Monday, June 30, 2008

A very special prize

I don't know how many of you read everyone else's comments, but on my first post yesterday "Working on Prizes" my friend Diane said I think you ought to have a super special drawing for the person who inspired you to blog in the first place! Well of course that person WAS Diane. She and I met around 12 years ago and worked at a quilt shop together. We both worked sales and taught quilting. I figured blogs were way too hard to figure out (thought they were like web design) and then I found out she had a blog. Up to this point I had been helping her with the computer, and now she was helping me! The rest is history.

So here is the prize I am sending her.
Be sure to check out yesterday's post in get into the drawing for my giveaway.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Blogiversary prizes

If you have been following my blog this past week, you know that I will have my first Blog anniversary/blogiversary on Friday July 4. I asked what you would like for prizes and I'm sorry to say I can't do the round trip ticket to visit my studio. But I said to suggest anything, however wild.

I have 6 giveaways. You can enter your name for ONE of them. This gives you a better chance of winning, with fewer names on each item. Leave me a comment on this post or email me directly with your (one) choice that you would like to win. Be sure to identify yourself in some manner if you don't have a link to a blog or website. This can be just initials and the state you are from if you want.

I will take entries until midnight July 4th, Central Standard Time in the US. Then I will use the Random Number Generator to pick the winner for each item. I will post the winners in the morning on July 5th. Then you will need to let me know your mailing address so I can send your prize to you.

Since I am sending so many things, I have put together smaller groups of scraps than I originally planned. I want to be able to mail everything out in Tyvek type envelopes to save on shipping costs. You can see from the pictures below that there is a good variety in each of the scrap piles.

This postcard (above) is not mailable as a post card so I consider it post card art. The back is red and has my signature and the year on it.

Please either comment on this post or send me an email with the number of the item you would like to win. Click on the pictures for a closer view.

Working on prizes

My headache is gone and I am working on the give aways for my anniversary. I hope to post all of the choices by tonight. You will have to choose which drawing you want to be in, only one. Stay tuned.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Doing nothing

This is as close as I got to the sewing machine yesterday. I chose the thread to quilt this table runner/wallhanging. I was extremely tired yesterday, and this morning I know why. I have a headache. Exhaustion precedes my migraines, and even though I have less migraines now and they are less severe, the other symptoms are still there. I had a good morning at the car dealers yesterday. They told me the regular waiting room was closed so I needed to go up to the showroom and wait there. The chairs are so much more comfortable in the showroom.

There were 3 other people there, all older than me, and we started chatting. Something we were talking about prompted me to mention where I lived as a child. One of the men perked up and asked where I went to high school. I told him I went to Plainfield High School and he wondered if I remembered any of the teachers. I named a couple of them and he knew them. Then he mentioned a couple of them, one being Mr. Stevenson, and I said yes I remembered them. Then I asked him how he knew them and he said he was Mr. Stevenson. He was my freshman science teacher in 1954-5 and my social studies teacher in 1955-6. When he mentioned Mr. S. I was thinking "he looks like him". He is 82 years old now so that helped me to figure out how old he was when he was my teacher. You know how the teachers all seemed so old when you were young. We had a great time chatting about the "olden days".

So did you figure out that I am having my 50th class reunion this year? I CAN'T BE THAT OLD!! Isn't it funny how we feel younger on the inside? And look older and saggier on the outside??

Friday, June 27, 2008

Prize for Candy

A few days ago my 50,000th visitor stopped by and it was Candy from Michigan. I knew she liked Laurel Burch things as much as I did and I offered her machine embroidery of Laurel Burch designs. I sent her pictures of the curtains in my guest bedroom which are embroidered with the cats. She chose the cat with the balloons, but I couldn't just send her one embroidery. I love watching the machine do its job on these embroideries, so I am sending her 4. You readers gave me a lot of ideas for the anniversary give away. Top vote getter was the mini wallhanging, but my thought there is what if a primitive decorating person got my wild and crazy modern wallhanging, so I think there will be two. Also fiber postcard was a big winner. I have several already done so I think I will choose 2 of those also, and then there were the scraps. Again, there is a wide variety of fabric types, so I think there will be 3 choices there. So stay tuned, I will be putting up the "rules" in a couple days.

I want to remind anonymous commenters, there is absolutely no way I know who you are if you don't leave a name or initials or something, so when we get to the actual giveaway, you must leave some kind of identifying mark on your comment. It doesn't have to be your real name, it could be initials or CS from IL or something similar. Just in case you are a winner, you have to be able to identify your own comment.

This morning I am off to the car dealer for an oil change and tire rotation. I hope they don't find anything expensive wrong with my van while I am there.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Anniversary one week away

My first year anniversary on my blog is July 4, one week away. I know I want to do some kind of giveaway but I can't seem to figure out what. If you were the winner would you want:
1. a fiber postcard
2. a box of my batik scraps
3. a box of my regular fabric scraps
4. a mini wallhanging
5. ???????

