paul is DS #4. He is still waters. He doesn't say a whole lot, but what he does say has been carefully thought out and pondered for days and days. Then it all bubbles over and it is... kinda amazing. He is brilliant- I never taught him to read. He taught himself. Just listening as I taught one of his older brothers. I never had a clue he was learning until he sat down and read me a book. Quintessential Paul. Unless you think he is flawless, let me just say that I am always in-the-know of where he has been and what he has been up to by the "Hansel and Gretel" trail he leaves behind. A trail of shoes, socks, wrappers and miscellaneous objects follow him. I apologize now to his future wife- I really have tried to train him better, but he's something of an absent-minded professor type. His mind is just too busy to pay attention to silly things like picking up after himself. But a sweeter, more conscientious young man, you'll never meet.
Paul is a huge Redwall fan. Redwall is a series of childrens' books written by an Engishman named Brian Jacques. These stories revolve around a group of mice and their woodland friends- and enemies. Paul's feast had a theme- Redwall. Think lots of nuts and fruit! Brian Jacquess spends an inordinate amount of time describing the feasts that take place at Redwall Abbey. Paul loves detail. His appetizers were tiny, little mouse-sized tarts filled with cheese or fruit. He made them himself of Pillsbury pie crusts and Black current jam mixed with blackberries and raspberries. His beverage was "black current wine" (grape juice mixed with 7-up) and "strawberry fizz" (Hawaiian punch mixed with 7-up.) He had dishes filled with dried fruit and honey-roasted peanuts. Then things got interesting, because he started getting concerned that there wouldn't be enough food. You can't appreciate how concerned he was. Paul is not a "whatever" kinda guy. Everything's deliberate and thought out. So he had creamed corn from the freezer, a fruit salad, cheese sticks, and then potpies. (Redwallians are, of course, vegetarians, but Paul was thoughtfully considerate of his brothers who are not the biggest seafood fans.) His dessert was cherry and apple turnovers with whipped cream. He made these with just pie filling and crescent rolls and we all agreed they were very tasty. I think Brian Jaques would have approved! He had the cutest gifts- he found 4 wooden spoons for a $1. So we bought two sets and cut all of the handles down to the same size. We wrapped those in a peice of homespun- for napkins- and tied them with raffia. So they had to eat their meal with a wooden spoon! So funny, as the spoon was a mite bigger than Abe's mouth. He managed. Paul needn't have worried about there being enough food- we all had to be rolled away from the table. That's all part of a feast, though!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Bay of Fundy...

We interrupt this regularly scheduled quilting blog to visit with a fellow Bay of Fundy-phile. I'm gonna post a few pictures if you guys don't mind. Nothing quilty. Well... I can't exactly promise that, can I? Here we go, Terri.

This is one of my favorite pictures that I took while in Maine. I can't say why, exactly... The quality is poor- the backlighting on the conservation officer makes the foreground grainy, the rain obscures the view out the lighthouse windows. Maybe I love it because it recalls the place so well. It was COLD. And as you can see, raining. And the wind was blowing so hard you could feel the gusts shake the lighthouse tower. I was completely enchanted. The conservation officer- I have no idea of his name, but it's a small place, bet we could find out... he kept trying to get out of my way so that I could get a good picture. I finally had to tell him that I wanted him in the picture. (I was probably as red as my hair! but my! doesn't he just look like a Mainer! He said he acts like one, too!) He keeps the lighthouse- the fresnel(3rd order?) is kept by the coast guard.

East Quoddy...

is out there... somewhere. Pretty bad when you can't find a light house in a storm! You might not be able to tell it, but it was raining buckets and the wind was blowing so strong, it nearly blew my toboggan right off my head! It did completely annihilate my friend Harriet's brand new umbrella. So I dashed out of the bus, down the path, through a grove of pine trees- which I am sure smelled lovely, but I was too busy trying to stay alive and keeping my camera from getting soaked to notice the smell of the fir trees- and snapped this one and only picture of a lovely lighthouse- (bought a book later, so I'd have a better picture) and ran back onto the bus- thoroughly soaked. It was crazy, man! East Quoddy is in Canada.

Um...might have got a little caught up in detail...

