Monday, November 19, 2012

I've Been Tagged!

So I was tagged in a game of blog-tag. by Marlene at Kissed Quilts.  If I've tagged you, you are supposed to state 11 things about yourself on your blog.  then please scroll down, there are 11 questions I am asking about you for you to answer on your blog.. - then you in turn tag 11 people (but not me).

I'm supposed to say 11 things about myself, then answer 11 questions, as well... so here goes...

11 things about myself.

 1.  I'm older than dirt lol... I turned 60 this year.

 2. I own a long-arm quilting machine that I never use.

 3. After 30 years of marriage, I still love my husband.

 4. I love to travel, especially cruising.  I love to be pampered, and I especially love room service.  I really want to go to Australia and New Zealand someday.

 5. Nothing is better for breakfast than a bagel and a cup of tea.

 6. I am addicted to Starbucks mocha drinks.  OMG, they are good.

 7. I play Dungeons and Dragons with friends every weekend.  I've been playing since 1974 and still enjoy the hobby of gaming.

 8. I love to quilt in my pajamas.  I'd live in pj's full time if I could!

 9. I collect Matryoshka (Russian nesting dolls).

10. I learned how to quit in 2004 and have been piecing, appliqueing and quilting ever since.  I love learning new techniques, but I am all about speed.  I discovered early on that I'm not fond of hand applique or hand quilting.  (Don't get me wrong - I love the look of them, but the actual doing of them isn't for me).  I fuse my applique and quilt on my DSM.

11. I have college degrees in Archaeology and Film History, though I don't work in either field (though I used to be a working archaeologist, I haven't worked in the field for over 30 years).

Eleven Questions about myself from Marlene:  

  1.  What time of the day or evening do you do most of your crafting?
    Hmm, Good questions.  I used to do most of my sewing and quilting late at night, but lately, I've been doing most of my sewing during the day when my husband is at work.
  2. If money was not a concern, what would be the next machine or toy you would buy for your craft? 
    I don't tend to buy a LOT of toys for quilting.  Though I did buy a longarm I never use, so I guess I am guilty of this.  I'm not sure what I'd buy next if money weren't a concern.  Maybe a Bernina 500 series sewing machine, though I'm really happy with my two Bernina 440's (one for my studio and one for travel). 
  3. How long have you lived in your current city? 
    I have lived in my current home (and city) since 1994, I'll let you do the math, but I think it's something like 18 years.
  4. How many states and/or countries have you resided in?
    I was born and raised in California... never really lived anywhere else for any length of time.
  5. Do kind of pets do you have (if any)?   I have currently have 3 cats, one an elderly long-haired sweetheart named Oodles. The second is a short-haired tabby named Pandora (Pan for short), and our third is the baby of the family, Squeak, who is all black and also short-haired.  Pan is my 'quilter's companion', having to approve every piece of fabric brought into the house, and every quilt during the creation process and before it leaves the house for its new home.
  6. What is your favorite TV show?  That's a tough question.  There are a few good ones this year.  I love NCIS, and I really enjoy Project Runway as well (though in general I hate reality shows, this one is about sewing, so I watch it avidly).  I also love Dr. Who!
  7. Where is your favorite place to vacation?  I really love the Caribbean, esp. St. Kitts, though any place away from home, with room service and WIFI, works for me!
  8. Do you prefer to dine-in or go out to eat? I definitely prefer going out to eat!  Although I enjoy ordering in as well and having food delivered.  Anything where I don't have to fix it or clean up afterward myself works for me!
  9. What is your favorite recipe you like to prepare? I love making brownies and also spice cake with maple frosting.
  10. What did you eat for breakfast?  This morning I had a bagel with garlic & herb cream cheese.
  11. Do you set aside time weekly to craft/quilt or just do it whenever you get a chance? I don't generally set aside time for my quilting except for open-sew days at the local quilt shop.  Usually, when I sew at home, it is whenever I feel like it during the day.  Some days I just get the urge to sew so I do, other days, I don't feel so energized, and I stay out of the studio on those days.

    11 questions for the 11 bloggers I'm tagging....

