Tuesday, May 31, 2011

My LEAST Favorite Part of Quilting

I HATE making quilt labels. When I put the last stitch in the binding, I like to think I'm finished with the quilt. Then it hits me - I still have to make the label. Some of my friends make the most amazing labels: pieced to match the quilt front (Judy R.), or otherwise lovely in so many ways. Me? I usually slap a label on as seen above - hastily written using a fabric pen, then (just as quickly) stitched into place.

Our guild is having our big quilt show this weekend, so I AM up against a deadline here. And as usual, I've put off the labels until the last minute. Oh well. The front of the quilt is lovely, at least.

What is your least favorite part of quilting?
I finished my friend's quilt. Nice and girly for a new granddaughter, don't you think?

Now that summer is about here, I'm ready for some summer reading. I'm needing some ideas for books to read. I like all kinds of novels, from mystery and suspense, to literary, to romance. I'd love to get your recommendations. Any suggestions for me?

Monday, May 30, 2011

Relaxing Memorial Day

What fun fabric! Daughter 1 gave this to me for Mother's Day - it reminds me of Ritz Crackers in living color.
She also gave me this fun set. It all came from Hobby Lobby....hmmm, need to run by there more often.
I also recently acquired a new die for my Accuquilt to make half square triangles.
So I've been cutting lots of these. They will finish at 3 inches.

So what am I doing today?

I'm making hexies while I watch a marathon of Pawn Stars. With two dachshunds in my lap.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Best Laid Plans....

What? More hexies? Of course! I'm addicted to these things! You may recognize the fabric: my recently purchased Denyse Schmidt DS line from Joann's. By the way, I was back at Joann's about a week ago - the fabric line is now picked over and almost gone. I'm so glad I bought a bit of each when it was readily available.

As you may have deduced from the title, my quilting plans never happened yesterday. It ended up being an entire day of errands. HOWEVER, there will be NO errands today. There will be NO housework today. There will be NO laundry today.

There will only be QUILTING! Yay!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A friend came over yesterday - I'm going to finish a quilt for her that she's made for a new granddaughter who will be arriving in two weeks - how exciting! She also brought an adorable number book she's made for the new baby's big sis.

Is this not the cutest thing ever! This is her own design, and I'm so impressed with her creativity.

It is all fabric and felt. So adorable!!!!

I spent yesterday doing laundry, and that's about it. The North Carolina trip wore me out I guess, so I didn't have much "get up and go." So glad Daughter 2 is now settled in at UNC for a summer of cancer research.

I'm so ready to get back to quilting. I'm going to dive into my friend's quilt this morning, hoping to make good progress on it. It's already basted, and she's started the ditch quilting. It just needs a bit more quilting, and then binding. Can't wait to show it to you when I'm done.

Happy Anniversary to my dear hubby today. We're celebrating 27 years! Looking forward to a nice dinner out!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Home Again Home Again, Hippety Hop

Been away for a few days - up to North Carolina. Back home - can't wait to sleep in my bed tonight!

More tomorrow...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Another Finish: Peggy's Hexies

Whoa baby! Two finishes in one week! I need to mark this on the calendar! I start so many quilts, so it's a big deal when I actually finish one. But two in one week - a record for me!

I call it "Peggy's Hexies" because my friend taught me this hexie technique, and I love to make them. I designed the quilt after amassing a pile of hexie flowers. I love the way it turned out - fun and happy.
I especially love the rows of single hexies.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Crafty Goodness

Lots of fun and craftiness going on around here! Daughter 2 is home for a few more days before heading to North Carolina for a summer of Pharmacology research. She and her roommates for next Fall decided to each make a framed button initial to hang in their apartment. They'd seen something similar on Etsy.

She drew the E on a piece of freezer paper, cut it out, and ironed the template on the fabric. Then she sat down with my button collection and sewed, and sewed, and sewed button after button. It took her most of the day, but was worth every single stitch!
I had finished quilting my house quilt over the weekend, so while she sewed buttons, I hand stitched the binding and sleeve, finally finishing last night. Yay!
I did simple vertical line quilting.
Do you remember this project? I was working on this applique portrait of Mickey last year. My heart wasn't in it and I put it aside.

Last Fall at Houston, I joined SAQA. So now I receive the SAQA Journal. I read through my latest issue and was very inspired.

First there was an article entitled, "Keeping Your Work Fresh," by Ann Brauer. This really spoke to me. It talked about stretching yourself, letting your work say new things. It reminds me of something I heard Margaret Miller say: "If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you always got."

There was an article about Eric Maisel (written by Elaine Quehl), a creativity coach. It was all about getting through creative blocks, and tending to our art BEFORE anything else. Oh my, I'm bad at that! I need to give my art a higher priority.

And then there was an article on Raw Edge Collage by Ellen Lindner. Hmmm. Maybe this would be the way to stretch myself!

So I have a plan. I'm still going to do a portrait of Mickey. BUT, I'm going to start over. I'm going to try the raw edge collage technique. I can't wait to get started!!!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Tornado Damage at Lake Martin

Here are some photos I took from the boat while we were at the lake. I urge you to click on each photo to see up close and personal.
I see a toaster in the remains of this house.
And a truck was tossed like it was a toy. We were told to be careful while boating because of all the debris under the water: cars, appliances, and who knows what.
Here's a mattress skewered on a tree.
And check out the blue recliner left sitting in the devastation.