Here are a couple of the postcards that I made up after my trip to Maine. (Did I mention what a wonderful time I had?) So I came home and was all inspired to make postcards. I got these 2 done and ran out of umph. Really, the umph is still there, just the time that runs short. Bummer.

The top picture is of my favorite lighthouse- West Quoddy. It is on the Bay of Fundy and the weather there was incredible. You see why we need lighthouses! It is red striped so that it is easily seen in snow- a Canadian tradition. East Quoddy, in Canada, has a red cross painted on it's side. I did a lot of hunting for the right fabrics from my stash and fussy cutting. Amazing what a piece of fabric looks like when you cut it down to nothing! Or use the reverse side. I put a heat-fix swarovski crystal in as the lights and they do twinkle.

The bottom one is of Pemaquid- it sits on a point with the most incredible stone formations- they look like stripes of wood in the ground. This postcard is kinda tongue-in-cheek. When I got home from my big trip, I was showing the kids my pictures. Eva(8) and Bekah(6) asked, at almost the same time, "Why do they have lights in their elevators?" I was puzzled by what they meant and then it hits me- the lighthouses really do look like our grain elevators(silos!) I had a good giggle over that one and so I moved the stone up closer to the lighthouse so that it kinda looks like plowed furrows- if ya didn't know any better! I had a great time piddling with these and I plan on making a full set, but I'm thinking that they might not ever make it to the mail box.

The little torn strips of fabric are for a class I taught on postcards- they are overdyes from my stash that Sarah and I made for our birthdays. The class was a hit and I even had a couple kits left over that are gonna make it, someday, to my Mom. I have put the post card mess up- worse than scrapbooking- and I am working on getting quilts quilted. Wait a minute, I sound way too responsible. Let me fix that... I am also sewing on a paper peicing project. Fooling around when I should be working. There, that sounds more like the me I know!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Golden days of Autumn...

The sun is shining today. Ya gotta love that. I am trying to get caught up on chores after company has moved on. Hard to get back in the swing of things, when all I really want is a nap! Doing the Flylady thing by getting all the linens washed and replaced for the next shift. Sheets and towels are easy.

This little wallhanging was something I peiced last winter. Just got around to quilting and binding it. It's simple and seems to match my mood, lately. I have been really pushing to get all of other folks' holiday quilting done so that I might have some time to do some of my own... doesn't that sound optimistic? Hope I don't get good and sick of it, and then just take a week off!!

The guys went deer hunting last weekend. DS Jacob(14y) got his first deer- 2 does. I guess that part of the state is overrun with deer. He was thrilled and I am happy for the meat. Seems to be taking me longer than it should to get it all processed and in the freezer. I am going to have to beg the older boys to give me a hand- the little ones are doing their best, but there is only so much you can do with a butter knife- as DS Abe(4) will tell you. But they are happy workers and we are slowing getting through it all. Good enough!

Friday, November 16, 2007

"Love is kinda crazy with a spooky little girl like you..."
Growing up, my Mom had an Andy Williams record... remember vinyl records? And I had a crush on him. He would sing "spooky" and I'd get all giggly. "First you'd say, "No... I've got some plans for tonight..." and then you'd stop... and say..."alright."" I loved that song! "Windy" and "My beautiful balloon" was also on that record. Whenever I'm in an elevator or a department store and hear one of those songs, it just makes me smile. This little wallhanging also makes me smile.
Everytime someone sees it, they say, "That's kinda spooky." And I tilt my head to the side and say, "Really?" Then they'll backtrack and say something like, "In a good kind a way." And then I smile. Funny thing about this little piece. I was doing some bleach resist for a friend. I did the usual and when I was running short of new ideas, I had only 2 peices of fabric left and decided to just make a couple things for me. John plopped his hands down on the one peice and said, "spray my hands." Sounded like a plan to me. So we did. It turned out cute so I sent it to my friend along with the others we made that day. Then, of course the girls had to get in on the fun. I only had one piece of fabric left so they'd have to share. Eva got there first so she placed her hand closest to me and then Bekah had to stretch her hand out across the fabric to get it in. I sprayed and we resisted and dunked and washed and dried... surprise!!! the girls' looks dimensional, because Bekah is 2 years younger and smaller- in the distance. Creating depth with bleach resist is just the coolest thing. And the way the bleach puddled in certain spaces... spooky. But they are my sweet girls' hands and so I guess I don't really see it that way. As Bob Ross would have said, "It's a happy little accident." That's maybe a little spooky! I was very hesitant to quilt it as the resist areas are a bit subtle and I didn't want to muddy it up too much, but I think it turned out fine. The borders I made by fan folding the fabric and then spraying the bleach solution on the folds- front and back. I was afraid that it might be too busy for the piece, but the monochromatic color keeps it kinda calm- still letting the hands sizzle a bit.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Plain Jane...

