Friday, September 29, 2006

More Fall Stuff

This was an old Country Threads pattern -- back in the early nineties, anyway. I forgot to reverse the pattern when tracing the turkey, so he faces the wrong way (from the pattern), but that's okay with me -- I like him anyway!

I've been sewing the past few days, but accomplishing absolutely nothing! I got Briana's quilt loaded on the hq and started to quilt it yesterday, but had nothing but problems. Took it off the hq and am in the process of ripping stitches. I'll quilt it on the Bernina instead. I was quite frustrated yesterday, but it gave me time to think while frog stitching. It's time I got back to doing some hand quilting. I want to finish Briana's quilt on the machine, and I'd like to finish one more thing for a Christmas gift and may do that on the machine, too, but after that I don't have anything with a time limit, so we'll see.

I did figure out this morning that the problem with the hq was operator error -- probably that I didn't change the tension on the machine and the last thing I did on it was work with nylon thread -- big difference in the tension -- duh!

Today I received the new issue of Quilt University's newsletter and Nancy Chong is offering a hand quilting class. I have taken all of Nancy's other classes at QU -- she's a wonderful teacher. And, even though I've been hand quilting since I began quilting, I signed up for her class anyway. It just seemed like Providence that I'd been thinking about getting back to hand quilting and then got the newsletter the next day!

I finally joined the Stashbuster list and have been lurking, of course. But, someone mentioned the Primitive Pieces by Lynda site and I adore it. It is so amazing to me that there are all these sites online that I've never seen before and yet they've been out there for a long time. And, I've been online since '95. While I was wandering around this site, I noticed our own Dawn had a quilt or two shown on the site.


1. The internet -- what a wonderful invention.

2. Sharing by quilters -- we share patterns, sites, fabric, and ourselves.

3. A fire in the kitchen fireplace again today.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Autumn is here

I haven't sewn all week, so nothing new to show here. These were lottery blocks I won at guild a few years ago. Makes a cute little table runner I think.

I did manage to do some applique today during the Bears game (GO BEARS!). I also refolded a lot of fabric -- I have one deep shelf in my cabinet done -- 5 large stacks in the back and 4 smaller stacks in the front of the shelf -- still working out the details of how I'm going to arrange them. I also have a rubbermaid container about 3/4 full of scraps -- these are anything smaller than a fat eighth, or thereabouts. Some pieces have had angles cut out of them, and some have had applique pieces cut from them. I was getting pretty tired of the old scraps and strips, so these will breathe new life into my scrap quilts, hopefully.

And, I managed to cut the background fabric for the leaf blocks for the One Hour Quilt.

All in all, a pretty good day I think.


  • Meatloaf and acorn squash for dinner.
  • Bears won!
  • A nice, quiet afternoon.
  • Playing with fabric and rediscovering what I have stashed in the stash!

Aaaah...First Fire of the Season

Well, technically it was the last fire of summer because it was Friday morning -- but who cares?! It was wonderful. 'Course, it's warmed up since then, so we haven't had another one yet, but by the end of the week we should be able to again. This was the smartest thing we've ever done -- had a fireplace built into the eating area of the kitchen -- and if I ever build another house, I'd do it again!

Spent the last two days babysitting AJ (and he completely wore us out), so got nothing else done. Today I hope to spend an hour folding fabric -- that has become a new project for me -- re-organizing my fabric cabinets and re-folding the fabric. Then, maybe work an hour on the hour a day quilt (I know -- it's still September, but we're going to be out of town for a week in October, so I need to work on it now - how's that for an excuse?) Oh, and I also want to spend some time hand appliqueing -- probably during the Bears game today.

1. The kitchen fireplace.

2. AJ - what a treasure a 2½ year old is. What a blast it is to watch his mind work.

3. Patience and humor.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Quick Update

Looks like blogger is planning an outage, so I'll see if I can get this published. This is the first block for the new 1 hour quilt. The background is the fabric I had and the dark is the fabric I bought to go with it. Color is not very good in the picture, but hopefully you can see that the red/rust matches the cherries or whatever those things are in the background!

