Jul 30, 2010

Friday Facts for July 30,2010

Fact #1- having your Internet go down is annoying.

Fact #2- having it finally up and running again makes for a happy girl, who will feel no obligation to try to catch up on a lost week.

Fact #3- I can still show you what I was working on this week (even without a regular Wednesday Workspace post!).

I have been an admirer of Kathleen Tracy for awhile now. I have both of her earlier books: American Doll Quilts and Prairie Children and Their Quilts, and totally fell in love with her last book: Remembering Adelia. I had pulled her earlier books a few weeks ago and added them to the revisit pile in the sewing room. Tuesday afternoon was a slow time at the shop, so I pulled several fat quarters of a blue and yellow collection that has been sitting at the front of the shop for a few weeks. It isn't my usual pick of fabric, but I wanted something just slightly out of the box for me- but still close enough to my beloved repros. It was after all- "just a doll quilt". I whipped up the half square triangles while customer-less and completed the entire top last evening. Working small has it's advantages. Here it is with some of the quilting stitches done:

I will finish the rest later today after some afternoon obligations. I really do like what this little ditty will look like once finished. I need to scout out the attic and find that American Girl doll bed I painted up years ago when DD the youngest wanted one for her prairie doll. I made the bedding for it and a small quilt made from 1" squares of fabric swatches sent to me by an online warehouse I dealt with back in the days of doing the local craft show circuit.

As for other things Tracy, Kathleen has started a monthly club! I signed up online earlier this month for the American School Girl Club and have been eagerly awaiting my first two patterns. Kathleen was recently in the hospital, but is now home and recovering from her ordeal, and had enough energy to send out the patterns for June/July. I am so looking forward to this adventure. Look at how lovely the pattern packets are:

each (pattern) is extremely well written, well photographed, and the packets contain lovely facts about a time-gone-by. Do go take a look at her website (see above link) for yourself. I bet you'll be glad you did!

Jul 24, 2010


I made a commitment NOT to blog on weekends, but it is pouring, the laundry is done for the weekend (I think) and all I have left is to clean Miss Izzy Guinea Pig's cage. As I mentioned in my last post, I joined in on my very first Friday Night Sew In over at Heidi's blog. I had already chosen this Schnibbles pattern

and this Charm Pack by Blackbird Designs so it was easy to get started on a little project (yes! another one!!)

My night went something like this:

7:45pm- start a load of whites so that mom's pants would be ready for my sister to pick up in the am

7:55pm- head to attic to pick out a background fabric from the huge stash hidden from plain view

8:05- background chosen, begin cutting the following:

85 background squares at 2"x2", 44 side triangles, 4 corner triangles, 72 assorted print squares at 2"x2", 36 2"x5" assorted print strips.

8:45pm- let the sewing commence!

10pm- change laundry. Pat myself on back- three rows are finished! Four more rows are set to go.

11:30pm- Eyes are crossed, I've been up 17 hours so far, and as much fun as I am having, I think it is time for bed! Is that allowed at a Friday Night Sew-In??
I'm half done and expect to spend my day tomorrow sewing to completion. What a great way to spend a quiet Friday night.

Stay tuned, more to come soon.....


Jul 23, 2010

Time to Sew

It's another Friday Night Sew In...but the first time for me.
Great way to start the weekend...and lord knows I've got plenty to work on!
Then of course there is the "new bee in my bonnet".
What to do, what to do??
To read all about it and see who is sewing away you can go here:
The link to the sew in will be on the right hand margin of Heidi's blog.
Happy surfing....

Friday Facts

Fact #1. Having children who cook is a wonderful thing. Wonder how long I'll have the girls home??

Fact #2. I officially HATE squirrels! Just in case I forgot to tell them- I DID NOT plant my garden for their foraging pleasures. AND it is completely RUDE to take my tomatoes, nibble bits and pieces and leave the remains to rot on my deck floor and railing.

