Monday, April 30, 2007

Raffle Quilts and Murder

Well, I beat my personal best time for finishing a top. This little 30's job was an unfinished top at 2pm Sunday, and I finished doing the hand work on the binding at 7pm. That same night. Whoo-hoo! I had to piece out a backing, then quilt it, make binding and sew it on and finish it by hand.
I got to do the handwork outside on my new lawn enjoying the weather, my yard and just being alive. It was so nice, and relaxing and calming - I'm going to have to do a lot more finishing! I tried a new (to me) thread too - King Tut by Superior. It's way nice; a 40 weight with a real nice finish - I was so pleased with the way it looks. If you click on the picture you should be able to see the white borders pretty well - the quilting shows so nicely.

This is the pattern I copied from Quilting Peach, one that she makes for Quilts of Valor. I espically like the quilting on this one, it's all stars and squiggles. Both of these are bound for raffles, 1 for for Kidney Disease Awareness and the other for a Patient Emergency Fund. Now with those out of the way, I can concentrate on my fans. One of my mini-group buddies gave me a good idea, and I have to try it out......

What's that? Oh, what about the murder, you ask?

Well, it's like this. There is a mockingbird that lives nearby, and keeps very very early hours, (or very very late hours) and there's no sleeping happening around here after about 3:30 am. That bird is SO loud, and SO obnoxious and SO relentless - it NEVER shuts up! - and it has SO many people feeling antagonistic, that it may be a scramble to see who will shoot it first. Aren't birds supposed to sleep when it's dark? And where's a nice bird-eating hawk or snake or something when you need them? When I was sitting outside doing binding and enjoying the peace, the little buggar sat on top of a power pole and yada-yada-yada-yada'd the whole time. I was too lazy to get up and get a gun, besides it was too close to a house. There's a neighbor up the road who swears he's going to take up falcon training just to take care of every mockingbird in the county.

I'd have to help him.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Rainy days and Saturdays

We got word yesterday that DH's brother has passed away in Colorado after many years of illness. He was Hunny's hero growing up - 11 years older and of course those guys are the best. That and a rainy day today has made things real low energy here, so we've just been puttering, napping, watching TV and doing not much. I worked on borders a bit, but kept losing my train of inspiration.
It was a good day to talk on the phone tho, so I did that a lot! The mailman brought me goodies too; wonder how hard it would be to arrange goodies in the mail every day?

These are an e-bay purchase made when I was bored and not sleeping one night. Pretty colored jewels! I can't resist when something is all co-ordinated like that. My other pastime is this puzzle, a Rebecca Barker Quiltscapes scene, a gift from my friend Leslie.

It's been spread out on this coffee table for more than a month, and I fidget with it a bit here and there. It has 1000 pieces, and it is hard! The puzzle shapes are strange, and there are a lot of 'em! It's been real fun tho, because everyone who comes in has to sit and try to place a couple pieces.
My funny story of the day has to do with this rain, and the recent extensive work we've done in our front yard. This yard has always flooded badly whenever it rains, and part of the landscaping process was a lot of grading to take care of that problem. Today is the first decent rain we've had, so I peeked out to see how it's handling the rain. And the upper part of the yard was flooded! What the heck.... grab shoes and umbrella and head out there. HA! As it develops, the house next door which is a bit higher elevation than ours, has runoff water coming down their drive. Part of it just runs into the street and into the roadside ditch, but the underground pipe that carries their downspout water from the whole house stops short of the street, so all of it has been pouring into our yard, causing flooding. I grabbed a shovel and did a quick diversion, then stomped in to talk to my DH. "You have got to go talk to that kid! His runoff water is flooding our yard!" and Hunnys says, "What should I say to him?" Me - "You're his father - take him out behind the barn!" ROFL -- yes, that neighbor is our DS1, who lives there with his wife and 5 children. Hee hee -- I had to laugh. All that tractor work, and I fixed it with a shovel in 5 minutes. It has continued to rain with vigor all day, but the flooding is gone.
Now it's time for a nice fire, some dinner and a glass of wine and off to bed.........
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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Siggie Swap Blocks!

Oh boy o boy o boy - I've been watching for these, and they're here! DH came in with the package, saying - "Who do you know in Australia?" "Oh, lot's of people! And it's not just Australia, they're from all over the world! I can't wait to see where they've all travelled from. Just think, some have gone from Europe to Oz and now to California - can you believe it? Think about it - the WORLD, honey!"
And I ripped into that bundle - practically not breathing.

