Friday, August 28, 2009

Fabric Shopping Today

You knew it wouldn't take me long to start fabric shopping again!  But I won't go overboard, I promise.  I fell in love with the print above - so contemporary and fresh.  
And you know I LOVE green!
This stripe is a companion print to the green, so it had to come home with me, too.

I also bought a few fabrics for some of my commission pieces, but they don't count since someone else is paying for them.  It's good to be back in the saddle again.

During the next week, I thought I'd do a tutorial on how I make t-shirt quilts.  I don't make them like most quilters.  Since I have three such quilts in various stages of progress, it seems a good time to explain my technique.  And by the time I finish the tops, my new quilting machine should be here.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

My One Year Blog Anniversary

I made it!  A year of blogging.  A year without quilty shopping.  A year of making new on-line friends.  A year of using my stash.  I'm thrilled - I just wish we could all celebrate this day together, in person, and not just through the blog.  I want to thank you all for stopping by to visit here when  you have a chance, and for leaving sweet comments (which I especially love).

Okay, so here are my BIG announcements:

1.  My first purchase.  Drumroll, please.  I don't know if any of you have noticed, but I've made a lot of quilt tops this year.  Quilt TOPS.  As in, they're not finished.  So to solve this problem, today I'm ordering this.  It's the HQ Sixteen Sitdown quilting machine.  I'm too excited!  I'm already used to moving the quilt under a machine (as opposed to moving the machine over the quilt as you would with a longarm machine).  Plus I just don't have room for a longarm unless I don't mind my quilting spilling into another room in the house.

When I cleaned out my studio earlier this summer, I cleared away a special area for this new machine and it's table.  I've been planning this purchase for several months now, but I wouldn't let myself do it until today.  I'm buying the machine from a local quilt shop and it will be shipped directly to my home in about a week.  CAN'T WAIT!!

Are you surprised?  Did you think I'd buy fabric first?  

2.  My next quilting adventure.  Another drumroll, please.  I'm coming out with a new book next year!!  Plus an acrylic template to accompany the book!!  As the publishing date draws near, I'll start showing you what it's all about.  For now, I can't go into the details.  I can tell you that it has nothing to do with my first book, Fabric Photo Play.  It's an entirely new technique.

So in addition to making all these commission quilts (which will help pay for the new machine), I'm busy making samples for the book.  There's lots of sewing going on around here.

3.  The winner of my giveaway.  Congratulations to.... another drumroll....Susan!  How fitting for you to win since you were such an inspiration for me in starting this blog in the first place. Susan, I'm going to mail the gifties to you soon!

So I'm ready to go for another year of blogging.  I'm still debating if I should change the name of the blog, since I'll be shopping again.  Maybe I should name it something to relate to the new book?  Or maybe something else entirely?  What do you think?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Today is the Last Day!

Wow, 365 days without shopping for quilty goodness!  I actually did it (other than that yard of black and white stripe I needed to bind the Patches quilt, and a few dollars of odds and ends I bought from Dr. Tom's estate).  I'm pretty proud of myself.  How much have I saved?  A BUNDLE! I keep all receipts for quilting supplies since I do have a small business.  Last year alone (and only for January through August 26) the total was around $1800!  Plus I made $750 in my living room garage sale I held in July.

Tomorrow I'll post bright and early announcing the winner of my blogiversary giveaway, along with my next quilting adventure, and what my first purchase will be!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

4 Day Countdown!

4 DAYS!  I'm giddy with excitement!  Don't forget the giveaway - leave a comment to be entered.  I can't wait until Wednesday's post - I'll be making two big announcements.

1.  What my FIRST purchase in an entire year will be!
2.  My next quilting endeavor/adventure!  I've dropped a hint or two about this already, but I still don't think you'd ever guess.

Now, what is that dark picture above?  When I developed my technique for making portrait quilts several years ago, I realized that a pattern for a quilt portrait could be used in other ways, too.   I made a pattern from a picture of our daughters; then I used carbon paper to transfer it to an artist's canvas.  Now I had a custom paint-by-numbers project.  I used acrylic craft paint to fill in each section.  It seems a bit stark at this point, so I put a black wash over the canvas and then sealed it with a glossy varnish.  Kind of fun.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

6 Days to Go!!

Here is my living room sofa.  Those are t-shirts...dozens of t-shirts!  Guess what I'll be doing today?  Yes, trimming and fusing t-shirts for some of my commission quilts.  I'm looking forward to it.  I rotate the TV in my studio toward my ironing board and get in my zone.

