Saturday, February 28, 2009

February Summary

I finished making the 32 extra nine patch blocks today.  I also squared up all 80 blocks.  I'm sure it won't take too long to sew the blocks together, but I'm not optimistic I'll do it this evening.  I'll do my best to get it done tomorrow, though.  I'll wait to post a photo until I've finished the quilt top, or flimsy, as they call it in Australia.  I love that term!

So the February summary of my goal list:
-Feb stash quilt: ALMOST done
-sent book proposal to publisher: check
-submitted several magazine article proposals: check and check 
-weight goals: not good, going backwards (oh, well...)

And on to March!  I won't start the March stash quilt until I've finished the February one, but I'm confident that will happen in a day or two at most.  The color for March is GREEN.  Makes sense, what with St. Patty's day coming up (and HOPEFULLY Spring).

This is what I have planned.  I haven't exactly figured out if only the darks will be green and the lights will be scrappy, or if the entire thing will be green (seems like a bit too much green), or if the entire quilt will be scrappy, with an emphasis on green.

I'm looking forward to this project.  I love its wonkiness, with no seams, corners, or points to match!!!!  I'd also like to start my next large portrait project in March. 

Friday, February 27, 2009

Nine Patch Update

I made eight more nine patch blocks yesterday and started thinking about borders.  I have very strong feelings about borders.  They really need to add something important to a quilt.  I don't want to add borders just to make a quilt bigger.  I love pieced or appliqued borders (as opposed to long plain pieces of fabric), but I'm making monthly stash quilts here, not masterpieces.  So, what to do?

I finally decided that I really like the graphic nature of the nine patches so much, why not just take them to the edge?  And you know what that means!  MORE BLOCKS!!

I know, I should probably call it a day on this one.  But no, I'm going the extra mile, because I like it so much.  I need 32 more blocks.  We're having storms around here today with a two hour power outage this morning.  I spent an hour of that time cutting more squares.  So tomorrow I'll be sewing the squares (hopefully the electricity will cooperate!).

I know what you're thinking.  Tomorrow is the last day of the month!  Will she make the deadline?  I'm not promising anything.  We'll see how industrious I'm feeling.  February simply went by way too fast.  Plus I didn't sew for about a week of it.  But if I don't finish the Feb. stash quilt by the end of February, I'll try to finish it March 1.

I've already decided what the March color is, and what the stash quilt will look like.  I'll let you in on it tomorrow, along with my end of the month update.

Speaking of the storms we've had today, they're going to continue through tonight and tomorrow, with the rain changing to SNOW tomorrow afternoon through Sunday morning.  TOO WEIRD!!!  We almost never have snow, and we're expecting two inches on March 1.  Keep your fingers crossed that we don't lose power again!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

February Work in Progress

Here it is so far.  I have 40 blocks positioned with 5 across and 8 down.  But I think it looks too skinny, so I'm going to add another vertical row of blocks so it will be 6 across and 8 down.  So now I need to cut more red and creams squares.  I think I'll do that tomorrow.  Maybe I'll even get the blocks sewn together, too.  I'm running out of time on this one!  Not sure I'll make it by the end on the month, but I'll keep trying.  I do like this one though.  Simple.  Classic.

I'd gotten to the point in my quilting where all I made were involved, detailed, masterpiece art pieces.   I don't use the word "masterpiece" the way it sounds - it's not like my quilts are really "masterpieces" at all.  I just mean, I've been only doing complicated big pieces for the most part.  But I'm finding that creating these more simple, classic quilts has been a joy.  There's something about a simple pattern that speaks to me.

I did accomplish something else today.  I took my "Spring Break" quilt to Fed Ex, along with its PILE of forms, and shipped it off to Houston.  It will travel to Chicago in April, Long Beach in the summer, and then back to Houston for the fall show.  So I won't see it for months and months.  I hope it has  safe travels.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Dog's Life

I know I've been away for awhile, longer than I expected to be.  But I'm here still.  It's just been a crazy week.  I did actually make it upstairs to the studio for a bit today.  I finished the red nine patch blocks.  I'll show you tomorrow.  I need to figure out what to do about a border; I'm hoping to make this one a twin size.

I also did the guild block of the month today; lucky for me it was very quick and easy.  I've recently discovered something about my quilting abilities.  I'm not very good at piecing.  In fact I'm terrible at piecing.  My corners and points are not crisp.  My blocks don't turn out square. My quarter inch seams aren't very consistent.

Maybe that why I've turned to art quilts.  I've come to adore quilts that are wonky, uneven, imprecise.  I love the look of free piecing.  I can't get enough of quilts that are put together with no plan, no measuring, no straight lines, no worries.

No worries.  Doesn't that describe my doxies above?  I guess I'm a "No Worries" quilter.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

I'm Away for a Couple of Days

I'm blogging today from South Carolina; I came to attend my daughter's band concert tonight. So don't expect another post for a couple of days.

