Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Two more blocks

I made 2 more blocks last night while watching NCIS. Sewing the triangles is the boring part of the process and I can't just sit and watch TV without doing something. I thought maybe the one on the right is too pastel for all of the other blocks so far. Maybe I'm making two quilts not one...... Or maybe one of these is a great start to a tote bag..........

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Yellow finches

We had a freeze warning overnight but the redbuds still look OK. They haven't opened yet but the trees are looking pink anyway. This first picture was on Apr. 9 of a yellow finch on the finch feeder sack. I have it on a little redbud tree that the squirrels are too heavy for so they can't get to the sack. Here is the same little tree on Apr. 28 (picture taken from a different window) and you can see the pink buds on it. I have redbud trees sprouting all over in the back yard and I have to dig most of them out because they aren't in a place that I would want them. I decided to let this one grow. It came up about 6 years ago and last year was the first year it had flowers.
You can click on the pictures for a closer view. I have given away many of the little trees that I have dug out and most of them have grown even thought they come out bare root.

My mother's legs are healed now but her toes are still weeping so we have one more whirlpool treatment this morning and then we have to see the dr. on Thurs. to see if he prescribes any more of this treatment or goes to another type. I'm getting in a lot of reading (some new authors, some not so great, some really good) while I wait the 45 min to an hour.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Rain and gloom

I'm really not unhappy that it is raining. I transplanted some lilies last night and they need moisture. It is just that the house is so dark this morning and it is cold, 39 degrees.

My friend J-MT asked about the Thangles. They are papers that you sew through to make the half square triangle squares.
They are similar to the little plastic Easy Angle. The advantage is that you can cut one size strip for both the pieced squares and plain squares for a block. Usually you add 1/2" for the quarter inch seam allowances for a regular seam, but for a diagonal seam you need to add 7/8". Because these triangles are lined up with an offset, forming a blunt edge on one end and pointed on the other you only need the 1/2". The ones I am using are for 2" finished squares so the strip is cut 2.5". You can tear the paper off these easily if you use 1.5 for your stitch length and place your thumbnail of your left hand right on the seamline at the center, the tear quickly from the top point toward your thumbnail. This rips the main part off and then you pick off the seam allowance section.
Here is the block I completed last night.
And here are the 9 completed blocks. I need a lot more variety before it becomes a quilt. I need to make some blue/purple/red blocks and some yellow/green/blue blocks for sure.
Today is my mother's evaluation after 2 weeks of the whirlpool treatments for her legs. I hope they are healed enough for the next type of treatment, which they said they will come to her apartment to do.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Purples, blues, and greens

I made another pile of triangle squares in the cool color range. I am getting more value changes here than I was with the red ones. I don't know if they will all end up in the same quilt or not. Here are the squares that were left over so I need to make another batch to continue.
It has turned a little cooler for a few days. They have even mentioned snow showers for Monday. I hope they revise that forecast. I do enjoy digging up and moving plants when it isn't so hot though.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Triangle fun

I started sewing more sets of triangles with Thangles. I didn't get very many done so I will sew more combinations before I sew any blocks together. Here is a block from my stack of orphans. If any of you had the Pfaff 1475, 7550, or 7570 you may know what the Creative Designer box is. It was an attachment you could hook up to your machine and create more fancy stitches. Pfaff produced a book with a lot of stitches that looked like the hand done embroidery, and we would enter them with coordinates one stitch at a time. You only had to create one little section which would be repeated over and over as you sewed.
I also stitched out some of the 40mm stitches with 8 way feed that were built into the machine. I taught the classes that were given when you purchased a machine so I had to do a lot of playing to be knowledgeable about the features. Just another part of my past........

Friday, April 25, 2008

Quiet morning

I decided to bond with nature this morning, as I am still tired. I am used to quiet mornings. Having to leave home at 8 one morning and 7:15 the next were just not part of my regular routine. I am usually just eating breakfast at that time. It doesn't hurt to have a break in the routine once in a while to realize how much I enjoy my usual quiet time.

