Wednesday, December 31, 2008

My 2009 Goals!

I'm so excited about this!  Resolutions never seem to work.  They're usually vague, such as "Lose Weight."  But I'm trying to be very specific with each goal, and I'm going to make each one doable.  I can wait to start marking them off.  And of course, I'll keep you posted on my progress.  Here we go....

1.  Make a January stash quilt.
2.  Make a February stash quilt.
3.  Make a March stash quilt.
4.  Lose 5 pounds.
5.  Send my felting book proposal to a publisher.
6.  Make an April stash quilt.
7.  Make a May stash quilt.
8.  Make a June stash quilt.
9.  Lose 5 pounds
10.  Enter a quilt in a major show.
11.  Send a proposal to a magazine for an article.
12.  Lose 5 pounds.
13.  Make a July stash quilt.
14.  Make an August stash quilt.
15.  Enter a quilt in a major show.
16.  Send a proposal to a magazine for an article.
17.  Make a September stash quilt.
18.  Make an October stash quilt.
19.  Lose 5 pounds.
20.  Enter a quilt in a major show.
21.  Make a November stash quilt.
22.  Make a December stash quilt.
23.  Open an Etsy shop.

See a theme here?  I realized that if I wrote, "Make a stash quilt every month," I wouldn't get to mark it off my list until the end of the year.  This way even small accomplishments can be recognized and marked off.  I love marking things off a list.

In summary, I have 12 stash quilts to make, 20 pounds to lose, 3 quilts entered in shows, 2 magazine articles, 1 book proposal, 1 Etsy shop, and a partridge in a pear tree.

Moving on to Blue

You can't imagine how happy I am to have finished the portrait quilt top before the end of the year!  Yesterday I added the paint enhancements to the quilt and set it aside to dry overnight.  Today I'll baste the layers in preparation for quilting.

In the afternoon, I cleaned my studio.  Well, at least I swept the floor and emptied the trash.  I've been dropping snippets of the tiny strips throughout this portrait process so the floor was a wreck.  Then I decide to get an early start on my pledge to make use of my stash by color in 2009.  Note:  I didn't say "using up my stash"!  I'm MAKING USE OF MY STASH!  You may remember that I've designated January as Blue Month.

I store my fabric in a coated wire drawer system purchased at Home Depot years ago.  As you can see in the photo above, the drawers have become a big wrinkled mess over the years.  So I figured that while I'm focusing on one drawer (color) per month, I might as well get more organized in the process.

So I began.  One by one, I started ironing the pieces of fabric.  Then I cut strips from each piece.  (I'm going to do something with strips with the blues.  Another month, I may cut squares, etc., from another color.)  I arbitrarily selected 2 1/2 inches and 1 1/2 inches for the width of the strips.
The next step was to neatly fold the remaining fabric, ready to be put back in the drawer.
Hopefully, by the end of January I'll not only have a blue quilt, but also a neat blue drawer.  And by the end of 2009, I'll have at least 12 stash quilts, and all my drawers will be neat and tidy.  How's that for a plan?

Tomorrow I'll post my complete list of 2009 goals.  It's going to be a productive year!  Happy New Year to you...

Monday, December 29, 2008

What I've Learned From Green Quilting

As 2008 ends, I've been reflecting on my green quilting journey.  This started as a means to make use of my stash and save a bit of money since we now have two kids in college.  As with many adventures in life, it has turned out to be so much more.  

Here's what I've learned:

1.  While I thought I would spend the year feeling deprived, it's been quite the opposite so far.  I've come to the realization that I'd built this wonderful stash of fabric collected over ten years, but I almost never looked through it.  You know they say that you wear 20% of your clothes 80% of the time.  It was the same way with my stash.  I was constantly bringing new fabric into my studio and using it in my quilts.  The fabric I already owned is just as beautiful and useful, but maybe because I'd seen it for so long, it faded in its ability to excite me.  Now that I'm forced to use what I have, I'm finding renewed excitement in what I already own.

