Friday, January 30, 2009

Around The Rainbow?

Here is my Rainbow block. Well, maybe it's more of a color "wheel". I got the idea for this one morning as I was waking up. I get some of my best ideas as I'm waking up or going to sleep. Anyway, it dawned on me that I could do somewhat like a color wheel with a 9-Patch block. And, it worked! Well, I think so, anyway. I'm happy with this one. The page is really much more square than this. I took a wonky picture, apparently.

By the way, when and/or where do you get your best ideas? Waking up, doing the dishes, ironing, or playing in the quilt studio? Driving in the car? Daydreaming over coffee? Or surfing the quilt blogs? Leave me a comment, as I'd love to hear your answers!

I've been working away on my free-pieced letters for my Witch's Pantry. They're actually coming out pretty good, but I've only done the easy ones so far. Sorry, no pictures yet. I won't make the deadline, but I'll be in the neighborhood, I think. Then I'll show some pictures.

Speaking of free-piecing, go take a look at what Julie of Through The Barn Door made for her Valentine's quilt. You can see it on this post. I think she did a great job, and she steps you through her projects and thought processes. Fun!

My sister is coming to visit this weekend. Yay! I love when she visits. We're going to drive up to Bellingham on Saturday. My niece (her daughter) is going to college up there. DH and I have never been there before, so we're looking forward to seeing both the town and our niece.

The next installment of Heroes starts on Monday. I was asleep at the wheel and missed Lost this week. Somehow I thought it was next week. (And why is it back on Wednesday?) But I love watching it on the internet - fewer commercials. I just need a big screen monitor! *grin* And then, on Friday the 13th, The Sarah Connor Chronicles starts up again, and then The Dollhouse. I'm really looking forward to Dollhouse. I have high hopes for it, it being the creation of Joss Whedon, creator of Firefly and Buffy and Angel. We don't watch a lot of TV around here (I'd rather sew than watch most of the stuff on TV), but what we do watch, we really get in to. I can't find out when the Dr. Who Christmas Special will be shown on Sci Fi channel. I know it just aired on BBC America. Does anyone else know?? If you do, please leave me a comment or email me! I don't want to miss it, as they never have it available over the internet. Gotta get my "Doctor" fix! Oh, and if anyone else gets BBC America and likes Science Fiction, take a look at Primeveal. We've watched it and really enjoy it. It's very well done. Nobody does SciFi like the Brits!

Well, enough babbling for one post. Have a great weekend!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Blue - Part Deux

Ta Da! Good, bad or ugly, this is it. It's done. This was waaayyy harder than it should have been. I tried a number of things and wasn't happy with any of them. But I got there eventually. I'm not entirely certain that I'm wild about how this came out, but I can't come up with a better idea. I sure hope the rest of the pages go easier than this one!

Here's Shade, posing pretty for me, on my new lap warmer as I took photos.
Melody at Fibermania is offering all of us her free book of free-motion quilting designs, as a pdf download. You can find it in her side bar under "Helpful Stuff". Be sure and check out her FAQs on machine quilting as well, also on the side bar. Lots of good information and, as the lady says, helpful stuff!
That's all for now. I'll have another Color Book page to show you in a day or two. And I seem to recall that I have a deadline of the end of January for my House, Home and Pantry class with Tonya. Holy dogs, I'm way behind! I need to buckle down and quit playing with the Color Book, and concentrate on my Witch's Pantry. Wish me luck! I'm gonna need it.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Are You Blue?

I've been busy! I have 4 - count 'em - 4! - finishes to show today! First up is the Blue page for the Color Book.

However, I'm not entirely pleased with this one. Tell me, do you think it needs something more? Like buttons, or embroidery (French knots??) or something? I feel like it needs more, but everything I try seems to be Too Much. Tell me your thoughts on this, please.

I actually have 2 more Color Book pages almost done. Hopefully they will be finished tonight, so I can show them soon.

Here is my first UFO finish for this year. (Ooops, I don't have a list on my blog setting my goals. Oh well, I was busy sewing!) This is a little lap quilt that is a whole-cloth quilt. I found these fabrics four or five years ago at Hancock Fabrics in California, and they've been waiting for me to decide what to do with them ever since.