Here are the hostas that were just peeking out on Tuesday. It is amazing what a few warm days can do.
Here is my favorite "weed". I was telling someone one time that I was so excited to have violets growing all over in the shade garden. Their response was "You like weeds?". I have always loved violets. When I was a small child we would take a picnic lunch out to the creek in the back of our property. I later learned that this was really just a drainage ditch that went from farm to farm. It was full and rushing after a rain, and just a trickle a lot of the time. We would pick buttercups and violets and take them home and enjoy them for days.
I have some plants with this color bloom.
Who planted these? A friend gave me a few tulip bulbs about 10 years ago and I planted them in the front flower bed. I have redone the bed twice since then, the last time raising it with about 4" of soil. I thought I had dug out all of the bulbs. When my parents lived next door to me for 3 years, my dad planted yellow tulips all across the front of his house. Now I'm wondering if he sneaked over here and planted some in my garden without telling me. There are more blooms each year and they are my favorite color so I'm not complaining.
I'm going to start cleaning a closet today and by this evening I hope to get to the sewing machine and lose myself in a zone.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Art day 2

I am REALLY tired today! 2 days in a row wouldn't have been my first choice but it is the way it worked out. I had 3 classes in the morning, then over an hour break and then the last class. I had all 3rd grade today, which is one I haven't worked with before. They are still pretty free with their drawing at this age. There were several sports fans in the group.
I asked the girl who drew this if she had gone somewhere like this on vacation and she said no. the water is shaded in with 3 colors. She was quite artistic.
This was the first cartoon character out of all of the classes.
I think this girl may have been to a circus recently.
I brought home half of the squares to iron the wax out of. I will return to their school for at least part of a day so the kids can see one of the quilts being assembled. The art teacher is going to try to round up some other helpers for that day so we can make good progress.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Art day 1

The first day is over, and was I ever wiped out by the time I drove home. The kids were so much fun and they were all excited about the project. The one below was started in our last period of the day and interrupted by a fire drill, complete with firemen. Luckily the teacher of that group volunteered to let them finish them tomorrow in their regular class. I think this child may have gone to Florida with the sand and water and palm tree.
The 2 afternoon groups had great imaginations. We told them to draw something that reminded them of spring.
I love the one below with the clouds and birds lined up in rows.
This pink house was nice change after passing all of the subdivisions of gray and beige houses on my way there.
The one below has the raindrops in the sky and a beanstalk going up to the rainbow.
This one had to be the most original drawing. I don't know that it reminds me of spring but this budding artist just went for what he liked to draw, when so many others had a hard time deciding what to draw. In the break between the 2 classes in the morning and 2 in the afternoon I ironed the first batch to remove the excess wax. They used Roseart instead of Crayola brand and they worked very well.
I will meet with 4 classes tomorrow and have to leave at 7:15 a.m. so I won't post again until tomorrow afternoon.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

All nature

I decided to record the growth of a few of the plants so I can remember from year to year. Here is one Jack in the Pulpit and a teeny one behind and to the right. I had 2 plants there last year, right below the main bird feeder/plant hanger. My neighbors have a whole bed of them next to their garage that were there when they moved in 36 years ago. I love the way the hosta looks when it first comes up. Those are violets coming up behind them. When they both grow up, the ground is totally packed with plant life.
This is the color of the peony stems from my earliest plants. When we moved here 36 years ago (same year my neighbors moved in) there were 43 peony plants in the back yard, with only 2 alike. Over the years I have moved some, have given away some but still have more than 30 plants. You can see some other little plants in the background.
This is the color of the stems of some of the other peonies. Again, more violets, and everyone's favorite, the dandelion.
This is the biggest columbine plant. It will have medium rose colored flowers. Some of my deep rose columbine plants have started growing and the blue and pale pink ones have barely come up. I finished preparing for my next 2 days when I will be at the elementary schools for the art projects. I probably won't post until late tomorrow, after I get home.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Finally in bloom