2.  One buying habit of which I was guilty was to buy any gadget, tool, or gizmo that I deemed cool.  Many of these I've never opened.  Now I'm rediscovering these items and learning new techniques.  My next quilt will make use of a wedge ruler I bought years ago and have never once used. 

3.  Being thrifty enhances creativity.  This is one of the most profound and surprising things I've learned.  I remember reading books about life in early America.  The kids didn't have plastic toys or board games, much less computers and video games.  They made their own games and toys with sticks, rocks, whatever they found.  And in doing so, they became more creative.  I've found this to be so true in my journey!  I think my creativity has been jump started in so many ways.  I'm always thinking of new ways to use what I have.  I go to sleep designing quilts in my head.  I wake up each morning anxious to try something new.  Creativity abounds!

4.  One of the most important things I've learned is that we really do live in a small world.  This blog has connected me with quilters all over the world.  I've made new friends, and I've come to realize that we quilters are all so much alike no matter where we live.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

I did it!

I finished the quilt top!  And early, at that!  Yay me!

Tomorrow I'm getting out the Paintstix and fabric paints and work on the dog a bit.  He's missing some white highlights around his eyes, nose, and mouth, and I'm hoping these additions will make me happier with him.

I woke up feeling so much better today, at long last.  I'm still coughing, but that will soon pass.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

I'm the Guilty Party

I found my missing memory card and scandisk!  I woke up VERY early this morning, and lay in bed retracing steps from last week.  I was in such a sick fog when cleaning the house, it's a wonder I could get my mind to go back in time.  But I suddenly had a thought of where it might be.  I got up and went straight to it!  And, yes, I'm the one who put it there in the first place.

Today's goals were to do the shoe (upper left), the water (lower left) and the bathing suit.  Mission accomplished.  I mainly have just one arm, two legs, and hair left.  And four more days.  It would be fabulous if I could finish this early, move on to the quilting, and actually finish this early.  Wouldn't that be SOMETHING!

I'm trying to decide how to handle the rope that loop through the inner tube.  I've left blank space where it goes, but now I'm wishing I'd filled the areas in.  Hmmm...
I've thought about couching a real rope onto the quilt.  Hmmm...
Any ideas?

I'm still not really thrilled with the dog, but I may try to enhance the colors with some Paintstix to get the look I'm going for.  It feels so good to be quilting again!  I'm still not 100 percent well, but at least I'm up and around.

Friday, December 26, 2008

I'm Back!

I actually made it upstairs to my studio today!!!  Yay me!  I got back to work on THE Quilt.  My goal for today was to finish the dog.  Mission accomplished.  I tried to take a picture - wouldn't you know, the memory card is missing.  I know exactly where it is; it's in the scandisk thingy that I use to upload the photos to the computer.  Now if I could only find said scandisk thingy!  Before our family members came over on Christmas Eve, my dear hubby did a wonderful job picking up lots of miscellaneous stuff cluttering our den and kitchen.  He doesn't remember what he did with the scandisk thingy.  I'm sure it will turn up in the next few days, so you'll have to use your imagination until then.

We had a hectic, family filled Christmas Eve, and then we had a wonderfully relaxing Christmas Day.  We slept late, the girls opened their gifts, and then my dear hubby, who does not normally cook, treated us to his one and only specialty - Baked French Toast with Pecan Praline Topping.  He makes this every year on Christmas Day.  YUMMY!

That afternoon, the four of us went to see the new movie, "Marley and Me."  I'm not usually a movie cryer, but this was a definite tear jerker, especially if you're a dog lover.  It was a great movie.

Things are getting back to normal in the health department around here.  Emily is so much better.  I'm feeling better, but not quite up to full speed.  I'll probably be coughing for another week, but I'm not complaining.  We're doing so much better than last week at this time!

I spent some time this morning working on my list of goals for 2009.  I'm so excited about this.  They say if you write something down, you're more likely to accomplish it.  Plus I'll be accountable on my blog for these accomplishments, too, which may be added incentive.  I'll post the final list here on January 1, so stay tuned.  You may be surprised by some of them.