I love peicing. When I am sitting there in front of my little Singer 301, just matching up peices and feeding them through... that's when I rememeber why I like to quilt. Some people really like choosing fabrics or drafting patterns... and I enjoy all of that, too, but the sewing... ah man! I love that! I hadn't done any in quite some time- been busy traveling, trying to get ready for winter, laundry... always the laundry!... and then last night, I staged a little coup on that laundry and I sewed.

Dh's cashier, Jane, is retiring and this weekend is her last days in the store, so I threw together this little table runner. I already had a couple of the blocks from a Stack and Whack class I taught a couple years ago. So I sewed up a couple more, set them in a very traditional fabric- just something from the ole stash and voila! a table runner. Of course, then it had to be quilted and bound, but that only took an hour or so and I think it turned out anything but plain. Simple, yes, but not plain.

I have been quilting a green quilt for the past 3 weeks. It has been a bane to my quilting life, but I finally finished it last night so that I could get this little project done. It wasn't that I didn't like the quilt, it just wasn't going smoothly. I ripped and ripped and tried again. Finally, I just decided that it'd have to just suffice and I trudged on to the finish line. One of the problems with it was the YLI thread called teals. The color of gangrene. It just doesn't have the tensile strength of other YLI colors and it drives me to distraction with the constant breaking. Not that it broke all that much- but when you are working with a high contrast thread- every little start and stop shows! I finally decided to finish what I had started- the 4, yes 4!! outer borders and switched to a different variegated green thread for the body of the quilt. Went much more smoothly, but by then, I was good and sick of the project and wished I could have just taken it off the frame and come back to it next month. Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way and once you are all pinned on and the sewing begins, you are pretty much committed. To the loony house! My longsuffering was at it's limit- stress suffering- and so I ad libbed all over that quilt- should have drawn some reference lines, but I was way past that point. Ah, well, all's well that ends well, but there will be no picture to haunt me of that one!

But see? I have a little success story of a table runner to motivate me to keep on trying! Chug chug chug!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Things have been just a tad rocky since I've been home. Nothing major, just trying to get back in the groove. Orchestrating events around 10 people is complicated when you do it every day, but when you take a week and a half off- and then plop yourself back in the middle of it... well, it's a tad confusing. Like trying to get your land legs back under you after being at sea! I can't find anything and I'm not sure what's on the agenda. So when I forget something, you'll just have to pardon me until I am back on track.

I had a great time and it was worth every confusing moment I've had since my return. This picture is of the Rockland Light. It is on a very long breakwater- nearly a mile. We stayed at a hotel on Rockport point that ran up to the breakwater, so we got to walk out there before dinner. It was a weird experience. You have to keep your head down and your eyes on the rocks as they are kinda uneven(nothing like Springpoint- I'll post a picture of that, soon.) So, you've got your head down and you're concentrating on not twisting an ankle... you walk for what seems a real long time, take a break and look up... the lighthouse seems further away than when you started! So you walk some more and still, no closer! Of course the house is just further away than it looks because it is such a straight stretch. But worth the walk, I think. It was a really lovely spot. Completely surrounded by water and I could just imagine how unsettling a bad storm could have been- but look at that gorgeous blue sky! A two mile walk before dinner sure whipped up my appetite and I had some of the best seafood ever. I only ate beef, once, the entire trip. And OK, every evening I had dessert- whatever was chocolate on the menu. (Except for the time I had blueberry pie!) I figured Aunt Dottie would want her money's worth, right?