    1. What time of the day or evening do you do most of your crafting?
    2. If money was not a concern, what would be the next machine or toy you would buy for your craft?
    3. If you could choose anywhere, price not an issue, where would you live?
    4. Do you enjoy traveling and what is your favorite place you've been? 
    5. What is your favorite animal and why?
    6. Do you consider yourself a traditional quilter or more of an art quilter?
    7. Where is your favorite place to vacation?
    8. Do you prefer to dine-in or go out to eat?
    9. What is your favorite food? 
    10. What is your favorite quilting/crafting toy or tool that you have ever purchased/used?
    11. What is your computer of choice - desktop? laptop? or tablet?
      Blogs I tagged:  If you're on this list - please tell 11 things about yourself, then answer the questions I posed above.... thanks for playing!

      1. The Patchery Menagerie

      2. Me & My Quilts - Exploring the Possibilites
      3. Lazy Gal Quilting
      4. Scraps and Threadtales
      5. Dordogne Quilter
      6. With Strings Attached
      7. Indigo Threads
      8. O'Quilts
      9. Library Gal Quilts
      10. Baumcat
      11. Crazy by Design     

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Bloggity blog blog... from the beach

Retreat is/was wonderful this year.  Three days of fun, sewing and camaraderie at the beach.  The ladies I sewed with were a hoot, every one of them was congenial and fun to be around, even when things didn't go quite right.  Z. forgot her machine's power cord, someone touched M. in her sleep, V. sewed all her strips wrong and had to rip, rip, rip, C's bobbin tension was wrong and sewed 800" of strips with big loopies on the bottom... There were lots of little things that went wrong, and still, everyone had a great time.  There was a lot of joking around, lots of wine, margueritas, dolphins swimming by the house, more wine, much accomplished in the way of finished quilts, more wine, some new techniques learned and mastered, oh, and did I mention the wine?

Anyway, I managed to get a lot done myself.  I put borders on my first hidden wells quilt.  I took a pre-printed border print fabric, separated out the single stripe that I liked and mitered the corners.  Now it looks like this:

I'm happy with the outcome, I think the border sets it off nicely.

Then I made my second hidden wells quilt.  The pictur above is of the strats I used for the strip piecing part of making this quilt.  I tried to make a 'rainbow' of colors from red through blue with a black print on one end and a black fabric on the other.  The finished hidden wells quilt (sans borders) looks like this:

I had a vision of what I wanted the quilt to look like and while the black diamonds pretty much fit with my vision, the prominence of the yellow x's is a bit bolder than I was expecting.  Still, I  like it and I will finish it up with a green (I think) eye-stopper and a border using the focus fabric (the black print with all the colors in it).

When I made my first hidden wells quilt, I had 4 blocks left over, and I made a table runner out of those 4 blocks, and bordered it in orange.  It is now ready for quilting:

I also made a baby quilt for a co-worker of my husband.  The top is done, just needs to be quilted.  It is made from Minkee, satin, flannel and cotton.  The first two fabrics (Minkee and satin) are NOT easy to work with.  The satin frays really easily and the Minkee is very stretchy.  Both require a lot of  pinning to 'get it right'... I hate pinning, lol.  Making this quilt was NOT a labor  of love.

I also made a strip quilt from a pattern called Strip Joints by GE Designs.  I used pre-cut jelly rolls and bali pops, so all I had to do was cut them up to the right lengths and sew them together.  Very quick and easy to do and it went really fast.

The two 'colors' of the strip collections were pale neutrals and a Wild Berry bali pop.  (Not sure what the pale neutral collection was called).  It's mostly purple which I like, but with a little too much pink, which I'm not so fond of, but overall, I'm happy with it.

I also pieced two blocks of my Northern Wilderness  quilt.  Northern Wilderness is a wonderful quilt that is on my bucket list but not a high priority - one of those projects that you know will take a long time to complete with it's mix of piecing and applique.  I will use it as a filler project like I did this weekend - completing blocks a couple at a time.  Once all the blocks are pieced, I will start on the applique.  Wish me luck - that's a LOT of applique! 