Today being the 26th, it's my four month anniversary for this blog and my green quilting journey.  I could have asked for fabric for Christmas, but I realized there wasn't any fabric I really needed.  My quilty Christmas gifts were magazine subscriptions (renewals) to Quilting Arts and Quiltmania, and a screenprinting kit.  I can't wait to learn to screenprint!  Hope you had a wonderful Christmas.  Hopefully I be taking photos again tomorrow.

Monday, December 22, 2008

On the Mend...

Thanks for all the good wishes!  Emily is doing much better.  Her incision is still sore, and it hurts for her to turn her head.  But overall, the worst is over.

I, on the other hand, got worse before I got better.  I have been bed ridden or sofa-ridden for days.  Hubby has been taking up the slack.  He took me to the doctor today.  I've never been so happy to get a shot in the rear!!!

It took the injection an hour or so to start working.  I'm finally feeling a bit human again.  We're supposed to be hosting our family on Christmas Eve afternoon.  I think they're all afraid they'll get sick, but I don't think I'm contagious.  And I'm thinking two days from now, I'll really be a lot better.  Then on the 26th, maybe I can work on THE Quilt again, because I haven't felt like walking up the stairs to the studio for days, much less standing and fusing bit of fabric.

I got the nicest e-mail from a friend, Patty B., this afternoon with well wishes.  She sent me the follow "green" tip that I want to share with you:

"I wanted to tell you about my "green" Christmas.  Ray's family had their family Christmas get together Saturday night.  I had several small children to buy presents for.  When I looked at paper Christmas bags, they are anywhere from $2-5 and just get thrown away.  I had read somewhere that a good idea was to buy a market bag instead.  Winn Dixie had green market bags for 99c so I bought them for all the kids.  It turned out to be my great nephew's favorite present.  He put all his toys in the bag and carried it around all night saying, 'ho ho ho.'  He's four.  It was so cute.  So 'going green' was a big success this year.  Last year I made bags out of extra fabric, but the time just wasn't there this year so this was a great alternative, and cheaper than buying a 'throw away, bag."

What a great idea!

Friday, December 19, 2008

My Week

TGIF!!!  What a tumultuous week!

Tuesday morning I flew out VERY early to South Carolina so I could drive home with Elizabeth from Furman.  Driving through Atlanta is pretty scary for drivers with limited experience.  She drove the entire way, and is ready to conquer it alone next time.

While we were driving home, hubby took Emily to a surgical consultation concerning a large nodule (think ping pong ball) on her thyroid.  The nodule was concerning to the surgeon because of it's size and the fact that it was a single nodule.  Apparently multiple nodules are more likely to be benign.  He scheduled surgery for Thursday.

So yesterday hubby, Emily, and I left VERY early (see a theme here?) for the hospital.  Everything went well, except it took three nurses and five sticks to place the IV.  I told her she can now act as my personal pin cushion.  After a very anxious morning, the surgeon told us the WONDERFUL news that the nodule was benign!  You don't realize how worried you've been until you feel that sense of relief!

They only removed half her thyroid, so she won't even need medication.  Her biggest worry now is the scar, though I'm sure it will be minimal.  She was well enough in the recovery room to text her friends and share her good news.

Now we're home, and she's resting in a recliner.  I'm hoping her appetite will improve today, but all is well.  Unfortunately, will all the stress and lack of sleep, I've come down with a nasty cold.  Hubby stayed home from work today to nurse us both.  I don't want Emily to get my cold, so I'm trying to keep my distance.

Elizabeth is a huge help, and is doing the Christmas baking this week.  Yesterday she made White Christmas Popcorn, which is popcorn and peanuts coated with a mixture of white chocolate and peanut butter.  Yum!

So things are looking up around here!  God is good and has been watching over us!

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Last Peak For Now

I'm not totally happy with the way Prince is coming along.  It really looks more like Mickey.  I may have to redo some of this area.  We'll see....

I'll be away from the blog for a few days.  The girls will be home tomorrow and we have a great deal going on later this week.  Hopefully, I'll be back before Christmas.  If not, wishing you and yours a very merry holiday season!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Slowly, But Surely!