We stayed at a different hotel, each night. That was always an adventure- to see a new area of Maine and test out a new bed. Didn't have an uncomfortable bed the entire time. We would have to get up early and were on the road by 8am, most mornings, so a bed of those rocks might have seemed pretty comfy. We would drive to several lighthouses each day- there are over 60 lighthouses in Maine. Most of the lighthouses are not open to the public, but they rolled out the red carpet and we got to climb a whole lot of them. That was my favorite part- the views were gorgeous, and it was just so cool to see what someone else saw- a couple hundred years ago, ya know? Our lunches were mostly boxed lunches prepared by the hotel where we stayed the previous night and we had a few very pleasant picnics. We had to eat on the bus, once, due to rain.

And Aunt Dottie was right, every lighthouse was different. I think the surroundings were the most varied. Some were on islands- I took a whole lot of boat rides. Some were on rocky points. Some were surrounded by balsam trees- oh, the smell was wonderful! Some were very remote and others were smack-dab in the middle of a subdivision. But they were all beautiful and had a lot of history in them.

I was with a small group of 13 people- and that included the bus driver and the tour guide. They were such fun. Two married couples(each married for 43 years!) and the guide and driver were guys, but the rest were gals and we all got along great! There wasn't a single stinker among them! In such a small group, one bad apple could have made the trip less than pleasant, but everyone was so sweet and just wonderful. Not a grumpy word said. I think everybody was just determined to have a great time. We could have sat at different tables at dinner, but we all liked each other so much, the tour guide just started reserving one big table. We had so many hilarious moments over dinner. I have all of their addresses and plan on making a some lighthouse postcards to send to them. I've already gathered up some nice seaside fabrics at work, yesterday. But first... I need clear a path- both physically and mentally. Now where did I put that clothes washer?

Monday, October 15, 2007

One of many...
Nubble Light- also called Cape Neddick.
I had a great time- as you can see, the weather was gorgeous most days and the time that it was rough- well, even that seemed perfect and appropriate as we were in the Bay of Fundy. Today is John's 11th birthday, so I'll be busy "catering" but I'll post more pictures and news about my trip, soon. Just wanted to let you know that I'm home and that my time in Maine was just wonderful!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Big goings on...

Wow! how things can change in a week! The craziest thing happened! And I mean CRAZY! I had a tooth pulled on Monday. No, that wasn't so crazy 'cause it was needing out of there. But as I was loafing that evening, I get a call from my Aunt Dottie. (I am super close to all my aunts- they are just the greatest.)

*Poor baby had broken her foot! She was doing OK, but there was a complication- she was planning this big trip and now the dr was saying she couldn't go! She was so dissappointed, but even more so when she found out it was too late notice for a refund! $2200 down the drain. Did I want to take her place? splutter splutter cough cough! Whoa, dude!

*So she gave me the low down and the only two down sides was the fact that I'd have to buy my own airplane tickets and I'd be gone 9 days! oh, and I had to leave in 3 days! Whoa Nelly! as my ds Joe says. I thought about it, talked to Bill about it... and just felt a bit overwhelmed. I decided that there wasn't any way I could go- I mean, did I even have time to make arrangements for the kids? Could Bill live without me that long?-I'll tell ya, that was the biggest question in my mind. He is very self-sufficient- especially with the kids- a real hands-on kinda guy, but we are very best friends and he gets lonely! So I called her and said I was so sorry, but I just didn't see how I could go. (Guys I'll let you in on a big secret. I am the biggest homebody you are likely to ever meet. I love my home and my family and I get just giddy when I know that I don't have to walk out that door and get in a car for a whole day. Just being here makes me soooo happy.)

*Plus, just to get things even more complictaed, BOTH of my parents were having angioplasty done on Tuesday and Wednesday. (By the way, they both did very well and are expected to go home, this morning.) I think my brain was still a bit fuzzy from the tooth extraction. Well, I slept on it and when I woke up in the morning, I had a new perspective. It could be a whole lot of fun. Buckets of fun. Who couldn't use an all-expense paid vacation? So I'm going! Shocked, aren't you? Not as shocked as I am and as the people who know me are. So ya wanna know where I am going?

