Thursday, May 31, 2007

Pressed Memories

I have loved this quilt since the first time I saw it on the cover of a Kansas Troubles Quilters book (which name escapes me at the moment). This one was made with all Kansas Troubles fabrics. I made it whatever year the book came out -- and I looked and cannot find a year anywhere in the book -- but I think it was either 2002 or 2003. It has been waiting to be quilted since then and I'm glad I waited because this is the one I learned to do straight line ruler work on. I hand appliqued the borders - KTQ used the raw edge applique on the original, but I prefer hand applique. I'm not even sure what it is about the quilt that I love so much -- I love scrappy but this is more of a controlled scrappy, using the same background fabric. I guess it's just all the color and the small bit of applique on the borders. I even have a label on it and finished stitching the binding on this afternoon, washed and dried it and it is now covering the back of the couch in the living room so I can look at it a lot!

Today was cloudy and the threatening rain turned into a couple of sprinkles and that was pretty much it -- they're still calling for rain, but it seems to keep going north, south, east and west of us! We really need it to stop here for awhile. It's been a bit warm (in the 80's) and a bit humid, so I did turn on the air conditioners and won't be getting much gardening done til it cools back down into the 70's -- in a day or two.

I cleaned out 6 fabric shelves in the Hoosier cabinet today -- refolded all the fabric and semi-sorted it -- still have to merge it with the big cabinet in the sewing room, so will wait til I have all the fabric refolded before I sort it better. Also worked on Will's quilt and appliqued another heart on Beth's quilt. And plan to do some more stitching tonight on my Primitive Garden bom -- I got the 6th one in the mail Tuesday and I'm still on #1, so need to get moving on it!

Tomorrow I'm heading up to see Steph and AJ and pick up my Market Day order -- so we can eat for awhile down here. Steph had another good report at the doctor's yesterday and we've been kind of holding our breath around here because she is now in her 30th week and that's when AJ was born. We're hoping for at least 6 more weeks with Will.

Another ufo finished and I'm real pleased with it.
Progress in the fabric cabinets.
Fresh asparagus on the grill tonight.
Air Conditioning.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Another Baby Rails with Attitude

This is Baby Will's quilt (or as AJ calls him, "Willum")! I have the eight rows sewn vertically together -- it's taken two days to do that. This past week I got hit with Bill's cold, so that pretty much took care of 3 days this week -- I hate playing catchup! Anyway, I should be able to get it put together this week. As of today, I'm working on 5 different quilts at one time -- no wonder I can't focus. While working on this one today, I finally finished piecing my Twinklers quilt blocks using leaders and enders and started putting the blocks together leader/ender style while sewing the blocks together on Will's. Then, with 45 minutes left before I had to start dinner, I appliqued one heart for another baby quilt -- this one is for DD's DSIL, who is due the end of June with another girl. AJ and Wendy's first daughter, Marie are just 4 months apart so the cousins are quite close. And Will and "Beth" will hopefully only be 2 months apart.
Anyway -- making a scrappy nine-patch alternating with appliqued hearts for Beth.
And, my ongoing applique project is the Primitive Garden BOM, (although I still haven't finished the first block and #6 will be here soon). And, finally, I have the Pressed Memories quilt off the machine and the binding is on waiting to be sewn down still.

Speaking of the Pressed Memories quilt -- this is the one with all the crosshatching done on the longarm - this quilt marks the point at which I finally feel super comfortable with the longarm. It's been 5 months since I got it. I felt fairly comfortable doing pantographs and some freehand meandering, and even some marked borders, but learning to use the ruler doing the crosshatching was the turning point -- the point at which I really felt my machine was an extension of my arm/hand. I've been itching to load another quilt since I took that one off, but it was the last one I had a backing ready and the top all pressed, so I was forced to get busy piecing baby quilts. I really need to get them out of the way anyway, but I'll be planning the quilting on them soon!

Hope Everyone has a peaceful Memorial Day tomorrow.

I think my cold is on it's way out.
I'm thankful we only had a ton of limbs and a few trees down with the latest wind storm this week (at least none of them hit the house).
I did manage to finish weeding the sunny spots before I got sick.
We finally got some rain yesterday -- less than a half inch, but better than nothing.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Walking in the Woods

These are wild geraniums. They are a little darker pink than they show in the picture. They grow in our woods and Bill always waits til they are done blooming to mow those areas -- and there are quite a few areas of them.
These are called Prairie Trillium -- that tiny center flower is usually maroon -- but this is late in the blooming season for them, so it's turning brown. They grow wild in the woods, except some take up residence in my big shady flower bed in the front (with the daffodils), and I let them grow there. I try not to let the weeds grow there, but I'm a bit behind already on that bed.

And these are Jack in the Pulpit. They also grow wild in our woods, but this particular one has decided he likes my front bed next to the porch. I'm not going to argue with him -- I think they are stunning plants.