No, I didn't quite make my goal for the weekend (not yet, anyway).  I did finish the blacks/grays.  And I did start working on the other loved one, as you can see.  It's Prince, the fire loving doxie.  I still have a few hours left before bedtime, so I may just go back upstairs and work (or play, depending on how you look at it).  At the rate I'm fusing, I think I'll meet my self imposed deadline.

I've been thinking about goals lately.  I work so much better when I have them.  Working aimlessly on a project can result in putting it aside when I tire of it.  Believe me, I've tired of this project quite a bit lately, but my goals keep me on task.

I've decided to make a list of goals for 2009 in lieu of resolutions.  "I resolve to ...." is so cut and dried.  You either do it or you don't.  I think goals, doable goals, will work better for me.  I'm still thinking through what my goals will be, but I'll post them here once I've decided.

I've also been thinking about my year-long journey of green quilting.  This has been so satisfying and has only enriched my creativity.  To make it clear, I not trying to use up my stash; I'm trying to MAKE USE OF MY STASH.

Along these lines, I'm going to take one color of my stash each month and "play."  I might strip piece with it, make nine patch blocks, who knows.  January will be blue month.  Blue is a cool color, and January is a cool, cold month.  Seems to fit.  

Saturday, December 13, 2008

And the Winners Are...

It's time for the scrap giveaway!  I drew two winners:
1. KF who posted on Dec. 4
2. Anonymous who posted on Dec. 10

Please e-mail me ( with you snail addresses, I'd I'll mail your goodies post haste.

The Rockettes were fabulous last night.  This morning hubby and I went to a neighborhood holiday brunch.  Then I braved taking my mom to the mall- and yes, this was a true act of COURAGE!  But I survived, and she found everything she needed.  

After all that, I came home exhausted, so I never made it upstairs to the studio today.  Maybe tonight I'll find some energy and finish those blacks and grays.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Goal Oriented

 It's tough when I'm working on one big project (a rarity!) and I don't take breaks to do other things.  What it means for you, dear blogging friends, is that unless I show you the progress of that ONE quilt every day until you're absolutely sick of it, I must dig up other photos of mild interest, because I hate to post without a photo!  So that explains the above photo: the beautiful flower arrangement at the gallery reception last Sunday.  They designed it to match the angel quilt (Stairway to Heaven) hanging in the background.  Lovely!  What you can't see are all the yummy foods they served.  Trust me, they were lovely and delicious, too.

So, did I make my goal of finishing the blacks/grays on THE quilt?  Not quite, but almost.  I had to quit early since hubby and I are going with some of his work friends and their spouses to eat pizza and see the Radio Music Hall Rockettes.  They are on tour and happen to be in Birmingham this weekend.

The weekend goal:
1.  Finish the blacks/grays.
2.  Work on the other "loved one" in the quilt.  Yes, though it looks like a portrait of one person, there is yet another loved one to be fused.

You still have the rest of today to make a comment to be entered for my fabric scrap drawing.  For my local friends who are new to blogs and comment, simply click on the word "Comments" at the bottom of a post.  A friendly screen will tell you exactly what to do.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Another Sneak Peak and a Renunion

I just couldn't stand it - I wanted to give you another peak at my quilt.  THE Quilt.  The never ending, strip fusing, tedious, but satisfying quilt.  I'm liking the way it's looking, and I think I'll meet my goal of finishing the blacks/grays tomorrow.  I'll have to figure out a new goal for the weekend.  Below is my black/gray palette.  This is four different piles of strips pushed together for the photo.  Each of the piles has strips cut from three to seven different fabrics.
And now I'll tell you the reunion story.  You probably remember my post from earlier this week, "A New Use for Buttons."  I shared a photo of my friend, Cyndi Wheeler, wearing her cute top with a button Christmas tree.  Within a couple of hours of publishing the post I received an e-mail from far away Wisconsin.  I'll let Cyndi tell the rest of the story:

"Yesterday Julia Wood took a picture of me and my Christmas tree sweatshirt that I had on and posted pictures on her blog.

