Tuesday, January 31, 2006

End of the Month Resolution Update

This is the last day of January, so I must report in! This month, I have bought fabric: 5 half yard pieces of pastels -- they will all be part of a background for a baby quilt I'm going to make. That is the only fabric purchase I've made. I have bought some washout marking pens, some needles,and a couple of magazines, and paid for my Buck-a-Block, but that's it!

I have finished one ufo and another quilt that was not -- I posted the pictures a few days ago. All of the fabrics were stash/scrap. So, I did manage to finish one ufo this month. And, I did make labels for them, but not when the top was finished, only when the quilting was finished. I also put the hanging sleeves on the wallhanging.

So, all in all, I done good in January and now I need to start gearing up for February!

He Wanted Equal Time....

This is Pita. He's DH's dog and he follows him everywhere (DH is just to the right of the dog in this picture). Pita adopted Bill when we were building this house. He was a puppy that lived at the next farm, but his mistress never took care of him. While Bill was clearing the land to put the house up, Pita would hang around all day with him. He had an uncanny ability of being right where Bill wanted to work next. The dog's original name was Buddy, but Bill changed it to Pita because he was a Pain In The A** literally! Eventually, the lady moved from the farm and her "boyfriend" came and asked us if we wanted the dog because he was here all the time anyway and if we don't take him, the bf was going to shoot him (and he would have). So, that's Pita's story and as far as he's concerned, the sun rises and sets on Bill's head and I had better not get between the two of them!

Obviously, I didn't get any quilting done today! I did take the quilt off the HQ yesterday, mark it and put it back -- still working at learning to machine quilt well. One of my problems I think is that I want to skip to the good part without doing all the prep work; so I'm trying to take the time and do the prep work.

Monday, January 30, 2006

I just washed my hair....

And I can't do a thing with it!

This is JR, our Jack Russell Terrier. He just had a bath, and loves to rub himself dry on his couch (in the basement) and the carpet! He has his own bathtub, too -- the bathroom in the basement is a full bath, so he gets his own tub, and Pita (yes, he's a Pain In The A**) gets to sleep on the rug in there at night!

Obviously, I'm not getting any quilting done yet, but the good news is, I'm going to soon!

Funny Bonnie should mention recommitting to exercise this morning. As of yesterday, I did the same thing -- I'm establishing a new habit of getting up an hour earlier and walking on the treadmill for an hour every day, or at least 5 days out of every week! I figure I should have the habit established by the end of February. Then I'll add 20 minutes of resistance training 3 days a week. Final goal: lose 25 pounds and get back into shape. I'm posting it here to keep myself honest!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Scrappy Valentines

This is another finish for this year -- not really a ufo, as I designed and made it this month and now it's even quilted, labeled, bound and has the hanging sleeve attached. I just used the 1.5" strips of red and tan that I had sewn together a few months ago and left sitting in the orphan block pile until I decided to make hearts with them. Made the label at the same time I made the new label for the Pineapple Blossom -- didn't cut them apart all that well, though, so part of the bottom design is covered by the binding; oh well - this was just another of those fun projects I like to throw together. I used stash and scraps for this quilt, too.

And after I finished both quilts and washed them today, I got the Funky Shamrocks pin basted and ready to be quilted (on my Bernina), and then got the Nickel Squares Pinwheel quilt pinned to the HQ. Also cleaned both machines and readied them for the respective jobs. Then, because I was wondering whatever became of the labels I made and lost, I spent at least 2 hours in the sewing room cleaning out the large fabric cabinet (what a chore!). I am absolutely amazed at the amount of fabric I still have. I've discovered my stack of black fabrics has grown without me even knowing it; I still have a large stack of flowered prints; my light backgrounds and my WOW backgrounds are noticeably less than before. I found two practice panels that I quilted on when I first got my HQ many years ago - they have now been trimmed and are awaiting binding -- my little dog appreciates my quilts! I have one quilt that I made from lottery blocks won at guild, it is also awaiting binding. I found one quilt that is pin basted and ready to be quilted -- so that's where all my pins are! I'll add it to the list. I found two practice quilts that need to be tossed -- lots of thread nests on the back and I do not love them anymore and I AM NOT going to rip out all that quilting! Also found lots of small pieces of batting that I will piece together when I need to. Everything is rearranged and neatly placed back into the cabinet. However, I never did find the labels -- have no idea what I did with them!

