Saturday, March 31, 2007

Partners in crime...

I was thinking about calling this, "Friends and Allies" but really the whole "partners in crime" scene seems more appropriate. From left to right, Walleed, Tanya, and Sharon. We all went to LaPorte, Indiana, for The Gathering- a quilt show. It was a one day show and I think we did great. Here, you can see our booth- or half of it anyway. See those libraries of fat quarters back there? I am pretty sure they weigh a ton each. But it's a great way to bring a lot of variety to a show. We also have a table weighed down with 2 and 1 yard cuts. And lots of books and fun stuff. (Aunt Isobel- if you are still looking for that add a 1/4" ruler, I can pop that in the mail to you along with some flour.) We had 2 vans weighed down and it is something like a clown show to see us unload it- people are amazed at how much we can cram in there. Tanya has a gift that way. The show itself only lasted 6 hours and I didn't meet a single person who wasn't just a jewel. I love meeting new people and we didn't have a breather the whole time. Now that's a great show.

Some of you may have noticed that I have bee a bit scarce in blogland... I have several good, and well-rehearsed, reasons.

  1. I've been sick, off and on, since the middle of February. Nothing major. Just makes it hard to concentrate.
  2. Dh has been hoggin the 'puter. Yes, we have 2, but only one handles my camera. And I hate to post without a picture. It's like making a cold call. When you have a picture you can chit-chat about that for a few minutes and then get down to business. He is a sweetheart and always offers to let me get on, but then, I hate to get all wrapped up on the computer during the few hours he's home in a day, ya know? Yes, I should get my blogging done while he's at work, but then I'm working...
  3. I'm planning a big trip- just moi, the last week of May and I am trying to get ahead of the quilting. You know, it's rather rude of you to bust out laughing when I am sharing my deepest hopes and aspirations... Actually, I have only one more quilt top in the hopper that doesn't belong to me or my Mom. I know for a fact, though, that several more are winging their way to Prairie Quilt-land and will need to be done before I leave. And thank you for asking. I am going to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and to Crater Lake, Oregon.
  4. I have a one-track mind. Yes, I can multi-task. As long as the tasks are mindless. But if it involves using the gray matter between my ears... I just can't go there. I have been getting my bb's adjusted- now you can laugh, and I find it hard to concentrate on anything else, intellectually.
  5. It's spring! The warm weather is drawing me outdoors. I can't let myself get all wrapped up in gardening- cause it's bound to freeze again, but... I'm dreaming. and distracted.

Now I think I need some of those mental clarity herbs I've been hearing so much about.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Back to Batik...

I've been plodding along these last few days. Moving slow, but getting somewhere. Ever seen the movie "Knight's Tale"? "To trudge"... that's what I'm doing. Trudging along. This is one of the projects that I have been trudging through. I need to finish it by the 1st of May. It's a graduation present for one of our "adopted" kids- she's a nursing graduate. We worship with folks in a university town, so I try to make all the college grads at church a quilt. Usually, it's only one a year, so it's not a problem. This year we got 4 freshmen, so we'll see where I stand in a few years. The good thing is, not every program graduates at the same time. And kids transfer and before you know it, there's only one quilt to make each year. I usually try to keep it simple. I love this pattern! It is from the book, "New Cuts For New Quilts- more ways to stack the deck." by Karla Alexander. This pattern is called "Safari" as she used all animal and jungle prints. I am using 28 different batiks- utilizing the "more is more" theory! Each of the blocks are little 5 1/2" squares- see where they start in the corner? They are all the "same"- just flipped in different directions, and alternating darks and lights. You cut 8 blocks at a time- improvisationally- so they are not exact. I like that, 'cause then you don't even have to pretend that you're trying to match up points. That would be pointless! I have 24 more blocks to go and then there are a couple borders to grow it out to about 60"x80". I think it is rounding out to be a nice warm-looking quilt, and that suits Lindsay to a T.