A friend of mine in Wisconsin (who actually introduced me to quilting in the 70's and that I've really not communicated with except through Christmas cards over the years) was on Julia's blog yesterday, saw my picture, said, "That looks like Cyndi Wheeler!", read the blog and found out it was me, and then wrote to Julia to get her to say hello to me (because she didn't have my email address)!  What a small world.  I promise that I will communicate with her and try to be a better friend!"

Isn't that cool?  It's wonderful how the internet brings us closer.  I read blogs from around the world now, and I've had people from approximately 40 countries read my blog.  It is a small world, indeed.

Don't forget!  Friday is the last day to comment to enter my drawing for fabric scraps.  Simply make a comment telling me what you'll do with the Aunt Donna scraps, or give me a "green" quilting tip.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Stripping along...

I'm still stripping away at this quilt.  I'm hoping to get all the blacks and grays done by the end of Friday.  I've decided it would be helpful to start setting small goals like this.  The girls will both be home next week for their Christmas break and I want to get as much of this done before they arrive.  My ultimate goal is to finish the quilt top by the end of the year.  Oh dear, that's not far away!

I'm only going to post little pieces of this project until I'm finished, so stay tuned!  Click on the picture above and you'll be able to see some of the unique fabrics I'm using.  Look for the paper clip, the dalmatian dogs, and the piano keys.  Oh, also look for the computer printout fabric.  I love quilts that pull you in to look closer.
Okay, here's a challenge.  This plastic thingamabob came off a two pack of hydrogen peroxide I purchased earlier this week at Costco.  You know me well enough by now to know I'm going to figure out a way to put it on a little art quilt.  But I need ideas!  Please!

My first thought was to turn it horizontally for eyeglasses.  Or angel wings.  Please let me know if you have any other ideas for me.

Tomorrow I have a special story to tell - a reunion of old friends through my blog.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Warm Fire...

Is there nothing better than a dog sleeping beside a fire?  Prince has gotten quite brave this year, sleeping on the hearth.  When the fire is not going, he gets on the hearth and stares at the pile of (fake) logs, willing them to come to life.

Here's another quilt from the guild meeting - a new take on the t-shirt quilt.  I thought this was such a great idea!  Myrna Wise started with a ready made fleece blanket she purchased at J.C. Penny.  She applied Pellon Wonder Under to the back of each t-shirt cut-out and fused them onto the blanket.  Then she feather stitched (by machine) around each fused emblem.  I know that technically it's not a quilt, but it's oh so much easier!
I managed to fit in about 4 hours of quilting today, at long last.  I'm still working on the portrait quilt made of tiny strips.  It continues to be tedious, but I'm definitely getting faster.

Monday, December 8, 2008

A New Use for Old Buttons...

Today was my guild's Christmas coffee.  I am so thankful to be a part of this group.  I learn something from other members constantly.  And they are so giving!

Of course I saw many beautiful Christmas sweaters, vests, sweat shirts, t-shirts, and jackets on members this morning, but this one really caught my attention.  This is Cyndi Wheeler modeling her creation.

She sewed antique button on the shirt and drizzled metallic paint around them.  What a lovely Christmas tree!

Here are the 3 slice quilts hanging together.  I'll share better shot of them all soon; I know I never posted the third one.
Another "star" of show and tell was this beautiful batik quilt made by Annie Woods.
And I loved these funky little quilts made by Kathy Joiner!
Confession time....
But I don't feel THAT guilty.  One of our former members is unfortunately suffering from Alzhiemers (spelling is incorrect, sorry) and is in a nursing facility.  In order to raise money for her care, her son asked a couple of our members to bring her sewing stuff to the meeting to sell.

I spent $6.00.  I bought a shoe box of old zippers for $1.00, a shoe box of cording for $1.00, a ruler for $2.00, and a few miscellaneous 50 cent items.  But I know that in a very small way, my $6.00 is going to a very good cause.  Plus, I'll be giving a new use to items that have probably been stored away for years.  And that makes me happy.

Adding that to the $9 I spent on a pattern enlargement a few weeks ago, I've spent $15.00 in the last 3-plus months on quilting.  Not too bad, I think.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Opening Day!