If you won would you like to take your choice?

Please give me some ideas, however wild they may seem.

Shopping and eating

My friends and I had a good time yesterday. It did rain off and on but was a fairly gentle rain. It stopped every time we were ready to get out of the car. We had a good, leisurely meal at a nice restaurant in an old restored building with gardens to walk past on the way to the entrance.

We went to 2 quilt stores, one before and one after the meal. I picked out some earthy tone fabrics and a couple positive/negative black and whites.

I can start a new quilt now, right? I showed you a finish yesterday so it's ok, right?

My porch pots are doing terrific with all of the rain and cooler nights.

The humidity is rolling in today so I may work in the basement studio, and maybe I'll even start basting another one. Maybe.

Can anyone who reads my blog through Bloglines or any other kind of reader answer this question for me? If I post more than once a day, do you only get the latest post and therefore don't know I have posted twice?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Baby Trip Around the World

Here it is, all finished!! I keep trying different measurements for the strips and the cross cuts. This one came out quite rectangular and would be good in the crib. It measures 37" x 51". I did the binding all by machine, sewn on the back and then flipped to the front. I used a zig zag stitch this time for the final stitching. A straight stitch seems to make the edge so stiff, and with zig zag it stays softer.
I used a Laurel Burch dotted/stripey fabric for the back. I do ditch quilting around every other color so it is like an echo of shapes. I usually do free motion meandering in the borders. I really don't think the baby will come back and tell me he/she wants more interesting quilting.
I'm off for lunch with friends today and maybe stopping at 2 quilt shops while we are at it. We had gentle rain this morning, so nice after all of the windy storms we have had.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Quilted and trimmed

This is another baby Trip Around the World quilt. I finished sewing the top together after I used the strips for demonstration purposes in my class in May. This is the one I basted a couple weeks ago. I quilted it and trimmed it yesterday and will put the binding on today. Full picture tomorrow. I heard a lot of loud chirping in my backyard yesterday and saw this baby robin and his mother. I couldn't get the mother to stand still long enough to get her picture. The baby on the other hand just sits there and chirps and she comes with food to stick down his throat. The funny part is she is skinny and he is fat! and he gets all of the food.
The hydrangea blossoms are getting big. Just about the time I am really enjoying the white blooms they turn lime green for the rest of the summer.
I took these nature pictures after sundown. It is amazing how much bluer the greens are when the sun isn't shining. I never notice that until I take a picture. Below are the thread leaf coreopsis in behind the regular variety.
We have had about 10 days of the most beautiful, low humidity, perfect temperature days. The humidity is going to roll in tomorrow night. It is so nice to have windows open and the breeze flowing through the house. Because I have hot water heat in my house I have window air conditioners, not central air. They don't do the job like central air but at least it is tolerable inside in the really hot humid weather.

I just add statistics in yesterday's post about the blue/green quilt in case you are interested.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Pressing matters

Here I am pressing the seams one row to the right, one row to the left so they will interlock when I sew the last cross row seams. This is my set up. I have a large pressing pad on a table. I have the row that I am pressing at the edge of the mat so I don't bump into the row below with the iron. I press rows 1,3,5,and 7 to the left, then turn the quilt around so the bottom edge is at the top and press the remaining rows to the left again, which ends up being the opposite direction of the first seams. Since I am right handed it only makes sense to always press from right to left.
TA DA!!! The quilt top is all sewn together and cross seams are pressed. All that is left is to stay stitch all around the outside edge at a little less than 1/4 inch so the edge won't stretch and seams won't pop with further handling. I haven't decided whether to border this one like "Chocolate and Caramel" or just call it finished. It has 96 blocks in it, measures 64" x 96" and has 84 different fabrics in it.
And now I can start the next one, WHAT you think I should finish one first? OK. Maybe I'll baste one today, or quilt one of the 2 that are already basted.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


After much thought yesterday, I decided not to take all of the blocks off the wall and play with different layouts. However I did try some layouts with the new blocks I made for the final rows. Below is all little squares on the same diagonal path. Next I tried the log cabin barn raising layout. Iliked this one.
Then I grouped all of the blues together and the greens together.
And then I put the last rows up on the wall with the rest of the quilt. I had to move some around since a lot of the new ones had the same fabrics as each other. I will look at this for a couple days to see if I want to move anything else.
The next quilt is going to be a different block but it will have the same chain effect of these last 2. I like the depth of this kind of pattern, like one layer over another.

I have a graduation party to go to this afternoon. It is hard to believe I have 3 grandchildren out of high school already.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Answers to comments

Leonna, you are a no reply blogger because your email address isn't in your profile settings. The flower pounding post was on Elsie's site. Here is a link to Amazon with 2 flower pounding books. Maybe Elsie can tell you more.