Overall, it was a good and productive retreat for me.  Most important, it was fun and relaxing.  I will miss the pounding of the waves on the seawall, the smell of salt air, the sharing and caring and laughter.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


So, I'm packing for another retreat and my cat decided to claim my sewing chair.  She climbed up on the back of it and clung there, her claws in the chair, protectively proclaiming 'MINE!' on the chair.  I needed to pack that chair into my car and the cat was having none of THAT nonsense.  It took me and my husband both to extricate her from the chair and get it out the door with both it and ourselves in one piece.

Now, normally, she sleeps in my sewing studio at night, so that chair is 'hers' when I'm not using it, so I guess I can't blame her for claiming it even when it was brought out into the living room, but it was kinda cute and funny that she did so literally within a minute of me bringing it out of the studio.

It is finally in my car and except for my suitcase, I'm all packed and loaded for retreat.  Tomorrow after the laundry is all done, I'll finish packing clothes and be ready to pick up my friend Marlyn for our joint drive to the beach house for the retreat.  I just need to fill my gas tank and we'll be on our way!

We're planning on stopping for lunch along the way, but we're being good and not stopping for fabric shops along the way.  We'll see how long THAT resolve lasts.  *cough, cough, ahem*

I have SO much to work on at retreat.  I have my Northern Wilderness quilt to work on, as well as 2 versions of Strip Joints - both using batik jelly rolls in darks and lights.  I also have another Hidden Wells quilt to work on - this one in rainbow hues.  And I have to put the final border on my first HW quilt, as well as border the table runner I made from my leftover blocks.  I have a few other miscellaneous projects to work on as well, like finishing up a baby quilt for my DH's coworker, who just had one (a baby, that is).

So, tomorrow is the big day... I'm off to shower and relax for the evening, my last night at home for 4 days.  And my DH is gonna do the laundry and other chores tonight - I guess to get him in the swing of things, cause he's in charge of the house for 4 days.  OH NO!!!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Hidden Wells, pt. 2

I am almost finished with my hidden wells quilt, or at least I hope so.  I went to a sew-in tonight and worked on it there.  Unfortunately, the lady who brings the iron didn't show up tonight, so I sewed the blocks together and sort of finger-pressed them, which was tough with all those bias edges and seams.  Putting the blocks into rows wasn't so bad, sewing the rows together was a real b*tch though.

Then I had to cut and sew on the first border without benefit of iron, of course.  Not sure if I got the sizes right onthe strips but it all seemed to come together alright.  No more bias edges!  I still have one more border to put on.  I also still have to put the border on the table runner I made with the leftover blocks. 

Anyway - here's the quilt:

As you can see, it's badly in need of a real pressing, but I'm really happy with how it came out... all those odd mis-matched fabrics and something pretty and unusual came out of them.

I am now planning a second hidden wells quilt with 7 fabrics, a lot of brights with a little black and a focal fabric that ties them all together.  We'll see how it comes out.  I am saving this second quilt to work on at my quilting retreat in November.

I have to admit the process of making these quilts is quite fun and addictive, but I'm not sure I enjoy working with all the bias edges.  I'm glad I put the first border on right away to secure those edges down - the starch I used wasn't quite enough, I'm afraid.

Well, time to head off to watch a little tv with the husband... a little non-quilting time is what I need now.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Hidden Wells.

So I am working on a new quilt.  The pattern is called "Hidden Wells" and was originally published by Mary Ellen Hopkins.  Her books on this pattern are long out of print and I was unable to find any copies on ebay or any other auction site.  So I joined an internet group that was all about making the Hidden Wells quilt and got this link from them: Hidden Wells, Waterworld.  This page has an easy to understand (mostly) tutorial on how to make the quilt.  I picked six fabrics (though I'm told it should have been an uneven number like 5 or 7, six was what I had to work with and it turned out okay, so I'm not worried about it). 

My first two blocks came out looking like this:

I have since made a total of 16 blocks, but I think I only need 12 for the quilt I'm going to make, so the extra blocks will make a nice tablerunner for Halloween (the bright color in there is orange, not pink).  I will post a picture of the completed quilt top as soon as I put the blocks together.  Each block is composed of 4 sections but they are SO easy to make because though it looks complex, it is all done with easy strip piecing.  (All explained on the Waterworld site, linked above, so I won't even try to repeat the tutorial here).

