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!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Dark days...

This picture is not very good- we have had such dark, rainy days here, lately. It's just not the best weather for taking pictures. Believe it or not, this quilt is actually brighter than it appears, here! No, really. I made it for my second son, Daniel. He turned 16 this past weekend. (I guess 16 is a big deal wether you are a boy or a girl. We put Joe off of getting his driver's license until he was 17 and we might do that for Daniel, as well. Not that they aren't responsible boys...er, young men, but this just gives them a little more time to save up for that lovely car insurance.)

Anywho, the quilt blocks were made from "Talking Quilts." Have you seen these? They are blocks with sayings printed on them- ones about mom's, sisters, friends, babies, adoption- even pets. They come pre-printed on 3" or 9" blocks. The one I choose for Daniel was the ones having scripture on them. There were 15 blocks in the set and I was going to eliminate 3 of them so there would be an even dozen- you know, three across and four down... but I couldn't decide which ones to kick to the curb... I mean, how exactly does one do that? Seemed a tad blasphemous, silly, I know. So all 15 went in and it is a "bit" wigger joggy, but... OK. Daniel carries a little Bible around in his back pocket so I thought he would be appreciative. The quilt measures about 50"x50." Big enough for your lap- but a nice size for the wall across from his bed. Too bad the quilting isn't visible in this picture, because that was my favorite part of this quilt- A little meander around the stars and the borders I treated like a 4-patch. I did these ferny things... All in orange, of course. It was quite fun to do a quilt in my favorite color for someone else! Daniel is a big Chicago Bears fan, and their colors are orange and navy blue.

I was a big nervous about whether he would like it... Needn't have been. Daniel has these huge eyes that wrap around the side of his head- pharoh-like. Well, they got real big and his jaw dropped. I gave myself a mental high-five at that very moment.

I've been building houses this week. Lots of houses... I'll try to take a picture and show you later! Have a great day!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

I've missed you!

I've been out of circulation, lately. Can't say why, actually. My computer did crash and burn on me. That might have something to do with it. I still have hopes of resurrecting it... maybe. As it stands, I am sharing my sons' computer. They are quite generous, but I just seem to be at an ebb as far as writing is concerned. Maybe I'll pick back up again when the weather cools. I miss beebopping around to everyone's sites and getting all inspired by your many talents.

This is this month's find. It was at an antique shop- the same shop where I found that Grandmother's flower garden, I am a sucker for a red quilt and old ones are not so easy to come by. There is an embroidered block in this top which reads:

  • To Larry
  • From Grandmother P
  • age 75
  • In the year 1955

Isn't that cool? The piecing and workmanship are excellent. All hand done with tons of inset seams. There is about 54 pieces per block. It's a little on the busy side- but what do you expect in the year 1955? And I love it that way! I have already bought the backing and as soon as I get some more thread, I'll be quilting it up. (I hate ordering thread- so expensive- but very exciting when it comes in!) What shall I quilt on it? Well, now, probably something busy...

I'm going back to that shop the 7th of September- thinking I'll have enough money saved up to get one more top- she has this simply hideous pea green one that I want in a bad kind of way. I am not too worried that it will have sold- I mentioned it was hideous, didn't I? Actually, it's a quite charming 9-patch, but the color is odd and people seem to like something a bit more traditional. My girls and I have our "girly-girl" day scheduled for that weekend. We wear dresses, paint our nails, go to the quilt show, eat at a tea room and have a great day at the park. Oh, and we go to the candy store- wouldn't want to leave that out as the girls wouldn't soon forgive me! Hope to be talking to you soon!