Thursday, October 30, 2008

Losing things, and more toys

Don't you just HATE it when you come home from a quilting event, all fired up and ready to tackle the current project, and horrors, you do NOT find all the pieces you went with? Somewhere, I LOST about 50-75 flying geese made up in scrappy shirtings! I even have a photo of those flying geese AT the retreat. I checked my table mates, called the YMCA, cleaned out my car, folded and refolded every piece of fabric I took with me. Dang it! And you KNOW, as soon as I remake all those units, the 'lost' ones will show up! In the mean time, I'm just hanging around waiting for a miracle - like maybe someone picked them up my mistake or ...? but even worse than that, is finding them in some really stupid place, making me feel like an imbecile.

I have turned into a junkie, or groupie. This is her newest set of 2 videos, and once again, I DO feel more accomplished and confident (and less like an imbecile!) after watching her demos using her DSM.

Here are the results of some of my play time. I've not practiced for more than a month, so results are not great, but not bad either. It's just fun to practice like this, using different threads, etc. I save the samples and add notes to them to help me remember what I used. The first photo is my effort at a type of McTavishing -- mmm should have practiced on paper first. My favorite is the third - a kind of shell. THe shell moves along quicky and the design handles traveling well.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Home from Quilt Retreat

I just returned from a wonderful 2-day Quilt Retreat. Per requests, I will post my recipe (from Margie, originally) that was so popular at our Quilt Retreat. My goodness we had a LOT to eat - thanks to everyone's contributions! You might note that in the above photo, a LOT of the food is GONE!

Cranberry Salad
1 bag frozen cranberries - (do not thaw)
1 C. sugar
1 sm. box cherry jello (do not dilute)
1/2 C. finely chopped walnuts
2 apples
1 can drained pineapple tidbits
Whipped topping
Whiz cranberries in food processor with sugar & dry jello, pour into bowl. Whiz apples in food processor pour into bowl. Add drained pineapple and finely chopped walnuts to the bowl. Mix it up. It will be somewhat dry/mushy. Top with topping or whipped cream.

This is the YMCA lodge where we stayed. It's a WONDERFUL place - clean, bright, designed well, large rooms, TVs, VCR, DVDs in rooms, living area between the double rooms, LARGE common area for our quilting activities, beautiful grounds, and all handicap accessible.

This is the view out of the common area, towards the 'Bluffs'. There is a large playground, much grass, and beyond the grass is the Platte River, flowing swiftly - (note to Marlene's Mom, "she did NOT fall in!")

Below, Machelle is working on her gorgeous Irish Chain - Sue is providing technical support if needed.

Vickie's Kaleidoscope - it's just gorgeous! She and I had the same class at our State Quilt Convention in July.

Carolyn's blocks she won at Quilt Guild. She decided to set them from light to dark.

Vickie is working hard on arranging those blocks

We had a LOT of good space. That's Anita's back and Alice, and Marcia kinda blending in with background. 8-)

mmm I see Marlene and Sharon in this photo and ???. Look at all that beautiful light we had. We also had pressing stations, and cutting table stations, and several table where quilts in process could be laid out.

Sue is concentrating, Sydney is working away, with her string blocks on the floor, Karen is working as is Laurie. I have several Ohio Star "Shirt Quilt" blocks laying on the floor - I sit on that pillow to sit a bit higher.

Wilma is an accomplished sewist AND can make her embroidery machine also dance!

A t-shirt quilt in process by Nancy.
Sharon, taking our photo after all is over! She set the camera up for a time-delay photo, but her head became stuck in that chair and she couldn't extricate herself in time, so the first photo did NOT include her! There were 29-30 of us attending.
I'm pooped, but happy.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Quilt Retreat - Here I Come!

"Bags are packed, I'm ready to go"

Friday morning through Saturday late afternoon. Bags include fabric and tools for 3 separate projects - am I crazy? However, I HAVE learned to KISS when working on a project at a Quilt Retreat! Too much food, too much laughing, not enough sleep, etc. Just in case I run out of projects, I have included that huge box of free fabric that was given to me several weeks ago - that stays in the trunk of my car unless I get desperate! LOL

If you have not been to a quilt retreat - this is my one suggestion. The entire set-up is always 'new' to you. Your space may be limited or on the 'wrong' side of you, or the table may be too high, too low, same with chairs, or the lighting may not be to your liking. This is why I've said KISS. I tend to get discombobulated with things in the 'wrong' place. So, stay flexible, and don't expect to complete a huge amount of what you planned. However, SOME of my amazing guild 'sisters' DO manage to complete HUGE amounts of sewing!