And the very first block on top was from Ms Jan, who lives about 60 miles from me.

DH said he wasn't laughing at me, but I can tell. We've known each other a long time, and I know when he's being sarcastic and laughing up his sleeve. REGARDLESS!!! I'm so thrilled with all of them! I would like to continue on, so if anyone would like to swap siggie blocks with me, I'd be more than happy to! Drop me an e-mail, we'll make it happen!
One of the projects on my plate right now is to turn out 2 quilts for work; one for our clinic to raise money for patients emergency fund, and another to be used nationally to raise money for the American Kidney Foundation. My buddy at work was going to help me, and she wants to, but our schedules have clashed every weekend and now the deadline is upon us. The national comittee chair called today politely inquiring about the quilt. Ummm, actually, that quilt exists only in EQ right now, in about 14 different versions and more color combinations than the NBC peacock. (old if you remember that!) I just can't decide; I've got Quilters Block. (no groaning out there!) She didn't say anything, but I could see her pursed lips right thru the phone lines. FINE - get on with it already! Whenever I get stuck on a long phone call, boring conference call or terminal HOLD, I blog surf. Today I stopped by Peachy Kim's and she was showing 3 that she made for Quilts of Valor. Dingdingdingding!! Hey! Quick, appealing, eyecatching even tho it's simple. That's it.

I got home and spent about 15 minutes rummaging thru stash, and got the blocks made up before dinner. It will have the red inner border and the blue for outer border, and by Sunday it'll be quilted and bound and off my chest. Or maybe on it - I have a little rule that I get to have a little nap under every quilt I make, or at least an evenings worth of TV.
And now, I have to go spend some more time playing with siggie blocks -- what fun!

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Monday, April 16, 2007

Thoughts from an un-Thinking Blogger

I am sure enjoying reading the Thinking Blogger rings - it's fun to follow links and end up in all new places! You won't see my blog up for that one tho, and here's why: I expend ALL my mental energy in my job. When I first walked thru the doors this morning, the techs were yelling at me that we have a patient not breathing. That pretty well sets up a day for ya! Every day I deal with blood, tears, depression, anger, sadness - you name it and we'll come up with it for you. My professional persona is on red alert for anywhere from 8 to 13 hours a day and it can and does leave me drained. I certainly have the capacity to write thoughtful, meaningful entries but for the most part I just want to entertain and be entertained. I love blog-jumping and reading so many wonderful and yes, thought provoking blogs; as long as it's someone elses' thoughts and doesn't require me to be inspirational. The reason I quilt is to let my DNA unwind a bit from the stresses of my day, and roaming all your quilty blogs is a BIG part of that now! While I am sewing, or cutting, or pressing or playing with fabric, sure those "Important Thoughts" weave in and out of my consciousness, but I always try to beat them back to whence they came. (Ohhhhh!!!! That's why I have so many headaches!) There's way too much seriousness around me so I crave simplicity and silliness and happy creative thoughts. Keep it up - you are all making more of a difference than you know! Thank you!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Ice Cream Sherbert Weekend

When I was a new quilter, I saw a fan pattern in a magazine that I wanted to make. It was made with something called "30's Reproduction Fabrics" and I just had to do it. I ventured into the LQS looking for these cute, bright fabrics, and sure enough she had them. I didn't bring the magazine so I guessed at how much - how about 1 yard of all of each. All 63 of them!! Gee, as it turns out, that was enough for the fan quilt! I finished that fan top and it's really cute but not quilted yet, 6 years later. I made another one that did get quilted and bound, but the attraction had definately worn off long before all that fabric had been used..