I fell in love with the dragonflies. This is in some of my favorite colors and I just love dragonflies anyway! You can kind-of see my quilting in this closeup.

The back of the quilt doesn't go as well, style-wise, but color-wise it works. It is flannel and has bunnies, and they're another of my favorites. (and Look - we had some actual sunshine today! - bottom left corner of quilt) I got a few boo-boos on the back but no actual tucks, so once I wash this, I don't think they'll be noticeable anymore.

So, this may not work for anyone else, but it's perfect for me! And that's good, because that's who it's for! You can see my not-straight quilting best in this picture. I got the idea from Marit @ Quilt It, on her post of 29 Dec. Mine's not exactly like hers, but she gave me the idea. I really like this! But, I don't think I'd quilt anything much bigger than this one - it's not so much fun. I love my long-armer (Hi Shari!).
My legs and feet get really cold when I sit and watch TV in the evenings. I've been using a big quilt, doubled-over, and it's not really doing a great job. I had my little Christmas quilt out over the holidays, and it worked liked a charm. It dawned on me that the Christmas quilt has a polyester batting. I've only used cotton batting for years. Well, that's warm enough for California, but not for here, I guess. So, I went looking for some poly batting. Apparently I gave away all I had before I moved. So I had to go buy some. It only cost me $3!

Here is finish #3. This is a little Priority Alzheimer's quilt that I recently finished. I've named this one "Fractured Memories". It's 7.25 x 9.875 inches. I hand-dyed the blue fabric and over-dyed the star fabric, which had been black and white.

Here's a closeup to show the star that I quilted in. The quilt is actually brighter than this - it pretty washed out in this photo.

And here's a second Priority Alzheimer's quilt that I made with the same two fabrics. I've named this one Star Bright. This is 10.625 x 6.625 inches. I'll be sending both of these quilts in to Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative to be auctioned off to raise funds for Alzheimer's research. There's a slow, silent auction every single month, so there's new quilts to bid on every month. Some of them are even made by famous quilters! (Umm, that doesn't include me, just so you know!)

Here's a closeup showing my tiny little star embellishment.
Brenda over at Scraps and Strings made a quilt for Priority Alzheimers with Lazy Gal Tonya's Priority Hope Challenge this fall, and her quilt was just auctioned off for $100! Way to go, Brenda!
I found some Great News on You can pre-order the 2nd Gwen Marston/Freddie Moran Collaboration book called "Freddie and Gwen Collaborate Again: Freewheeling Twists on Traditional Quilt Designs"! It's due to be published May 5, 2009, and if you pre-order you can get a copy for $16.47 as opposed to the full-price of $24.95. I'm more than willing to pay full price for this one though. It looks like it's gonna be as great as their first one! I can hardly wait!!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Another Color Book Page Done

It's RED! Of course it had to be a wonky heart!

This was not the first time I'd done a wonky heart (from Lazy Gal Tonya's great tutorials on Quiltville), but for some reason, I couldn't quite wrap my brain around it this time.

I decided to do a "tester" before I did the big one for the Color Book, fortunately. I'm almost embarrased to show you this - I thought it was really horrible and was ready to throw it out. But I took the picture and then put the little heart (about 3 inches big) in my bin of scraps for Crumb blocks. Now, after a couple of days and a little distance, it doesn't look quite so horrible.

It even looks a little like a heart! So, I thought it was good to show you, especially if you've never tried these before, that even a not-very-good heart can have it's own charm. Don't be afraid to try these - or any of Tonya's gems. They're not always easy the first time, but it gets easier the more you do (like just about anything else), and they're fun. If I can do it, so can you!

Jackie @ Tall Grass Prairie Studio is doing Project Improv, a group free-piecing/improvisational quilting quilt-along. Unfortunately, she is full-up on participants, but you can go see what she's doing and she also has a link to the Flicker group where all the participants are showing their works so you can see what neat work they're all doing. It looks like lots of fun!

Shade had to help me in the quilt studio the other night while I was working on RED. He insisted on sitting on the cutting table, mostly on the fabric I was trying to cut. I was worried that Something Bad would happen, so I kept pulling the fabric out from under him, or moving him and so on and so on. He got stubborn.

Does this look like a comfortable position?