Got lots going on this week and have to pick up AJ for two day stay tomorrow, so probably won't be able to get back til Sunday night! Have a good weekend everyone!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Confession Time

I blew my self-imposed fabric budget out of the water today! If you'll recall, I decided to give myself a $50 a month fabric budget. I spent half of it 9 days ago on 3 yards of fabric. I spent the other half and another two months + worth on fabric today! It's all Judy's fault though. See, she posted a picture of October's One Hour a Day Quilt. I like it. I pulled piles and piles (indeed) of fabric from the shelves to make it. I found a fabric I've had for a few (probably 5) years and decided it would be perfect for the background of the alternate blocks. Then I found a fabric for the dark in that block -- but....I don't have enough of that fabric. I do have plenty of fall fabrics for the leaves, and some backgrounds for them, but really, a background that would blend with the other background fabric would be much better -- I have some, but not enough. So, I spent a couple of hours this morning refolding fabrics and re-stacking them neatly, but have not put any of them away yet. The more I thought about it and the more I fondled the fabrics, the more I knew I needed a quilt store trip. (This is going to be a busy week where I won't be able to do much sewing at all -- so I needed the quilt store trip as a mental health day, also!)
If you're still with me...called my quilt buddy, we decided to blow off quilt guild tonight and just spend the afternoon at the quilt store instead. was heaven! My favorite store -- Sew Many Antiques in Pearl City, IL -- the owner was working there today, so that was a plus! I found both the dark fabric I needed and another background that goes really well -- which means I'm really going to doubly enjoy doing the Hour a Day Quilt.
Also found two other fabrics that I had to buy! This because, as I was folding my fabrics this morning I had an epiphany! I have tons of fabrics, but more than half are half yards, fat quarters and smaller. I really don't have lots of yardage fabrics any more. So, now when I buy, it'll be back to buying two or three yards of one fabric instead of 10 or 20 fat quarters! I just need a well-rounded stash, that's all! And really, I'm going to make most of the quilt with stash fabrics!
That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

1. A wonderful quilters' mental health day today.
2. My stash and my stash enhancement.
3. No complaints about my thrown-together quick dinner.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Sunny Days - Top is finished

The circles didn't take as long as I thought. I finished 7 of them last night and after visiting with Steph and AJ this morning, I came home and did the last 5. The first picture is from the bottom -- I laid it on our queen size bed. The second picture is from the left side showing the top circles.

I'm real pleased with it -- hope Briana loves it. I need to see what I have for a backing -- might have to go shopping for one if I can't find something appropriate. I'd like to start quilting it in another week or so.

Time to start on the next one! I'm waiting to see what Judy is going to come up with for the October 1 hour quilt, too.

1. Seeing Steph and AJ today. AJ changes every time we see him now.
2. Running into Deb at the mall while AJ was riding on one of the truck rides.
3. Stopping at the Farmers Market today -- farm fresh green beans and decorative gourds.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Sunny Day...

It seems its been cloudy and raining for a week, but today we finally had a sunny day. It's a good thing I got to sew most of the Labor Day weekend, because it's been hard to find time this week. I did manage to piece the Sunny Days top together on Monday, after chores and between laundry loads. And that was it til today. Today I got the borders put together and all but the last top border on the quilt. The last border needs 12 circles appliqued on it and I had to wait till the rest was done so that I knew what size to cut the border. I managed to applique four of them today and hopefully I'll get a few more done tonight. I won't be able to finish the top until Sunday anyway -- have the second baby shower to go to Saturday and tomorrow Steph and AJ are coming down for a visit. We haven't seen them for over a month and I just know that little boy has grown leaps and bounds. Anyway -- not taking a picture of the quilt til the top is at least finished, so you'all will just have to wait!

I did put out my fall quilts and a few decorations today, so I'll share one with you here:

1. Bill was able to get back outside and work today -- he doesn't do well cooped up in the house!
2. Fall is in the air.
3. Blogger friends.

Monday, September 11, 2006

God Bless America

September 11, 2001.
Everyone remembers what they were doing and where they were when they first heard the news. I never have the tv or radio on in the morning, so it was a typical Tuesday morning for me -- getting ready to run errands. As soon as I got into the car and headed to Oregon, IL to pick up the dog's tags, I heard the news on the radio. I listened in disbelief all the way there and all the way back. I stopped at the grocery store in Byron and saw the first tower collapse on the tv I didn't even know they had in there. I came right home and told Bill. I remember thinking when I first saw the tower collapse the line spoken by, I believe the Japanese admiral involved with the attack on Pearl Harbor: " we have awakened a sleeping giant."
I was proud of America in the weeks and months following -- all the flags that people started flying. We have always flown the flag -- every day. And where are the flags now?
Why are they making movies about the terrorist attacks? I don't want to see what some producer/director/writer "thinks" happened. I don't want to see some biased account of the events. We've already lived through it. I don't want to hear whose fault it was -- it was the terrorists' fault.
If all the information that flows into the intelligence agencies came to your computer, would you have figured out ahead of time what was going to happen? When you first heard or saw the attack, what did you do? Did you run into those buildings to help those people? Most everyone was in shock -- plain and simple. There is no blame to spread -- we must make our country safer ourselves -- we can't leave it for others to do for us. We must follow the rules at the airports, we must be aware of everything that goes on around us, we must be vigilant at all times, we must be aware that we are not loved by everyone -- there are those that hate us for whatever insane reason they have and the only thing we can do about it is be aware and be ready. And we must never forget.