"On the road to Boston." That's an old bluegrass tune. Well, I'm flying to Boston, Friday. And from there I am joining my Aunt Dottie's best friend, Debbie- they were going together- and a tour group- of only 11 people, and we are going up the northeastern seaboard all the way to Canada to see a bunch of lighthouses. There will be three boat rides and a couple historical landmarks, besides. All my meals are included and we'll be staying in real nice hotels, too. Bill says that maybe it 's a good thing that I am going without him. He says one lighthouse might be interesting, but do you really need to see 20? Oh, I don't know. Coming from a land-locked state, I've never given lighthouses much thought! Aside from the occasional hymn at church...I suppose I have only thought of them allegorically! So now I'll be finding out if I like them! I really think I shall as I love anything old and still practical. Plus, I'll be eating lobster- for the first time, and sailing on a boat on the ocean, and meeting a lot of new people- something I love doing and find a bit challenging if I am staying home all the time! So, bon voyage! I'll be back on the 15th. I see a lighthouse quilt in my future!

Speaking of old and still practical... My computer is up and running again, but I still haven't figured out how to upload pictures from my camera... so I was browsing through my old pictures and found this one that I never posted. Sarah's Mom sent me these adorable little 3" bowties. I'm not sure of their origins, but she knows I like to use up little bits and pieces. This is one of the wallhangings I made from them. I liked the funky 1940's green- seemed to like each other. I made another one in a soft yellow for Sarah when she was here for our birthdays. I quilted this one in little random baptist fans...hmmmm baptist fans... who do you think it was for? Yep, Darcie- one of the very sweetest people I know.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Better late than never...

This quilt top was made by my friend, Jeanie's, Mom. I figure it was made about 1940. Somewhere around there. She had the whole top done and even marked for quilting, but like a lot of quilters, that's as far as she got. I just followed her lines-figuring they probably won't wash out as they have been in that fabric for the better part of 50 years- and then embellished with some of my own. The blocks were torn- so they were very straight, and then hand-sewn. I did a little stomping on those seams as I don't recall seeing fabirc quite so fragile before- it was just a grade above gauze. But didn't it turn out pretty?

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Utility Quilts...
I love utility quilts. I like their simplicity and their lack of pretensions. Do you know what a utility quilt is for? Of course you do!! It'll keep you warm on a cold winter's night. They're thrifty- often made from scraps of feedsack or pajamas or ticking. The top utility quilt in red, white, and blue was made by my great grandfather and great grandmother, Grover and Oe Miller. They had 14 children and times were often lean on their mountain farm. Is it just me, or does this quilt look artsy-fartsy to you, too? Look how that blue stripe just marches up that bed! It is knotted in blue and white twist- and the red fabric has bled on it and makes it look like there is some purple twist in there, too. There is no batting in this quilt- it is filled with a very lightweight cotton fabric and backed in white feedsack. Sadly, there is a hole smack dab in the middle of the quilt...fixable? yep, I think so.
The second utility quilt is one I bought at a thrift shop for $3. I liked it, even though it has some condition issues- I usually tuck the troubled part up under the pillow- end of issue- but flipped it around so you could see it. I have no problem with loving a quilt up, but setting the poor thing in the sun- for who knows how long...well, that doesn't seem a bit nice to me! The sun has dry-rotted some of the blocks and I think I'll replace them from my own vintage stash. This quilt has no batting either- not even a piece of flannel. It is machine pieced and handquilted- in the ditch, no less. I think this would be a grand way to showcase some cool fabs- look how great they look in those big bricks. And the grey makes a nice setting- some of the greys are flannel. The backing is an old sheet with a pretty pink cuff. Both of the bindings on these quilts are hand rolled.

When they tell you that they want to put a "booster" in your hair color, maybe you should err on the side of caution... They said it would last longer... Of that, I don't doubt. But do you really want it to last longer? That's the question. Oh, I'm not one to sit around whining about a crazy hair job- I mean, it's not like I have to look at it that much. And, technically, it is the season for candy apple red hair, right? Right?! I may have to start wearing make-up though, and that might prove the deal breaker.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Twenty years ago, today...

Who knew this is where we'd be? I had an inkling... can't you tell by that gleam in my eye? We are happy happy happy!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

One of my stolen treasures...

Ok, I didn't actually steal it... or perhaps it depends on who you ask... My Mama said I could have it!! My Papa... well, he didn't even know it was there... OK, here's the story- I'll try to keep it brief, but you know how hard that is for me.

