Friday, February 26, 2010

A Bit of Fabric Shopping!

My parents and hubby's parents always give us money for Christmas so we can buy what we want.  Always a good thing!  I spent some of my loot on fabric, of course.  Way back in early January, I ordered some fun stuff from Hancocks of Paducah.  One jelly roll had to be back ordered.  I'd really forgotten about it, but yesterday it came in the mail.

Isn't it yummy?  This is Kona Cotton - I do love any color of Kona Cotton, but these are luscious!  The jelly roll is  made up of the newest colors of Kona.  Here's another shot of the same jelly roll from the other side so you can see the rest of it.
I don't know yet what I'll do with it, but I think it will be a happy quilt, for sure.

Fruit and Ice

Then yesterday I happened onto this fun fabric on the internet, and yes, I just HAD to have it!  It's called Fruit and Ice and I ordered it from Quilters Quarters.  I can see many uses for this!  

I leave you today with a regal shot of Oliver on his sofa.  Yes, the sofa seems to belong to him now.  Every evening Hubby and I relax in our matching recliners while Ollie takes over the sofa.  He pretty much fills up the whole thing, and he doesn't really like to share, though he will if need be.  Sweet boy.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I Go Round in Circles

I had a sweet e-mail from a friend asking a few questions about the hand quilting I'm doing on the quilt I showed yesterday.  I thought some of you might also be interested in the answers.  Above is the backside of the quilt, by the way.

Why did I decide to use Perle Cotton?  
In the past, I've used three strands of embroidery floss for this type of "funky" quilting.  I wanted to try a different medium this time.  No real reason!

What weight of Perle Cotton am I using?
Hmmm.  Good question.  I'm not sure.  I just bought what Joann's had!  Even after looking at the label, I'm not sure.  I bought several skeins, all different colors, some variegated.

What kind of needle do you use?
I'm using Chenille needles.  They are long, sturdy, and sharp, and they have a big eye.

It's kind of ironic that I work on this during the Olympics - now that I think about it, the circles remind me of the Olympic rings.  I didn't think of the correlation until a little while ago.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Third Finish for 2010

I put the binding on the owlie sorority quilt today - my third finish of the year.
And I realized I never showed a picture of the binding on my second finish of the year.  Yup, you guessed it!  My favorite black and white striped binding.  I'm in love with this quilt and can't wait to show you the whole thing.  I'm thinking I'll make a version for myself, too.
I thought I'd share what I've been doing while hubby and I watch the Olympics each night.  This is the colorful background that we all decided wasn't actually a background piece at all, but a finished quilt top.  I'm hand quilting it with a lovely pile of perle cotton.  I'm quilting concentric circles, some of them overlapping.  This is hard on the fingers!  I try to quilt a few circles each night.

I know I haven't had a Mickey Monday in some time.  I haven't worked on the quilt lately, but I'll get back to it soon!

Monday, February 22, 2010

A Sorority Quilt

I finished quilting the "owlie" quilt today.  It's a sorority quilt for Daughter 2 to give to a friend who will be graduating this Spring.  This was a fairly quick quilt, though I did put lots of hours into in over the weekend.
Here's a close up of how I did the Greek letters.  They are simply fused.  During the quilting process, I quilted around the edge of each letter, killing two birds (owls?) which one stone.
Here's the stripe which is the backing and will also be the binding.  For Alathia - this fabric (all three pieces) are from the "Forest Fun" line designed by Amy Schimler for Robert Kaufman.  Owls are one of Chi Omega's symbols, so I HAD to use an owlie fabric!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Another Finish and Another Start

My second finish of the year is my selvage quilt - the one I can't show for a few months.

And another new start!  I know what you're thinking.  Doesn't she have ENOUGH projects underway already??!!  Yes, but this new quilt is almost done.  As you can see above, I'm already quilting it.  I'll show a big picture of it later this week when I finish it.  I should finish the quilting tomorrow and will then bind it.

I also finished stitching all the Flutterby diamond blocks together, so I hope to layer and baste it later this week.  I'm on a roll!

In addition, this weekend I painted the outside entry way to our house.  A very productive weekend, indeed!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Retreat Pictures 3 and a Hawk

Jan L. diligently worked on this beauty - love the black, pink, and yellow colors.
I was really drawn to this postage stamp quilt.  I believe I heard someone say the squares are only 1 inch (finished)!
And here's a close up.
And now for the hawk.  I had a bit of a headache yesterday afternoon so I lay down on the sofa and watched the Olympics for a bit.  Something caught my eye through the window.  I went out on the back deck and found Mr. Hawk perched in a tree.  Isn't he regal?  He stayed long enough to pose for a picture, then off he went.

I trued up my Flutterby diamonds yesterday and will start sewing them together today.  And the Bug Man is coming later in the morning.  We've been doing so much organizing around the house that he will actually be able to spray in every nook and cranny - he needs to remember this day!  Even my sewing studio is clean!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

More Retreat Photos

So many quilts to show!  Can you tell I'm part of a very talented Guild?

Here's Lisa A. with her wonderful star quilt.  She got the pattern from a magazine (American Patchwork and Quilting, I think.)  She used scraps to make the stars.
And a close up...
I finished making my Flutterby diamond blocks.  This is not the final layout though.  I can't wait to get them sewn together.  I need to square them up first - or is that "diamond" them up?
And Gwen C. worked on this beauty.  Oh my, I wish you could see it in person!