I got a package in the mail, this morning. Hmmm... I don't hear any gasps of shock or thundering ovations. Apparently, you guys have no idea of just how postally challenged I am. It's really quite pathetic. I live only one mile from two different post offices and yet... getting mail out is a gruesome ordeal. So I collect stacks of stuff that need to be sent out. My sewing counter is the main staging area. Oh, who am I kidding? "Staging" would suggest that there is another step to the process and I can assure you that most of that stuff just sits there until the recipient comes to fetch it! I told you it was pathetic. I would just like to say that this whole dilemna is part of a much bigger problem. But you probably already knew that, right? See, I start with a pile of "stuff." It's never quite complete. It is always lacking that last thing- like a letter or a note indicating who said stuff is from! And then there is the challenge of finding a box of the proper dimensions. I must say that the postal service's new Priority Mail boxes are very handy and more than likely worth the extra few bucks in mailing costs to not have to find your own box. Plus, they come with the added bonus of not needing tape. Yes, the tape is also a hurdle that often stops me in my tracks. Now let's see... where did I see that tape last? That's right! Abe was wearing it as an anklet when I was taking that picture up there! (see the little toes peeping into the picture?) I knew I should have made him hand it over, but I was on a chair at the time, and by the time I climbed off... well, frankly, I forgot about it. After a 30 minute search, we found it under the couch. So the box is found, the letter written, the tape applied... now for an addess... Now where did I last see that address book...? hmmm... I spend another 30 minutes looking for it. No luck. Yes, I realize this is making me look a complete and uttter disaster... and yes, that's a fairly accurate description. Can't find the address book. I pretend that Bill needed it and probably took it to work with him. If all else fails, blame the other half of this disastrous equation! So I decide to just call Mom and ask her for her address. Kinda quashes the whole "gonna surprise her" bit, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Well, her phone is busy and so I spend a few more minutes trying to chase her down online. She's not biting, and then I realize that she sent the kids a postcard for their birthdays- I could use the return address... Nope. No return addess on the postcards. Mom, we need to talk about that sometime. What if some hand-cancelling postal worker decides you need another stamp? It happens. At any rate, I finally find a letter from Mom- with a return address, thank you very much. Get that label all written out(the permanant marker was surprisingly right where it belongs!) and then... now where did I set that tape down? I'm kidding. I drive the mile down the road and the little harrassed box goes to a better home than mine! Shew! Nearly burst into tears on the way out of the P.O. parking lot- almost made a left turn to take me to the Chinese restaurant, only to get a grip and make my way home where I trudged through getting another quilt on the frame. Gives a whole new meaning to "going postal" doesn't it?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Warm days...

are here. Maybe not for long, but I've been daydreaming about digging out the sandals and painting my toe nails! They say tornado weather is here. I suppose that is why it is so unseasonably warm, but I won't look a gift horse in the mouth. It's March. Need we say more?

I just wanted to show you some of the things that I have been up to. The dragonfly quilt is something we whipped up at work and it was a collaborated project. I did the background- dontcha just love blue and green? The pattern is in Eleanor Burns' book "Quick Trips." Hers has lilly pads in it. Tanya made up the little dragonflies and Sharon appliqued them all down. They are made from Angelina fibers and they add a nice sparkle to the wallhanging.

These are my humble versions of Darcie's journal covers. Hers had ties, but I just couldn't go there. I don't do tedious if I can help it! I've made 12 so far. 4 of them have flown away. It was a great little mini-quilting project for the company that I had. I let them quilt their own designs on their covers, add beads as they wished and I sewed them up. Most of these, here, are my sons' and nephews' and the pastel one is for a neice. All the others, are from my bleach resist fabric that I made while teaching a class on that method. I think they turned into really nice journal covers. Unfortunately, as I used fat quarter halves, they were just a little short so I had to add a strip to the bottom of them to grow them big enough for the journals. no biggie. I also washed them after quilting so they shriveled up very interestingly. I think that is one of my favorite things about quilts- even more than how they look. It's how they feel. I lined mine with cotton flannel and boy did they shrink! They got all bubble-dy. I had made a really gorgeous orange one(Jellies fabric) but it got nabbed at the quilt shop when I was showing Tanya. I looked up and saw a customer walking around with it! Now isn't that funny? And she was just such a sweetheart that I didn't have the heart to tell her that they weren't for sale. So I sold it to her. I have more Jelly fabric and have made 2 more so that my neice who loves orange won't be missing out. I have a stack of 30 journals (Yes, Dh found a great buy- 50 cents each- and you already know we don't do anything in a small way!) They are needing clothes, so I have been making up the little coats for them as I find time. My friend, K, is a child therapist and when her little patients graduate from her care she presents them with a journal. She has asked me to make a few for her. I think that's pretty cool.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Laundry on the line...
dontcha just love that? When we drive through Amish country, it is so pretty to see all their laundry out on the line. Usually it's a Monday. Yesterday, I got the first laundry on the line for the year. I about froze my fingertips, but it was worth it! I watched the sunrise and the breeze seemed so full of spring. The flannel sheets froze stiff in no time, but once the sun came up... they melted right away. Whenever I see a gorgeous sunrise, I always think of Darcie, knowing she's up and seeing the same sun rising. My Mom is probably up most sunrises, too, but in WV... well, I remember my sister and I were determined to see the sunrise one summer. We got up at 4:30am because the guy on the weather news said that the sunrise was scheduled for 5:30am. We took our blankets out to the porch and waited and waited and waited. It was full daylight and 9:30 before the sun came up over the hill!! We felt seriously jipped. No gorgeous color or majestic grandeur... just broad daylight. Now here in Indiana, the sun heralds the day, and it was a stunner, yesterday.
Just thought I'd share a quick tip that I do on borders. I have the hardest time making my triangles in my borders come out even with the edge of the quilt. So I used to just whack off the triangles and that would do it. This quilt is a pineapple blossom and I used all those extra HST for a flying geese border. But... how do you get the triangles to end at the end of the quilt? Well, you could figure out what size inner border you need to make it all come out evenly... but that would involve math. I'm getting wiser, and I really don't want to use any valuable brain cells figuring out something like that. So now, I just make sure my triangles run short on the length- it doesn't matter if they run the same amount of short on the sides and top and bottom- chances are, they won't. Then I slap a rectangular piece of fabric, extra long, to the end. Sew the sides off,wack it off even, then sew the top and botton on. I use the 45* angle on my ruler and line it up with one side of the quilt and then whack off the extra, making sure to leave a 1/4" seam allowance. I cut a square of setting fabric that is large enough the cut on the diagonal twice- these go on the corners. I like to make them big and trim them after they're on and Voila! It makes a nice little setting around the corners- as if I planned it that way! Works like a charm every time. Clear as mud, huh? Hoping the pictures help.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Happy Birthday to my girls...