Resolutions Update

It is finished -- first finish for 2006. I consider this an ufo -- even though I only started it a couple of months ago -- anything I start is an ufo until it's finished! I'm not real happy with the quilting -- but this is a learning process for me. I have been quilting for many years now, but have always hated machine quilting, because I could not master it and would not take the time to do so. Now, I am working on learning -- so my quilting is beginner-level! I'm concentrating on learning to make nice even stitches -- no toe grabbers and no stitches so tight it looks like a long line! One mistake on this quilt was using a variegated thread on top -- didn't like the colors of the thread through the white patches. I am pleased with the back though! Stitching looks nice and I used one dark red thread for the back. Lost the original label, so made a new one quickly -- nothing fancy, obviously.
So, this is my first finished ufo for 2006; one down and 11 to go (and hopefully more!).

Monday, January 23, 2006

Another Dear Jane Block

Hand pieced this one last night -- A-3 Hunter's Moon. Not too difficult. I find hand piecing is as relaxing as hand quilting and hand applique. It feels good to have the needle in hand.
Did manage to finish machine quilting the Scrappy Pineapple Blossom today. Have the binding on, just need to stitch it down. Spent some time searching for the label I already printed out last month -- still can't find it -- know that I put it away someplace safe. Guess I'll have to clean out the fabric stash cabinet and see if it's stuck to something in there! Probably be a few days before I finish the binding anyway, but I can always make another label.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Another Quilty Day

Thanks for all the good thoughts for my DH. He is feeling better -- needs to make sure he eats lunch (he gets busy working on his tractor and forgets!). And, I think he's getting used to the new meds too.

Today I finally started quilting the Scrappy Pineapple Blossom. I can't believe it has taken me this many long years to really try to machine quilt well. The next few scrap quilts are all going to be practice, practice, practice.
Ran into a friend last night and she bought herself a really great new longarm machine. (She had asked my advice a few months ago and I told her to hold out for a longarm -- don't waste your money on a shortarm! LOL) It'll be delivered on Friday and she's having it set up in her family room where her hubby watches TV! She figures he'll probably start working on that new studio he promised to build her a lot faster if he has to listen to her quilt all the time! -- Smart woman!

Gotta go root for the Seahawks (Should have been the Bears playing them tonight!) Oh, yeah, guess I should probably find something for dinner too!

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Doing the Funky Shamrock

Sounds like a 60's dance craze, doesn't it? Oh sorry -- guess I just dated myself!
Played with the Funky Shamrocks today and got the table runner top done. It was a fun project - quick and easy and satisfied my need to sew at the machine. I hope to machine quilt tomorrow. (And it's just hanging funny in the second photo -- it really is plumb and square (vbg)

Also finished my second Dear Jane block the other night -- I'm just doing these whenever I feel like it, and hand piecing them all -- just because I like to do handwork at night in front of the TV and the dog won't give up my lap to a hoop, so can't quilt. This one is called "One-Two Buckle My Shoe" (A-2). I've done the first two with muslin as the background, but I cut the pieces for A-3 this afternoon and decided to use a white on cream background from my stash for it. I like variety and figure I can pick up a FQ or two for backgrounds along the way, if I need them.

