Monday, June 29, 2009

What I'm Working On

I think it's high time I actually show a quilt here.  I started this quilt at a retreat in February, 2008, and haven't touched it since.  I've been working on it again for the past few days.  I calculate that if I can make two blocks per day, it'll be done....well, pretty soon I think.  Do you like my yo-yo's in the center of each block?  I do!  This is mostly Kaffe Fasset fabric, though not entirely.  The yo-yo's are made from Cherrywood scraps.  My goal is for this to be a twin sized quilt.

My other current project:
...making doctor visits.  My dad is not doing well, but we're not sure why.  I took him for bloodwork today; we'll know more tomorrow.  And then there's poor Patches.  As you can see, he has a nice green bandage on his leg.  He has a large tumor on his leg; it burst open Friday night.  Hubby took him to the vet Saturday; they want him to see a specialist.  I'll take him in the morning for his next appointment.  We hoping for the best for both patients.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Free Quilty Goodies From Europe

Despite the fact that I bought a German quilting book on our European vacation, I did come home with several FREE quilting items. Yes, I said FREE! There's nothing a Green Quilter loves more than to find free quilting items. So here's the run down.

1. If you know me well, you know I collect bottle caps. I love the colors and graphics. I drill holes in them with my handy Dremel and sometimes stitch them on art quilts. Much to hubby's amusement, I kept my eyes peeled for these tossed treasures. I had to be careful though. A sudden stop to pick up a bottle cap could cause a chain reaction crash of people walking behind me!

2. While on the trip, I met a fellow quilter from New Zealand. When she travels, she carries fabric or mini quilts to give to any quilters she might happen to meet. Isn't that a great idea? I was the fortunate recipient of these little quiltlets she's made using New Zealand fabrics. What a treasure!

3. While walking around Lucerne, Switzerland, we came across a museum with a special showing of Hans Erni's art. Unfortunately, the museum was closed that day, I was able to score this card featuring one of his pieces. I love this portrait!
Such an unusual pose, and the background is so interesting!

4. On the last night of the river cruise, we found these sheer red bags of chocolates on our pillows. The candy is long gone (it was delish!), but I had to bring home these little bags. They'll make it into one of my art quilts, I'm sure!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Hubby's Backside

I know what you're thinking...what in the world does this have to do with quilting! Bear with me for a moment.

Have I mentioned that photography is one of hubby's hobbies? Along with golf. He bought a new camera before our trip. Europe made for some beautiful scenery for him to practice his techniques. And he took some amazing photographs!

As for me, I took lots of photos, too. But I'm a point and shoot girl. I don't play with the knobs and settings on my camera. I put it on Automatic and let the camera do the work.

I so enjoyed watching hubby taking photos. He put so much more thought in it than I did. So I enjoyed taking a few pictures of him taking pictures.

So now you are allowed to ask the question. What does this have to to with quilting?

I think one of these images is going to be the start of a new quilt for me. Stay tuned.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

German Quilt Book

So here it is.... my German quilting book. My moment of weakness. And I don't regret it! I love the artsy nature of the quilts it includes. The pictures are great and they inspire me.

This week I've spent some time gathering the 8 quilts from our Guild which have been juried into the AQS Knoxville Ultimate Guild Challenge. I received the last of the quilts this morning, filled out the necessary paperwork, wrote a check for return shipping, and took everything to FedEx. So the quilts are officially on their way to Knoxville, via Paducah. Yah!

I'm at a bit of a crossroads now. Maybe I'm feeling a bit of a letdown after our fabulous trip. Or maybe it's because I'm between major quilts. I feel like I'm spinning my wheels. I have so many ideas of things I want to accomplish, but I don't know where to start. So I don't start anything. Need a jumpstart, I think.

Monday, June 22, 2009

My European Confession

Okay, it's time to 'fess up! Marty asked the big question in her comment on my last blog post. Did I buy any fabric at the quilt shop in Germany? And the answer is..... NO! It was fun to see the shop and talk with owner, but I really wasn't tempted. Many of their fabrics are things I could buy here in the US.

But...I did buy something from her. I must confess, I bought a German quilt book. Yes, I know, I wasn't planning to buy any quilting books during my yearlong journey. But when will I get back to Germany? I figured it was worth breaking my vow to get this special book to remember our trip. Of course, I can't read a word of it, but the pictures and diagrams are in the universal language of quilting, so it doesn't matter!

I'm having some issues with blogger since I've been home. It's not letting me load pictures. As soon as I can figure out how to fix this, I'll show you the book. I also want to show you all the free stuff I came home with for my quilts. Yes, there is much to be found both here and in Europe which is FREE.

Plus, I want to share photos from our guild's quilt show this past weekend. Oh that DARN blogger! Oh well, stay tuned this week. Hopefully, I'll figure out this photo glitch soon!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

I'm Home From Europe

A few months ago I think I mentioned here that hubby and I were planning a European vacation to celebrate our 25th anniversary. Our anniversary was May 26. We left on our much anticipated trip on June 6, returning June 16. This was our first time out of the US, and I must say, a whole new world has been opened to us. We had the most phenomenal time!

When we were trying to decide where to go, my friend Judy C. recommended taking a river cruise through Europe. There are many of these trips available, and after much research (hubby's job) we picked a Rhine River cruise, starting in Amsterdam, traveling through Germany and France. Then we spent the last two days in Lucerne, Switzerland.

