Thursday, November 30, 2006

Rags O' Plenty

A post by Libby reminded me of this bowl made several years ago (like at least twenty!!!) made by wrapping clothesline with torn rag strips. It is still a favorite and serves well as a crochet project holder. I wish I could remember EXACTLY how I made it! See, sometimes I actually FINISH a project!!! Yesterday I completed the crocheted rag rug. It was one of those projects that you really hate to see end because it was so much fun to work on. It finished at 33" x 23" and took 350 yards of the 1/2" strips of batik. It is residing on the floor in front of the kitchen sink. Can't wait to make another one--but I really need to get focusing on Christmas now LOL!!!
I have also managed to sneak in a few strippy snowball blocks each day. I have 36 finished (though a few may need to be remade as I can tell on the design wall that some of those triangle corners are not going to match up well!). Another fun sewing project. I do need to cut more strips and squares today. I also need to shop for more of the three colors---but NOT today. KC had an ice storm last evening and several inches of snow are predicted for later today. Yuck! Me and ice? Not so much.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Birthdays, Gift Cards & Coupons, Oh My!

My birthday fell right on Thanksgiving this year (and, no, that does not make me a turkey!!!). I was gifted with a couple of Joann's gift cards. As I was out running errands Saturday, my car just turned itself right into the Joann's parking lot. Armed with the multitude of coupons they have been running, I purchased these skeins of precut fabric batik strips. Each skein contains 50 yds. As I do not enjoy tearing or rotary-cutting narrow pieces of cloth, I used those coupons (Joann's will take Michaels and Hobby Lobby coupons too--yay) and purchased several skeins--all at either 40% or 50% off. Bolstered by Finn's very helpful tips and encouragement, I decided to start a crocheted rag rug. Because both sons were in town for the weekend, that meant marathon football on TV (college games on Saturday, NFL on Sunday). I didn't want to be totally anti-social so this seemed the perfect hand project while watching mass amounts of bone-crushing, flag-throwing, and general hoopla in the end zones. This is how much I was able to accomplish on Sunday. It is worked on a K hook. The first photo shows 50 yards worth of crocheting (15" x 6"). The last photo shows 150 yards of crocheting (22 1/2 " x 12 1/2"). I will just keep going till I run out of strips--or till I get more Joann's coupons. I wanted a long narrow oval so started out with a chain of about 20 or 22. I can see where I need to improve on when, where, and how much to increase!!! But this "practice" one will go in front of my kitchen sink so perfection is not a requirement.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Inspiration Strikes

Leafing through some old quilt books recently, I came across this beauty called Lacquer Luster in the Great American Quilts Book 9 (bottom photo--red, black, and white) and remembered why I had sticky-noted it! Wow, I loved it all over again. I adore strippy quilts and this take on the old Snowball block just knocks my socks off! I decided to switch my plans for the quilt I want to make for Older Son. Instead of the paper-pieced Storm At Sea, I will make this one. The first four sample blocks went together quickly (top photo) and I began cutting strips (8" long by random widths) and 2 1/4" squares. The squares are actually grays and blacks but the photo doesn't really reflect that!!! Patti, do you recognize the teals??? I will use the teal with black and gray color scheme. Hopefully this will satisfy DS request for "lots of black and gray" LOL!!! Since DS is a TV weatherman, I wanted a block that sounded "weathery" so Snowball works for that! I really do not enjoy paper-piecing. I'll do it when the need arises but I find it tedious. I was having a hard time getting motivated to do a whole quilt of paper-piecing. Strippy suits me just fine.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tomorrow is the BIG DAY! My family will gather at my sister's house at noon, each relative bringing along a dish of something yummy. I am glad that she has the festivities because her husband cooks a mean turkey! I'll be hosting the family Christmas so my turn's a'comin'. My contributions will be a pumpkin pie (with that delicious new French Vanilla Cool Whip), a lemon cake with cream cheese frosting, and the old standby Broccoli Rice casserole. (This is always her personal request!) Here's the recipe: In a small glass bowl saute 1/4 of an onion--chopped--in 1/4 cup margarine in the microwave. Cook a bag of Success Rice according to package directions. In a large ovensafe casserole dish, cook 24 oz. frozen broccoli in the microwave, again according to pkg. directions. Drain excess water from broccoli, then add the onion, rice, 1 can cream of celery soup and 1 small jar Cheez Whiz. Stir, then bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. Yummy! Hope everyone has a lovely family day with lots of blessings to count.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Productive Day

Saturday was a good quilty day! I was three months behind on my Jo Morton Scrappy Stars blocks. I get little fabric packets for three stars each month from my LQS--you do the math LOL! I am now up to speed on these little cuties and have 30 done. The quilt is from Jo's book, Hearthside Stars. Her finished quilt is 57" x 73 1/2" but I will be enlarging it to bedsize as a gift for my younger son's birthday. Haven't decided if I will make more stars or just enlarge sashing and borders--or both! Jo's quilt has 35 stars in it. The stars sew up fairly fast but it takes me a while to do the cutting! The flying geese are made using the quicky method that gives you all four FGs using one large square (4 3/4" x 4 3/4") and four smaller squares (2 5/8" x 2 5/8"). Love this method! The tablemat I purchased at a local craft fair yesterday. A gal who does some machine quilting for me also has a business of selling handmade quilted items and appliqued shirts. I love her work and always manage to buy at least one thing from her every year!!! This is made from the line of Nell's Flower Shop (Moda). I LOVE this line and had recently bought several FQs myself! The lady who made the mat said she had just used 5" squares from the collection. Boy, aren't those 5" squares addictive. I also managed to hit a sale at another LQS and found that adorable calendar panel from Nancy Halvorsen. Bought that and 3 coordinates. Wow, shouldn't I be buying presents for OTHER people right now???