Fact #3. Doggie surgery is EXPENSIVE, but oh so worth the cost when your four-legged baby is no longer in pain and has a new lease on life! Not only does Goober Beagle look better, he is positively puppy-like these days. It is a good thing.

Fact #4. I am seriously procrastinating this am. Why can I get up and out at the crack of dawn on "baby days" and then sit and groan like an old lady on "shop days". I need an attitude adjustment.

Fact #5. It is officially the summer place to be. Saratoga's racing meet begins today. New hat anyone??

Fact #6. New job, very happy child. It is all good!

Happy Friday. Happy weekend....

Jul 21, 2010

My Wednesday Workspace for July 21, 2010

Under the watchful eyes of my faithful companions, this past week saw just a bit of sewing. Most of what went on was a lot of organizing of all the projects I've chosen to work on at the same time! Thanks to Target and their home organization aisle, I was able to get myself more of the canvas boxes that hold my fabrics, patterns and completed blocks perfectly. I came up with one extra so that got the makings for the mini-scrapbook Youngest Daughter and I are planning as a birthday gift for her BFF back in Kentucky. Now to invest in the cubbie unit that will hold the canvas boxes. I have the perfect place to put it- just have to swap out the small plastic tables under the side window of my sewing room...it will be a much better use of space. I'll be able to get to the makings of my Civil War BOM, my Buck-A-Block project, the Blocks and fabrics for my Teach Yourself Blocks from the Past in progress, and then there is my Jo Morton Little Women Club binder and what ever little quilt we are currently working on.

My workspace cutting table is now free (somewhat) to be able to cut the fabrics I've been pulling for the next 4 blocks I have planned...

I managed to sew away on small, very small, ridiculously small pieces Saturday evening and early Sunday morning...

By the end of Sunday afternoon I had this block done:

As well as this one...

And after one failed attempt that landed straight in the garbage, I managed to complete this block...

I am still not 100% happy with it. It isn't "perfect". Now I say that while shaking my head, because I have a personal tolerance level that would accept this block and be done with the self-nagging. BUT! I've gotten it in my head that this quilt may be my entry for the Vermont Quilt Festival 2011 (yes, I've made that my goal for next year) and blocks like this don't say "Show Quilt" to me. Especially not at a venue like VQF. I may make it again, or I may take my knocks and use it as a learning experience. I may scrap the idea of showing this quilt all together. We'll see...

As we leave my space for another week, take a look at the completed blocks on the design wall...not bad, but still a long way to go!

Jul 20, 2010

Tuesday Tidbits for July 20

Maybe it is the heat? Perhaps the impending "weather"??
All I know is that my brain wants to shut down and not co-operate for the day.
Doesn't bode well for work today!
I have few tidbits of my own to share (see above excuses!).
My agenda is light- dog for a post op check and removal of the drug patch that has been keeping him comfy.
Then- work. Tonight I hope to get some inspiration and some sewing to share with you tomorrow.
Until then, I have started following a lovely quilting blog (www.campgramma.blogspot.com) and the sign off just about says it all for me. I will share it as my tidbit for the day:

Life is too short for drama & petty things,
so kiss slowly, laugh insanely,
love truly and forgive quickly

now what a wonderful world it could be if we just ascribed to that sentiment.

Jul 16, 2010

Friday Facts

Fact- It is really hard to think straight when you've been up since 5am! (For me this is an ungodly hour, but I did get a bit of sewing in.)

Fact: When your toothbrush "violently" jabs that little piece of skin tissue that keeps your upper lip connected to your upper gum line it hurts like blazes- and bleeds like crazy for a long time! (With thoughts for you, gentle readers, and for my own dignity, there will be no photo.)

Fact- Mahj Jong isn't just an "old lady" game.

Fact: I was very excited about my little backyard garden and its delights

UNTIL we took a neighborhood house and garden tour. I stepped out onto a back deck and saw this:

This garden had 3 (or was it 4?) levels...ending in a complete apple orchard which was espaliered along the back fence...seriously! In the city!! How come I didn't get a long double lot with my property?? Wishful thinking!