Last weekend, we made a very fast and brief visit to West Virginia to visit my folks and to help my Dad with a chore. He needed some muscle and since I have that in abundance... not personally, mind you, but in the form of a hunk of a husband and 6 sons. Oh, alright, Abe the babe wasn't likely any help, but were we supposed to leave him home? Sheesh, you guys sure are argumentative, today. Maybe my conscience about my stolen loot. So we ran to their place Saturday night (5 1/2 hour drive) and came home Monday night. See? Quick. Well, while Dad was having the guys help him with a very heavy air-conditioner... I found myself downstairs with Mom. I didn't plan on pilfering- she had canned some squash for me that I was going to set out to take home. That was the only pilfering I was planning. But then we got to sorting through boxes. Some of them had eons-old polyester fabric in them that really was nasty- given to Mom by someone else trying to declutter. She took it in pity. Not for the fabric, but in the effort to help a... is there a nice way to say, "Pack Rat?" "Horder?" See, it just doesn't sound nice... How about, "Collector?" We won't say a thing about taste. Getting back to my pilfering... er... collecting. Mom and I threw away about 5 big black trash bags of junk that had seen better days. Nothing of value. Honest. Mostly worn out clothes- and even some we saved. My dad had 10-15 years of Sears uniforms stockpiled... just in case he decided to come out of retirement? Well, we decided they would make a fine quilt- full of memories for the grandkids. See? We really didn't throw anything of value away. Touchy, am I? Well, I did overhear Papa saying how that it is very easy to come into someone else's home and throw away their treasures, but it would be a different story if he came to my house and threw away mine. So I am just saying, yet again, no treasure, either real or perceived, was tossed. And we did find some treasure and that is what I am getting at.

This quilt was made by my maternal grandmother. How cool is that? I just love the idea of it looking down at me from that wall. She passed away 31 years ago, next month. It is machine pieced and hand quilted. She liked the diagonal quilting and did this on several of her tops. I love the blue- don't look so shocked! and the aqua. It is a light and airy quilt and perfect for the summer, but now that Fall is upon us, I'll be taking it down and putting up Abel's quilt. I confess that I also collected a quilt made by both my great grandfather and great grandmother, Grover and Oe. It is a utility quilt and full of love- ie.holes, but I still treasure it and have it sitting on the armoire in a place of honor. I'll try to get a picture of that posted, soon. It is a lot of fun- full of scraps- inside and out! My first quilt- started when I was about 8yrs old, was also found- it is still in blocks. I threatened to assemble the blocks- which some were made by both me and my sister- and giving it to my sister to be "treasured" forever. It is polyester, in pink, navy and maroon. Very bad. Just a simple 9-patch.

Here's a postcard idea I went with- I have lots more. It's fun and bright but could still be masculine. I find guy postcards difficult to make. They start off looking all manly, but by the time I embellish... girly. So no, or little, embellishing on a guy postcard! This has just a touch of metallic thread and some varigated thread.

Oh, and yes, I need Dad to come and help me de-clutter my piano! He can feel free to toss anything he finds on it! "Flylady" would call it a "hot spot." I call it a raging inferno of torture!! This is the landing spot of choice for all of dh's treasures. And I see a Dr. Suess book there, and a beanie, and is that a toy gun? Yeah, right, they all belong on the piano. But ya know? I've given up. When company comes, sometimes I just dump it all in a box and hope he'll be able to find the power bill in time to keep the lights on! Other times, I figure, "what's a little clutter between friends?"

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Happy Birthday Abraham!!!
Someone seems to have grown up, over night! He has always walked with a swagger, but now it seems to be combined with a little march- just like dad! 4 years old! He's my quilting buddy. He keeps a box of toys in the quilting room and can most times be found under my feet- and I love it that way. (I heard a lady say that she was going to put a gate across her sewing room door to keep the kids out... I can see her point, lots of sharp things in there, but here, the kids are always welcome- unless I am using the quilting machine on a particularly difficult peice and I need complete concentration. But they even know how to make a wide circle so as to not stop the flow of me and the machine!) He got a whole bunch of matchbox cars for his birthday so I am sure that they will be whizzing by my feet in the near future!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Girly-Girl Day!