I brought along a bit a hand sewing; I'm making yo-yo's to top prize ribbons for our guild's AQS Quilt Challenge. We need a minimum of 8 quilts to enter the competition; from the show of hands at our last meeting, we'll be cutting it VERY close! But I'm hopeful and optimistic we'll have eight or more entries!

Everyone who brings in a quilt will receive a participatory ribbon, and there will also be a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place.

I love a good quilt challenge! They always make me think outside the box, which is always a good thing.

Be sure to check out tomorrow when I will be the guest blogger!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

On Making a Quilt Sleeve

I don't know if you've noticed, but most national quilt shows are now requiring a quarter inch of 'give' in sleeves for quilts.  In the past we've all stitched flat sleeves on our quilts; but when hung, the front of the quilt tended to bow out where the sleeve was attached.  So we're now having to learn a new way to make sleeves so they poof out a bit instead of being flat.

IQA has a great link on their site that gives excellent instructions on the process.  It even has drawings to illustrate the steps.  Check it out here.


Monday, February 16, 2009

Tomatoes and Mayonnaise

I hope that's what it looks like!  When I was growing up, we had sliced tomatoes with a dollop of mayonnaise on top.  Often we made our own mayonnaise, which was especially yummy!  Oh, there was nothing better on a hot summer day!  I haven't made homemade mayonnaise in decades; I can taste it now.  Of course mayonnaise and losing weight don't exactly go hand in hand.  So I better keep these thoughts at bay for now.

On the quilt, the mayo is white puff paint.  By the way, I learned the hard way that if you heat the puff paint too long, it can scorch.  I may have to touch up the mayo a bit.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Heart Day!

Look what hubby brought home for me last night!  Aren't they beautiful?  He also brought home two steaks, potatoes, and a bottle of wine; so tonight we'll grill out and have a lovely meal at home.  He's a sweetie!
Yesterday I worked on my February stash quilt - the nine patch blocks.  These are coming along very fast.  Who knows - maybe I'll even get this one quilted before the end of the month.  Wouldn't that be something!

Today I'm hand sewing beads on one of my tomato quilts; it needed some seeds, I thought.  I hope I will finish it today; I'm getting tired of looking at it!  I also have a bit of hand sewing to do on my round quilt for the guild challenge that I plan to complete today.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Good Stretch...

Don't we all need a good stretch now and again?  I know I do.  Oliver is so good at it, too.

Seeing a picture of a dog on my blog usually means one thing:  I didn't sew today.  No sew; nothing to show.

I took my car in to the dealership this morning to get a broken door handle fixed.  An hour and a half later, one new door handle, one new air filter, and the carbon build-up cleaned from the engine, $264 dollars later (added to the $600 spent on struts, oil change, etc.) earlier in the week..... I'm sick of car dealers, car shops, cars in general.  Mine should be good to go for quite awhile, I HOPE!

After the car stuff, it was off to the library to get books on Europe.  Yes, EUROPE!!!  Hubby and I are going on a 25th Anniversary trip!  We've never been out of the country before, unless you count a brief stop in the Bahamas several years ago.  We are TOO excited!  The trip is still a few months away, so we have plenty of time to prepare.

Then I took my mother to the doctor this afternoon.  Busy day.

Tomorrow, I plan to sew.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Red, and More Red

I finished organizing the red drawer!  Yay me!  And the month's not even half over!

I ended up with 20 9-inch red squares, all a different fabric.  Today I also cut 20 cream/tan squares to go with them.  I'll put these by my sewing machine and work on nine patches in between other projects.
And I even cooked supper:  Asian Inspired Noodles.  I'll let you know how it is tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

X's and O's

Today I've done a bit of hand quilting on a little art quilt.  Above is an "X" (sort of).
And here is an "O".  This is the second in my tomato series.  Stayed tuned to see both tomato quilts eventually...

My dear car has been in the shop all day.  Tires rotated and balanced.  Oil change.  Check brakes.  Replace struts.  Whatever struts are, I needed new ones.

Monday, February 9, 2009

A New Use for Buttons...

Aren't these button people adorable!!  We had our guild meeting today, and these cuties caught my attention.  They were made by Gwen Cox.  I do love them!  I wonder if I can figure out how to make a pair for myself... hmmm....I'll have to put on my thinking cap.

I've been doing lots of hand stitching over the last couple of days.  Hopefully I'll have something to show here soon.

I thought you might enjoying seeing last year's winning quilts from the Celebrate Spring Exhibit.  The link to them is here. I think you'll enjoy them.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Still on Cloud Nine...