Evabeth turns 8 today and Rebekah turned 6, Sunday. They always want to celebrate together- they think they get more presents that way. Fine by me. Bekah is having a bad hair day. She has her mother's wild head of hair and she had been walking in the wind... thus, the windblown look. I took them to a symphony performance and they just loved it. Muncie has an excellent arts reputation. Lots of culture. But with the university, little parking. So it was a long brisk walk. Nobody seemed to mind. They are celebrating their birthday on Saturday, when Daddy can be home. I haven't recieved the menu, yet, but I am sure it will be sufficiently celebratory. Something including strawberries.
I got my blue skies and sunshine quilt all quilted up and even have the binding sewn on the back side. I just need to flip and stitch it down on the front. I just have been kinda busy and thus, tired, this week. I sure don't like to top-stitch binding when I'm tired. Looks like a drunkard was driving! Certainly won't do. I did have fun at the QS yesterday. I sewed up a small quilt top (Eleanor Burn's Lily pond from her Quick Trips book.) We did it up in blues and greens- what's not to love? Instead of appliqueing water lillies, Tanya is planning on making big dragon flies. With Angelina fibers on the wings. Very pretty. She had brought in her Mega Quilter- a Viking creation, and that thing surely does fly! Especially when you are doing long straight stretches. I might need to ask if I can borrow that when it's time to whip up curtains for my room! The right tool for the right job.

Monday, March 05, 2007


That's me, falling back to earth. Not falling off the ladder that I have been standing on for almost 5 days straight! But I am very happy to say that I am DONE! It is amazing how the rungs on a ladder wear out the soles of your feet- even through my Birkies. I was sorely tempted to take a break for a few days, but you now how hard it can be to pick a project back up once you've set it down... and a wall only halfway stenciled... not a look I wanted. Plus, our bed was in my quilting room- which was cramping my quilting life. I use my quilting room as a bolt hole, of sorts, and it just wasn't boltable there for a while. So the stenciling went on and on and on... I had to go around the room three times (a total of about 26" wide.) Yes, there were several moments when I thought to myself..."What were you thinking?!" But then I'd look up and think, "How nice." We hung the drywall in that room on 9/11/01. A memorable day. And now, nearly 7 years, it is almost finished. I mentioned to the boys that I think it would look even nicer with trim... then they accused me of never being happy... I said I was happy, but it's a fact, trim would make it look even nicer. Shesh. When we moved the furniture back into the room, I opted to leave out all the junk. So that stuff is still cluttering up the corners of the living room and the quilting room. Most of it belongs to DH. I have tried, over the years, to provide him with landing strips for all the various things that he has in his hands when he get in from work, but apparently the landing strips are never big enough, and when his stuff starts sliding off, I tend to catch it in a box. I count 9 boxes in the living room, at the moment. I don't know when he'll find the time to do the sorting as he has gotten himself a new job with Habitat for Humanity- running one of their home discount stores. WOOHOO!! So the boxes will wait. I was thinking I might tackle one every night before I go to bed- just take it to bed with me- pop in a good movie and start sorting. Most of it belongs in the "I don't know if I want this" category, and I'd say that the fact that it is in a box pretty much determines it's worth. I am so tempted to toss them all, sight unseen, but my luck, a W2 would be in one of them and I'd have to go dumpster diving. Again.