Sunday, September 10, 2006


Block #14 is finished as of last night:

And, block #15 is finished as of today -- I finished it while watching the Bears whup the Packers! Go Bears! I also finally made the rest of the hst's today, so sometime later this week I should be able to trim and square up the blocks and start putting the top together. I will still need to applique 12 circles onto a border for this quilt, but I think I'll do that after I get the rest put together.
Yesterday we had our BOM class at the lqs and of course spent some time checking out what is new in the shop. This fabric jumped right off the shelf into my arms and screamed at me to take it home. How can you resist something like that? It is a beautiful green from the Bound to the Prairie line of Kansas Troubles from Moda.

In doing Judy's One Hour Quilt last month, I realized that even though I have a ton of stash, most of them are not much more than 1 yard pieces, except for the backings fabrics I buy. And sometimes you just want to put a nice wide border on that is not pieced. So, I bought 3 yards of this fabric.

That was the first purchase I made in September and it was extremely hard not to buy 3 yards each of about 4 more fabrics, but I held my resolve and only bought this one - at 15% off because it was class day -- so I still have $25.53 left in my September quilt budget! Yay me!


1. It was a gray, damp, cold and windy day here -- perfect for opening day of football, along with a Chicago Bears win, and chili for dinner!

2. Finishing the applique flowers.

Friday, September 08, 2006

And another...

Just two more flower blocks, 2 circles left to applique onto hst's and 12 circles to applique on a border strip. Making progress.

A couple of friends from Byron and I joined the bigger Rockford guild yesterday. They had a nice speaker from Missouri who talked about the Amish and their quilts. Very interesting. Next month they will have Billie Lauder speaking -- of course I will be in Virginia so won't be able to go to that one! It was a fun day yesterday -- out to lunch before the meeting, then did some shopping and met another friend for dinner and spent an hour in the bookstore with her after dinner -- we had a grand time. I bought the Emilie Richards book, Endless Chain -- I want to start reading it, but may need to finish the applique blocks first!
Tomorrow I have another BOM demo at the lqs, so maybe will get some quilting in in the afternoon.

Today was house cleaning and spending some time organizing paper stacks. We're drowning under paper here and it's way past time to do something about it. So, a little each day....

1. Barnes & Noble bookstores -- what a delightful way to spend a few hours.
2. I haven't spent any of my quilting allowance -- yet.
3. Phone conversation with Steph.
4. My lists.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Block #12

Moving right along!

I got my car back today! YAY! No charge and we suspect they did a bit more work on it than was done previously -- like replace the torque converter and a pump -- at least it wasn't listed on the first bill and was listed on the second. Anyway -- I've got wheels.

Melanie asked for my Chicken Noodle Soup recipe the other day. It is:!
This is a free site for healthy lifestyles -- it has tons and tons of information about diet and exercise and just about anything else. It does require you to register and sign in -- but only with your name and it does not cost a cent. There are tons of recipes and lots of other stuff! I used their Chicken Noodle Soup recipe and only added sliced carrots.

I've also fixed a great pork recipe a couple of times. It comes from a small wire bound book called Better Health, a collection of traditional recipes made healthier, by Schoolmate, ©2002.
The recipe is called: Pork, Cashew & Green Bean Stir-Fry and it's fabulous.

1/4 c. low sodium soy sauce
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 lb. pork tenderloin, cut into 1/4 in thick slices
4 c. fresh green beans
2 tsp. dark sesame oil
1 T. fresh ginger, minced and peeled
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c. fat-free less sodium chicken broth
2 c. hot cooked rice
1/4 c. chopped unsalted cashews, toasted

Combine soy sauce and cornstarch; add pork, stirring to coat. Cover and chill. Place beans in a large saucepan of boiling water; cook for 5 minutes; drain; plunge into ice water; drain. In a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray, heat oil over medium-high heat. Saute ginger and garlic for 1 minute. Add pork; stir-fry for 1-1/2 minutes. Add beans; stir-fry for 1-1/2 minutes. Stir in broth, reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Serve over rice; sprinkle with cashews. Yields 4 servings.