We had a great day at the Heritage Fair in Pendleton, IN. They have a nice quilt show in their museum and I really can't even begin to fathom why-oh-why didn't I take any pictures of that!? But I didn't. I do have proof that we were there as I have a picture of the girls in front of the sign. I have a picture around here, somewhere, from last year and I thought it would be fun to see how they have grown in one year. Can't find it at the moment. typical. The girls and I decided that we are going to enter the Spring Valley quilt show, next year and that way, we'll get in for free! There is no entry fee and no guild membership requirement. And the judging is just "viewers choice." So no negative comments and we'd save $9. Really just a perk, as we all thought it would be fun. The quilt show is held in a log cabin by a creek- very picturesque. And the lighting is very good- pot lights. We must have made three trips up and down their stairs, trying to decide our favorites in each category. And they also had a display of quilts of valor- which reminded me that I need to get mine quilted, though I noticed that several of theirs were just floppies, too. Quilting- the great infinished business.
The bottom picture is in way of an apology for not taking any pictures of the quilts at the show. I made this piece- about 28"x20, to use as a background for some postcards- I got the idea from a tie I saw on the preacher one Sunday... um, well, maybe I was daydreaming just a tad, but the Lord works in mysterious ways. I thought it would make an interesting- and still neutral- background for some bright batik applique. I just wavy cut a bunch of soft grey fabrics and layered them on some pellon, ironed them down and then applique stitched them down. Now they are ready to whack into 4"x6" blocks. I have made up 24 postcards from that one piece, but I haven't had a chance to download from my camera to the 'puter, yet. Speaking of computers, I am hoping that mine will be resurrected by Monday. My computer Gurus have completed their work on it and now I am just looking for a keyboard and a mouse- whatever zapped my computer obviously took a shot at my board and mouse, too. Boo-hiss! I have one laying around here, somewhere. Can't find it at the moment. typical.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Mama's little astronauts...
The girls were fascinated by a movie we watched a couple of weeks ago... "Mom! Look! We're astronauts and this is our spaceship!" How cute is that? I just had to take their picture! Of course, they still look all girly, but I loved the paper bag space suits! Give a kid a cardboard box and you can entertain them for hours!
Speaking of outerspace, did anyone else catch the lunar eclipse, last night? I was so amazed! I got to bed late(2am) and thought I'd skip the whole event, but it seems that it'll occur again in February... standing out on the prairie in the middle of the night in February... um, maybe not. Definitely NOT! And then it isn't supposed to happen for another 8-10 years. So I set my alarm for 4:45am- after trying to figure out Universal time, minus 5 hours, plus 1 hour... and who says my brain doesn't function after midnight? I put on dh's jammie pants and a hoodie, and snuck out of the house very quietly. Wow! was it ever bright! And then to see that dark shadow pass over the face of the moon... eery. You could just imagine how unsettling it was for people of ancient times to see such an awesome event. The whole darkening of the full moon lasted a little over an hour, and I waited and waited.... and I wimped out! After 20 minutes without powering back up, I just had to get back in my nice warm bed. I felt like such a putz for not waiting it out, but it was already 6:20am, and I had to get up at 7:30am... I know, I have no endurance! Usually, dh loves these kinds of things and goes out with me, but he is in Austin, TX, on a business trip and so Declan was my sole companion- and he isn't bad company, per se... just a yellow tabby cat can't quite compare to my own sweet man. Think I'll make an early night of it, tonight. And then Dh will be home tomorrow! No more mooning over him!!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Home Improvements...
I hung this up in my hallway leading to the quilting room- looks a tad bit better than the unfinished drywall. I really need to do something about that. Maybe make a bigger quilt to cover the entire wall! I hope Tanya likes it! I'm done with letters for a while, though DS Joe did ask for his name in Egyptian(Zaphenath-Panea). In gold and black. With the Z underlining his whole name. I figure if he'll write it out on graph paper, I'll sew it up. Like I have nothing else to do!
DH is out of town for a few days. boo! But I am expecting some friends to come for a visit and I am sure that the time will fly. House still needs cleaning, and seeing as I have less than 24 hours until the time of their arrival, I suppose that will be the first order of the day- not that baby quilt on the frame. boo! Oh, well, they'll be here soon enough and then there shall be no hope for it! They shall see things as they are and then I'll just smile and say, "It is what it is!" I love that moment!
Everybody have a great Monday!

Friday, August 24, 2007

A Case for Leaders and Enders...

