Saturday, November 29, 2008

This was a surprise gift I received yesterday from a quilting friend. These are hand stitched 6" Dresden Plates. She bought (I think she said 180 of them) at an auction.
They are gorgeous and well-pieced. Kris said she'd seen some quilts that used a few of these in the corners of borders. I think I'm going to put all 12 in a small quilt for myself -- just applique them to about an 8" background and piece the backgrounds. Can't to start it, but I have to -- I have to start on Steph's Christmas quilt.

Today I managed to finish quilting one quilt and have the second one loaded and all ready to go. Then I made some candy for Christmas and we started writing our Christmas cards tonight after dinner. Tomorrow I hope to spend an hour or so quilting and then spend some time baking some Spritz cookies for Christmas. And if I have time after that, I'll quilt some more! We'll need to spend more time after dinner tomorrow doing Christmas cards too. So far, we have used up the loose cards I found in the Hoosier cabinet, and I have started using one of the old boxes of cards. I will definitely not have to buy cards next year and possibly the year after that!

Next week I should get my new computer. I will need to finish taking stuff off this one and the other old one and try to learn Windows Vista and load all my programs on the new one -- can we say at least 3 weeks of tearing my hair out?! vbg


Taking time to baste the entire quilt before I start quilting -- I have learned that this saves me plenty of heartache in the end --even though it takes longer to do as opposed to basting the sides as I go.

Surprise gifts from friends.

Getting a start on the Christmas cards -- better than procrastinating all month!

Friday, November 28, 2008

The top is finished

This is the quilt I'm making for AJ's preschool auction. I finished putting the borders on today. Now I just need to reserve some time with my longarmer, oh wait...that would be me. Well, I got two more quilts in today to quilt, so this will have to join the que. I have til the end of January to finish it.
I did manage to load one of the quilts today, so it'll be finished tomorrow and I may get the second loaded, but I need to make some cookies this weekend, so the second one probably won't be finished til next week sometime.

A day to sit and sew.
Making lists and crossing off the finished stuff!
A surprise gift from a friend.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

We celebrated Thanksgiving last Sunday. (That way, the kids can spend today with their in-laws and they don't have to run to two places in one day!) All the kids and grandkids were here, along with my brother and sister in law and their son and his fiance. Food was great, company even better! And I was really thankful that the oven quit working on Monday instead of Sunday! yeah -- the igniter went out Monday, so repairman was here yesterday afternoon putting a new one in.

JR doesn't know what to do with himself when we have all this company. He wants everyone to pet him and rub his tummy, but he avoids the grandkids like the plague -- I'm not sure he knows what to expect from them.

So, having the celebration on Sunday, that leaves today for Bill and I to spend as we wish. And guess what I did! I quilted! This is a friend's quilt that I spent all day working on today. She has some great fabric and lots of eye candy while I'm quilting. This is the first Christmas quilt of the season. I used a pantograph called "Christmas Holly" by Patricia Ritter. I like the panto, but it was printed a little off-kilter on the paper, so I need to go back and straighten it for the next time I use it. I just adjusted as I went along today.

And isn't this a fun backing fabric Kris used?! All I have left to do is remove the basting in the ditches of the borders. My plan for tomorrow is to actually finish the auction quilt for AJ's preschool fundraiser. I have the blocks put together, but need to do borders.

On a sad note, David M Bailey is a 12 year survivor of the same type of brain tumor that Steve has. David is a singer/songwriter/poet extraordinaire. Last week he had surgery to remove a cyst and tumor in the same spot as his first tumor and it was confirmed as a GBM -- the recurrent cancer. Our thoughts and prayers are with him as he begins a new round in the fight against this insidious disease.
We have a lot to be thankful for and are truly thankful for everything.
Family and friends, food and shelter, and mostly good health.
Having leftover turkey and the trimmings for dinner tonight -- no cooking, just reheating! And we ate the rest of everything except for the turkey, which I put in the freezer today. We had just enough leftovers this year!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Cleaning and Sorting 2