Using the pork tenderloin makes this recipe so tender it melts in your mouth. And it's a fast fix!
I got this little book as a gift last Christmas and have never seen it at a book store, but I would recommend it -- it has lots of good, fast recipes in it.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Block #11

Getting close to finishing the applique blocks. Only 4 more to go.

Still haven't gotten my car back -- they promise it tomorrow. I very much dislike riding in Bill's truck -- I'm a bit of a front seat, grab the dashboard, hit the imaginary brake on my side kind of rider!
So, today Bill had an appointment with his opthamalogist (My husband is 80 years old, had a cataract removed from his right eye a couple of years ago and has macular degeneration in both eyes, but the right is worse than the left). The dr told him today that his vision is 20/300 in the right eye -- and he can no longer drive at night. He can still see well enough with his left to drive during the day though. So, we stopped for groceries, came home and he left again for a dentist appointment. He stopped at his friend's down the road on the way home and when his friend asked what he was going to do if he couldn't drive at night, he said, "Hang on and scream" (inferring that he doesn't like the way I drive!). He's telling me this over dinner tonight. So, I said, "And you've learned how to do that from me, right?"!
It's good to have a sense of humor, I think. It's a real PITA getting old, but I guess it sure beats the alternative.

Note to Melanie: I'll get that chicken soup recipe for you tomorrow -- I haven't forgotten completely! Also had a great pork dinner tonight I'll post the recipe for tomorrow too.

1. I'm glad we both have a sense of humor, or life would really be tough.
2. This is just another bump in the road, but he can still drive during the day.
3. Phone conversations with two kids, one sister in law, one high school chum of Bill's, and two good friends today. I guess I was the only one that stayed home and sewed all weekend!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Block #10

This was the tenth block -- I finished last night. Today I managed to make 8 hst's and appliqued a circle onto 4 of them. I still have the other four and the last 5 blocks to applique. Didn't finish the hst's -- we've had some pretty good storms run through this afternoon and more to come tonight, so haven't spent much time on the machine or the computer.
Oh, and the laundry is finished!

1. I really am grateful to have Bill -- he's up to any task I have for him!
2. We haven't lost power even though we've had some pretty good rain, hail, lightning and thunder today (knock on wood)!
3. Hand stitching.

My Keystone Kops Story

I wrote half this story this afternoon and promptly lost it because blogger died. So, I'll try again.

The background: I do laundry on Mondays and because we had no plans for today, I started the laundry as usual. But the first load was not drying very well.
We live in a two story solid log home. My laundry is in a small closet outside the master bedroom on the second floor. Because the ceiling of the first floor is the floor of the second floor, there are no spaces in between for plumbing, etc. The plumbing on the second floor runs to one inside wall that does have space and goes up or down (we have an air conditioning unit and furnace in the attic for the second floor and one in the basement for the main floor).

So, the last time the dryer didn't dry well I called the Maytag people and they recommended we clean out the dryer vents before they send someone out - thereby saving me some money. It is a good idea to clean your dryer vents regularly -- the pipes all the way to the outside of the house get clogged with lint and this is a fire hazard. It is also the reason the dryer doesn't dry well! The last time was about a year or year and a half ago and at this time, Bill pulled the dryer out as far as he could (it is propane gas); then layed across the dryer to reach the duct in the back of it to pull it apart. We vacuumed the inside dryer vent and the back ducts, but that wasn't enough. Following the duct up into the attic, we went up and cleaned out the duct from the top -- this part is straight up from the dryer -- but it is at least 10 feet straight up and down. Then we looked at the duct part that goes outside -- it goes all the way across the bedroom (about 35 feet) to vent outside above the roof of the clutter room, which is just one story. It too, was full of lint. This is the Keystone Kops part: (Oh, and my husband is a retired mechanical engineer -- he was the Manager of Engineering for a subsidiary of Borg Warner). He decided he would go outside to the vent, use his leaf blower and blow the lint into the shop vac that I would be using in the attic at the other end of the line. He set me up with the vac hose with a shop rag wrapped around it to plug the much larger vent, went outside, climbed the ladder to the roof and proceeded to blow the lint from the outside vent to the vac, which I turned on. Oh -- and my husband is deaf --he actually has two hearing aids which he can't wear when he's working with loud machinery -- and he's at least 35 feet away from me -- and there's a solid log wall next to him. Can you see where this is going?
The shop vac immediately plugged with lint, the shop rag was blown off the end of the duct and the rest of the lint was being blown out into the attic all over the insulation and, of course, all over me -- as I'm screaming at the top of my lungs to shut the da_n thing off and pounding on the wood support beams hoping he can at least hear that! ROFLOL! He finally shut it off (not because he heard me either), came back up to the attic and I was in tears because I was laughing so hard! To top off that day, he dropped the shop vac carrying it downstairs and emptied it in the foyer of the house! I just laughed and cleaned up the mess. We spent an hour trying to get the vent hooked back up to the back of the dryer and the dryer moved back into the tiny closet.