Anyway, I cannot believe how simple and easy this quilt was to make, and it was FUN, because you don't know what you're going to get until you open up the blocks and put them together - it's like a little magical puzzle!  I suppose with enough careful planning, you can know in advance what your quilt will look like, but where is the fun in that?

Anyway, on a non-quilting note, I had a lovely evening of dinner out and a play tonight.  We went to 'Scream Queens' at the Kentwood Theatre in Westchester.  It was a lot of fun, with great company!  Nice to have an evening out for a change of pace. 

Tomorrow and Sunday will be non-quilting days because of prior commitments, but perhaps Monday I will get to back to sewing and quilting!  I think the first order of business will be to get some live cable feed into my new quilting studio and get a tv to put into that room.  I know I will spend more time in there if I have some 'company' in the form of the tv.  I rarely watch it during the day, but I like to listen with an occasional glance at the screen.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Retreating and other musings

I'm on a quilting retreat right now, sitting in the bedroom posting here.  We are having a great time, which I really needed.  I've been kind of depressed about quilting lately (long story) so haven't done a lot until the frenzy to get ready for retreat.  I didn't even bring that much to do on this retreat because so much of what I have to do is quilting, which I can't do on retreat - It's not fair to the others as actual quilting takes a lot of space (as compared to piecing).  I have three quilts that need pinning too - again space is at a premium on retreat.  SO... that said, I brought one small quilt that needed borders, and another small applique project that needed edge stitching around the motifs.

I put one border on the borderless storm at sea quilt and decided I didn't like what I had originally planned for the border.  I may leave it as is, or add a piano key border made from the medium tones already in the quilt (which I didn't bring with me of course).  I can't decide what to do... sigh.  What do you think?


I did all the edge stitching on my small applique quilt which I call Matryoshka (which are Russian nesting dolls).

On the way to retreat, I realized I hadn't brought much to do, so I stopped at a quilt shop on the way.  While there, I picked up a cute pattern called 'Strip Joints', and two jelly rolls, one light and one dark.  I cut the pieces yesterday and made the quilt today.  I guess I now 'get' why people love these strip quilts.  It sewed together SO quick, and all I had to do was subcut the strips into little pieces.  Anyway, I decided I don't like pinked edges on precuts - manufacturer's take note - pinked edges make it very difficult to use the pieces accurately.

Anyway - here are all our activites on retreat:

Machines at the ready!


Marlyn's UFO  

Debbie's Halloween Strip quilt

While these may not look like fun things to do, we are having a ball!  We run out to Starbucks in the morning, we have been to the local quilt shop here in Ramona twice, we drove out to Julian and did some wine tasting and had a great lunch.... and we've been sewing up a storm.

Marlyn's UFO quilt has been under her bed for years - it's one of the first quilts she ever made and until this weekend it was just a pile of blocks.  Now it is a whole top and ready for quilting!  And the quilt she thought was an ugly pink and khaki quilt is now beautiful!

Debbie's quilt is a Halloween quilt she made in strip club.  I love the colors and movement in it - you can't quite see it all in this photo, since she has the first of four piano key borders pinned onto the side, but it is just charming!!! 

Now... why have I been depressed about quilting?  I got expelled from quilting class last week.  The teacher, who shall remain nameless here, was teaching paper piecing and I don't use the same method she does (I don't pin, for example).  I was busily sewing away in my little corner, and a couple of ladies in the class came and asked me what I was doing.  I had the nerve to tell them, I guess.  Two days later, the teacher called me at home and told me I was rude for undermining her teaching and trying to teach her class.  She offered me my money back and told me I could never return to class.  I guess I am just a bad person.  Anyway - I figure she is very insecure in her abilities as a teacher to be so incensed over such a minor thing.  But still, it had me depressed, because my weekly quilting class is a major social event in my week.  I love all the ladies in the class and will miss them terribly.