My, don't I feel important - my name on a sign, no less!  I'm "sharing" the show with the local Calligraphy Guild, as you can see.  The reception today was tons of fun.  I met so many nice people who are not used to seeing quilts hanging on walls.

Some of my quilter friends came (thanks to Ruth Ann, Art, and Lisa!) and I ran into the mother of an old friend.  I met LOTS of calligraphers!

Here's Oliver (the dachshund wannabe) in all his glory.
Here's "Stairway to Heaven" based on a photograph of a statue in a cemetery.
And a row of little quilts.
And me!
My hubby was the photographer for the day and did a great job.  And I must add, he does a much better job of  "selling" my quilts than I do.  He walked up to strangers, said, "My wife is the quilter.  Let me tell you the story behind this one."  And on he went, telling different people about different quilts.  It was a fun afternoon!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Need Pie...

My camera batteries died, but I'll post pictures tomorrow.

I don't know if you watch Pushing Daisies, but we don't miss a show.  It's about Ned, who owns The Pie Hole, and his girlfriend, Chuck (for Charlotte), whom he can't touch or she will die.  They are always baking and eating a variety of pies each week.  All week I've had a crazy craving for pie!  Any pie!  Today I got busy and made one.  Chess Pie.  And old Southern classic.  Yummo.  Craving SATISFIED!

Tomorrow (Sunday) is the opening reception at the gallery from 2-4.  All are welcome to come either tomorrow, or later in the month.  There was a notice in the local paper Friday, but I don't think the gallery staff got the snail mailed invitations out in time.  Here's the info-

Soon-Bok Lee Sellers Gallery
571 Park Avenue
Hoover, Alabama  35226
(205) 439-2860

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Scraps Aplenty!

Is there nothing more beautiful than a pile of colorful scraps?  I think not!  Especially Aunt Donna scraps...

Let me tell you the story of Aunt Donna.  She's not my aunt; I've never met her.  But she's a woman after my own heart - a true fabric lover.  Aunt Donna's niece is in my quilt guild.  I'm not sure where Aunt Donna lives, but I think it's somewhere far away, maybe Chicago?

Round 1:
Aunt Donna's fabric forte is making placemats.  She makes them out of colorful fabric, using many seasonal, holiday, and conversational prints.  Many of her choices are printed with foods, like hamburgers, pizza, popcorn, or pretzels.  She sells her placemats at craft fairs.

Being a good aunt, Donna passes her scraps to her niece, Gwen.  I'm not talking one bag of scraps.  I'm talking 30-50 bags of scraps!  Big Bags!  

Round 2:
Gwen and her friend, Lisa, go though the scraps, sorting them into categories.  They pull some for themselves and make beautiful quilts.  Click here to see a few.

Gwen then brings the leftover scraps to a guild meeting, donating them to anyone who wants to give them a good home.

Round 3:
Many thrifty quilters (including myself) take home scraps to use in our quilts.  I'm cutting selvages off.  As I trim selvages, I group them by length.

I'll save some of the scraps to use for projects.  Which leads me to----

Round 4:
Here's where you come in.  I will have plenty of scraps left!  They are not big pieces, mind you, but they're big enough to strip piece or cut small squares from.  Because of the unique prints, they'd make a good addition to an "I Spy" quilt.  I have enough for more than one winner, too!

Here what you need to do:
Make a comment to any post on my blog, starting today, telling me what you'd like to use them for, or giving me a "Green" quilting tip.  I'll randomly draw a winner on December 12.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Gallery Show

I spent the morning at the gallery; we hung all the bigger works.  The gallery staff will hang the rest over the next couple of days.  My quilts are sharing the space with calligraphy from around Alabama.  Above is my quilt, "Floating."
Here is "Photo Booth:  Sisters and Friends" and "Vulcan."
This is "Happy Feet."  

I took about 30 quilts.  The reception is in a few days.  The gallery staff seemed confident that they will sell some.  That would make me so happy!

I have to admit, it's a relief to have this done!  There were so many little last minute details to take care of, but it's all out of my hands now.  This afternoon I went upstairs to my studio and actually worked on the portrait quilt - the one made of strips of fabric.  It felt so good to be doing something besides getting ready for the show.