KS--your question was if I had chosen fabrics to suggest my front garden in the photo I showed.....actually I didn't realize how much the colors looked like that photo until KristinL mentioned it in her comment. I just started out with all of my newest batiks, which just happened to be greens and blues and a sprinkling of flower colors. I wanted the feel of a summer day with a nice breeze and a blue sky and I have a huge stash to choose from.

Elaine asked about my counter. The Neocounter that shows on my blog was added late fall or early winter. I will try to go back and find the date. The counter that reached 50,000 is my sitemeter counter which is visible only to me. There is a little logo on my blog but you can't see my stats. When the Neocounter reaches 50,000 I'll give another prize. That should be in about 2 months unless some of you readers leave me.

Decisions, decisions....

Yesterday I made 18 more blocks. Now it is decision time. How big do I want this to be? Right now it is 64" square. If I want it to be twin bed size (64" x 96") it would need 4 more rows or 32 more blocks. If I add 2 more rows and make it 80" long it is too short for a bed, but pretty large for a throw size. I have enough strips already sewn for 4 patches for 2 more rows. Another decision I need to make: do I leave it just random the way the colors are placed, or do I play with the blocks and see if I want a. light in the center, b. sky at top, stream at bottom, with green between, c. each color in its own area? Now while I wait to make my decision, should I start a new quilt???? I already know what the next one is going to be.

Friday, June 20, 2008

And the 50,000th visitor is

I just returned home from taking my parents to an appointment and chcked to see who number 50,000 is
They are from Grosse Pointe, MI, the visit was at 6:23 p.m. their time,
Comcast is their server,
has Windows NT operating system,
they use Firefox as a browser,
and the referring URL is Not a Walking Encyclopedia.
Is it you Candy?? or someone else in Grosse Pointe?

It looks like Candy from Not a Walking Encyclopedia is my 50,000th visitor. Congratulations, Candy!


Two important (to me) things are going to be happening soon. I started my blog on July 4, 2007 so my first anniversary is coming up. I'm going to have a give-away but I haven't finalized any plans yet. Stay tuned! The other thing: I added Sitemeter to my blog on July 15th, 2007. TODAY sometime in the afternoon, my 50,000th visitor will stop by. I will be watching the stats and will post where you are from, what server you use, and which browser you have. Also if you link here from somewhere else, I will mention that too. I WILL HAVE A PRIZE FOR YOU IF YOU IDENTIFY YOURSELF. I will announce it this afternoon as soon as I see it. Whew, now that the important announcements are over, let's get on with the regular stuff. In the picture above are a few more strips ready to sew.

I made a bunch of blocks yesterday. I had been using only batiks in the beginning so yesterday I added a bunch of green, leafy regular fabrics. This is not my final layout, just how they got plopped up on the wall.

This is the bonus tray. I cut one 4.5" strip and one 2.5" strip from each fabric. The 2.5" strip will make 4 blocks if I want that many of that fabric combination. The 4.5" strip has enough squares to make 8 blocks. Since one set of 4 patches gets paired with the 2 dark squares and the next with 2 light squares, I have anywhere from 4-6 squares left over. On some decorating sites and in some mail order catalogs they will have quilts displayed/for sale and they are just made of squares. We can spend a lot of time looking for a complicated design to make but nothing says "quilt" any better than all squares. I will be making one from all of these squares.

Added a few minutes later: Thanks everyone for the great comments about lists and list making. I enjoyed so much seeing how you all deal with it. I like KS's theory that at 2 x 30 or 3 x 20 we should be able to get 2 times or 3 times as much done at 60+.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Lists over the years

When I mentioned making a list of priority UFO's I received several comments about lists. I remember when I was in my 20's and early 30's and I was a seamstress working out of my home. I also had 2 small children and helped out in the family business when I was needed. Whatever the client brought to my house, I sewed it. It was anywhere from childrens' playwear to chiffon or velvet bridesmaid dresses. I also did the altering for a menswear store for 4 years. (Plus I made all of my own clothes and most of my kids' clothes.) I used to make list of what I thought I could accomplish each day. I would make the list for each day of the week all at one time. I would usually finish everything for the first day and a couple second day things on the first day. The second day I would finish that day's list and do a few of tomorrow's list, and so it went through the week creating a free day eventually because I always accomplished more than I thought I could.

Fast forward to being in my 60's: I make a disjointed, hard to decipher list and I'm lucky if I accomplish half of what is on the list. Either I don't make very good lists anymore or I don't have the energy of a 20-30 year old any more. Maybe it's a little of both, but mostly the latter. LOL.