Do you read your horoscope?  I don't do it often, but it's fun to sometimes to see if it relates to my current life situation.  Yesterday I happened to read mine.  Here's what it said:

You are made of stardust.  That material may be billions of years old, but it still wants to shine.  Acknowledge your need to be luminous.  Commit to the action that is sure to dazzle everyone around.

I got chills when I read this!  It's more appropriate than you can imagine, and soon you'll know why.

SIX DAYS left!  Someone left a comment here recently wondering if my first purchase will be local or on-online.  I can tell you this much - it will be local.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Sad News Concerning Kathy Sandbach

I just read that Kathy Sandbach (phenomenal machine quilting teacher) has been diagnosed with Frontal Temporal Dementia and is in an assisted living facility.  You can read more about this here.  

I took a machine quilting class from Kathy years ago at the Alabama Quilt Symposium.  I came away with much increased confidence in my quilting.  Because of Kathy, I bought a Brother machine for quilting.  I still refer to the practice pieces I made in her class.

8 Days Left!

Hubby and I are pooped pups!  But all the college moving is done until next spring.  We returned from South Carolina last night.  Daughter 2 is all settled in and already ensconced in marching band camp.  Daughter 1 started her senior year classes yesterday.  And...

it's awfully quite here!

Thank goodness for the doggies who keep us entertained and giggling!

Only 8 days left until I can do quilting shopping!  Can't wait!  Will I go shopping on August 26?  Yes!  What will I buy?  You'll find out soon.

Have you notice the new addition to my sidebar?  I'm now on Twitter.  I'm finally ahead of my daughters in technology!  I didn't think Tweeting would be my cup of tea, but it's so quick and easy.  I like the fact that I can type a quick update without the pressure of digging out a photo.  So I will continue to Tweet between blog posts.

Tweet tweet!!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

11 Days Until I Can Shop!

Here's another photo from our Europe trip earlier this summer.  I loved all the narrow streets with cobblestones - hard on the feet, but beautiful.  On streets like this, there were adorable shops on the street level with living spaces above.  How quaint!  

After I took this photo, hubby and walked down this narrow street.  As we passed the man in the photo, I realized exactly what else I'd taken a picture of.  Whoops!  I hope this doesn't offend anyone - don't click on the photo if you don't want to see what hubby and I saw!

I'm expecting to get back to quilting FULL FORCE starting Tuesday.  I have lot to work on - the 4 commission quilts, plus lots of work on my new quilting endeavor to be announced on August 26.  It's still in the planning stages, but it's coming along nicely.

Don't forget my giveaway.  Leave a comment by August 25 for a chance.

Friday, August 14, 2009

12 Days Until I Can Buy Quilting Fabric! (And a GIVEAWAY)

With the girls home for three weeks, this last month of my self-imposed "green" challenge is flying by.  Daughter 1 left for the fall this morning, so I'm down to only Daughter 2 home with hubby and me.  And tomorrow is our last full day with her, since we'll be leaving Sunday to move her back to school.

I've decided I need to honor the momentous occasion of my successful year of not buying quilting fabric and my one year blog anniversary with a GIVEAWAY!  I mean how else does a blogger celebrate!?  If I could, I would invite you all over for a party.  Or better yet, we could all meet at a fabric store and SHOP!  But in Blogland either of those choices would be difficult, at best.  So a GIVEAWAY is simply a must.  Yay for YOU!

So what will I give away?  I'll figure something out, I promise.  And I'll let you know as soon as I slow down from getting kids ready to go back to school!  Meanwhile, the all important question:  how can you win my as-yet-unknown prize?

Of course, it's simple.  Leave a comment between now and August 25 (the day before my anniversary) and you have one chance to win.  If you are a follower of my blog, you get 3 more chances.  If you are a blogger yourself, mention the giveaway on your blog and e-mail ( me the link, and you'll get 5 more chances! If you're not a blogger, e-mail me (again, and let me know, and you'll also get those 5 additional chances.