One really great thing about THIS retreat is that the Guild has arranged to have pressing and cutting areas set up, and most of us can leave our irons and large cutting mats behind. If your retreats have not included this nicety, it is worth extra fussing to prepare this part of the setup.

I'm outta here! 8-)))

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Where in the world?

Today I added a World Map gadget to my sidebar that indicated where visitors to my site were from -- amazing!!!! It refreshed every 5 minutes. I saw someone in Florida (a blue dot) and sure enough, in a minute, I had an e-mail from a gal in Florida! Is this cool or is this cool??? Also, when clicking on the map gadget, it would show where EACH surfer was -- those who did not stay longer than 5 minutes, I presume -- and there were a bunch more! More cool!!! But, since I flunked (quit) HTML class, I cannot figure how to add that map back to my sidebar without crowding all the other stuff. Internet Explorer shot it all to the bottom of the page -- that map was too large - while Firefox was just exactly as it should look.

The Internet toys we have these days are incredible. Any suggestions on how to resize the map, or is there another similar gadget that tracks visitors and doesn't take up so much space in the sidebar?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Little Birdy, and Old-Timey Embroidery Transfer Method

(I am hearing a sweet, dear song, called "Little Birdy, Little Birdy" ... sung by Chet Atkins?... )

Some time ago, I sent a small piece of fabric to Nellie of Nellie's Needles. She was making Quilt Ribbons and saw the backing to one of my quilts and needed just a smidgeon more of that fabric. In the meantime I had been drooling over her fabric birds she had been whipping out like no body's business, and I was just wishing I had gotten in the spirit after she posted the directions, but no, I never got a 'round tuit!

As it turns out Nellie is a REAL artist who even happens to live in the very same town I used to live in, back in Tennessee. 8-)

Last week, my mailbox was overflowing with a huge box and when opened, this lovely little birdy was nestled carefully inside. His wings are made of the fabric that I had sent her -- is that a lovely gift, or is that a lovely gift? I had tears in my eyes, at the surprise and pleasure of looking at this little fellow. DH, on the other hand, was wondering ... "what on earth has gotten into her?" Poor man, just didn't understand. Thank you again, Nellie! I was doing a Happy Dance! Look how handsome he looks with my pothos.

This next photo is not clear, but at our last quilt meeting, a little lady, VERY senior, was Showing and Telling her embroidered quilts. She used a very ingenious method to transfer patterns from items that HER old aunties, and cousins had embroidered (no purchased patterns). Lay the embroidery down, stitches up. Lay one layer of muslin over the top of the embroidery, and with a silver spoon (large is good), rub that silver spoon through your hair a number of times, then rub the spoon over the muslin, and voila, the pattern is visible - pale gray, but very visible. Oh right, my photo is almost useless but, you get the idea! Hey, the method was FREE and didn't require a trip to the store!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Tattle Tale

I am a terrible wife but I still can't resist!

You may have remembered I wrote one entire post about "how to get the furnace going, at the end of summer, or when the pilot light blows out" ... thinking ahead, that one day I may actually have to do that dreaded, most detestable, but very important job. "Dreaded, most detestable job" are the words my DH would use. Frankly, I never DID the job but thought I ought to be educated in case of emergency. In western Nebraska, there ARE mornings when it's 30 below zero, unfortunately!

Well, we had the emergency the other morning. Our nights have been frosty, and about 4:00 am I woke to a very cold nose. Oh my, please, let that NOT be the problem ...well, OK, the pilot light had indeed gone out and now we/I was going to have to face this dreaded job. "Dreaded" is the term from DH mouth, not mine. A lot of OTHER terms spew from his mouth when this happens and I WAS not looking forward to hearing them. I gently and lovingly (uh hemmmm) woke 'the man.'

OK, being the devoted and dutiful wife and partner, I'll try first, as I shuffle downstairs, push open the utility room door, get a chair (MUCH easier than crawling on the floor), put a rug down on the floor (bare feet), open front of furnace, stick head in boiler while butt is on chair(yep, pilot light is out) light match, hold the red button in and whoooosh - it lit. That's all. No swearing, no major problems, no hollering - this "dreaded" job took all of 4 minutes, from start to finish.