Here are the blocks so far on the latest quilt. I need to add a lot more green back in, but it does still have the feel of a cool summer day. Click on it for a clearer view of the fabrics.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Ready for rain

Yesterday after I got home from grocery shopping for my parents, my grandson and a friend came over and got the gutters cleaned out for me. There were little trees growing up there! Now the rain can come and I won't have a waterfall over the edge of the gutter. They also got my last 2 storm windows down and screens up. I can do some of the smaller windows but the storm windows seem to get heavier each year. At least I only have a one story house so it doesn't involve a ladder. A branch that always hit my house in the wind also got clipped off. I'm so glad these things are done.

Here are 6 new blocks with 3 from the group yesterday. I am adding in blue for sky and water along with all of the greens. A little pink and purple will peek in.
Here is a group of fabrics that I have pulled to cut today. My friends I used to work with are coming today. Monday's group always meets in my basement but this group meets on the main level of the house so I spent a good portion of yesterday trying to get the studio cleaned up enough for 5 people to be able to work in there and the kitchen area.
We have had the most beautiful weather the last few days. It has been cool, a little breeze, low humidity, and sunshine. This morning it is only 68 degrees but it will warm up. I wish we could have weather like this all summer.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I'm all better now

I just needed a good dose of inspiration and variety and common sense talk among friends to get over the slump. Mary G. gave us a free psychiatric session letting us just gaze at the beauty of her little pieces sewn together into an array of bigger pieces to be used someday (maybe). After enjoying the beauty of them we all forgot our troubles and were smiling. Thank you Mary.After my group was gone yesterday I enjoyed reading some blogs. I found out I am not the only one who likes to start things, even though the pile of UFO's is calling. Nicole and Jacquie also talked about the pull to start new things. Check out their blogs. I have really been enjoying them.

I started the new double 4 patch, with all of my new energy last night. After I piece the 2 strips together and press, I stack them staggered by 1" increments on my cutting board. Here I am doing 4 sets. I usually do 8 sets or more at a time. When they are staggered their seam lines aren't on top of each other and it is easy to cut through all at once. I am all for time saving steps.
Then I do the clean up cut which gets rid of the selvedges.
Then I cut my 2.5" sections.
I chain sew to save time and thread.
And Voila! The first four blocks are done. This quilt is going to feel like a summer day.
Happy quilting everyone!!!!!!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Company is coming!!

My art quilters group will be here in about 20 minutes. The cookies are baked, the basement is clean, and I am ready for the inspiration.

I took a picture of my red weigela this morning. Some of the flowers have been beaten off by all of the wind and rain but it still is full of blossoms.

The primroses are at their maximum beauty right now.
Have a great Monday everyone.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Slice and Dice

Part of my clean up effort in the basement was to slice strips off of the newest batiks in my collection and then put the remaining fabric away on the shelves. I am going to do another double 4 patch quilt since I enjoyed making "Chocolate and Caramel" so much. Here is a shot of early summer color in the front flower bed. It is always so pretty in June.
This is one of the digital photos made from a slide. I made this piece in 1990 or 1991 and it sold at the IL Artisans Shop in Springfield, IL many years ago. I made several pieces with the illusion of overlapping squares. I think I may do another one in brighter fabrics. I think it is time to get out all of my trays of squares and have some fun. I think the biggest part of my slump is that I feel guilty starting another piece when I have so many UFO's. I go in cycles of not caring if I finish anything and then feeling driven to finish quilts. Since I don't have any deadlines for the finishing it doesn't become a priority.

My new plan is to list the UFO's in order of priority for finishing and to finish one each month. As far as starting projects, yes I will continue to do that. I have my blog to write, and I need pictures..........

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Finally, it's finished!

The binding has to be the part I like the least in quiltmaking but when I put in that last stitch, oh, the satisfaction of having another quilt finished. Here is the front........ and the pieced back. I cut the beach ball fabric on the lengthwise grain for borders so I wouldn't have to piece them and then I didn't have enough for the backing. The bead fabric in the center is harder to use in a design so it is great for backing.
On the nature front, my coreopsis are starting to bloom. I couldn't decide if I liked them better against these purple coral bell leaves
or against the pretty hosta. The coreopsis reseeded all over the flower bed so I will have another mass of yellow when the primroses are done.
I sent my package to Clare in France for the leukemia quilts yesterday. I found some pinwheels left over from a quilt I made 18 years ago for my grandson. I also sent her some larger pieces of the older red calicoes that I knew I wouldn't be needing so she can use them for sashing and backings.

After reading the comments yesterday on my slump and many finished UFO's, I came to the conclusion that Elsie's and Kim's really related to me. Elsie said a teacher had given her permission to have attention deficit and to let it work for her. Now I need permission from all of you. Please!

Kim's comment about making a list to be able to check when she can't decide what to do made sense. When I am acting in a state of indecision, I rarely remember which projects I could actually pick up and work on. As far as putting the list on my blog, I think I will just hang it on my bulletin board in my studio.

Thank you all of you commenters for helping me to think through this slump/indecision time.