Friday, January 20, 2006


I sewed, I sewed! Yay!
Didn't however, work on quilting the Scrappy Pineapple Blossom. It's been so long since I've actually used the sewing machine, I just felt like piecing today! And, I got this bright idea to make some Wonky Shamrocks. 'Course, didn't have any green strips cut, so pulled a bunch of green fabric from stash, cut two piles of 1.5 inch strips, and one pile of 2" strips, refolded the leftover fabric and put away and put away the strips, except for one pile of 1.5 inchers. Then, mindlessly sewed 1.5 inch green strips together -- not paying attention to what green goes next to what green and how many strips I actually had cut! I could probably have a doll quilt front and back with the strips I sewed together. vbg Anyway, all the while I worked, I designed the rest of the tablerunner. I "drew" the shamrocks, cut them out of fusible, ironed them onto the long green strip and cut them out and pressed them onto WOW backgrounds. I know why I love folk art and wonky -- it's perfect for people like me who can't draw a lick!
Then DH came home not feeling well and looking as white as a sheet, so my Wonky Shamrocks won't get finished til the morrow. (DH is feeling better -- he's had a lot of health issues the past few weeks: an ulcer and his bad cholesterol for some reason has gone sky high, so they have him on numerous new meds and he didn't eat lunch today, so I think he reacted badly. He always scares me when he doesn't feel well -- usually it means a trip by ambulance to the hospital for his heart.)
So tomorrow I'll finish the Wonky Shamrocks runner and maybe will quilt the SPB!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Coming Up for Air

Whew - this has been a busy week or two. I can't keep up. Haven't had any time to sew during the day and it's making me cranky! So, tomorrow, I get to sew all day. I'll have to try to catch up on the bloggers this weekend -- I imagine you've all been just as busy as me -- but you've problem managed to actually get some sewing time in.
I have, however, finished the last Tulip Farm Block. This one has seen the inside of a couple of doctor's clinics waiting rooms this week, and I finally finished it at home Tuesday night. Maybe next week I'll be able to get the whole thing out, trim the blocks and put them together. Wouldn't that be nice! Tomorrow I'm going to start quilting the Scrappy Pineapple Blossom -- it's just been patiently waiting for me.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Tagged by Jeanne

I've been among the missing lately -- busy week and not going to be any less busy til maybe next Wednesday. Haven't even had much chance to read the blogs, so stole a few minutes this morning and happened upon Jeanne's list. I'm game, so here goes:

Four jobs you've had: sales clerk in a dime store; secretary in a large manufacturing company, office manager for a startup company, newsletter editor.

Four movies you could watch over and over: Sleepless in Seattle, Murphy's Romance, Pretty Woman, Dirty Dancing (notice a trend -- I like to watch fluff I don't have to think about!)

Four places you've lived: Rockford, IL, Machesney Park, IL, Byron, IL -- pretty boring, but have done a little traveling.

Four TV shows you love to watch: CSI, Numb3rs, Without a Trace, Lost, not necessarily in that order.

Four places you've been on vacation: Alaska, European Cruise from England to Portugal to Spain, California, Texas.

Four websites you visit every day: Jigzone puzzles; Quiltville; Webshots; Calorieking.

Four of your favorite foods: Chocolate; lasagna; pizza; Italian beef sandwiches.

Four places you'd rather be: I like that we have 4 seasons, we live in a log home on 23 acres, 12 of which are wooded -- guess I'm happy to be here. Mainly, I'd rather be quilting!

Four albums you can't live without: Keith Urban - Golden Road; Early Neil Diamond; Anne Murray Greatest Hits; Simon and Garfunkel Greatest Hits.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Happy Birthday, Baby

Today is my baby's 30th birthday! Boy, do I feel old! I called and sang Happy Birthday to her machine this afternoon. She called back and read me the riot act -- she'd been waiting all day for mom to call and when I finally did, she was in the shower! vbg!

We travelled down memory lane for a bit -- but she didn't remember at all that 30 years ago we had an ice storm and her idiot EX-father parked the car at the top of a hill behind the emergency entrance to the hospital and made me walk, contractions and all, down an icy hill instead of dropping me at the door! vbg Ah, fond memories! NOT!