The Christmas cactus is finally in bloom. One of the buds is gone, disappeared. There were 3 large buds and one teeny tiny one, which is still teeny tiny. Then I noticed that 2 were getting bigger and almost ready to bloom. Then the third big bud is just gone. I didn't find it on the floor, or anywhere for that matter. I will just be thankful that I have 2 beautiful blooms.I filled 2 more huge lawn and leaf bags with leaves and twigs yesterday and now I can watch the plants growing from the kitchen window. The hostas are about 2" high now. I saw the beginning of a Jack in the Pulpit when I was out there yesterday. The red penstemon and hardy geraniums are there as well. With our strange (and long) winter I think I lost a few plants. All of the sedum plants are doing well. I'll go out and check on more this afternoon since they grow pretty fast once they are uncovered.

I think we were in a contest with the northwest US for who could have snow the latest, but thankfully they won. Several blogs showed pictures of hail and snow last week.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Nature's colors

Nothing new on the quilting front, still ironing freezer paper to the back of the white fabric. I went out and picked a little cheer before the rain on Friday night. Sorry for the slightly blurry picture. I love the centers of these flowers.
I caught the sun shining through the forsythia. It is on it's last few days now. The leaves are popping out.
Have a good Sunday everyone.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Lots of white

Now how interesting is this? Lots of white, white fabric, white freezer paper. Not quite the fix I require but a necessary task. This is 180 squares of fabric and 58 squares of freezer paper. I need to go buy 3 more boxes of freezer paper to finish up on this school project. Today I will make a couple samples with the crayons and see how it goes. By last night though I had to have some color! The top left and bottom right are the 2 new squares.
We got a little rain last night and more expected today. The grass is so green and lots of plants are popping up. I lost about 2/3 of a huge coral bell but the rest of it looks healthy. I see a few columbine plants coming up too. Spring is here!

Friday, April 18, 2008


You will have to click on this picture and enlarge it to see the friends in the foreground. There is a squirrel, a cardinal and 4 starlings all eating together. The squirrels usually chase the birds away and the starlings aren't usually that friendly with other birds. They are eating the residue that fell from the bird feeder cage above them. With the sun pouring through the trees it was a wonderful scene. We finally have spring here. It was in the high 60's and calm yesterday. I didn't get a chance to go out and rake the flower beds though. I had another session of the "design as you go" quilt class in the morning, and while eating a late lunch the physical therapist for my mother called to see if we could come at 2 instead of 4 for her whirlpool treatment. I didn't get home until 3:30 from that and then I remembered I had computer club at 7 so I really didn't want to change into my grubbies and then change again. I also had to go pick up supper for my parents because we had planned that when the appt. was supposed to be at 4 and they were really planning on it.

Today I need to start cutting and edge finishing 175 squares of white PFD fabric for some elementary school art sessions that I will be doing next Wed. and Thurs. They will be drawing on the fabric with crayons so I need to iron freezer paper onto the back of each 11" square. I did this project last year and we ordered special fabric crayons but they were so greasy and messy that I decided to have them use regular crayons this year. There was an article in Quilter's Newsletter in June, 2003 about this. Have any of you readers used crayons on fabric and have any tips for me?

Friends, my title today, refers to all of you readers too. It is so wonderful to get the feedback through your comments about my posts. Doing a blog entry every day is kind of like writing a column for a newspaper. You really never know how many people read it or what they think about what you wrote. With the newspaper you might have to wait for the letters to the editor for any feedback where with the blog, within a few hours helpful feedback is there. Most of us are a little isolated by the fact that our neighbors don't understand why we are making another quilt where you readers all understand it (and want me to make more). Thank you a million times.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

One of these......... not like the others. Sorry for the poor photography this morning. I was standing on a chair to get high enough and still cut the tops off. The 2 squares I made a few days ago were in the basement and I sewed 2 more last night. I was too lazy to go down and get them and see which way the pinwheel was spinning in the first 2. After I had sewn one last night I went downstairs during a commercial and got the other 2 blocks. Just like I thought, I had spun the pinwheel in the wrong direction in block 3 (bottom right). I pieced the last block like the first 2. So now that I have my humility block out of the way, I don't have to wonder when it will pop up, LOL.