So gals, .... what am I missing here? It was almost a letdown to find the job was totally 'do-able' ... a piece of cake ... OK you women with psychology background, what's the deal? There's a lesson here and I'm not sure what it is, nor how to bring the subject up with uhhhh, 'you know who' who was still upstairs, trying to become awake.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Out of my element

I am stepping waaaay out my element (namely quilts) to try something of an 'arty' nature. First, I will make it very clear -- I KNOW nothing about art, except I enjoy looking, thinking, watching etc. Occasionally I am struck with an idea, or have a glimmer of a thought, or am tempted by a tingling of an idea. Another guild member and I suggested the idea of an Art Group to the Guild, and it was approved to have an "Ardis Wannabe" group (artist want-to-be). We (Joan and I) put words into a basket and at each meeting, one word is drawn. The project is based on that word. All those who care to participate will produce a finished art piece in ONE month. Yes, ONE month. This is to get our brains flowing, and not stagnated by too many concepts, ideas, possibilities. It has to be DONE the next month. Of course, small is expected, but DONE is best. The only rule was that it had to contain fiber - we didn't say how much. No other rules.

My own project was a lot more clever in my head than the end result. I am being very brave showing my pitiful effort, hoping that in time, I'll get better. I started and restarted about 7 times, changing background, colors, concepte, etc. Whew, getting frustrated is the hardest part and then, it is even MORE difficult to FORCE oneself to try again. I had words printed on fabric for this project, sewn on, but later removed them (so much for my expensive fabric sheets at $3.00 each! I had planned to fuse bright flowers here and there but that was entirely too cutesy.

And no matter how I worked, it ended up looking like a quilted wall hanging, which is totally NOT what I wanted!

This word is "Friends" .. I had some vague idea of layers in each friend's personality, friends in a busy world (background) that larger greyish thing is a manipulated photo (Paintshop Pro) of me (the same as in on my blog profile)with Friends surrounding me, and I also put one of my DH behind me, also manipulated (watch it! LOL) Yes, I am thinking THAT 'manipulated' part was planned! Vertical layout was much better than horizontal.

And it appears I left a black thread on my photo! Well, it IS finished, and I'll try again next month.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

So Easy a Caveman Can Do It, and a book

Sometimes the easiest of blocks are NOT! My own fault - I said, "Easy, Peasy, don't read directions!" The end result is as pictured, but my seams are in the wrong place. No big deal -- Someone will love winning the BOMs - hope it's not me -- I have a supply waiting for me!

I'm not a great reader these days (because I'm trying to be a great sewist!) - but this is one amazing book! It was on the Best Seller list. I couldn't put it down, and neither can my DH, who usually only reads political stuff. It's about ordinary people living in Afghanistan, living their daily lives, starting in about 1975, up to invasion by Taliban. We know so little about this culture.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Geraniums and an early quilt

This is almost the limit of my garden this year. It happens to remain shaded much of the day, and practically ignored. Maybe that is the key?

I didn't really want to make this quilt (below), but definitely wanted to take a class, any class at a retreat, about 8 years ago. My tastes were different then but anyway ... the teacher insisted on the quick corner method but I decided to save all the cutoffs. It's scrappy, kinda 'regular', but the quilting??? just wait.... Judy Woodworth quilted this, and I was amazed and immensely impressed. Now SHE has moved UP in the quilt art world, and her wait list it LONG, so again, I'm glad I have this machine quilting treasure.
I've studied this quilt many times, from the back.

FOLLOWERS - When in doubt, READ the instructions

The above title is a reminder to ME -- LOL!

This is what I learned about "Followers". Go to Dashboard, and SCROLL to the bottom of the page, and READ instructions.

Being a practical person who does not like to 'fiddle' with things that work, I fail to see the advantage. Being sceptical by nature, I also wonder why we have to change from Bloglines, or other 'readers'.

I know who reads my blog (via your comments) and I can tell a LOT of people visit who do not leave comments. That's OK too. Guess time will make it more clear.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

What is/are "Followers" of blogs?

I plead ignorance - what are/is "Followers", (i.e.,Follow this blog) that I am beginning to see on blogs. And how does it differ from "Feeds" that lead to Bloglines (or something probably similar)?

Is is just another version of signing up for Bloglines/Feeds?

sighhhhh --- My "toDo' list is so long today, I cannot face it all, so I'm doing my best at "PROCRASTINATION!"