Tuesday, July 31, 2007


I try to answer everyone that leaves a comment with a personal reply, but some do not have email addresses and many times I forget to reply here.

Kathy: I used to go to a shop in Oregon owned by Holly, is that your sister? There is currently a shop in Oregon called Stitches in Time owned by Elaine Hanna. Its a lot of hand dyes and leans more toward art quilts and brights, I think. Not the usual dark country stuff I love anyway. She's a nice lady though, and also offers some yarns and some classes on spinning wool in addition to quilty stuff.
There's no quilt shop in Byron, I don't know about Grand Detour. There's one in Pecatonica that I like, a couple in Rockford, and my favorite is in Pearl City. There's one in New Milford -- but only been there once and the owner is quite impressed with herself :-) - have no intention of going back.

Sharon: I think it was the camera angle and he is also holding one foot with his hand! I did notice that Will's feet do look big -- and I don't think the same rule applies to humans that it does in dogs! vbg

To everyone else -- Thanks!

Today saw no quilting either. I ran errands, talked on the phone to my DSIL -- Bill's other sister is in the hospital in Chicago -- very serious problems with arteries in her stomach/legs.
Also talked to DD today -- we'll be seeing her and the kids tomorrow and taking them to the Burpee Museum in Rockford to see our famous "Jane" the teenage T-Rex, and the Discovery Center -- should keep the older two busy for a few hours while Grandma and Grandpa get holding time with Will!

Jean is holding her own and we have a system for passing the word to the rest of the family in place.
Conversation with Steph.
Seeing the grandkids tomorrow.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Jackie's Quilt

Happy Birthday, Jackie.

My quilt buddy turned 75 on Friday. I made this quilt for her and gave it to her this afternoon. The picture is a bit blurry. And she certainly doesn't look 75 either!
This quilt pattern is called Cranberry Kisses -- it was an exclusive to Kansas Troubles Quilters Newsletter subscribers for the summer issue. I used mostly KTQ fabrics (I knew I couldn't go wrong with them since Jackie loves them as much as I do). I forgot to get a picture of the backing, but I used a stack of tan fqs I had in the stash, cut them either 17½ or 17" square and sewed them together randomly. It worked pretty well for a backing, and most of them were KTQ fabrics also. It was stitched in the ditch (which I did freehand instead of using the horizontal and vertical holds, and also on the diagonal in the squares. The border has a vine with leaves and berries quilted into it.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Hours 6 thru 10

I have all the blocks finished now, so just need to start assembling the top. I think I prefer this layout -- with the white squares marching diagonally from left to right and the blacks going in the opposite direction. I like the sharp contrasts in the black/white/colors -- really makes the colors pop.

Before I started working on this today, I thought about the fact that I don't particularly like putting backings together and made myself seam one for my double four patch quilt that I made last year. So the backing and the top are laying on the longarm now. And after working on this one today, the other one sure is boring. I need to decide how to quilt it and then I'll probably give it away!

I was going to do some hand quilting today, too -- but Bill came in from playing in the woods, so decided to get on the computer. Probably if I didn't spend so much time on the computer, I could get a lot more done. vbg

$2 a yard backing fabric
Phone conversation with my brother
Talking to Steph and listening to the baby fuss and coo

Friday, July 27, 2007

Building 4-Patches

I have eighteen of these done now -- Hours 4 and 5 of the Hour a Day! I see I'm not alone in being behind on this quilt -- but those of us that have started late are still enjoying it.

Susan commented on my breaking things into a hour a day time slot yesterday. I should probably clarify that -- I'm really not obsessive-compulsive. vbg I am obsessed with quiltmaking. I love almost every aspect of it. I'm not real fond of thread basting, nor of making backings or labels, but I think that's because I just want to get on with the quilting or the finishing -- those things are necessities that take time away from the fun stuff. Judy said when she got her first longarm she was afraid to touch it and so decided to work an hour a day on it to force herself to get over the fear and to work time in her day to play with it. Many of us have trouble sometimes fitting everything we want to do into one 24 hour period, including quilting. So, it was Judy's idea to break the construction of a pattern down to fit into a 1 hour period. It is surprising how much you can do in an hour and it's also surprising to actually finish a quilt top in a few weeks, one hour at a time.
Anyway, as I said, I like most aspects of quilting -- both hand and machine piecing, hand applique, hand quilting, and now that I have a longarm, I love that too. There are not enough hours in the day. I tend to spend many happy hours machine piecing and then machine quilting. But I haven't spent much time hand quilting and I miss it. I was envious of people that were hand quilting some or most of their quilts. So, I decided I needed to get back to doing that too. It makes sense to do some hand quilting every day -- when I let it go too long, I have to "re-learn" the stitch or more accurately, the spacing and rhythm. Also, if I go too long between hand quilting sessions, I lose my callus on my underneath finger! And, honestly, I love the peacefulness that steals over me when I sit and handquilt. So, that's why I break my quilting day into time slots. Today I pieced for a few hours this afternoon and then spent an enjoyable 45 minutes hand quilting afterwards. I also have a hand applique project waiting for me. And if I didn't have to make another darn backing, I could have a top on the longarm too! LOL