He finally found the only spot I wouldn't move him from...a pile of pattern printouts and misc. stuff, jammed in the corner with my Olfa rulers.

This is a very stubborn cat!
Some of you may have heard about the recent flooding incidents here in Washington. My DH was driving back from Oregon Wednesday night, and it was hairy! He got through Chehalis, WA about half an hour before the Dept. of Transportation shut down I-5 due to flooding! Anyway, we've found the Flicker site for WSDOT where you can see all the photos that WSDOT took of the flooding around the state. Here is what WSDOT has to say: "Starting on Jan. 7, 2009, rising temperatures and inches of rainfall combined to create flooding, mudslides, rockslides and avalanches. More than 60 state highways were closed at one time, including all of the mountain passes through the Washington Cascades." Click here to go see the pictures. They're pretty impressive. Fortunately, we've remained high and dry here. We've had two dry days with some sunshine, and things seem to be getting back to normal for most of the state.
If you want some inspiration for quilting projects for 2009, or just want to be impressed at one quilter's output, go visit AmandaJean @ Crazy Mom Quilts to see the 33 quilts she finished in 2008. You need to scroll down a little - the list is on the right-hand sidebar and each name in the list is a link to a picture of that quilt. Wow!! I'm so impressed...I can't imagine finishing that many quilts in one year! AmandaJean truly is an inspiration!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009


I finished the Orange page for my Color Book this morning. I used real leaves as my templates for the leaves. They're from a tree in my yard, and in real life are red. Artistic license, I guess!

Julie at Through The Barn Door tagged me for a meme last month, and then I remembered that Skadhisgydhja had tagged me quite a while back for the same one. You're supposed to list 6 random or quirky things about yourself. This has been quite a challenge. I'm old enough now that I guess I have quite a few quirks, but I'm comfortable enough with myself that I don't even think about them anymore! They're just part of who I am. Which is, I guess, the point of the exercise! This is supposed to help others get to know you. Ok, Julie, you asked for it! It has taken me a while but I finally came up with 6 things that I don't mind everyone knowing. Hee hee!

Ok, first The Rules.
1. Link to the person who tagged you. OK, done. See above.
2. Put the rules on the blog. Did that too! You are reading them.
3. Write 6 random things about yourself. See the list below.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post.
5. Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment.
6. Let the tagger know your entry is up.

My 6 Random/Quirky Things About Myself:

1. I’m totally phobic of fish and of being in the water with them. I don’t eat them either.

2. I’m a night person. I’m at my best after 6 p.m. and I’m often up until 1 or 2 in the morning. I’m almost never up before 9 a.m. This drives my DH nuts! But it seems to be my "natural" clock. It’s really tough if I have to get up early. I can do it, but it makes me grumpy - even for something I want to do.

3. If music is playing, I have to hum along with it, which drives my family and friends crazy. I don’t even realize I’m doing it most of the time. I even do it with songs that I don’t like. I hum in the stores along with the "Muzak" too. It can be embarrassing.

4. I am an obsessive list maker. I make lists all the time, about all kinds of things. And I love to cross off the things I’ve accomplished – I sometimes will add something to a list just so I can cross it off. It’s just so satisfying!

5. I hate shoes. I only wear shoes now because I’ve got plantar fascitis and it hurts to be barefoot. And it’s usually Birkies anyway. Shoes are for when it’s really cold and/or snowy. And never heels.

6. I love puns and the cornier they are, the better. If it makes you groan, I love it!

Ok, now to tag some other poor unsuspecting bloggers! Let's see, this is hard.

1. Roberta @ Berta's Colorful Quilting World
2. Victoria @ Bumble Beans
3. Quilting Nana @ True Blue Quilting Nana
4. Wendy @ Swirls of Fabric
5. Dionne @ Sew Many Quilts
6. Lynn @ The Patchery Menagerie

I visit these ladies' blogs almost every day. They're witty, thoughtful, funny and good reads. Plus, they make wonderful quilts. Go check 'em out! Now, I have another thing to cross off my List of Things To Do - whoo hoo!