Then I took a break and trimmed selvages from the pile a friend gave me.  It was wonderfully mindless, just what I needed today.

I realized a few days ago that I've made it past the three month mark on my Green Quilting Journey:  not buying any fabric, books, etc., for quilting for an entire year.  I'm 25% there!  And I haven't made a DENT in my stash.

I've realized that lately my temptation is not fabric, but things like dyes, cool gadgets and tools, and maybe a book or two.  Thank goodness for the magazines I already subscribe to - they keep me inspired, along with other quilter's blogs.

Don't you think it's time for another giveaway?  I do!  Tune in tomorrow for the details.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Gallery Ready

It was a busy day, but I got it done!  Some of the quilts (the larger ones) needed a slat of wood for the sleeve.  I had a supply of strips of wood in the attic.  I have my own little miter box and hack saw, so this was no problem.  I had a package of picture hangers which I hammered to the backs of slats.  Until I ran out...
Plan B was good old pop tabs.  I stapled them to the back of the slat ends.  Hopefully they will hold!
The little quilts that aren't framed had pop tabs sewn onto the back with button weight thread.
Everything is laid out neatly on the guest bed.  The lint roller is ready to remove any stray dog hairs once I get to the gallery.  I'm also taking along some scissors in case I need to snip any threads.  I'll set up in the morning.  

The hardest part of this was pricing the quilts.  How do you put a price on something handmade?  I based the prices on size of the quilt, how much hand work was involved, whether hand dyed fabric was used, if a frame is included, etc.  I'll be interested to see if anything sells, and if so, what goes first.  

I'm pooped!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Kaffe and the Fruit Ladies

My good friend, Ruth Ann, was the hostess for our Christmas bee today.  The star of the day was her show-and-tell quilt.  R.A. loves Kaffe Fasset fabric (as do I) and she does amazing things with it.  LOVE IT!  Below is another shot of it. 

We played "Dirty Santa" - the most fun!  Each of us brought a wrapped yard of fabric.  Is it just me or did my letters just turn green?  
One of the pieces of fabric was wrapped in this doggie paper.  It's two sided - dogs on one side and bones on the other.  Too cute!

Below is the fabric I came home with, much to my delight.  It's the funniest fabric I've seen in a long time.  Look closely at the "fruit ladies" and you'll see their fruity behinds.  The fabric has rows of these women, perfect for a border.  I have some fruit fabrics in my stash - this will be great with it.

By the way, in case you want your own fruit ladies, the selvage reads, "Mary Stewart for Elizabeth Studios."  

YIKES!  I just found out I'm to set up my quilts at the gallery either tomorrow or the next day!  Thought I had several days!  Better get busy....

Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Quilt from Men's Ties

The girls have both headed back to their schools.  Finals start in just over a week for both, then they'll be back home for Christmas break.  Within an hour of their departures, I got back to work on the gallery show.  The quilt above is one I made a couple of years ago using ties.  It's a textural piece, with lot of threads hanging loose.  I stitched down the binding so it's ready to go.
As you can see, we're all a bit tired, but a good night's sleep will quickly cure that!  I'll have plenty to keep me busy, that's for sure.  Tomorrow I'll go to the Christmas luncheon for one of my quilt bees.  Can't wait!

I know you're sick of seeing this darn plant, but I couldn't resist one more photo.  I promise this will be the last you'll see of it!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

A New Use for Recycling Drink Cans

Isn't this a great idea for a homemade gift?  One of my daughters was having trouble coming up with a Christmas present idea for a friend at college.  I asked, "What does he like?  Does he have a favorite food?  Drink?"  Turns out his favorite drink is the soft drink, Sierra Mist.  At college, he mixes it with cranberry juice.

We made a trip to Walmart, and low and behold, this year they are making Sierra Mist Cranberry Splash!  Can you believe it?  Turns out he came up with a great combination!  We bought a 12 pack, along with an inexpensive picture frame in the craft department.