I've been getting lots of emails with questions about the Celebrate Spring exhibit.  This is a special exhibit that will make its debut at the IQA Chicago show.  39 quilts have been named finalists and will be included in the exhibit.  The judging of these quilts will be done in March.  The show in Chicago is in April.  The Celebrate Spring Exhibit will also travel to the IQA Long Beach show in July, and the Houston show in the fall.

Am I going to Chicago?  I'm not sure yet.  Hubby immediately started researching flights, hotels, the Cubs schedule, etc., etc.  But I'm inclined to wait before we jump into going there.  I might rather wait and see the exhibit in Houston this fall.  I've always wanted to go to the Houston show.  (Plus, in the fall my yearlong "green" journey of not buying fabric will be over.  Can you imagine going to a big show and NOT buying fabric?  I don't think I could do it!

I do hope to see the exhibit in person though.
I had to share this photo with you.  We were in Auburn yesterday visiting our daughter and we saw these signs everywhere.  Since I'm the beekeeper for our guild, I found this funny.  As I was hanging out the car window to take the picture, I'm sure all of Auburn found me to be the funny thing.

Saturday, February 7, 2009


I just got word that Spring Break is a finalist in the Celebrate Spring Exhibit at IQA Chicago in April!!!  I'm so excited!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Free is Good!

Sorry to have been away for a couple of days.  I've had a busy week: two bee meetings, plus I took my father to his eye doctor one day.  Oh, and today I took my parents out to lunch for my dad's 85th birthday which will be Sunday.  Then I took my mom shopping for shoes.  So I haven't been home much to sew this week.

I am working on a couple of projects that I cannot show yet, so I'm a bit boring right now!

At yesterday's bee, my good friend, Jeanette, brought these HUGE selvages.  She knows I love selvages.  These are fleece.  I put a pen in the photo so you can get an idea of their size.   Jeanette also gave me some regular cotton selvages, too.
This box full of scraps was another Jeanette gift.  She's in the process of moving her sewing room to another room in her house, and is trying to downsize.  We all had a ball going through boxes of these scraps, so we all went home with goodies.
This morning, I went to the local public library to check out a few books for my dad to read.  Of course, I ended up in the quilt book area and came home with several books that I can't wait to read.  Hubby and I are going on a little road trip tomorrow, and these will definitely be in the car with me!

The weather is finally good here again, for a few days anyway.  We're warm and sunny, in the mid 60's.  We'll probably have another cold spell or two before Spring, but for now, we're enjoying this weather!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Stamping with Fruits and Vegetables

Today was our art bee meeting.  We've decided that our motto is, "Be inspired, not required."   We will enjoy experimenting with different techniques and supplies, each gaining our own inspiration from the group.  But we won't ever be required to do anything - no challenges, no group project, etc.  Each of us brought different fruits and vegetables to share today.  We had apples, oranges. lemons, limes, star fruit, green peppers, bananas, pears, celery, and mushrooms. 
We applied paint to the foods of our choice and stamped them on our own fabrics.

Above in green is a bell pepper.  The red is celery.  Cool, huh?
They hung to dry in today's cold breeze while we ate.  This is a great group of women.  Most of us didn't know each other before last month, but we have already bonded.  I'm very excited to be a part of this talented group of women!

This morning before the meeting, I basted my new version of the guild's circle quilt challenge, so it's ready to quilt.  And then this afternoon after the meeting, I was able to mark more things off my 2009 goal list!  I mailed a book proposal to a publisher and I mailed SEVERAL proposals for magazine articles!  Yay me!  A very productive day indeed.

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Next Portrait

I've decided on this photo for my next major portrait quilt.  This is Patches, who has the perfect name to appear on a quilt.  He's a sweetie, for sure.

Today I decided to start completely over on my circle quilt for our guild challenge.  I was about halfway done with the quilting, but I just wasn't happy.  Luckily, I can salvage the center part of the top.  It won't really take that much time to redo this, and I think it will be worth the effort.

Tomorrow I will go to my new art bee group.  I'll take my camera along so you can see the fabric we create.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

More Tomatoes, Plus Doggies

Yes, these are real tomatoes. But the color is not real.  My new art bee is meeting this week and we are going to stamp with real fruit.  I decided to get some practice in using tomatoes.  I do love tomatoes.  But these are wintery grocery store tomatoes, not worthy of eating.  So I painted them with my Setacolor paints and stamped away, some red, and some green.
No bad, but not great.  Once the paint has dried, I'll enhance the images with more paint and markers.

The weather was so beautiful here in Alabama today!  Sunny, and warm - around 60 degrees F.  Hubby and I sat in the backyard (right in the grass!) and played with the dogs.  They love it when we join them outside.

Oliver loves to slide down the hill on his back:
Then he had a stand-off with Mickey over a tennis ball:
Look who won:
This afternoon I cut more red squares; I've done 15 so far.  I've also been going through photos to find just the right one to use to make a portrait quilt on the blue background.  I've narrowed it down to two.  More on that later.