Ok, enough ranting... I'm going to have a wonderful beef stew dinner now which one of the ladies on retreat made for us all, and then I will get back to work.  I'm out of sewing projects, but I have an applique project that needs all the motifs traced onto Wonderunder. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

"Would Benefit From More Quilting"

So that was the comment on my Kokeshi Dolls quilt when I got it back from the County Fair.  I decided since it is about to be submitted to another show that I should actually take the judge's advice and actually do more quilting on this one. 

I originally decided that I would try a different quilting pattern in each set of 3 blocks that constitute an actual single block of the quilt.  I meandered in one, then tried 'shells', kind of like what Leah Day calls 'Paisley Division', but with only 3 loops per paisley.  Then I did little loops that made a pebbly design, but not tight enough to be actual pebbles, or what Jill Schumacher calls 'seed pearls'.  I tried making little rainbows, which came out really cool, and which I based on Leah Day's 'Echo Shells'.  Then I created my own design, which is based loosely on meandering, but which I call 'Anne's echinoderms', a sort of 'worm-like' version of a meander.  Then I tried the one that intimidated me the most - McTavishing.  I'm not sure I got it right, but I did the best I could with it.  Pivoting designs like that really challenge me because I always want to keep going in the same direction. 

Here's a picture showing some of the new quilting:  Starting at the upper left and going clockwise, the quilting patterns are: Anne's echinoderms, shells, McTavishing, spirals and rainbows.

The finished quilt now looks like this:

From this photo it's really hard to tell that THAT much additional work was done on it, but trust me, it was hours of extra quilting, plus I had to go in and do detail quilting on the appliques as well, since heavily quilting around them made them all poofy without being trapuntoed and they sagged a little.

I have to say the judge at the County Fair was right - the quilt DOES benefit from additional quilting - thank you judge!!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Crossing Borders

I put the borders on my Ryokan quilt.  While they came out better than I'd hoped, with colors in the border that came from the quilt, I'm still not satisfied with them - they seem like the scale in the design is too small.  It has the elements I wanted - an 'architectural' feel, like masonry of some kind and very graphic.  Unfortunately, the squares of the 'blocks' are very small - about 1" each.  I guess I'm not going to change it now of course.  Here's a picture of it with the borders on:

I also completely requilted my Kokeshi Dolls quilt.  The comments from the judges at the last show it was in included what I knew they would. ("Quilt would benefit from more quilting").  So I quilted the background of every block.  In each 3-block section, I used a different background quilting 'pattern'.  I used McTavishing in one block (or my take on McTavishing that is), shells in another, meandering in another, and in two blocks I used what I call, 'Anne's Echinoderms' - it's kind of like a variation on meandering where I quilt long wormlike shapes.  Anyway - it was a lot of fun trying out all these different patterns.  Some of these were completely new to me (like the shells, and McTavishing), and some were old friends (meandering, and the Echinoderms). 

I was inspired for some of the quilting by designs from Leah Day's website. I highly recommend her site and her book for wonderful inspiration and designs to practice and learn and expand upon.  I will try to get some photos of the quilt that show the quilting but that is so hard to get the lighting right to show the quilting when your thread color matches the fabric.

It was a lot of fun to do the quilting and I'm glad I did it before the October show that the quilt will be hanging in.  This one isn't juried or judged, but there are viewer's choice awards so I'm hoping the quilting will be noticed by those who visit the show.  I am also putting the Folk Art Cats quilt "Under the Jellicle Moon:" and "Sunset Sail" into the same show.  I don't think I've ever posted "Sunset Sail" here so this is it:

It's about 15" in diameter and I haven't hung it in my house because I can't figure out how to make a sleeve for it.  Silly reason, but it's the only one I have.  I do like this one, as I love boats and sailing.  I got the pattern from a magazine (my bad, I can't recall the name of the mag or the issue #).  It was done for a crayon challenge in which my colors were orange and blue.  We could add one additional color, mine was white, even though the white is actually a batik with a little bit of orange and blue in it, so technically it's not really white.  I hate that the picture is taken against a white background but I had nothing else to use at the time.  I need to take a new pic of this one just for editorial purposes. 