Finally, our snow has melted and the lake has thawed. The ducks are swimming again. And it is pouring buckets out there! I'm trying to decide if I want to go to Ben Franklin's badly enough to brave the rain. I would have to take my purple umbrella to stay dry. So, I had to take The Umbrella Test. This is what it told me:

Your Purple Umbrella Says You're Graceful

When faced with adversity, you remain together and graceful.You are very balanced, and it's hard for you to let yourself get too down.
You are brainy and philosophical. It's hard for you to lose your broad perspective on life.You accept things as they are. You don't try to change anything that can't be changed.
On a rainy day: you should spend the day reading.
But it didn't tell me if I should go to Ben Franklin's!
If you want to try The Umbrella Test, click here.

Note: I tried to get this on my sidebar, instead of in a post, but it came out goofy. I put in the HTML code and only the left half of the writing showed up. Me, I'm not so good with the technical geeky stuff. If anyone could explain to me how to do this correctly, I'd be very happy and grateful!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Happy 2009!

Hello to a new year! I hope this will be a happy year for everyone.

I'm going to show you the last of my Christmas projects. Above is a wallhanging I made for my daughter and her husband. As I mentioned in my last post, she loves owls. I found this photo-transferred panel at a quilt show last year.

This was not been an easy project, despite it's seemingly easy style. I didn't know when I bought this that it's one of those rubbery transfers. . . it was encased in plastic when I bought it. (I didn't enjoy that little surprise.) I tried to machine quilt through that transfer last year, when I started this project. My Bernina did not like that transfer. No matter what I did, the stitches got smaller and smaller. So, I stopped and took out the quilting I'd done in the center. It took both me and my DH, whose got more patience for that sort of thing than I do, about 2 hours to get all those tiny stitches out! Then, I didn't know quite what to do. So it hung in the closet for a year!
I finally came to the conclusion that this is just a wallhanging and won't get much wear or even washing. So, I didn't quilt the center. I just quilted in-the-ditch around the center, then meandered in the borders. Done! I'm relieved that it's done. Don't know why I didn't come to that conclusion sooner. I keep forgetting that I've banned the Quilt Police from my studio!

These are the pillowcases that I made for my daughter and her husband. Bet you can't guess which one is for which person!

And, last but not least, here is the pillowcase I made for my DH. He got to pick out his own fabrics after helping me pick out all the other pillowcase fabrics so patiently! Besides, in spite of 30+ years of marriage, I'm not entirely certain what he'd like to live with in the way of pillowcases. So, he picked this beautiful batik!

Here is the finished "yellow" page from my color book. I sewed on the buttons, and then took off the buttons. Then I sewed them on again with a darker thread, so that the extra touches I did when sewing on the buttons actually show. And I substituted the spiral for one of the buttons - I like it a lot better. What do you think? I totally didn't see that it echoes the design on that fabric until I had it all sewn on - happy serendipity!

I'm really happy with the way this page came out.

Next I did the white page. It reminds me of pinafores and eyelet curtains, and it even reminds me of the snow we've had lately. This one was really fast and easy. . .my favorite kind of project.

I may add one more button on the right-hand side after I get the pages sewn together. I'm afraid if I do it now, I won't be able to sew past the button.
I've been having fun with these 'Color' pages, and they're going pretty well, and quickly. It's a great way to start the year.
We woke up to another 6 inches of snow yesterday morning. It was heavy and wet - great for snowballs. And the trees were all covered in snow - even the bare branches. It looked like a Christmas card everywhere I looked! Beautiful!
Awhile back, Berta tagged me with a meme. It's a list of foods and I'm supposed to turn the items I've eaten bold and have some friends do the same. So I'm now tagging Belinda at Brown Dirt Cottage and Julie at Through the Barn Door! Have fun!

Foods I’ve Eaten:

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile or Alligator
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes (Cranberry – yum!)
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries (picked them myself in Georgia!)
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka + Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat's milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth $120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald's Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S'mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. ratatouille
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs' legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash (in the Alps!)
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
I’ve also had crepes from a street vendor in Paris, and bratwurst from street vendors in both Germany and Luxembourg. All were absolutely heavenly! Yuuuummmm!
I'm a picky eater, so I was surprised to see how many thing on this list I've actually eaten. Living in Europe for 3 years helped, and also living in California - there's so many people and restaurants from different cultures there that it's easy to find "exotic" foods. However, there are lots of things on the list that I have No Idea what the heck they are!