I think the note I sent Judy when we got home earlier this week describes our experience well:

WOW! We knew it would be fun, but it far exceeded our expectations. The ship
was wonderful. The food was great. The service was outstanding. We loved all
the walking tours and excursions. I can't say enough about how wonderful the
trip was.

Mark is already planning another trip for us. We feel like a whole world has
been opened to us. We did and saw things we never dreamed we'd experience.

While on the trip, we happened on a quilt shop in Koblenz, Germany, met a
quilter from New Zealand who gave me two little quilts she'd made, met someone
who wants to hire me to make a quilt for her (she happens to live in Cahaba
Heights), and got hired to teach quilting at Samford After Sundown next winter.

It was so ironic that there were three people on the ship from B'ham. The woman
from Cahaba Heights (who I think will be a lifelong friend), plus a couple who
live in Forest Park (he's the one who arranged by e-mail for me to teach at
Samford). It's really a small world.

One of our tour guides (in Heidelberg) and I really hit it off, and we are now
e-mail pen pals. We met so many interesting people from all over the world.

The hardest part of the trip was coming home for two reasons:
1. I didn't want the trip to end!
2. I'm still feeling the effects of jet lag. I keep waking up at 3 am, ready to get up and and start the day. Then I wilt by mid afternoon.

Hopefully, I'll be feeling more human soon and get back into my studio!

Monday, June 15, 2009

A HUGE Totebag

More crafty sewing! I decided I needed a new tote bag - a BIG new tote bag. I made this using upholstery fabric given to me months ago by my friend, Lisa. The fabric on the bottom of the tote is a brown vinyl with concentric circles stitched in orange - really cool! Plus it make for a durable bottom. It was a bit tough to sew through, but I used a leather needle and it went well.

The top photo shows the bag with the zipper in use. The bottom photo shows another way to close it. I have a tie sewn into each end - the tie in the middle to bring the sides in a bit. I lined the bag, too, and it has nice large pockets inside.
I've already started using the tote. It makes a great weekend bag for travel.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Patches and Me

FINALLY!!! I was able to upload a photo with me standing in front of the quilt so you can get an idea of the scale. See what I mean? It's pretty big!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Snazzy Bag!

Is this SNAZZY, or what? I've taken a bit of a break from quilting to make some fun stuff. I made this bag from a pattern designed by Lila Tueller. Of course, it's called "The Snazzy Bag." A few months ago, Lila offered this pattern to download from her blog at no cost for a limited time. And me, being on a yearlong no-buy journey, jumped on it! Now you'll have to buy the pattern for yourself, but trust me, it's well worth it.
I made mine from a fat quarter bundle I had stashed in a drawer. Don't you love these colors? And please note my covered button closure.
It's lined with some polka dot fabric I had in my stash. The pockets are so handy - it has EIGHT pockets inside!
And yes, my signature black and white striped binding. Ooh la la! I love it!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

My Mother's Day Present

My family gave this wonderful device for Mother's Day. It's a Kindle from Amazon. It will wirelessly download books from Amazon so you can read them on the screen. Want a new book? Pick one out and download it in seconds - pretty cool, huh?

One thing I love about it it that you can vary the size of the font. My aging eyes love this feature! You turn the page with a push of a button. I'm loving this gadget.

I have to tell you about the very first book I downloaded: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrow. I highly recommend it! A wonderful book!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Button Man

Isn't he just the cutest little guy ever?  I had a bee meeting yesterday, and this is what we did.  Click on the picture to see his little face.  What fun we had!  I have a feeling there are bunches of button men (and girlies) in my future.

I started a new quilt this week, but don't have pictures yet.  It involves my beloved black Kona cotton (the LAST of my stash), Kaffe Fasset scraps, and hand applique.  I'm already loving it, though I've just begun.  Don't you love working on project like that?  I love all my quilts, but some are just so FUN, while others are just CAN'T WAIT TIL IT'S DONE!  This is definitely a FUN one.  I'll show pic's in a couple of weeks when it's further along.

Today is my 200th post!  Wow!  When I started the blog last August, I wondered if I'd find enough to talk about - obviously not a problem.  And less than 3 months to go until I allow myself to buy fabric - YAY!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Needling Around...

I've been wanting a needle case for oh, so long!  I've lusted over friends' handmade beauties.  When I'm on a trip, my needles have no place to travel, so they usually end up lost, dropped, ore hiding with a chair - kind of dangerous!

When I trimmed the Patches quilt before binding it, I had a nice strip of this quilted blue area left.  AHA moment....  use it make the needle case!  The hard part was already done.  I just trimmed it, sewed on some leftover binding (also from the Patches quilt), and stitch in a couple of pieces of wool.  Voila!  My needles are very happy!

Other news:
I just found out yesterday that our Guild's entry to the AQS Ultimate Guild Challenge has been accepted!  Remember the round quilt challenge I coordinated?  So eight quilts from our Guild will be hanging at he AQS Knoxville Show in August.  Yay us!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Celebrate Spring - Again!!

I don't know about you, but I didn't go to the IQA Quilt Show in Chicago in April, despite the fact that I had a quilt there. I was exploring quilt sites on the internet last night (my nightly guilty pleasure!) and I found this link to the entire Celebrate Spring 2009 Exhibit! I'd seen the winning quilts on the 'net earlier, but this gave me a chance to see the entire exhibit - what fun! Almost like being there! Okay, not quite the same, but better than nothing!

Check out the Celebrate Spring exhibit yourself by clicking here.   You'll then have to click on "Celebrate Spring" on the left side of the screen.  Be sure to scroll down to see my "Spring Break."