Anyway, I've been busy quilting and sewing in my new studio and loving it - doing things I wouldn't have done if I didn't have the studio set up, so that's a good thing.  I feel like I am getting some of my quilting mojo back again.  Amazing what a small change can do!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Cosmic Light Show

So we went up to Mt. Pinos after all.  The thunderstorms all cleared out and it was clear and dark.  We got to see lots of meteors and stars.  But it got pretty cold as the evening progressed, so we decided to drive home around 12:30 am or so.  It was a fun night after all!

I am picking up my new machine today!  I have to drive out to Ventura anyway and the machine is in Carpenteria, not far from there, so I'm picking it up rather than having it shipped.  I get it faster AND save shipping costs - win-win!

Today I get to relax a little til about noon... then take a nice relaxing drive out to pick up quilts at the fair and get my machine.  It should be cooler out by the beach too, so another plus for going there mid-day.

Anyway, I'm being catted*, so got to go now.

*Generally annoyed by a cat, usually one who comes and sits on you and kneads or rubs or otherwise demands your sole and undivided attention.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Birthday Present

So today is my birthday and I bought a new sewing machine.  Well, not new new, but new to me.  I purchased another Bernina 440 on ebay today.  Another, you say?  Yes I already own a Bernina 440, but I need a machine I can take to classes and retreats without breaking down the one in my studio and dragging it around.  This one I can keep in a traveling case all the time.  I got a good deal on it - not great, but good.  And I look forward to picking it up, hopefully in the next day or two.  Pick up, you say?  Yes, the seller lives locally to me, so I don't have to pay for shipping. 

I'm very excited about my new birthday present, which is a good thing, because the rest of my birthday plans don't look like they will be coming to fruition.  We were all set to go to Mt. Pinos tonight and watch the Perseid meteor shower.  Unfortunately, Mt. Pinos and the entire Frazier Park area is experiencing thunderstorms.  In fact most of the Los Angeles area is ringed with thunderstorms, so there's like no direction we can go to watch the meteors where there isn't a lot of light pollution.  Sigh.

We are contemplating new plans but haven't made any concrete decisions yet.  What to do for my birthday?  I'd like to go see the new movie that's out 'Hope Springs', but since my friend who will be with us is fairly recently divorced, this might bring up painful thoughts, since it's about a couple that's been married a long time.  We could go out to dinner or something, but what do we do with the rest of the night?  I'm not a barhopper or partier really, so doing a pubcrawl or the like is out of the question.  I'm a lightweight when it comes to anything alcoholic.  My idea of heaven if we can't go see the meteor showers is to sit home and watch old movies or maybe even something on DVD, but that wouldn't be fun for my friend or my husband really.  Actually, my husband would probably enjoy it, but my friend wouldn't. 

Maybe I'll get an email from the seller on ebay and I can go pick up my new machine tonight.  That would be fun for me, but not for my friend or husband. 

We'll see what develops, I guess.

Maybe I'll stay home and sew on my old machine!  

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Well that didn't work

Well, it didn't work the way I wanted it to.  I mixed russet paint with gold, and instead of coming out with a beautiful reddish gold, it came out pink.  And now the painted parts are getting stiff, so I don't want to paint over it again.  Sigh... anyway - here it is with the pink background on the flower block:

It may be darker but it still stands out too much imo. Oh well.  Hopefully it is balanced some by the two light blocks in the bottom row.  This is the part of quilting that always frustrates me - balancing color and value in the finished quilt.  I am never satisfied with my finished project.  Still, I have loved the process of making these blocks and putting it all together so I will live with the product as is.

I have been shopping for a new (used) machine.  I want another Bernina 440.  Not that there's anything wrong with the one I have.  I just want a second machine that I can travel with - go to retreats and classes.  They say you should do all your piecing on the same machine, so I figure getting a second 440 means I can piece on both machines and my 1/4 inch seam will be the same (or close enough) on both.  So far, I have lost every auction I've bid on.  I am trying to buy one directly, but so far the prices have been a little high.  Anyone out there know of a good used 440 I can buy cheap?

Tonight I am beating the heat at the local senior center (using the free internet there) and attending the 'Thursday Night Strippers' quilting group.  Billie Lauder has been coming and joining us and teaching some new and interesting techniques and other things.  It's been very fun.  And here I am on the computer... lol... some quilter, eh? 