As for the rest of my day -- I have to make a list of things I have to do before I allow myself to do any sewing/quilting - I don't really break it down to hours -- just chores. I check things off the list as I do them -- makes me feel like I accomplished something. Today I paid bills, cleaned off the kitchen island -- which is where I put my cutting mat when I'm in the piecing process, and it's also where I have my calendar and paperwork, so I needed to dig out. I also made up menus for the next few weeks. Now I know what I have to take out of the freezer every morning and I don't have to worry about the electricity going off because I paid the bill! vbg And it left the afternoon free to quilt guilt-free!

Fresh green beans and tomatoes on the table tonight.
Hand quilting

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Let's Talk Quilting...

Or more precisely, piecing.
I have finally started Judy's Hour a Day quilt. I cut the fabrics and did Hour 1 yesterday. Today I managed hours 2, 3 and the "extra" hour, so have two sizes of 4-patches to show for it.
I love these black fabrics -- had no use for them when I bought them, and of course don't have enough of one or the other for the whole quilt, but I think using them both and another black on black will work just fine. I do love scrappy!

While doing those an hour at a time, I also worked on binding a quilt an hour at a time in between. I finished the binding and have the label on it and it's in the washer as we speak. And now that it is finished, I'll add the hand quilting back in to the que and maybe the hand applique, except I've been reading a book in the evenings, so maybe I'll finish the book before I go back to the applique.

With the new grandbaby and everything else that goes on in a day/week/month, I've felt a little stressed at not keeping up with things like the house and the gardens and the daily paperwork, menus, etc., etc. I did manage to clean house last Saturday (whew, it was really getting on my nerves), and Bill bought some more mulch in bags, so the past two days I've gone out and spread mulch for about an hour in the morning. It's been hot and humid again, so about an hour is all I can take. I have 5 more bags to spread and I'll probably do them Saturday as it is hopefully going to rain tomorrow. I haven't kept up with the weeding plan, but I discovered today that the flower beds are not in too bad a shape. A few weeds here and there, but they haven't taken over. Most of the flowers are blooming now too, so that's nice. And we finally have a few ripe tomatoes -- oh my, the first fresh tomato from the garden -- the taste is to die for. And, we've been eating fresh green beans too -- love them.

I'm a list maker, so the plan for tomorrow is to catch up on the paperwork (read checkbook), get back to making up the menus (boy this really is a time saver and brain-saver when you have a lot going on), spend an hour or two or three working on the Hour a Day quilt, and an hour on the hand quilting. I want to have everything caught up by this weekend so I can get back to my weekly routine. Plus, we're tentatively planning for Steph and the kids to come down next Wednesday so we can take the kids to the Discovery Center in Rockford. Lots of things for the older two to do and learn, and Grandma can get some holding time in on Will! vbg

Quilting in all it's forms - it's my sanity.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

An Hour a Day

Grandpa Bill and Baby Will

I spent the day trying to catch up from not getting anything done at home at all this week.
I managed to get the house clean and then actually worked on my latest quilting project. The only quilting I did all week was read my new quilting book, "ABCs of Longarm Quilting" in the evenings the last three days.

So today I finished putting a backing together, got it loaded on the longarm, got the batting cut and ready for loading, pressed the top and now have it on my basting table ready for the borders to be marked. This quilt has a really wide border, so I've had a time deciding what to put on it. I hope to get it marked, loaded and started quilting tomorrow. So, an hour a day quilting was actually 2½ hours! YAY!

I am also planning on doing Judy's July Hour a Day quilt. I have the fabrics pulled and waiting to be cut -- I've been printing off the instructions, but haven't actually started. Once I get the other quilt on the machine, I hope to start spending an hour a day working on Judy's. I also want to spend an hour a day on my hand quilting and my hand applique, but I don't think that's going to happen this week -- but hopefully by next weekend I can work some time in on all the projects!

Downtime at home today.
The house is clean.
Fondling fabric this afternoon.
A nice conversation with my brother and his wife (Will was born on my brother's birthday!).

Thursday, July 19, 2007

He's Here!

William Joseph made his appearance on Monday, July 16 at 8:01 pm, weighing in at a whopping 7 lbs 1.8 oz, and is 20 inches tall. Mommy and Baby are doing fine. Grandma's exhausted! vbg

And here's our happy big sister and big brother.

Only thirteen hours of labor and a relatively easy birth.
Will weighs twice what AJ weighed at birth!