Friday, November 17, 2006

Doll Trunks and Quilts

When I got back into quilting in the late 90s--after being away from it for about 25 years--I felt so rusty. Plus quilting techniques had changed so-o-o much in those years--for the better! So I decided to start out with smallish items. Since I love antique doll trunks, I made a few doll quilts to go with them! Today I noticed that I had not refolded them in a long time. There are several others scattered around the house, but I took these out to start with. I will vacuum them (with my Dust Buster), lightly press them and then refold them to change the creases around. While they are definitely NOT anything special or heirloom, I hate when quilts get those permanent creases in them! Yesterday was my mini-group and we always have a great time together. The Opportunity Quilt (mentioned in earlier posts) is still with the machine quilter. We are starting to get a bit nervous as it will still need to be bound and labeled and photographed before the December guild meeting. Fingers are crossed that it will soon be back to us! In our mini-group we always bring our own lunch and the hostess provides dessert and beverages. Works out well for us. Yesterday the hostess served a most delicious Pumpkin Caramel Pound Cake. You can get the recipe at It was yummy, yummy, yummy. And why wouldn't it be??? It contained Smucker's Hot Caramel Ice Cream Topping---both in the cake and the glaze!!! Suspend all knowledge of calories on this one!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A Little Prim

Started pulling out some ornies and such today. Here are ten little wool primitive folk art ornies I made a year or so ago. Gotta figure out what to do with them. Decided I didn't want to put the little tree up that they hung on last year. Hmmm...

This little runner is a Jo Morton pattern and it resides on my old steamer trunk, usually with a candle in an old tin holder. I love how Jo takes old patterns and puts such a primitive folk art spin on them. Not much quilting took place again today. We were involved in a minor car accident last week. A motorcyclist hit the side of our car while we were sitting at a traffic light. No one was hurt and he took full responsibility (good thing) and we had the same insurance company. So as wrecks go, it could have been a lot worse. However, as with any car accident, it becomes a hassle--taking the car in for repairs, getting a rental car, picking the car back up three days later, returning the rental car, yada yada yada. But it did cut into my sewing time!!! Wonder if I can be reimbursed for that. I'll take my compensation in fabric, please.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Thank You

I must say right off the bat a big thank you to Kim at Peach Quilting for allowing me to join the Quilting 4 Pleasure blogring and for getting the code on my template!!! So appreciative, Kim!
The photo is of a little scrap bag I made yesterday. I had found the pattern (from Oceanlake Designs) at a quilt shop earlier this week and just HAD to make one. Also that adorable tape-measure fabric jumped in my arms too. I wanted to get a quick one done as a prototype--thought they would make great little gifts for my quilt buddies. A couple of years ago my guild made tons of scrap bags to sell at our Boutique at the quilt show and they were cute too. But this new and improved (note the title "Scrap Sack 2") has a little pocket inside as well as a scissors leash and a nifty little scallop trim. The pincushion is weighted with polystyrene pellets so it sits atop the sewing table without sliding. This evening we will be attending the wedding reception of a longtime friend's son and his bride. The weather has gone all November on us so I'll be dragging out the long dress coat--the one that gets worn about once a year LOL!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Laundry Day Ritual

Being the lazy housekeeper that I am, I usually take bedsheets from the dryer and put them right back on the bed. The downside to this plan is that I have tons of sheet sets but only ONE set gets used!!! Rocky's favorite game is to plop on the warm, fresh sheets as I am trying to remake the bed!!! Now who could disturb such an adorable creature? Not as much quilting as I would like has taken place around here. However, some related activities: Monday I drove about 40 miles to a quilt fabric sale being held in a county fair building. I bought several 2-yard cuts of good brand fabrics, mostly for pillowcases to go with existing quilts. Even though I don't rotate sheets that much, I DO like a new set of pillowcases--often! Tuesday I finished a top for Quilts In Force (my guild's community service project) and it is sitting in the basement ready to be pin basted. I want to have it quilted and bound before the December guild meeting as the police request more quilts around the holidays. Two other quilts, Birds On a Rail and Scrapbag Explosion, also have their backings sewn and are in queue for pin basting and quilting. Gotta get motivated on that front!!! This morning is guild meeting and Jeanne Poore will be our speaker. Gotta get cookies ready to take....

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Love, Love, Love the Library

One of my favorite features of my local library is the ability to request books online--don't even have to get out of my jammies. I have been wanting to preview this Gwen Marston/Freddy Moran book before investing in it. Apparently there was only one copy in the whole several-county-wide system! But yesterday I got the email that it was MINE! Well, for four weeks anyway. I pored over it last night and loved the tips on color and design, as well as peeks into each designer's workspace. I have long been a fan of Gwen Marston and own several of her books. But I wasn't too sure about Freddy Moran's bold, red-is-a-neutral style. Have to admit, her work
is growing on me!!! Their styles seem so different, and yet so much alike--if that makes sense. They both seem to work with such great abandon--a goal I need to set for myself. I just may have to purchase this book. Thank you, Public Library.

Yet ANOTHER shot of my Birds of a Feather (sorry 'bout that) but I wanted to show the first ten months of blocks in the order they will appear in the quilt. Still have a couple of months' worth to go, but I am liking it. I think it would make a nice Christmas quilt. Or, if kept this size with smallish borders, a great wallhanging. A decision for later..... Posted by Picasa