Now, cut to many years and thousands of yards later, and I'm on my knees rummaging in the bottomest, backest hidingist hole in the stash looking for solid black, and turned up the rest of the 30's pile. Man, that's still a lot of fabric!! In the box was another long forgotten project, Ohio Stars blocks and some nine patches. (had to be someone else that made them; they're pretty rough!) and I don't know what the heck possessed me, but I dragged it out and started picking thru. People with short attention spans shouldn't do stuff like this. Ever. There was a big stack of already cut 3 1/2 squares. Hmmmm. Lemme think. I have this fan project on the wall that needs some thinking, and it's going to be cool when I finish it. I have a few baby quilts to quilt and the babies are getting closer every day. I have the big diamonds to quilt, and a purse to make for my Mom. I also have a couple of quilts to turn out for those raffles for work. I have a lot on my plate right now and I still am not crazy about 30's fabrics. So I started a new quilt, of course. Hey, don't snicker! You'd do it too! Oh well.... I saw this in a book and started it Thursday night - it's a quickie. I even had all those solids so it's a total stash quilt, which means it's free, right? (sincker snicker)
My granddaughter came for a visit this weekend because apparently she has withdrawal tremors and bad attitude when we haven't gotten together for a few weeks. They came Saturday and left Sunday, and we had a blast, of course. At 3 and a half she's got language down real well, but still has a baby voice so just about everything she says is hilarious. "Madeline, do you want bacon and eggs for breakfast?" "Well aksully Gammaw, I was thinking we can have cweem-pupps for bekfass." And you're not supposed to laugh at that? C'mon! That's a riot! we went to the nursery to get some plants for the front yard, and I pulled her around in the big wagon. Suddenly she hollars out - "Hey Gammaw!" What baby? "I love you more than strawberries!" Wow -- beat that, will ya?
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Thursday, April 12, 2007

How Green is my Valley

Finally, at last, there's GREEN in my front yard!! Hooray!! For the first time in many many years - almost 3 for us here, and 14 for the folks before us. The sorriest house on the street is a good buy, but getting it up to par is a long hard haul. This weekend I'm going to hook up our dump trailer and go buy plants for the perimeter planter, so cross your fingers I don't explode from excitement! While you're at it, cross your fingers that the rain holds off for a little bit, till Monday?

The fans are simmering on the wall while I figure out the rest of the design, but so far they have handles and strings. They had tiny black lace around the tops, but DH took one look and said, "Hey! Spanish fans!" Nooooo, hunny, those are Oriental fans. But, he's right, the black lace made it too Spanish. The strings are a bit iffy too, but I'm going to call that "Artistic License." So far it looks like they'll each be set in a square on point........ but hey, I'm a little unstable so that could change.

The first episode of the Alex Anderson/Ricky Tims internet show had the guy who owns Superior Threads. He's selling his product of course, but he talked about extra long staple Egyptian cotton verses long staple cotton. I did a bit of research and found out there may be something to that claim. So I ordered 3 spools of the Masterpiece and it came today. Aurifil has been my go-to thread for quite awhile now, so I'm going to do some sort of comparison. One thing I can say right off the bat is the Superior does feel a bit smoother than the Aurifil just feeling it as it comes off the spool. I'll let you know what I find out!
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Sunday, April 08, 2007

Happy Easter

It's easy to forget about Easter when there's no little ones around. As it worked out, Gramps and I were each others company today, and it didn't seem too different than any other Sunday. Because all of our kids have other families, it does happen sometimes that they are all celebrating somewhere else, and that's actually OK with us, neither of us feels deprived when that happens. So, what do you do on any Sunday after church? Well, sew, of course!

At our guild meeting on Saturday our speaker was the lady who judged our show last fall, and will be judging again this year. She trained at Pacific International Quilt Show and in fact was a judge there as well) She spoke about what judges look for in quilts, and gave a demonstration of how she actually does it. Last year she had 150 or so quilts to judge, (is that right, Rosy?) and she spent close to nine hours doing it. She is meticulous, and gives really excellent comments. I very nearly had kittens when I won a 1st and a 2nd at that show, and after seeing her in action I was really bowled over. So of course I came home all fired up, and nothing to do! ((haa haa haa -- so to speak!)) The fan idea has been in the back of my head for quite awhile, but was originally just a one block wall hanging, and the fans were a much simpler design. Ummmm....not so much now! The idea is getting bigger and bigger, and it's getting embellished and 3d stuff is evolving for it, and it's getting fun! Unfortunately, now I have to stop by the LQS for some odds and ends for it. Bummer, huh?
So my Easter festivities aside from church amounted to picking flowers from the yard and making pretties in the house. The lilacs are incredible.
And in case the kids ask if the Easter Bunnycame to our house, why,yes he did! And he brought Mrs. Bunny, and collected eggs from the hen house. Just as pretty as the colored eggs are the naturally colored greens and blues from my chickens. DH and I had breakfast at church and made a corned beef for dinner, and he made a blackberry cobbler for dessert . The world is all right!
Oh yea, one more thing - I had my colonscopy on Friday and all was well, a few little polyps so it was a good thing I went. Now for the mammo....
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Thursday, April 05, 2007

And Afterwards, Pass Out!