Boy, three posts in one day with pictures -- I'm surprising myself here!
This is my daughter's old room, on the second floor. A month or so ago I moved my second sewing machine up here with it's table and all. I also opened up my antique wooden ironing board, covered it and bought a second iron to have it easily accessible. This is not my actual sewing studio -- but a second one!
My quilt books and magazines and patterns are a total disaster. I had reduced the number of books a few years ago, and cleaned out the magazines and made binders from pages I kept. But, I've still been buying magazines here and there and need to purge again. I have stopped all subscriptions to quilt magazines, so the number will be reduced!
I also have a tremendous mess of recipe books and papers printed from the 'net and copies of recipes from magazines and cooking magazines -- probably worse than my quilting stuff.
These pictures are the before shots! This is going to be my ongoing project probably for the next year -- the plan is to get a handle on both the quilting stuff and the recipe stuff. It will take a lot of time to go through everything, but it should be easier having it all dumped in this room (I can at least close the door and not look at it! vbg)


I had two of those cheap thread cone holders from JoAnn Fabrics. I had them loaded with my thread and hanging on the wall near my longarm. Last week they fell off the wall -- one of the crossbars had come loose and brought both down. I shouldn't have loaded them with the cones, but I had no alternative. So, I charged my husband with fixing them and making them more sturdy. (Keep in mind that my husband is an engineer -- retired, but once an engineer, always an engineer!) This is what he came up with as an alternative: I can tell you it's sturdy and actually screwed into the wall.
We (I had to hold while he used the battery powered screwdriver), hung it this morning. He was surprised to find that I filled them all. So, he was redesigning as we went -- "should have put another rack by raising the top one and fitting another between the two." (There are 10 pegs on the top holding those cones). I will not be surprised if he makes me another over the next few weeks with three racks! Either way -- I love it. I have more thread that I have on a shelf and in a drawer, but these are the ones I use the most -- all Signature cotton.

Being married to an engineer!


Question is: Why do I let things get so messy that I can't find anything? This is the bottom of our Hoosier cabinet that is in our kitchen. Right side, left side and the mess on the floor after I pulled everything out.

I'm on a mission to reduce the paper/junk/clutter in this house. This is the after picture:
It does not tell the full story. A lot of this mess was cookbooks/recipes and greeting cards. Every year we buy our Christmas cards from NWF (National Wildlife Federation). Every year I buy 4 boxes because Bill keeps up with a lot of old friends. Every year our card list goes down (emphasis on OLD friends!). But I keep buying 4 boxes. The ones I ordered this year are in the green boxes on the top right shelf. The four boxes underneath them are leftovers from previous years -- I have enough in there to send this year without buying anymore. Now that I have cleaned out this mess and actually see what I have in there -- hopefully I'll remember not to buy any Christmas cards next year. I also have stacks and stacks of greeting cards that need to be sorted and/or tossed. And on the bottom right, I discovered tons of wire-bound notebooks that I didn't know I had -- will never need to buy them again either!

So that was my project this morning.

Monday, November 17, 2008


Have I told you how wonderful we think our 10 year old granddaughter is?

She had to do an assignment to write a 5 paragraph story about a "tomorrow". I have copied the following from my son's blog. This was what she wrote:

Oh no! I just heard my Uncle Steve is in the hospital! This is so horrible!!!! How could this ever happen?! He has stage 4 brain cancer. His tomorrow is in danger.

When I heard the news, I started crying. I couldn't help it! He was so healthy. He is in the hospital right now. He already had his surgery. He has a scar shaped like a C. My brother and I always pray for him at night. We can't visit him now because I am sick. Soon we will visit him.

My Uncle Steve is still in the hospital. We keep trying to make him feel better with pictures, and drawing funny stuff, and coloring pictures. Alot of people visit him, like family and friends. We still haven't visited him yet. I can't wait to feel better so I can see him.

We finally saw my Uncle Steve today. He still has cancer. Almost every 2 months Uncle Steve has an MRI. He is still healthy and happy.

