Monday, March 30, 2009

Goodies, and Progress on Log Cabin with Cornerstones

Look what came in the mail! From Scraps and Threadtales Several FQs of lovely spring fabric AND this little notebook, complete with colored pens for playing/drawing on the enclosed graph notebook. Is this not cool? Funny thing, at our recent Guild meeting, one of the gals had used similar pens in a Drawing Totebag, and we were asking about where to find them. Thank you, Sioban (sp?) (who also goes by the name of "Bonnie"). I was a lucky winner!

We NEED lovely spring ANYTHING!!! - tonight we went out for a drive -- bad idea -- blowing snow, cold, and icy roads, but the snow is blowing SOUTH to Kansas at about 50 MPH - only a little of it is staying here. We were lucky we didn't get the blizzard.

OK, I corrected my error on my Log Cabin. Unfortunately I corrected a block that was RIGHT, leaving me with two errors needing correcting. Dohhhh! This was a perfect example of my "Inability to see the forest for the trees!" It's not the first time I become so engrossed in ... whatever ... that I loose track of the job needing doing. OK, I'm not so perfect.

I discovered my dark photo can be "enhanced" more than once to make up for the dark room, although colors are no longer true. I am NOT going to buy one large piece of fabric for the border and am determined to use what I have -- all those browns and greens -- to make the border. There have been about 6 false starts, but I think this one will work.

See all those baskets above? They are my organization system, because this border takes a lot of pieces. Hope it works. I have 6 inches of width to cover on the last border. The inner border will be determined later.

This is my sample border block - the dark cornerstones squares should go up and down, around the quilt. I tried using lights and darks but the effect was too dramatic. We both like it better with only darks, and one's eyes will blend the different fabrics. This is going to be TEDIOUS and time consuming, but I've done one previously, with all squares which was very successful. If I set up my 'sewing system' the project will move along with some efficiency.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Thanks Vicki - yes one of those Log Cabin blocks is wrong!!!! Had to check and recheck and double/triple check it even when she said it might be wrong! ARghhh. Thanks MUCHO!!!

Pineapple Setting for Log Cabin

What fun! The setting almost looks like a giant Pineapple Block. This started when I was ... uh hem ... cleaning out one of my fabric areas and found an entire selection of beautiful forest-y quarter yards from Keepsake Quilting, still in its plastic sleeve, totally forgotten. I used what I had for the most part, except for needing more of the cornerstone fabric. The 9-inch blocks were posted previously.

And I had also mentioned that for the first time, all the strips (except a few strays) were cut on the length of the fabric. (Ya know, just like we've been instructed to do, but don't?) In other words, if I needed 5 and 1/2 inch strip, I cut an entire WOF of fabric (or whatever I had) at 5 and 1/2 inches, then did the individual 1 and 1/2 inch width strips from that WOF. The result is a great improvement in accuracy and stability, and those annoying odd puckers do not show up when pressing, except for those few strays which I now wish I had't used.

My border option is still sloshing in my brain, but I'm going to carry out the cornerstone thing into the border ... I think.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Windy, Snowy Spring, and Another Practice Piece

We weathered the blizzard without too much fuss. The wind was terrific, but our snow blew somewhere else, probably to Kansas! Our back yard is protected so the wind and snow verocity is not apparent.

Sunday I raked the winter debris off the garden, in 70 degree sunshine, and Monday? Arghhh! Today (Tuesday) is still blustery, cold, with a lot of ice on the ground.

Today after work, I threw this practice piece together, in a matter of minutes. Thread is a cotton variegated, King Tut, size 14 quilting needle, and regular thread in the bobbin (whatever was in there - not fussy) Is this not luscious? I have a Log Cabin quilt on the living room floor, and am preparing to start to get ready to commence to get inspired to think about a quilting pattern. This might be a good choice, but a little larger in scale, although with a busy background, it will partially disappear.

Once again, thanks!!!

Friday, March 20, 2009

THANK YOU! and I may get fired!

Oh my - I was hoping no one would notice me! Sheila, you red-headed rascal, ( you are a treasure, and despite a few continents and oceans apart, she and I have shored each other up a time or two. While I was busy trying to think of a way to say THANK YOU for this award, Paula (of Paula the Quilter), the next rascal, sneaked in over the weekend and gave me another one! Paula gave me some good travel advice that encouraged DH and I to do some traveling in her neck of the woods, in addition to frequent quilt-y conversations. Ladies, a big THANK YOU ! I especially like the part about "Sisterhood" -- we are all Quilt-y Sisters, enjoying what each of us has to offer the next -- sometimes kindness, or inspiration, or courage, or gentleness. The suggested guidelines attached with this kindness are ??? oh my, never in a million years could I pick out one or two or twenty others who deserve it. OK, OK, Sheila, and Paula, the truth is out ... I have a terrible time asking ANYONE to do this? So, does that mean I cannot post the awards? OK, I'm wierd, but I AM so very grateful for this compliment.