Saturday, July 14, 2007


Jackie finished the binding and sewed the label on and we have another finished Heartstrings quilt. This one was made with 32 blocks from my guild, and 31 blocks donated to the Heartstrings Quilt Project. We'll take it to guild on Monday evening. I used a panto on this one called "Alfresco" by Lorien Quilting, which you can find at WillowLeaf Studios (I don't have the link at the moment!).

Today Jackie and I went to the little quilt show at Byronfest. It was a nice little show. My Pressed Memories quilt won a second place ribbon. It was judged by Jill from Sew Many Antiques in Pearl City, IL (my favorite quilt shop). She always puts nice encouraging notes when she judges.
It was a nice day -- no humidity.
Time for relaxing and talking after the show -- we spent at least an hour over a dish of ice cream, and I think both of us needed it.
Crock pots.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Heartstrings #2

I actually have this one quilted and the binding on, and I gave it to my quilt buddy to stitch the binding down -- she volunteered and I did not argue! But I forgot to take a picture of the finished quilt, so this is a picture after I pieced it together and before I quilted it! You'll notice both dogs managed to get in the picture -- JR has his own pile of quilts and Pita prefers the cool floor. I use whatever quilt I have hanging on the wall as a design wall -- just slap some batting over it and we're good to go!

Anyway -- this quilt is going to guild with us Monday night and will be delivered to the Rescue Mission. I used 32 blocks donated by guild members and 31 that Sue sent me from Heartstrings. I have 50 more blocks from Heartstrings that I am going to incorporate with more from the guild for the next couple of quilts. I'm hoping to get 3 or 4 more quilts made by the end of the year -- all of them are twin size. I might change the setting of the blocks, or maybe not -- I really do like the way the red centers coordinate these blocks.

Baby watch: still nothing, but Steph has spent time cleaning house, doing laundry and walking. She did have contractions for about 2 hours Saturday night, but they subsided. We discussed the timing (having to fit a run up to WI into my crazy week), and she stated she really didn't want to have him on Friday the 13th -- so my guess is that William Joseph is going to be perverse and probably want to enter the world that day! vbg Steph said she's learning all kinds of new things -- she's already gone 5 weeks longer than with AJ, and she's not real happy being this pregnant, especially in the heat and humidity we've been having! Babies have their own timetables!

I took my car in to the body shop yesterday and picked up the rental. My car is a Mercury Grand Marquis, the rental is a Chevy Impala -- I cannot figure out how to turn on anything! vbg
I stopped at the drive-in window of the bank yesterday and the teller was laughing because I couldn't figure out how to get the window down! I had to run errands today, but only went to the places I absolutely needed to go to -- I don't like driving this car. Tomorrow Bill has an appointment with the retina specialist, and then I plan on parking the car until I have to go pick up mine -- hopefully Friday. I keep thinking, "please don't hit me, please don't hit me"! I never worry about that in my own car, and mine is actually bigger than this one. Guess I don't do well with change. vbg

My blood pressure is back to normal, after 3 days of extremely high bp (I was out of pills and waited until my doctor appt to get refills).
AJ bugging Mommy while she was on the phone! (I love it!)
My daylilies are blooming all over themselves -- all colors.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Block #2 is finished

This is my second Primitive Garden block. Can't wait to start on #3 -- crows on a barbed wire fence with morning glories. I haven't started prepping the block, maybe this evening. I finished piecing a quilt today and hope to start pulling fabrics to start on Judy's new Hour a Day quilt for July tomorrow. And I need to get back to my practice quilting too.

Steph called today to say she's been having contractions. Took one pill and they stopped for awhile. I just called her a few minutes ago and they seem to have calmed down now. She's hoping to go into labor on Saturday, but Will might have other plans! She'll be at 35 weeks tomorrow, and I'm sure the baby will weigh enough and be healthy now. When I get the phone call, I have to drop everything and get up there. The plan is that the neighbor will take her to the hospital, and take the kids until I get there. Aaron will just go right to the hospital. That's the plan anyway. Like I said, Will may have other ideas!

She's not allowed to go tomorrow until after my 9 am doctor appointment -- I need refills on all my prescriptions and I'm totally out of my blood pressure meds so I have to go to this appointment. vbg

The guys came this morning to seal our blacktop drive. They'll be back tomorrow for a second coat. Right now the car and truck are parked in the grass on the other side of the house (I'll have to wind my way around trees to get to the tractor entrance for the cornfield next to us in order to get out). Glad we're having it done though -- it would take Bill a whole lot of time, hard work and pain to do it himself. The drive is really long.

Cell Phones.
Sunny days (could do without the heat and humidity though!)
JR napping at my feet.
AJ bugging his mother while she's on the phone -- what is it about being on the phone that makes kids gravitate to you and try to talk to you at the same time? vbg (What goes around comes around in raising kids!)