Sorry for the lack of photos lately!  But I did dig up one to share today:

Meet Eva, from Heidelberg, Germany.  Actually she lives in Manheim.  Hubby and I very briefly met Eva while on our Europe trip; she was our tour guide in Heidelberg.  I gave her my card at the end of the day.  When we returned home, she'd sent me an e-mail.  And the rest is history.  We've e-mailed each other a few times per week since mid-June.  I feel she is one of my closest friends now.  We share hopes and dreams, worries, and stories about our lives.  I think her stories are much more interesting than mine. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Two Week Countdown!

I can hardly believe we're counting down from two weeks!  I'm about to explode with excitement!  In two weeks I can (I didn't say WILL) shop for fabric after my yearlong hiatus.  I figured that when this year came to an end, my stash would be more than ready for for some new additions.  I pictured my fabric drawers being near empty.  I thought I might be snipping at hubby's shirt tails to have fabric for quilting.  BUT NO!  To look at my stash now, you'd never know I'd taken this year off.  The drawers are still full and hubby's shirts are intact.  This is not at all what I expected!

I also thought when I started this journey that I'd be absolutely chomping at the bit to go fabric shopping by now.  But this frugality thing has gotten easier as the months have crept by.  I've learned to make do with what I already own, and often making do turns out better than buying the perfect fabric for a project.

So let the countdown begin!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Little Bouquet Top Finished

I finished all the flowers for the Little Bouquet quilt.  Sorry for the dark photo, but at least you get the idea.  Somehow while we were at the lake, my camera changed settings so that all my pictures are long and skinny.  I'm sure there's a technical term for that, but I don't know what it is.  Daughter 1 noticed it and said she'd fix it.  I forgot all about it until today when I saw that this photo was, yes, long and skinny.  I'll remind her tonight.  (Or she'll read my blog.)

Yesterday we moved Daughter 1 back to college.  Actually we moved all her stuff, but she's still at home.  She was really scheduled to move this next weekend, but hubby and I can't physically move two kids to two schools in two different states in the same weekend.  So she'll stay home with us until Friday.  Then we'll leave Sunday for South Carolina, and move Daughter 2 on that Monday, the 17th.

This is our last tough moving year, since Daughter 1 will be graduating in the spring.  Whether she gets a job or goes to graduate school, she'll be in an apartment for a while.

Back to the subject of quilting!  I've been working on a new project.  I do make commission quilts occasionally, but they don't come along very often.  A few weeks ago, within a couple of days I was hired to make not one, not two, not even three, but FOUR quilts!  Whoa, baby!

Three are for the same person, and are all t-shirt quilts.  The fourth is a very special quilt to honor someone's dearly departed (and beloved) dog.  I already have been given the t-shirts for two of the quilts and have been working on fusing them to a stabilizer.

You know what all this means??? Right about the time that I allow myself to actually buy fabric and other quilty stuff, I'll have some money to use!  Woot!  Yay!  Hurray!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Back From the Lake

And a good time was had by all!  Here's Daughter 1 with her camera.
Here's Daughter 2 with her ponytail blowing on a boat ride.
Mickey LOVED to help drive the boat.
We had a great time with only two casualties.  The first was my pair of magnetic sunglasses that fit over my prescription glasses.  They blew off while on a boat ride, never to be seen again.  Luckily I can order another pair.

The second casualty was Prince.  Don't worry - he'll be fine!  But he took a major fall coming down the stairs at the house.  The steps are very steep and slippery.  He couldn't put one of his hind legs down.  But a trip to the vet yesterday revealed that nothing is broken and no ligaments are torn.  He just needs a few days of rest.

By the way, the water level was much higher than the time Prince went on his rock retrieving missions, so he was not able to try it this time, though he did a bit of swimming before his fall.

Now back to the real world!  Errands to run, meals to cook, a house to clean!  But I'm determined to get some sewing in at some point in the day.  Did you know that I only have 21 days left until I will allow myself to buy fabric????!!!!  It's really gone much more quickly than I would have ever imagined.  Of course, it also means it will by my one year blog anniversary.

This blog has given me more joy than you can imagine.  It's helped me through my first year of Empty Nest Syndrome, which was harder than I expected.  It's connected me to all of you, many of you I would have never met not through the blog.  I know we haven't actually met in person, but I do feel a connection with all of you.

Now, (imagine a drum roll right about now) for a BIG announcement!  Whoops, I'm not telling you what it is just yet.  You'll have to wait until August 26, the anniversary day.  So stay posted!