Fact: I don't have time to keep a garden like the one above! Get over it!!

Jul 14, 2010

( Wednesday) Workspace Tour

Midweek seems like a good time to peek into the world of my workspace. I had most of last week to sew, and not only did it feel great, I was able to get a lot of things from the list moving along.
This first look is an over all glimpse of my cutting table. Yes, I was able to cut on it earlier, much earlier, and once the camera did its job, all the chaos was put into its rightful corner. You will see my sew-along project from Kelly's Charming Girl blog hanging from the shelf in the background. I had a whole different concept in mind until Le Poulet arrived in the shop! Workmate Enabler told me it was in the office, and I just had to use it! I love this group of fabric. The design utilizes a bordered 4-patch and a 16 patch. Small but great fun. I love working with small blocks. You have to sew carefully (after careful cutting, of course) but it is so worth it!
Looking at the surface of the cutting table, you will find my Teach Yourself Blocks from the Past blocks. I am happy with how these 6" (finished) blocks are shaping up. This is the year I am challenging myself to use blues. I don't often use this color in my projects and it is high time I did. The color scheme will be blues, shirtings, creams and tans, black, brown, red and cheddar. Sounds like a "hot mess" I'm sure, but it will be wonderful when it is done...I just know it!

Here's a better look at the blocks making up the inner design of the sew along quilt and a closer look at the books in my clear box:

I have to definitely decide between two of the Schnibbles projects I'm waffling between. Here is choice one- the one I am leaning towards (sorry the photos ended up sideways...tried several times to fix but I'm not sure if it is me or blogger that is having an issue today!

and choice two:

What do you think of the color combo for my blocks?? Hot mess, or going well (you can be honest!):

These little packages hold 4" (finished) swap blocks. Several months ago the sewing group at work decided to do a monthly swap. It was organized by our former shop partner who moved off to Cape Cod on a permanent basis when her husband received an offer from a hospital in Falmouth. JS missed the fun and camaraderie of our sewing circle and drummed up support for a Broken Dishes swap. I don't have the time to get to the sew-ins any longer, but make sure my blocks are left at the shop for swapping the last Thursday of the month. I really liked these combos this time around. I was a month behind and so you will see June's tan and gold blocks as well as July's tan and red all set to go:

Moving on to the right of the cutting station is my design wall. Three more projects are sitting and waiting here:

This is the first of 2 Civil War Sampler BOM blocks (the 12" block). The second finished block is the same fabric and design only done at 18".

I have also completed my two colorways for the "Buck-A-Block" program at my favorite shop- one will be pink and browns and the second shades of red repros. You also get a glimpse of my current Jo's Little Women Club project-- 3" finished stars! My DH thinks this is just totally crazy, but I love them! They will be all scrappy browns and beiges/tans.

And there you have it...tons of ongoing projects, very little time. But! I am a happy camper that so much is done so far. Hopefully next Wednesday I'll have more to show you- or at least a decision as to which Schnibble I'm making!
Let the sewing continue!!

Jul 13, 2010

Tasty Treats for Tuesday


I have to get me a bag of these...

Question of the day- can you just eat a few??

Bet NOT!

more serious blogging tomorrow when I show you my "Wednesday Workspace"!

Have a great day, and may each day be a M&M kind of day- no matter what that hard candy shell encases!!

Jul 12, 2010

Snippets of Life

A few months back, I was feeling a bit overwhelmed by life in general and gave up my participation at an online site I enjoyed. Kelly's Charming girls and guys group had up to then been a source of fun and involvement, but I was falling behind on my self imposed commitments and feeling lousy about not having the time to commit to the group and quilting in general. I told Kelly so, and hoped I would find the time to once again participate and enjoy the budding friendships and the sharing that comes with getting to know other quilters from around the country and beyond.
Since that time, Kelly has overhauled the group so that it works without the stress we tend to impose upon ourselves to be over achievers, not only in our hobbies but in our day to day interactions. Work. Family. Outside interference. Internal struggles.
The new bi-monthly commitment to "self" has been a new awakening for me. Thanks to Kelly for allowing me the means to rejoin and participate with a group of ladies (and gentlemen) who are committed to finding time to better themselves through the pursuit of things they truly love (see http://cottoncharmquilts.typepad.com/charmingchatter).