And these? These are ferns and Jack in the Pulpit that are growing out from under the front porch steps! Our kids think we're dorks because we let them grow year after year - for 13 years now. The first year we moved here, Bill put in the huge flower bed in the front yard (way too big in my opinion, btw). I needed to fill it with lots of perennials -- I dug up a bunch of ferns from the woods and transplanted them -- let me tell you ferns don't like to be messed with! They did manage to grow -- I have about 6 of them in the center of that bed, but it was touch and go for the first couple of years. Yet -- this one came up on its own under the step! We also planted lots of hosta, which are finally filling in the bed.

I spent most of today working on the longarm. I only have the last side borders to do, but I needed to quit for the day because my knees were tired. Tomorrow I hope to get out and do some weeding in the sunny beds -- it's supposed to be cool tomorrow.

Wildflowers - I love the surprise of finding an unique flower among the weeds.
A quiet Saturday.
Blue skies.
Leftovers for dinner -- so easy to heat up after a long day quilting.

Friday, May 18, 2007

I'm no longer terrified

of doing diagonal lines on the longarm! Admittedly, they are far from perfect -- there's a few wobbles and sometimes I missed the chalked line, but not so badly that I feel obligated to frog stitch it! It definitely takes coordination -- you need to hold the straight edge with one hand and move the machine with the other along the straight edge -- without pushing against it so hard that you move the straight edge. Once you establish a rhythm though, it works pretty good.
I worked this morning for an hour and a half, then took a 2 hour break to take JR to the vet for his yearly shots, then came home and worked another hour. All I accomplished was crosshatching the two outer borders on one side. But, I'm pleased with it and myself. I happen to love this quilt and I'm keeping it for myself, so once I wash it, the crosshatching will look pretty good I think. The center of the quilt will get "x's" quilted into the background rectangles and then I'll decide if the colored ones need anything and whether there's enough quilting in the center to even out the borders. I'm actually following the recommendation of the pattern itself, so we'll see. The pattern, btw, is Pressed Memories by Kansas Troubles Quilters. I've had the top done for a number of years, so I'm excited to finish it.
We did not have frost last night, although the official temp did reach 39°.
Bill's pretty miserable with a cold, but at least he's spending his time in the recliner instead of trying to do anything strenuous.
JR did really well at the Vet's -- the new lady vet is terrific.
I'm really pleased with the longarm today.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

My Heartstrings Quilt is finished

It is finished all the way to the label and binding -- which I stitched down today. I used the Popcorn pantograph to quilt it -- nice and easy and looks good, I think. I'll be taking it to guild Monday night and hopefully, between now and then I can get a couple of samples made of string blocks to show. It sure takes me a lot longer to get one done than it does for others to get multiples done! But, I'm glad it's finished anyway.

I have been spending some time in the flower beds lately -- 3 hours yesterday. I was planning on going out there again today, but it's a bit cool and a lot windy and a friend stopped over for coffee this morning and before I knew it the time had slipped away. I managed to stitch the binding down on the Heartstrings, and load a quilt on the machine and that pretty much took care of the afternoon. I am doing a bit of applique in the evenings too.
Next on my list to do is make a couple of baby quilts. I need one for Will. Steph had another ultrasound Tuesday -- everything is looking great at 28 weeks and Will weighs 2 lbs 6 oz. AJ was born at 30 weeks weighing 3 lbs 6 oz, so we're getting close, and hoping she can carry him to term -- they did do another blood test and everything looks good so far. They are monitoring her every week and will start her on injections at the first sign of a problem. But it still makes Grandma nervous!

A good report on Baby Will.
Steph planted her first flats of flowers Tuesday - I'm coaching her on acquiring a green thumb.
The trees have all filled out, the oaks have shiny new leaves in the front yard; the wild geraniums are blooming in the woods behind the house.
Beautiful sunny, not hot, weather for weeding flower beds.
The anticipation of trying a new quilting technique on the machine - straight diagonal lines.
Bill built a fire in the kitchen fireplace this morning before he left for his retiree's breakfast.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day

This was the bouquet of flowers I received from DS and DDIL on Friday. They are still beautiful today.
We all went out for breakfast this morning (thank heavens I made reservations because I think every resident of our small town was at the same restaurant this morning and we didn't have to wait a minute). Then we came home here and celebrated Bill's 81st birthday (today), and Deb's 54th birthday on the 1st in addition to Mother's Day. Bill and I received a digital photo frame from DD & DSIL and the grandkids. Pretty cool -- you put the memory card from the digital camera into it and it plays the pictures. So, DD's camera and mine are the same type and we will be exchanging memory cards often to get all the photos of the grandkids playing continuously!
Now all the kids have gone to their next Mother's Day activity and Bill and I are relaxing on the computers. When I finish here, I'm going to take some more migraine pills (I had two glasses of wine at dinner last night!), and then hopefully mark a quilt and load it on the machine.