I've never used a leader or an ender. I've just always been in the habit of holding my threads when I start and that seemed to work fine. But this morning, when I looked down at the little pail I use for my clipped threads... well, I could just imagine all that thread actually doing a job- like holding peices of fabric together, and I figure I need to cut me some little squares! You could tell I've had a high ole time peicing by the amount of thread outside the pail! I do this when I am quilting, also. When I am really into the project, I am in an alternate reality where the clippings can automatically find their own way to a waste bin. I must throw them over my left shoulder like Eleanor Burns, but I can't really say what I do- I just turn around when the job is done and whoa! Who threw all that thread on the floor?! Thought I was hitting the pail!

So now that I am pondering the possibility of using leaders and enders... I am noticing the my sewing machine- a vintage 1950 Electro-Grande, does indeed suck up thread at the beginning of each new peice- rather annoying if you don't get a good grip on that thread! It makes you wonder if it would exceed any known laws of physics to make that needle eye any smaller? I find myself just aiming for the general direction of that tiny whole, because there is no way I could actually see it! Also, in the Electro-Grande, the needle is in sideways- makes it even harder. So, with leaders and enders, there should be less thread grabbing- by me, and thread snarfing- by the machine. I also have noticed that I have to rock the fly wheel to get a fresh start, and so, a leader would eliminate this also. Kewl. Sometimes it would be nice to actually have your hands on your project, instead of one on the thread and one on the flywheel. I'm thinking I might actually start having points in my quilts. Imagine. I'm thinking 1 1/2" strips, cut into squares. Little 1" blocks are awfully sweet, huh? You guys have a great day! I'm off to the "cutting room!"

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Construction Zone...

(Another dark picture, sorry. August has never been my most favorite of months, but this year, it has proven my point- HOT! MUGGY! and OVERCAST! Oh, won't this just make the cool, clear days of Autumn seem ever so much more sublime?)

I started this quilt for my Dh, Bill, to hang in his store. It is a week in the making and coming along nice enough. The letters, I would have preferred wonky as Tonya's, but then I reconsidered as I realized that folks in the business of making houses may not appreciate the charm of a crooked roofline and tilted doors- wonky letters. So I have been walking the straight and narrow and am becoming close personal friends with my dh's graph paper pad. Wonders never cease. Habitat's official colors are royal blue and kelly green- I pushed that up a tad- a`la Emeril. I think the houses are cheerful and fun, without being too untraditional- trying to be a people pleaser, here. Of course, they are batiks. I am determined that after the next project, I really am going to dig out some nice calicos and sew up a quilt top (I have a brown and pink combo, just begging for some slicing and dicing!) I think 5-6 more houses should do me. Bill was hoping I'd have it finished by Sunday, so that he could take it with him on a business trip to Austin, TX, but alas, that ain't gonna happen... well, it could, but then I'd have to somehow be in complete denial that I have company coming, next week. As it is, I am only partially ignoring the sticky kitchen floor and the girls' room... I have plans to do something about that... maybe tomorrow...

Since it isn't likely that the houses will be completed by the deadline, I have, of course, set it aside and started something new. Oh guys, it is so bad when I have a deadline. It's like I am the most perverse person I know! I'll go to any length to sabotage myself- as if I care! But still, a clean house would be nice... So, this is what I have been doing. I am making a sign- similiar to the Habitat sign, for the local quilt shop at which I work and teach a few classes. It'll say, "Quilters' Toy Box." in big purple letters on a watercolored background. Simple border, that's all. She is having her 5th anniversary, next month, so I thought it would be nice to have for her open house. I have been dividing my sewing time, and my "cleaning" time. It goes something like this: Cut out 3 letters, shift a load of laundry from washer to dryer, fold a load of laundry, sew two letters, shift, fold another load,sew a letter, cutter a couple letters, shift, fold, squeeze the baby, sew, fold, shift, cut... Well, you get the picture. And really it is an ideal way to quilt, because I am not as young as I used to be, and gone are the days when I could just sew for hours on end. With a fair amount of pain meds, I might be able to manage it, but I'd be up all night wishing I hadn't, and where's the fun in that? And we all know that I am in this for the fun! I have made quite a big deal out of stretching as much as I can while folding laundry- leaving the basket on the floor and all. Seems to be getting the job done. 6 loads of laundry, so far, and I am done with the word, Q-u-i-l-t-e-r-s. Hope everyone else is having a productive day!