No sewing today, but looking forward to working on the house block tonight. Did manage to get the house appliqued down last night, so just need to add the other stuff now.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Another Tulip Farm Block

Some of these blocks are rather large. They're fun to applique by hand. The last one I'm working on, however, is rather a big pain in the neck. The house block has three roof pieces and two side pieces that are sewn to the large house piece. Instructions are sketchy, at best (don't even get me started on that). They recommend you sew the pieces together by machine before appliqueing down. I spent a good hour today doing that and frog stitching, sewing and frog stitching, sewing and frog stitching.....finally got a good facsimilie and that's as good as it's going to be! Tonight I'll applique it to the background. (My personal opinion is that it is probably easier to just applique the pieces together.)

Spent some time cleaning out the built-in shelves in my sewing room today too. Good news is that I did this last year and tossed a lot of stuff. I was absolutely amazed how much easier it was to clean the shelves this year. I wouldn't have had to do that, but I tend to "throw" things in there when I'm in a hurry and the front of the shelves was a mess! Bad news is there is still so much "stuff" that they don't look too neat in the pictures -- but I'm happy with them, so that's what counts! This is the "after" picture. The two baskets on the bottom shelf in the back hold scraps -- the goal is to get them put into the plastic drawers I bought for scraps and recycle the baskets somewhere else!

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Entering the Paperwork Jungle

Today I have spent most of the day filing papers, straightening out papers, and working on the computer -- no fun stuff at all!

Now that I have started working on the last applique block of Tulip Farm, I dug out the rest of the blocks and here's the top 1/3 of the quilt put together:

I'm starting to get excited about actually finishing it this year!

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Sewing Day

Fired up ole Bernie today and she and I and Keith Urban spent the afternoon sewing. Even managed to get a top put together. Just a quick baby quilt that will probably be given to charity. Second picture is a closeup of the border fabric which is what I based the other fabrics on. All from stash, of course!

And here's a pic of blocks #14 of Tulip Farm I finished last night. I have one more block to do on that quilt and then I can start putting it together. However, block #17 is the biggest applique block of the quilt (the house block).

Saturday morning

Thanks for the comments yesterday. My brain is still a fog this morning, but I will accomplish something quilty today!

Answering questions and comments: Yes, it is all hand applique -- I use needleturn method. I love to hand applique. I find it very relaxing and it is so nice to be able to sit in the living room with the dog on my lap and still be able to pick up some handwork. The dog won't allow me to hand quilt though because I use a hoop and he gets rather indignant.
And having a bag of hand applique made up ahead of time is great for grabbing when you need to head out the door and know you will be waiting in a doctor's office or whatever. Last year I went through all my ufo's and made most of them into kits: Actually cut the fabrics into the pieces needed to piece a quilt, or made the choices and cut the applique pieces ready to be applied. Tulip Farm is a quilt with many appliqued blocks interspersed with pieced blocks. I had started it in a monthly class, and we had skipped around and did not do them in any particular order, so I had each block in a separate bag and each was numbered. I finished appliqueing number 14 last night, and the last block to be finished is 19 -- I will take it out today and set it next to my chair!

Well, catch you all later -- need to get quilting!

Friday, January 06, 2006


I had big quilting plans for today: cut out a new design from stash fabrics, maybe get it pieced together, start quilting the Scrappy Pineapple Blossom, piece the Buck a Block I picked up yesterday.... and then I got up feeling worse than when I went to bed -- I do despise cold season and I'm hating the weather we've been having in the midwest -- this is January, we should have snow on the ground and temps in the 20's. What we have...no snow and temps in the 40's, or temps in the 30's with high winds. It's just not right.
So, I spent some time on the computer this morning, then decided to wind the bobbins for the SPB - but wasn't going to start quilting -- brain is foggy and mushy! So, of course, I had to try anyway. Did about 6 inches and discovered the back was all thread nests - spent 45 minutes cleaning up that mess (and didn't bother to spend any time trying to figure out why -- the Brother machine is so touchy that way that I could have put the thread in the first holder backwards and it would do that to me.)
So, went up to the sewing room, decided not to trust myself with a rotary cutter, and instead pulled my Tulip Farm ufo out. Pieced the last two blocks that were cut for piecing, took another block to the living room to be appliqued and have one more appliqued block left (of course the biggest one), but progress is progress! So, here's the block I managed to finish appliqueing last night:

I just may finish this quilt this year yet! Hopefully, tomorrow my brain won't be quite as foggy and I can accomplish great things in the sewing room! Hopefully.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Tuesday's tale

Actually, the title is really misleading -- there is no tale today! And no quilt, either! Today was a day of running errands, DH had to get some blood work done, we met old neighbors that moved to NC and are back to visit their son, for lunch. Of course, the restaurant I wanted to try was closed for lunch today (reopened at 5 tonight -- not a good omen for a new restaurant, IMHO!). So, we went to an old favorite, Chen's Cantonese Restaurant. The food was wonderful, as usual, and it was nice to visit with old friends. Then we stopped for groceries and came home.
I had big plans of doing something in the sewing room, but had a bit of a headache by the time we got home, and was tired because I didn't get a good sleep last night (I'll sleep like a log tonight!). So, nothing got done in the sewing room, but I did check phone messages and a lqs left an order for my first pattern of last year - so that was a highlight! So, of course, I didn't have any printed up, and of course the printer ran out of black ink, and of course, I forgot to change my email address on the pattern cover and had to reprint those - oh, and of course I usually run errands on Tuesday and would have taken these in today had I known, but I think the lqs was probably closed yesterday anyway and that's why they didn't call til today. I'll take them in on Thursday. I'm kinda new to this pattern designing thing and figured after the first rush of reorders that 6 months later they wouldn't be selling anymore -- guess I should be more prepared. Headache went away anyway.

Monday, January 02, 2006

January Resolutions Beginning

On one of the quilt lists I belong to we're doing a sewing room cleanup, which started today -- just a bit at a time til it's done -- doesn't take much time out of the day, and you still accomplish something. Today's goal was to make a space to contain your ufo's and wips so that you have a place to gather them as you clean the rest of the area. I have two drawers in a dresser that I have ufos packaged in bags -- I took them all out, inventoried and put them back. Total is 36 (there may be more in other areas, but I haven't pulled them yet!). A lot of them are tops waiting to be quilted, at least 7 of them are kits I made up myself, pieces all cut to size and ready to be pieced or appliqued into a quilt. My goal is to finish at least 1 ufo each month for 2006. I hope to finish a lot more, but don't see a point in making myself crazy!
Anyway, to that end, I managed to get my Scrappy Pineapple Blossom on the HQ this afternoon. I hope to start quilting it later this week. And yes, I count this top as a ufo, because I count anything I have started and not completely finished as a ufo - they don't have to be aged.

Also -- two days down and no fabric purchased! And, the backing for the quilt on the frame is pieced from stash, the label is made and so is the binding!

Sunday, January 01, 2006


2006 came in on busy little boy feet and dragging, tired, grandma feet! Now I know why they give babies to young people! AJ was an absolute angel while he was here, but busy and talking a mile a minute. So, after Momma came and got him at noon today, it's been a slow and lazy day -- too tired to even venture into the sewing room.

Judy asked what plans we had for using the stash in January. I haven't figured out exactly what I'm going to be working on this month...I have some designing to do for my newsletter and I definitely want to get a couple of quilts put on the quilter and finished. I am planning on doing whatever I do with stash. I've already got one design finished using stash and scraps and the second is on paper and hopefully, will be pulling fabric tomorrow for it. I can't post pictures til I actually get the newsletter in the mail at the end of the month.

I'm still working on a ufo -- hand appliqueing in the evenings -- and making progress. I may finish the Tulip Farm quilt this year -- wouldn't that be a surprise. And, of course, it's all from stash.