Tomorrow they have called a flex alert for the entire state of California.  We are supposed to turn our air conditioners to 78 degrees.  I don't know if that's actually going to happen, but if it does, I will probably go someplace else... like back here to the senior center, where it's nice and cool.  I hate socal weather in the summer.   Too darn hot!!! 

Stay cool!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Paint and stuff

So I painted the center block of the Ryokan quilt because I didn't like it with a white background.  It came out sunny yellow and still stood out like a sore thumb, so I painted it a light gold, which still looked sunny yellow and still stands out like a sore thumb.  Here it is (with a border fabric I was auditioning):

So I borrowed some fabric paint from a friend.  The color was listed as 'Russet' and looked brick red.  I mixed it with some gold paint to tone down the red a little, and painted over the yellow.  It came out pink.  Bleh.  I can't take it back now.  It will just have to be pink - but at least it doesn't stand out so much anymore.  I will post a picture of that soon - as soon as I take another pic of it.

In the meantime, a quilting teacher I know asked me to bring and show an older quilt of mine to her class.  I'd forgotten all about this quilt.  It was made for a challenge - the challenge was to make a quilt that expressed who we were as individuals.  I couldn't think of anything more individual or unique to me as an individual than my fingerprint.  So I blew up my thumbprint and made appliques of all the little pieces and placed them on white fabric.  Quilted into the background are the words: "I.D., Therefore I am", which is coincidentally the name of the quilt.   Anyway, I thought I'd share the quilt here, since I don't think I ever have posted it on the blog before.

It was about 40 hours of work to painstakingly place all those little black pieces of fabric in the right places and fuse them down.  It is all raw edge applique (I'm crazy but not insane enough to needleturn something like this - I don't do needleturn applique anyway).  

Anyway, I saw Batman and didn't hate it.  Didn't like it as much as my husband did, but it was okay.  I thought the pacing was good enough and the effects were okay... it just didn't enthuse me and while the movie tied up all the loose ends of the trilogy, the ending was a little trite.  Just my 2 cents. 

Maybe someday I'll get to see a movie -I- want to see on our anniversary.  There always seems to be some science fiction or some such movie that he wants to see and we go to it because I always acquiesce.  Not that I don't like science fiction and superheroes - I do.  Just always seems that we end up seeing something for our anniversary that I'm not crazy about.  Ah well... such is life.

Tomorrow is mah jongg in the morning and maybe some quilting in the afternoon.  Now that I have a studio, I have no excuses not to sew or quilt!

I was reminded tonight why I do what I do - and that we are not sewers, we are artists... and we have to think of ourselves that way, even if we are traditional quilters.  It may not be entirely true - sometimes I don't feel much like an artist, but more like an artisan.  I go through the motions but I don't feel original enough to be an 'artist'.  I see the work other artists do and am inspired but also intimidated.  Do I have it in me to be that original or free to experiment?  I hope I can grow into it ..

Monday, August 6, 2012

Quilts at the County Fair

Well, today is my 30th anniversary.  Spent the morning at the County Fair, checking to see how the two quilts I entered did.  We had some of that yummy sweet corn-on-the-cob, walked around a while, were very good and didn't buy anything.   Tonight: dinner and a movie.  Not really looking forward to seeing Batman and I'm not sure why, but husband is all excited about it, so I guess we're going.

One of my quilts took an honorable mention - the comments on the quilt were pretty much what I expected - they liked the design and the bindings, but thought more quilting was needed.  I agree, just haven't found a matching thread color that I like with it yet.

Definitely needs more quilting.  Sigh... Maybe when I get it back?

My second quilt at the fair took a second place in its category, but also won a spotlight award, which is a big fancy ribbon.  I'm excited.

I hope I get to keep the ribbon!  (Last time one of my quilts got a big fancy ribbon, it was nominated for best in show at the Fair.  They displayed it with a big fancy 'nominated for' ribbon, which I didn't get to keep).

Anyway, I'm very happy with the results.

Tonight?  I'd rather stay home and watch gymnastics at the Olympics.  sigh....