The theme in the group for the months of July and August is Self Care.
Interesting concept for many of us as we "age". Remember- age is relative, but I know that I am looking at a number I never thought I'd be (well, I knew I'd get there eventually- just didn't think it would happen so fast!). The magic number, 60, made me take stock of what I had accomplished, where I had been (I love saying a child of the 60's..the Woodstock generation), and where I am going. Where I've been has been quite the adventure, but where I am going seems to be even more of one. There aren't some of the major stresses of life anymore, OR more rightly put, I feel better equipped to handle them most of the time. I am at the stage where paring down and making life somewhat simpler, cleaner, more organized is where I want to be, it is a good thing for this next phase of enjoying my surroundings.

I've come back to my first love, that of sitting at my sewing machine, of creating something that sooths the soul. Quilting had done that in the past, and is filling the creative void once again. Some of the other off shoots of wanting to live a creative life have taken a back seat right now (scrapbooking) some have become less of a joy and more of a burden (art journals, altered art), and will be swept clear once I finish several commitments from the past year.

Busy Quilting Companion and I returned to Vermont for the Quilt Festival this June after a year's absence. Not going last year was for good reason, I was anxiously awaiting the birth of my first grandchild; I forgot just how much going to a venue such as VQF gets the creative juices flowing. To walk the South Hall at the Expo center and see so much lovely work, some simply charming, others drop dead amazing, is a sight to behold. My biggest joy is walking the North Hall hung with an impressive array of antique quilts from the Pilgrim/Roy collection. How how two men can collect so much of our quilting past/history is amazing to me. Gerald Roy is a delight in person and his collection is awe inspiring. No photos are allowed, but just pick up any tome on quilting history and the ideas, colors, patterns can't help but excite. I am and always have been in love with old fabric and old quilts. I continue to be drawn to them time after time. I gave up trying to work "outside my box". I know that it makes you stretch your imagination and see quilting in a new light, but for me the joy is in recreating the old. It is just who I am, and it is who I will always be. With that I am more than happy.

If you have managed to get this far, thank you for staying with me as I mused.
The reward is a few photos of some of my favorite quilts from Festival, made by women like us- quilters who find the time to live their passion. I hope you have the time to indulge yourself as well.

Quilt Documentation: Civil War Stars: Ruth E. Whitaker, Shelburne VT. Track machine quilted by Nancy Tatro. Second Place winner, Bed Quilts- Large Pieced.

Quilt Documentation: A Bash on Baltimore: Rebecca J. Magaus, Bloomfield Hills, MI. Track machine quilted by Linda Thiefoldt. Second Place winner, Bed Quilts- Appliqued.

Quilt Documentation: No One Gardens Alone: Leslie Justice Cook,Greenfield, MA. Stationary machine quilted by quilt maker. Second Place winner: Bed Quilts- Appliqued.

Quilt Documentation: Sunspots by Deborah Elliot, Mount Royal, Quebec. Track machine quilted by Colleen Paul. Second Place winner: Bed Quilts-Pieced.

Before I actually forget, here are my goals for July/August:
1. Take time for myself within the constraints of family needs- read, relax, do something nice for myself. Remind myself that just a little will go a long way in that regard. I may even allow myself to stop feeling silly about my guilty pleasure- Bravo TV! Yes, give me Housewives (preferably NY and NJ) and a bit of Bethany Getting Married and I'm a happy girl. There I said it, laugh all you want, but a bit of late night silliness is just the best thing to lull one into a good night sleep!