Believe it or not, I still have more retreat photos to share, so continue to stay tuned.  I got several comments and e-mails yesterday about my selvage work in progress.  I worked on it more yesterday.  Today I'll do the hand stitching on the binding.  But it's a gift for someone who reads my blog, so there may be a delay on revealing it here.  I promise I'll show it eventually, though!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


What is a "treather", you ask?  A treather is a feather which is free motion quilted using a treadle machine!  I would have never thought it possible, but Donna B. proved that it is.  She brought a treadle machine to retreat - a treadle machine that has the capability to lower the feed dogs.  And yes, she made beautiful "treathers" with it.  I even got a chance to try it myself.  I'd never sewed on a treadle machine and it was quite the experience.  I will say there is a learning curve; my legs got tired quickly and didn't want to keep up the pace.
Here's a unique quilt brought to retreat.  Loretta is making this quilt as a tribute to her mother who was responsible for making band uniforms for a local high school for years.  Yes, there's a band coat stitched to the quilt!
This pyramid quilt really caught my eye - what fun!
Here a selvage project I worked on at retreat.  It's almost done!
And some lovely squares laid out in the floor - some yummy quilty goodness here!

More pictures from retreat still to come.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Back from Retreat

This picture describes how I feel after a quilting retreat.  Tired, but satisfied.  (But my tongue is not hanging out like Oliver's is!)

I got tons of sewing done.  My machine may need a few days of rest.  I accomplished so much that I came home a day early to spend Valentine's Eve with hubby.

One of the highlights of the weekend was learning to make Grandmother's Flower Garden hexagons starting with a circle of fabric.  Way cool!  I have lots of photos to share over the next few days, as soon as I feel like getting out of my recliner and hunting down my camera.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

An Inspiration

A couple of weekends ago, hubby and I wanted to get out of the house for awhile so we went on one of our favorite adventures:  looking at houses.  We've enjoyed house hunting together since before we married.  Are we planning to move?  Not sure.  Since we're empty nesters now, we don't feel the need to stay in this immediate area, though we wouldn't move far since hubby does have a job to drive to everyday.  We do love this house, though, and the more we think about it, the more we might just stay put.

Either way, look at this adorable quilt we saw in a model home!  So simple, so contemporary, so classic.  I can see this made from strips of scraps, too.  This may be in my future.

Today will be interesting around here.  The power company will be doing some planned maintenance in our area.  They notified us that our electricity will be out from 9 this morning until 4:30 this afternoon.  Woe is me!  I've got the gas logs on to keep me warm on this very cold day.  I've got my Kindle charged up so I can read.  I have some hand sewing at the ready - I can sit by a window and work on it.  And I'll pack - I'm going to a quilt retreat tomorrow!!!!  So I'll be gone from here for a few days.  But when I'm back I'll have LOTS of photos to share from retreat.  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A Bit Under the Weather

I've been a little sick for the last several days.  Nothing major - a bad cold.  Yesterday I got a nice steroid injection and I'm feeling better today.  Yay!

With little sewing going on, I thought I'd share some pics of our laundry room makeover.   I'll start by saying that this has been a work in progress over the course of the 18 years we've lived here.  Some of the changes done during those years have included installing a tile floor (to replace the damaged vinyl one) and covering the cinder block wall with a water repellant surface.  Did I mention the laundry room is in the basement?

It was pretty nasty when we bought the house.  The good thing about the room is that is big.  Well, long and skinny is probably a better way to describe it.  But it does have plenty of space.

The big problem left to conquer here was to cover the plethora of ductwork and wires running the length of the room near the ceiling.  We didn't want a permanent structure built around everything, because we do sometimes have to access the wires and gadgets up there.

Here's what we were dealing with - 20 feet of this!

The first step was to install a long series of shelves below the wiring.  We left a nice gap for the dryer vent, as you can see.  We hung the shelves with large L brackets - they're on top of the shelves so they don't show.  We painted the bottom and edges of the shelves to match the walls.
Then came the sewing.  I made a simple curtain - 15 inches long by 20 feet wide.  I used a drapery fabric that closely matches the wall color.  The hardest part of the curtain was hanging it!  It was a comedy of errors!  I spent an entire day with little success.  Then hubby joined in.  After two evening, lots of laughter, second guessing, and trial and error, we finally had it up and level.
Now one more little problem.  The wires all come down the wall in the far corner beside the window.  Once again, fabric to the rescue!  We hung a curtain rod over the window and arranged a single curtain panel to cover the corner.
Voila!  We think it looks much more finished and refined.  The pictures are some old cross stitched pieces done by me and my mother.  I hung them low purposely, to draw the eye away from the shelf/curtain.  It's nice to be able to mark a project off our list.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Homemade Tomato Soup

So, no quilting picture today.  No quilting has been done around here lately!  I have a bee meeting tomorrow and I haven't even done my project yet!  What have I been doing, you ask?

Caulking, scraping, sanding, painting, etc.  I did finish my curtain project for the laundry room, too.  I'll post pictures of that soon.  So I've been a real handyman lately.  We're trying to get lots on little projects done around the house before Spring.  And we're making progress!

Today I did take time away from the household projects to cook supper.  Homemade Tomato Soup.  Yum.  My own recipe.


2 medium white onions, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
2 25 ounce cans crushed tomatoes 
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 heaping teaspoons dried basil
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
2 cups lowfat milk

In a dutch oven, saute onions in butter until soft and transparent, but not browned.  Add tomatoes, lemon juice, basil, and garlic salt.  Bring to a boil, turn down the heat, and simmer for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In small batches, puree tomato mixture in blender.  Return pureed mixture to dutch oven.  Add milk.  Cook over medium heat for an additional 10 minutes or until heated through.  If desired, top each serving with grated Romano cheese.  Enjoy.