Then we commenced with drinking lots of Sierra Mist!  I pushed it with every meal.  We made a paper pattern for each side of the frame and cut up the empty, rinsed cans.  (Yes, I saved the pop tabs for a later use!)  We traced the patterns on the underside of the can pieces and cut them with some heavy duty (non-fabric!) scissors.  We made the patterns so that the corners are even mitered - aren't you impressed!  I not very good at mitered corners in quilts, but these turned out well.

We carefully folded the pieces around the frame, having enough excess to fold to the back side.  Then we used a staple gun, stapling on the inner edges and the back, so no staples show.  We think it turned out pretty great.  She's filled it with a piece of glass from an old frame and a favorite photo. 

I'd like to do more of these.  They'd look great with a small, funky quilt in them, would they?

Friday, November 28, 2008

One Last Look

Here's one last look at my cactus in all its regalia.  Thanks for all the comments:  I'd never heard of a Thanksgiving Cactus.  I guess that's what I have.  The blooms are fading fast.  Thanksgiving Day (when this photo was taken) was the absolute peak.  I was beginning to put the food out - can you see the cranberry sauce in the lower right corner?

We've had a nice holiday.  I'm using leftover turkey to make a turkey pot pie for dinner tonight. There has been no quilting taking place around here.  But tonight, I plan to stitch down the binding on some of the little quilts for the gallery show.  I think I have to take everything to the gallery next weekend and help set it up.
All the dogs have enjoyed having the girls home for a few days.  Mickey especially, as you can see.  Emily brought him a new frisbee, which he loves.  He took time out to chew a couple of chunks off it before playing.  I guess he had to make it his own!

I have taken time out to read a couple of quilt magazines that have come in the mail, and I'm full of inspiration.  Once these quilts are bound, stacked, and catalogued for the show, I'll be ready to jump into new projects again!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

I took a break from quilting last night, pulling out a basket of yarn and my crochet hook.  I saw a beautiful scarf last week at a department store - $58!  For a long row of granny squares stitched together!  And the loose yarn wasn't even worked in!  In my usual mantra,  I thought, "I could make one myself!  This thought has often gotten me in trouble in the past.  Sometimes I end up spending far more than the item costs in the first place.  Not this time.  I will use only the yarn I have, I promise! 
Our younger daughter made it home safely last night for her Thanksgiving break, so now the gang's all here.  The girls and I spent the morning shopping: new coats, shoes, and Christmas gifts for their friends at college.  While they both studied the afternoon away, I made the dressing and cooked the sweet potatoes for tomorrow.  I'm saving the turkey, gravy, and squash casserole to cook in the morning. When I was growing up, my mother did all the cooking ahead of time, so on Thanksgiving morning it was a matter of thawing and reheating.  To me, though, part of Thanksgiving is smelling the turkey roasting, the gravy simmering, etc.  So our house will be filled will wonderful aromas tomorrow.

This year I'm thankful for my wonderful husband, my two smart and beautiful daughters, and our parents.  I'm thankful for quilting and my wonderful quilting friends.  I'm thankful for our doggies, who make us laugh every day.  Happy Thanksgiving. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Is it Christmas Yet?

My Christmas Cactus certainly thinks so.  I've had this plant for years.  It's about the only thing I can grow.  Other houseplants are not safe with me.  I either over water or under water.  I give them too much sun or not enough sun.  But this plant has endured all my mistreatment.

It blooms faithfully every year.  But it always blooms at Thanksgiving instead of Christmas. Every year, without fail, I have beautiful blooms at Thanksgiving.  So enjoy now, because come Christmas, the blooms will be gone...

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Fat Sack and A Cool Dog

This is the neatest bag!  I found the pattern here.  I've had the site bookmarked for some time, and finally got around to trying it today.  Emily and I made this together, and found it to be very easy.  We both want to make more.

The pattern calls for upholstery or drapery weight fabric.  I had several yards of this fabric that I bought a couple of years ago at a garage sale - $4 for all of it.  Go to the link above to see a cute one made of Amy Butler fabric.  These would make great bags to take to the grocery store.

And here's the photo of Patches I promised yesterday.  He's a special dog.
Thanks to Emily for doing the photography for me today!