I've seen this around blogland and had to try it - what a hoot! All my crummy Springtime celebrations all nice and typed out, ready to file!
It'll sure be nice to get ALL that junk over with!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The Quilt Show

If you haven't heard, Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims have teamed up to produce a new quilt show online, called TheQuiltShow . The first two episodes are out, and let me tell you - if you have a high speed connection, go sign up! If you don't have high speed, call a friend who does and beg. The video quality is superb, the best I've ever seen for an internet clip. And it's long - a good hours worth. This show is terrific! Not bound by network constraints, they are free to be themselves, and it's like having them in your living room. My one and only complaint is the Bernina commercials - they're very short, and only a couple of them - but for Pete's sake! The second episode has Ricky playing a Native American flute, a beautiful haunting tribute to the mountains around his Colorado home, Wahatoya. I listened to that 6 times, tears running the whole time. (Then I bought the CD, and went back to listen some more!)
Go check it out!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Melon Balls and Chocolate Chips

What to do, what to do..........the perpetual question floating around my quiltroom! Sometimes there's so many good ideas, and so many UFO's, and so much pretty stuff, that I get paralyzed. Can't start anything because I want to do it all. I finished putting together the Diamonds top from several entries back, AT LAST! The thing has been hanging on my wall way too long, taunting me. Just because I vowed that it couldn't come down until it was one cohesive top that I could fold (and stuff into a bag...ummm, or not) So there it hung, partially together. And every blessed day, that thing chided me -- "HEY LAZY! I'm hanging here without arms -- do you care??" and "Can we get a little pieceing over here?" Oddly, this comes out in a twangy Bronx accent. Someplace I've never been, but apparently they have a lot of diamond quilt top relatives around there.

So burrowing around in the wreck of a fabric closet looking for the rest of that gold for the inner border for the %$#!*^ diamonds, I happened on these blocks made at a retreat last year. They were the result of total boredom with the projects I bought with me to do, and a hasty and lustful visit to the LQS there. Gee, I had no problem whipping thru these! I have 18 of them - most are really well done, and a few have some WILD and WONKY points. (That I did on purpose. Sure I did. WHAT? You don't believe me?)
So now those are being held hostage on the design wall, and let's see what accent they nag in. The name Melon Ball came to me, I guess because of the colors - or maybe this puppy will be Jamaican?

Then for about a minute, this cute little guy was on the wall:

Because I had a WILD and WONKY hair to do a ChocolateChipCherrySomething -- for weeks! I dreamed about it, doodled it at work, searched all the blogs and magazines for other B/P's, and finally scrounged up 44 FQ's of pinks and brown, and tried something. Maybe the idea was sort of a post-modern ice cream cone - chocolate and cherry ice cream? And OH my gosh -- look at those perfect points! What a work of art! Hel-lo - eight points coming together, and it's not a thread out of whack.. Cool beans!! SO awesome! I showed everybody who couldn't get away -- "LOOKY!" And the only problem with it is:
I don't care anymore. Geeeesh!! I had a little trouble even finding it to take a picture, and I don't think it's a week old yet. Poor little orphan child..........
I haven't gotten to spend a lot of time in the quiltroom because of all the activity in our front yard. What has been for 3 years a dirt lot with weeds is suddenly becoming beautiful! It's all graded smooth, the planters are all lined out and edged - the creek is all spiffy and rocked and cool looking, and we have a little footbridge for getting from one side of the yard to t'other.

So far this has been all my DH and my collaboration, with hired help for the heaviest stuff. Last evening LandscaperGuy was here to lay out sprinkler system and calculate how much sod. DH and I have had a running argument about this lawn. I suggested that it was going to be over 1600 square feet, (it's huge) and he told me to stick to my quilting and stop exaggerating. HA! LandscaperGuy doodled it out, and it's 1780 square feet. HA! And HA again!! So LandscaperGuy looked me in the eye and said, "This is going to be a maintence nightmare, and a pain in the butt to install, all those curves" I couldn't even respond -- huh? What do you say to that? Then he followed that with, "But when it's all done it will be the best yard on the block" COOL!!! Hey, it's been the worst yard in the valley forever, so as long as it's not that anymore, I'm happy. LG says, "One of these days you'll come home from work and it'll be all done" Oh man -- I'll have an arrest on the spot - full code blue. And I'll go down smiling!
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