I think (knock on wood), that the computers have fixed their own problems -- whatever it was.

The computer seems to have stopped freezing up for now.
Beautiful gifts and precious time with our kids and grandchild.
Rain showers this morning -- good for all the plantings I did this past week.
Finally getting an idea early this morning on how to quilt the one that's been waiting for awhile.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Computer Problems

I'm having big time computer problems -- it keeps freezing up and I don't think it is actually the computer -- I'm having the same problem with my laptop and it's only a year old -- can only think it is something like sunspots or some such oddity. Anyway -- I'm going to try to send this message without a picture and hope it goes through.
I'm way behind on blog reading and emails -- but it does free up time to actually accomplish other things because I find I spend way too much time on the computer and I need to reduce that time and get busy.
So -- when I get the chance, I will be reading blogs, but maybe not commenting -- just know I'm interested in what you are doing, but I can't always comment or even read until after the fact!

Have a nice weekend and a good Mother's Day (I'll try to send a pic of the beautiful flowers my son and ddil sent me today!)

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Quilts are on their way

This was the label I slapped on the kids quilt I sent to Kansas yesterday. I also sent out the QOV quilt yesterday, so that's two finished and out of here.

I'm having problems with both computers (so I don't think it's the computers at all that's causing the problems) -- they keep freezing up on me. It's quite annoying when I have some time to catch up with mail and the bloggers and can't get where I want to go!

Today I had a follow-up mammogram for the ultrasound guided needle biopsy of last fall -- everything's fine. I also stopped at the car dealer and had the oil changed and new wiper blades put on. And I'm going to start quilting the Heartstrings quilt I managed to get loaded yesterday! It'll be nice to get it done and be able to start something else.

Phone call from Steph yesterday.
Finishing quilts and labels and sending them on their way.
Not much of a wait to get the oil changed and new wiper blades and actually taking the time to have it done.
It's Wednesday -- I don't have to cook tonight and I can spend the afternoon quilting!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

A wild and wooly week

Babysat AJ from Wednesday morning at his house, brought him home at 5:30 that night and took him back home Friday afternoon. I know why they give 3 year olds to young people! He missed his Mommy big time this time and asked me a few times if I could "drop him off at his house to see his Mommy and Sissy". (It's an hour and a half drive to "drop him off".) But we had a good time. Thursday was cold and windy, so we didn't get to play outside much to ride his new bicycle, but we took it home with us on Friday so he could show Daddy and ride it there. I pretty much collapsed when I got back Friday afternoon!

Saturday my quilting buddy and I went to the Sinnissippi Quilt Guild's Quilt Show in Rockford. Walked the show and the vendors for about 2½ hours. Good show, but nothing spectacular. I took pictures of some of the longarm quilting I liked just for ideas. We had lunch at Mary's Market and came home.

I rested for an hour and then we left for a bowling fundraiser for my best friend's grand niece. Gianna was a perfectly healthy baby girl that because of some medical mismanagement at birth, had bled out completely by the time they delivered her and they transfused her and brought her back, but she had gone way too long without oxygen and is profoundly brain damaged. The doctors told them she was blind, deaf and dumb and would never walk -- her parents researched everything and she has been receiving hyberbaric oxygen treatments since very early on. She is not blind, she is not deaf, and with braces and lots of help, she can stand and sit. She has had one stem-cell transplant and is much more focused since then -- you can call her name and she will look right at you now. She can't speak -- but who's to say she will never. The fund raisers are to pay for the very expensive hyperbaric treatments, which have helped immensely and possibly for another stem cell transplant. If I remember correctly, she will be three in July.

Anyway -- pretty exhausting week, so today I stayed home and recouped. I stitched the binding down on the Block of the Month quilt: It is ready for the last class next Saturday.

Then I finally stitched the label to the Quilt of Valor -- it will be going out as soon as I find out where to send it. And then I stitched the Heartstrings quilt together:

I need to make a backing -- will definitely not be piecing it much -- there are sure a lot of seams in this quilt, not to mention an extra layer of muslin. I want to finish this one by the 21st so I can take it to guild for donation.

And finally, I spent an hour or so working on my hand applique project today. I'm appliqueing small circles and having a lot of trouble keeping them round, so had to stop and look for my Circleze templates -- found the larger one, but not the smaller one, so now I need to clean out the shelves in the clutter room so I can actually find things again!

Once again I am reminded how blessed we are. There, but for the grace of God, go I.

AJ conversing with Bob at dinner on Wednesday night. He also ordered (at an Italian restaurant), "chicken nuggets, with honey, fries and a drink"! His language skills at age 3 are amazing.

An entire day to play in the sewing room -- to fondle fabrics and actually finish some projects.