Fast forward to today. Bill is now 80 and his hearing has not improved any. I told him we needed to clean the vent, but that I wasn't going to be on the receiving end of the lint -- that maybe taping a bag over the end would be a better idea! He also managed to vacuum at the top without removing the duct from the dryer and had me turn the dryer on to blow the lint into the duct -- which worked quite well. And, the duct to outside was not too bad, so the bag on the end worked well. Of course, 5 minutes after he got off the roof it started pouring down rain. But the job is done and the dryer is working well once again! And I will never forget the first time we cleaned it out! LOL

Sunday, September 03, 2006

A Finished Quilt

I spent most of the day finishing the Buck a Block. Did the border on the Bernina and it came out pretty good! I did it using a stencil of Christmas trees. The binding is on and it's been washed and dried! I think this may be a Christmas gift.

While I waited for it to wash and dry, I prepped the last 5 flower blocks and 20 circles to be appliqued onto some of the hst's of Sunny Days. Tomorrow I'll probably piece the hst's

1. Another pieceful/peaceful day
2. Homemade chicken soup for dinner -- trying to cure Bill's cold before he gives it to me.
3. The rain has held off all weekend, until tonight anyway.
4. Hazelnut candles.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Block #9

I finished block number 9 last night. Only 6 more to go. Today I also made all 15 ninepatches that alternate with the flower blocks.

I also quilted the Buck a Block center on the HQ -- only took a bit more than an hour and part of that time was fighting with the nylon thread -- my Brother machine does not like nylon thread (and neither do I), but it was the best choice for the top. I had to really loosen the top tension in order to get it done. Stitches look okay though. It kept skipping on me, so had to stop frequently and loosen the tension a teeny bit more! Royal PITA! Anyway -- it's off the HQ and hopefully tomorrow I'll be able to put it on the Bernina and do the border. Also want to make some HST's for Briana's quilt -- that's the next step. Can't put anything together till the flower blocks are done.


1. The nine-patches are done.

2. Another lovely sewing day.

3. My water bottle.

4. Getting a whole overstuffed file folder shredded; 1 down, infinity to go.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Good progress today

This is the eighth completed block for granddaughter's quilt. The name of the pattern is Sunny Days from the book, "Curl Up Quilts" by Piece O'Cake. The quilt in the book was done in yellows -- and I love the yellows, but decided I'd better do Briana's in pinks!

I also did the block for my latest BOM from the lqs. And I went back and added the block borders for the 3 previous blocks -- I had left them off until I decided what I was going to do. So I'm caught up on that project.

Had planned on starting the piecing from Briana's quilt, but was thinking about the ufo's I have and decided now that my HQ is a bit more stable, I might as well get another ready to quilt. I pulled the completed Buck a Block BOM from the other lqs, stitched a backing from bleached muslin that I had in stash, cut the batting and pinned the whole shebang to the HQ; wound another bobbin, chose a nylon thread for the top -- too much white, green and red and didn't like the looks of those colors, so clear nylon it is; cleaned the machine and rethreaded and it's ready to go. (The picture is back in July of my blog -- but I don't know how to make that a link without linking to the whole July archive!)

Anyway -- nice productive sewing day. Tomorrow I'll do some piecing on Briana's quilt. And maybe some quilting on the Buck a Block.

1. Old friends stopped by last night - they live in NC, but are visiting their son. It was a great visit and good food at the 5th Alarm.
2. A peaceful and pieceful day.
3. Turning the calendars to a new month and a new start.
4. No plans for the weekend -- I love free weekends!