The lesson I learned from Uncle Steve's cancer is don't give up and keep trying. With a bit of support from your family, your tomorrow will be good and filled with love.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans Day

Today is Veterans Day in the US. A day to honor all vets of all wars and those that serve in peacetime, too. We had a very special one today. Briana, our 10 yr old granddaughter, invited Bill and me to her school for a special program. This was an invitation only thing. I have a miserable cold, but I was not about to disappoint Bri, so we drove for an hour an a half to get there. Arrived at Steph's with a few minutes to learn how to use their video camera and then on to the school.
They separated the invited vets and after the entire school assembled in the gym, they brought them in to a standing ovation and gave them seats of honor behind the podium. Then the 7&8 grade chorus sang The Star Spangled Banner, the older kids put on a power point presentation, the 5th & 6th grade chorus (of which Briana is part) sang a special song to the vets; then the school band played each of the branches of service organizations songs, starting with the marines and ending with the navy. Each vet from each branch stood at attention and the kids that invited them also stood waving stars they'd made. They also presented flowers to two ladies that represented Rosie the Riveter from World War II (they had my name down as a spouse of a WWII vet and I think they had flowers they were going to present to me -- but I was seated in a different area than the vets!) -- I certainly wasn't his spouse during the war anyway! They also explained the origin of Taps and played that at the end. It was very well done and the kids did such a great job. All we got to do was to wave to Briana, but I'm real glad she saw us there anyway. I didn't get any still pics because I had to tape the whole thing for Steph! 'Course, not being all that handy with a video camera, she'll have plenty of floor and feet and backs of heads to edit out of the final production! All in all, it was really great.
The drive home was awful -- all snowy rain and heavy rain at times. But, I did get a text message from Steve during the program and talked to him on the way home. They were in Madison today for more chemo drugs and he had an MRI -- still clear. They were waiting to pick up the drugs, so still had the nasty drive to look forward to. But we'll put up with the nasty drive if the MRI results are that good every time!
Having such a sweet granddaughter. She really is one in a million.
Great MRI results.
Safe drive home.
Having the forethought to put dinner in the crockpot this morning! Perfect Winter Beef Stew will be ready soon and I had plenty of time to throw some Beer Bread together and pop it in the oven!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Staying Focused

Today was a totally quilty day for me. I started out with this pile of scraps to press and cut for 15 minutes:
This was the result after 15 minutes of cutting. It doesn't look like much and compared to the amount I still have to do, it definitely isn't, but at the same time, it's this much done that wasn't sorted and cut when I started ;-)!

I put those pieces away in their correct bins and then cut out the auction quilt I need to make. Most of this quilt is from stash -- I did use some new blues, mostly fat quarters. After I cut and stitched today, I cut up the leftovers into various sizes to also add to the scrap bins.

I did manage to make all 9 of the blocks for this quilt today and it really felt good to be sewing again. I've felt like I was at 6s and 7s lately, not focused on any one thing and not able to shake the feeling or get myself focused at all. I think I finally made a breakthrough today! vbg

I didn't put the nine blocks together yet, because there is going to be some applique on some of the blocks and it's easier for me to do the applique on the single blocks rather than on the whole top at once. I did mark the little teardrops on various scraps from the scrap bin, so they are all ready to be cut and appliqued next time I get a chance to sit and sew. The next two days will be busy, but maybe Sunday afternoon during the Bears game I can sew again.

And after I cleaned up the mess from this project, I did sit and applique on Block 7 of the Primitive Garden series, so that one is coming along also. All in all, it was a great day for sewing here.

Finally focusing on one project. It feels good, like all the stars are aligned again!
A rainy day, which was perfect for spending inside.
Kenny Chesney's new cd.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Stash Enhancement