If you aren't sure what I am talking about, look at the position of the darkest fabric in the center pinwheels. 3 are alike and 1 is different. And you know the funny part is, now the top left block in a photo is different than looking with the naked eye. It is hard to tell which fabric is the darker.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

More triangles

I started making some more groups of triangle squares because I don't have enough of any one color range done at this time. I am using Thangles because then I can cut my strips with an even number measurement instead of the 7/8" add on. Here is the bin, 2 layers deep of 3" strips that I can choose from.
My mother went for the first whirlpool therapy yesterday. We go again tomorrow and then 3 times next week. I guess they will tell us when she has had enough sessions. The therapist said that he can't see any infection so hopefully they will get the skin to heal and then she can get the boot/pump.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Fussy Cutting

I had scanned and printed these leaves last year, and then last week finally put the fusible on the back of them, and now started cutting them out. I haven't designed the quilt yet though. We really had fun yesterday with the art quilters' group. Since we hadn't seen each other for 7 weeks there was a lot of show and tell, and a former member who moved away was visiting. There is always a lot of inspiration with all of the styles of quilting we do.

After they left I had to take my mother for a blood test for one of her medications, and then the Dr. for her legs. The legs aren't healing so now we will be going to the hospital 2-3 times a week for some kind of a bath and ointment to try to heal them. He said he can't give her the boot that pumps the fluid out of her legs now because the skin is not healing. He said if they can't get the fluid out of her legs it will start travelling up her body and cause pneumonia and eventually heart failure. I am optimistic that they will be able to heal her legs. She is upbeat about it too.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Walking on Cement

The convention centers have cement floors as well as the parking garages. I used to work a 7.5 hour day on a cement floor 5 days a week and I changed to a job in an old building with wooden floors. It made a lot of difference in the joints (as in hips and knees). Yesterday walking 5 hours on the cement reminded me of how I felt after a day of work on the cement floors. Advil here I come. Here are the new batiks I bought yesterday. And here are some Kaffe's, a Phil Jacobs and a couple batik half yards.
I had sewn a bunch of squares of 2 triangles using Thangles a few months ago. I needed to make something new after working on the finishing of several pieces. I don't know how many more blocks I will make. They will just go in a pile and I'll make a few now and then and someday there will be a good size pile of them. Then I can decide if I need to make any specific color blocks to finish up.
The art quilters' group is coming here today. A lot of them have been to the quilt festival too so we may be a tired looking bunch. Show and tell will be fun because we can see what kinds of things each of them purchased as well as what they have been working on.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Show time

A friend and I are headed into the quilt show at Rosemont today. It is a short day, 10-3 so we are in our running shoes. We usually start with the quilts, eat lunch, and then start at the far end of the merchant mall so we will be done near the exit door. She and I have similar tastes so we can pass by lots of the merchant booths with just a glance. I took a picture of my scraggly forsythia yesterday just in case the flowers froze last night. I don't think it got as cold as they first predicted.

Have a good day everyone!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

It's OK now

Putting the binding on always makes it look better. You would think after 51 years of making quilts that I wouldn't judge the piece until it is done. The quilting is far from perfect but I am happy with this piece. It is 20" x 22.5". I used the smoky monofilament in the black and white fabric borders because I thought either black or white would be too distracting. The flash makes it show up in these pictures.

The picture below is the back of this little quilt. The fabric is from the late 1980's when the larger prints were just becoming popular in quilts. I have a lot of them to use up in the backs of quilts.
We are freezing again this weekend, after being warm a week ago. It is only 37 degrees this morning and is supposed to go down to 29 degrees tonight and 41 degrees tomorrow. That is OK though because we have the quilt festival at Rosemont near Chicago this weekend. We won't be sidetracked by gardening.