So, am I fired? 8-)))

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Turned out better than I thought it would!

Once again, I am saying, "Hey, it's a whole lot better than I thought it would be!" One of these days I'll stop doubting myself. Each time I watch one of my quilting DVDs, I am strengthened, and have more courage.
The machine quilting turned out good -- again, I doubted myself. A year ago, this would have scared me, but my gosh, it's easy now! I started that clover thing in the border and it practically sewed itself and was done in half an hour! The quilt is 48 x 60. I am very pleased with my decision to stop wanting and whining for a long arm, and learn to use what I have! 8-))

For those of you still reticent to do your own quilting on your DSM, just start practicing! By the time you are through with a small quilt, you will have mastered whatever design you started with, and will be ready to start another. Invest in yourself!!! for a DVD, or a PajamaQuilter DVD and you will see what I mean. Use a busy backing, and a blendy top thread, and you'll have a great start. Don't let all those "How-To Books" scare you off. When your project is finished, YOU might just say "Hey, it turned out better than I thought it would"!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Bright Strings!

At last, something quilty! But YIKES - how should I quilt this bright string quilt??? OK, Elaine, just get started and DO something! My thread is a near black/purple/gray King Tut. It's difficult to choose the 'right' thread on this one.

These strings were pieced on fabric foundation, and left in. The seams were pressed open, but I was worried about bulky seams possibly breaking my needle, but so far, it's going along OK. This will be a donated quilt. It's 48" x 60". I finally decided on large loopy-loos, and heart leaves, and I'm using a size 14 needle. The thread spool even says to use a 14.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Off to my not-so-local Quilt Shop

That's my little car, way down there, and I'm off to the Quilt Shop, a different direction than one I blogged about some months ago. I climbed this hill to see if there was anything to see -- NOPE - nothing -- not even a tinge of green. I traipsed through a lot of dead tumble weeds and through soft sandy dirt, and there were a lot of little holes in that dirt. ??? Hope they were not snake holes.

I carried my camera well in view, because these folks out here are all so friendly and concerned, they would stop to see if I needed some kind of help, and I didn't want to worry anyone. How's that for kindness? I NEVER feel afraid living here.

And here's the view the other way (toward my destination). We have a LOT of 'sky' where I live.

Below is the view at the intersection where I turn to go towards my destination. I stopped the car, to take this photo. Look how far a person can see! Nothing to see but more hills, and dry, semi-arid land. The debris of wood and rocks in the forground appears to have once been a house, many, many years ago.

Yeppers (they say "Yeppers" a LOT here in Nebraska), there's (below) the road I take. You don't see any traffic do you? A whole lot MORE of nothing, but it is headed towards the Platte Valley, through which early pioneers traveled along the Oregon and Mormon Trail. There are still evidences of these trails here and there.

All this driving (60 miles each way) is for 4 FQs for my Ardis Wannabe project which is SOOOOO pitiful, I am not even going to show it. Disappointment with one's art-y project is also part of 'the journey' (unfortunately).

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Old Family Photos

My younger brother (not yet born in this photo) asked me to send him some old family photos for Mom, who has little memory of current events, but occasionally remembers old events. I sent this one and of course, got a major case of the boo-hoos. Seldom can I gather strength to look through the photos.

I am that round faced kid sitting in Mom's lap, in the lower right wearing that funny hat. And I still remember that hat! (Probably had to wear it until I was a teenager! LOL) Mom and Dad belonged to a Rabbit Club in Chicago. My Dad is in the upper left. And that's my Uncle Bert and Aunt Kate, the little dark haired Italian woman, and their 3 girls (my cousins), my sister Kris (hidden), and brother Dave. The rabbits are not relatives.

Dear Aunt Kate, the little dark haired woman, is now 105, and we hear she rides the bus to go gambling.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Come on Spring!

This little basket of bulbs was supposed to be for DH's Valentines Day, but only arrived yesterday. I liked it so much I bought another for my office. Kinda late for Valentines Day, but this little bit of GREEN has given us both a lightness of spirit. Various bulbs are in the basket, surprising us, and will last about 6 weeks, as I remember.

Our temps are still hovering near ZERO in the mornings and the fireplace feels mighty good!

You may see Nellie's (Nellie's Needles) little bird is peeking out from behind the foliage. Oh yes, and a little Rabbit on the Nest, thinking about Easter.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Quick Fix

I'm in a rush this morning, and look at my silver bracelet! Yikes! Ugly! Tarnished!
My quick fix -- so far, any brand I've used works just fine. A little dab will do ya! Spread it all over your fingers and mush it around the bracelet (don't mush it on the digital camera!) Rinse and voila!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

At last -- Easy, and Finished!