So... I found a pattern in an old book I have (2005) for a Valentine wall hanging. I needed some reds and some background fabrics because I just didn't have the right ones in the stash. And, if the pattern calls for a half yard -- buy a yard, just in case. And the pretty floral was the last of the bolt, so take it all. And I am always in the market for light backgrounds. And I don't have enough blues -- and I only bought 1 yard of that and four fat quarters. I'd hang my head in shame, but I'm not ashamed. I love this fabric and spent the better part of the afternoon washing, drying and pressing it all! Whatever I don't use for the Valentine wall hanging will feed my stash. Ya can't let your stash get stagnant, ya know?!
I also took Bonnie's advice and spent 15 minutes cutting and pressing some scraps to feed my scrap bins. I have a bin that is labeled 2-1/2", but it is full of 3"+ stuff, so I'm going back through and cutting them to the sizes I'll use after listening to her inspiring lecture Monday night. I actually spent 30 minutes doing that, but the goal will be 15 minutes a day to make it less overwhelming.
And, I pulled fabrics last night (from stash!) to start another top -- it'll just be a small one from the Primitive Youngins book by Primitive Pieces by Lynda. I'm going to make the one called Hide N' Seek for Steph to put in the fundraising auction at AJ's nursery school.

My ob-gyn has a new nurse practitioner and she is fabulous -- we have a winner here.
Immersing myself in fabric at the quilt shop today -- felt good just to wander around and pull bolts off the shelf.
Planning the next two quilts -- I've been at loose ends lately without a project goal. I have a scrap quilt I'm working on, but having two to make for a purpose gives me more focus.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Bonnie's Program

Last night Kris and I went to Dixon to see Bonnie. She gave her program on the Scrap Users System, using the Fabric Food Chain quilt. Everyone loved her! Kris had never been to the site and couldn't wait to fire up the computer when she got home. I think we all left wanting to press and cut scraps all night.
Bonnie graciously signed my book and we had our picture taken.
I was going to make all kinds of excuses as to why I look so bad (you know, the camera adds ten pounds), but hey -- it's the way I look. My eyes close when I laugh and my double chins show! vbg
I had a great time and thoroughly enjoyed meeting Bonnie. I wish I could have taken her workshops today and tomorrow - but maybe next time.
Safely finding our way to and from Dixon last night -- it was pitch dark, Rt. 2 runs along the river and is very dark and we had to be careful to watch for deer -- it's their silly season!
Bonnie is very gracious and a wonderful speaker and I'm happy to have finally met her.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Happy Birthday, Kim

Today is November 1 -- our daughter-in-law, Kim's birthday. She's Steve's wife, confidant, friend and partner and we're glad to have her in the family. Happy Birthday, Kim.

Here's November's calendar page -- AJ is a sports nut just like his father and Will loves cars and balls, so I'm sure he'll be following in his father's footsteps also!

Seems to be a very busy time of year for me -- I thought things were going to calm down after the busy summer, but no sign of that. I need to finish and publish the last guild newsletter for the year (we don't meet in December). This newsletter will be a bare bones edition and I want to get it finished quickly and sent out. This next week is going to be especially busy so I need to get the chores done early!

Monday night Bonnie Hunter will be at the Petunia Quilters guild meeting doing her scrap users system program -- I'm really looking forward to this and hopefully will get the chance to meet her. I'm not all that familiar with the town, but hopefully won't have a problem finding the place.

Friday I'll be on the road early to babysit the boys while Steph goes with Briana on a school field trip. Saturday I've volunteered to peel potatoes and do whatever else needs to be done for our church's turkey dinner fundraiser, and Steph & Aaron and the boys will be down to eat that evening.
In between -- I have quilts to deliver and quilt tops to pick up, a doctor's appointment, and sometime I need to clean the house and do laundry (can't understand why it doesn't stay clean and why we have to do laundry every week! vbg). We'll be doing Thanksgiving on the Sunday before, so I need to start gearing up for that as well.

I need to do a complete computer clean-out as soon as the newsletter is finished. I find myself wading through stuff instead of getting where I want to go right away, so it's way past time to clean up files, dump the excess and back up the stuff I want to keep -- I know this will be a couple of weeks work and I may switch computers again as well, but it really needs to be done.

I have started working on piecing one of Bonnie's quilt from her book, and I hope to have the top pieced before Christmas. I'd like to get it quilted and bound before Christmas as well, but I seem to be getting a bit busier quilting for other people at this time, so it may not get finished by then. I'm sure everything will slow down some after Christmas and I'll be able to get back to my own projects by then.

Indian Summer has arrived and we have a few more days of it forecasted.
I'm grateful this newsletter will be the last for me to edit -- there will be a new editor beginning in January.