I knew there was damage around the lake, and I knew some people here were killed. But until I saw it for myself, I had no idea how widespread the destruction here was. For those not familiar with this area, it's about 85 miles south of Birmingham, one of many areas in Alabama devastated by the tornado damage of April 27.

Friday, May 13, 2011

A Few Days Away

We've been at the lake for a few days. Daughter 2 was home, so we headed out with her for some R and R. There was biking.
Some boating.
Some rafting.

And lots of chillin'. Boy, did we have fun!

The tornado damage was everywhere at the lake, too. I'll share some pictures tomorrow. Luckily my in-law's house (where we stay) was unscathed.

Thanks to everyone who is sending me tornado quilts. The recovery effort continues here. FEMA trailers will be coming in soon to some areas. There are still tons of people staying in shelters. The rebuilding will take years. More later.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Bee Meeting and Tornado Quilts Update

Thursday I went to a fun bee meeting. Our resident hand quilter, Catherine, had two quilts to share. Love this one, with the funky focus fabric:
Little Asian fellows playing Blind Man's Bluff - how funny!
And here's one she made for her daughter who is graduating from high school this month.
And Beth shared this lovely made from scraps - ADORABLE! Love me a scrappy quilt!

Tornado Update:
I saw in this morning's paper that just under 5000 in Jefferson County alone (our county) lost their homes in the tornadoes! It's hard for me to wrap my head around that number. I also learned that a 2 year old child lost his/her life Wednesday at Children's Hospital - the 251st fatality. The national news has moved past our devastation here in the South, but the local news covers nothing else.

Many, many are pitching in to help clear debris, provide food, water, diapers, and other essentials. It's wonderful to see our community pull together to help our neighbors.

Thanks to all those who have commented here and will be sending quilts for victims in the near future. I can't wait to get them and pass them along! I'll be posting photos as they arrive. Blessings to all!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Tornado Quilts: Breaking News!

Today I got an exciting e-mail from Nancy Zieman's staff - yes, THE Nancy Zieman! In the recent past, she promoted the quilts for Japan project. She wants to do the same thing to promote making quilts for tornado victims. Yay! Plus, through Nancy's staff I found out that someone else here in Alabama is also collecting quilts for the victims. Her name is Michelle Kizziah and she's started bamaboundquilts.blogspot.com. So now Michelle and I have connected and are going to join forces. Nancy is going to put a link to both our sites on her website, so hopefully that will mean more quilts for those in need! I'll post more info when I have it. Leave a comment if you'd like to send a quilt, or spare blocks, or anything to help - I'll send you the address!

April Lollypop Tree Block

A few days late, I finished the April block. Still need to finish the April Christmas block. And Sue Spargo - so behind! Can you tell which one is my favorite to work on? Obviously the Lollypop Trees! Can't get enough of them!
I'm also making progress on the Tornado Quilt. My goal is to have it finished by Monday, if not before.

My quilt guild donated all our cuddle quilts (46!) to Children's Hospital here in Birmingham this week to be given to children injured in the tornadoes. They need many more just to cover these hospitalized kids. So I've decided that's where the first of my quilts should go. Monday I will plan to deliver my own three quilts, and that's where I'll initially send the quilts being sent to me by you. I'm expecting a delivery of a few quilts from North Alabama and several from Massachusetts - thanks so much! I'll post pictures of all these quilts as I receive them. Aren't quilters wonderful people?!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Quickie Donation Quilt

This weekend I dug up two kids' quilts in my studio that I can donate to the Tornado relief effort. I was itching to make another quilt to donate. I wanted to do something fast! I have plenty of fabric (don't we all!), but all my searching turned up no batting. Oh dear.... I didn't want to make a trip to the store. So I kept rooting around and found a brand new mattress pad for a twin bed. Hmm.

Upon closer inspection, I realized that one side of the pad was a decent cotton fabric. The other side is a thin, easily torn material - sort of like an interfacing feel. I decided the cotton fabric side could work fine as the back of a quilt. So essentially, the mattress pad is like batting and backing all in one! This could work!

Using scissors, I cut off the "drop" part of the mattress cover - the part that goes down the sides of the mattress.
I pulled out a jelly roll of blacks and whites that had been in my stash for years. The mattress pad has already been stitched in horizontal lines from side to side. So I placed two strips right sides together along one of the stitching lines.
Then I stitched a quarter inch from the edges, through all layers. The jelly roll strips are long enough to go edge to edge on the mattress pad with a few inches left over. I made a good bit of progress on this yesterday. Once the strips are all in place, all I will have to do is bind it! Easy peasy!

I hadn't appliqued on my BOM projects in over a week, but last night I pulled out my Lollypop Tree block and got back in the swing. I'm a bit behind, but maybe I can catch up this month.

I keep hearing more and more sad stories as a result of the tornadoes. My brother's best friend lost his mother and aunt in the storms. A couple at our church lost their home. A friend's son (a student at the U. of A.) was blown out of his rental house, landing in a field, unconscious. When he came to, covered with bruises and cuts, he had to walk 2 miles for help. He was lucky. The body of a friend of his in the same house was found a few days later.

So much sadness around here.