Yeah - finished! A group of Guild members were having a Sew Day during the summer. We had several community tubs of unclaimed fabric and blocks, and when the day was over, no one else claimed them, so with a promise that I would make them into "something," and donate it to "someone," they came home with me -- about 4 years ago.

The 9-patches were various sizes, from 5 1/2 inches to 6 3/4. I DID manage to be brave and discarded the unsuitable -- YES, in the trash! (I felt strong that day!) The rest were trimmed to 5 1/2 inches, with no regard for the seam lines. They were set on point and hour glass/quarter squares were set between them. (Snowball blocks between would have required that seam lines 9-patch be exact - which they weren't!) This quilt turned out so much better than I imagined! (How often do we quilters say that same thing?)

I quilt on my DSM. Below is one of my practice patterns and what I used on this quilt. It's drawn on paper so you can see it. I quilted the borders in 4 different patterns (different, for more practice), and you can't see any of it because of the busy-ness - MORE practice and I'm feeling confident! Whew, almost one year of practice but the quilting part no longer scares me. (A THANK YOU to, and The Pajama Quilter DVDS.)

I DO wish I had used a darker thread for the quilting, but overall, I am extremely pleased. It's a large quilt, about 64 x 82.

Yeahhhh, about 14 yards busted, including batting!

Monday, March 02, 2009

Little Connie Talbot, age 6

At last, with the whole world a mess, here is an amazing child who will give you a smile, a tear and hope for the future.

Watch ALL the clips This little girl is awesome. God only sends somebody with this talent around every once in a while. There are additional options/choices, to the side.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Credit Cards - Limits being reduced dramatically

My husband was checking my recent credit card bill and asked why my credit limit was $500.00. Huh? Yes, that what it says – that’s not even enough to purchase a plane ticket, the main reason I keep the Credit Card, you know, ‘just in case’? The limit used to be $8300. Wow, that's a big change!

I pay my credit card off every month, in time, usually $150-200 – mostly or fabric related expenses. DH was concerned that our credit rating had been compromised in some way. Friday I spent at least 5 hours, calling, asking, getting transferred, getting the runaround, to no avail, but with a great deal of frustration. “Derogatory results on your Credit History” is what they told me, although I have no idea what could be “derogatory”. I printed off my credit histories (frustrating experience in itself, from Internet) of 2 of the 3 reporting agencies. Yes, all is Excellent, No Derogatories, No Collections, and I only have my CC and one closed clothing account, and a mortgage also, in perfect order. Despite what the credit histories say, I am feeling like a no-good, sleazy, dispicable person for having lost so much favor, for unknown reasons, and yes, I DID worry about identity theft, etc.

I mentioned this to a friend Sunday, and she said Suzie Orman (financial person on TV) said a LOT of people are finding themselves in this very predicament, due to the latest financial woes. Apparently the CC company had to inform me (who read that letter???) of this change. Just now, I did a Google Search on “reduced credit limit on credit card” and there is a lot of activity along the same lines – I am not alone!

DH had also mentioned that because of the financial woes of Citibank, this reduction might be their solution. He was right!!! I DID manage to get my limit raised to $1500, enough for an emergency flight, should it be necessary, but I had to do a LOT of talking, giving out income and mortgage payment amounts to the “advisor.” My MOM is 94!! and does not live here in Nebraska. My gosh, how would one even book a flight with such a low limit?

So, keep an eye on EVERYTHING ON your Credit Card Statement. I'm not sure what we can do about it.

9-Patch, nearly done

These blocks were given to me about 5 years ago, with my promise they would be made into something and donated. This quilt is about 72 x 96 inches.

My sewing machine table (Roberts) has a hinge along the entire back, so I can open it up for large projects. I had to move stuff out of the room in order to open the table to accommodate a large quilt. (By the way, I have NEVER regretted the purchase of this wonderful sewing table - it was expensive but my work, and output increased dramatically. Sewing became a pleasant pastime with a decent sewing table.)

Most of the blocks were between 5 1/2 inches and 6 3/4 inches. Some were downright UGLY and (forgive me) I threw them out! (yes, and the world did NOT end!) I trimmed them all to about 5 3/4 inches, without regard to the seam lines of the 9 squares, because the blocks were so imprecise. That's probably why no one has actually USED them. Quarter square (hour glass) blocks between them was my choice. I used this dark floral blue and a light viney green.

You may remember I was a teensy bit embarrassed about being reasonably successful at 'practicing' machine quilting on my DSM, but not actually 'DOING'machine quilting, so I'm DOING on this quilt. Wish I had NOT chosen such a fussy design - maybe a larger loopy loop would have been better but ... as my mother would say, "if wishes were horses, then beggars would ride." I finally know what that means. And, with both light and dark blocks, there is always a question about 'what color thread'?