2. Blog (thoughtfully) during the week, but never on the weekend which will be set aside for family and friends.

3. Continue to work on blocks from Teach Yourself Blocks from the Past by

4. Continue to finish past "artistic" commitments so I can put that chapter behind me

5. Go to Sunday get together with quilting buddies- a few hours out with friends is a perfect way to find laughter in one's life.

6. Be more of an active participant with the "charmings"

Not a bad bucket list for the summer

Jul 10, 2010

Friday Facts

(This is a second attempt: Factoid- it is not at all a happy time when you write a post and have it eaten by cyberspace!)

Fact 1: It is actually not Friday, but Saturday- see above note)

Fact 2. Post birthday party streamers and extra Cheerios are WAY fun when you are one!

Fact 3: Excessive heat and lots of watering turn THESE into monster tomatoes! ("after" photos to come)

Fact 4: Taking a quilting class with a teacher you really like (Cindy Erickson) is a "GOOD THING"-- even if you are really self-critical and HAVE to re-applique that not so perfect handle on your Double Handled Basket block. (see Indigo and Shirting block at bottom of group). Another fact-remembering what your classmates' names are is impossible, making it very difficult to give due credit for blocks that share photo space with yours!

Fact 5: Quilts like this make me want to run (fast) to my scrap bin!!

Close up of center with applique:

Quilt Documentation: "Dutch Oude" by Mary Elizabeth Kinch and Biz Storms. Track quilted by Sandra Reed. Third Place ribbon Vermont Quilt Festival, 2010.

Fact 6: I will spend the day sewing! Results will be shared next week, because:

Fact 7: There will be no blogging on the weekends!

Jul 9, 2010

We're Having a Heat Wave!

(Apologies to family members in this long ago photo!)

It has been hot, hot, hot! Little energy to do much of anything- even sewing has been hard being that I am a drippy, yucky mess! That being said, Last Born and I decided take a ride out to the hill towns to visit my (our) favorite quilt shop. It was cooler- slightly- and the company was grand. I managed to pick up some goodies, including a few half yard pieces off the sale table. I'll have to remember to thank quilt buddies 2 and 3 for leaving something behind. I feared for the state of the sale tables after hearing about their shopping spree last week *wink*.

Upon our return home, I cranked up the air conditioner in the sewing room and told myself I WAS going to finish the wall hanging project over at Kelly's blog: Charming Chatter. I made great headway, stopping only to prepare the ingredients for our dinner- grilled burgers with avocado and smoked Gouda, simple potato salad and a mixed green salad simply dressed with Balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Yummy. First born had made a fresh green bean salad with shallots and Feta earlier in the day and we added that to the menu as well.
By 7pm I was back in the sewing room doing "quilt math" and constructing/applying the top border. Good work! It fit perfectly, so I decided to call it a night. I am so very pleased with this project!! Tonight after work I'll put together the bottom (and final border) then decide how it might get quilted. I'll take photos this weekend, promise!!

I also want to share some of my favorite photos from the Vermont Quilt Festival...
but I need to document them first. It's only fair to give credit where credit is due, don't you agree?
Until then- stay cool and find the time to do something you love!

Jul 3, 2010

Ready to Return to Blogging

Been doing a bit of life cleaning. You know the drill....figure out what is causing the stress and try to do away with as much as you can to return to a peaceful state of mind.
I've cleaned up my act, taken a quilting vacation, thrown in a few "just for me" things (like a trip to Boston to attend a Lady GaGa concert- imagine!!). I feel refreshed, a bit more relaxed and a lot happier with the state of my creative soul.
With all the happy changes, I've declared the hiatus from blogging over, and would like to redesign this space, but not today! Today is the weekly trip to our favorite Farmers Market, some much needed garden weeding and sprucing (the mulch arrives Tuesday) and a self-rewarded time to work on a little quilting project. I'll have more for any readers that return (stumble upon) my blog.
Until then- I hope you all reward yourselves with something "just for you".
Happy 4th to those celebrating...
to all: enjoy the weekend. I'm looking forward to puttering in the garden, sewing and getting together with friends and family.
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