In answer to a question in the comments section, the Kokeshi Dolls quilt was designed by Susan Claire of

The cat quilt was designed by John Simpkins and the pattern is available at

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Long Hiatus

I've been away a long time.  Haven't felt mch like working, so I haven't done a lot. Worked on a few projects, making small amounts of progress but nothing of note.  Depression or just lack of enthusiasm?  I'm not sure which.  Does it really matter?  Either way, not much has gotten done.

I've been a little down over the slow progress on my new studio.  My husband finally painted it (sans the trim and the door which are still unpainted.)  It is a pale mint green.  It's still hard to get around in there because it's still full of boxes of my son's stuff.  He took a lot of it, but just doesn't want most of what's left.  Some of what he does want, he didn't have room for in his car when he dropped by.   So, there are still boxes and bins  piled up in there.  But we did make room for my sewing table and set up my new design wall, covering it with flannel.

Here is my new design wall - not very impressive with nothing on it yet.

My sewing table - all ready for me to make a quilt - which I did!

My son's 'stuff' - before he sorted through it - there's still a lot left, sigh.

Anyway - I actually got to get into the room and start sewing again.  It was lots of fun, though I miss having a tv in the room to keep me company while I work.  Still, do I really need the distraction?  Plus, we'd have to wire the room for cable, since there was no active cable in the room already.  

Still, I did get to work.  There was a quilt called Ryokan that was published in Quiltmania magazine a while back.  Some friends and I decided to do block exchanges using the Ryokan blocks.  We recently finished all our blocks and exchanged them so I figured now was the perfect time to sew them all together.  I got them framed and sashed, though there are no borders on the quilt yet.


There were six of us inthe exchange and each of us made 6 each of two blocks.  My blocks were the flying geese (first block in the second row) and the flying dutchman (last block in the third row).  I really like how this one came out, though I am in a quandary on how to finish it.  I will use the sashing fabric to make the first 2 1/2" border but after that, I have no clue.  Piano keys would be too busy, in fact anything pieced that I can think of would be busy and detract from the individual blocks, but just a plain border sounds so ... well.. plain.  Any ideas or suggestions would be welcome!  :)

I hope I can keep up the small amount of momentum I've got and keep sewing, but I am past the point of wanting to just sew mindlessly.  I need goals!

Thursday, April 5, 2012


I haven't been quilting much... I have done some work though.  I have been posting my series of seasonal quilts here starting with Summer last year.  I have finally finished the final quilt in the series - Spring!  Well, the top is done anyway - I still need to quilt it, but hopefully that will be done within the next week or two.  Maybe I'll get to hang it before spring is over and summer starts.  Here is the finished top:

It's all made from stash... as will the backing be when I get it cut.  Surprisingly, I even had the pink sashing in my stash (I'm not fond of the color pink).

Anyway - Happy Passover and Happy Easter.  Whatever you celebrate, hope it's a good one.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Walking a fine line...

Okay, so I thought I would be posting more often but I've been a bit preoccupied.  Mostly inconsequential things when it comes down to it... finished a couple of quilts, started a couple too.  Here's a picture of my 'silhouette quilt':

I just wanted to share this with everyone.  Not sure where I saw it or when, but I find it to be very insightful.. so here goes:

"There comes a time in life when you walk away from all the drama and the people who create it.  You surround yourself with people who make you laugh, forget the bad, focus on the good.  So, love the people who treat you right, pray for the ones who don't.  Life is too short to be anything but happy.  Falling down is part of life.  Getting back up is living."

Have a wonderful day...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I'm Back

Well, now I have my repaired computer back, so no more excuses for not posting.  I will get back into the swing of things, I hope, soon.

Tomorrow, I play Mah Jongg, and get back to quilting in the evening.  In the meantime, I've made a LOT of hexagons... I'm almost to 400 now!  My problem is that I'm running low on cat fabrics I haven't used yet.  I picked up some new ones at Road to California, but only 7 or 8, so still need a lot.  I will have to start scourimg the internet for cat fabrics I don't have already.

I really would like to feel inspired to just sit at my sewing machine and sew something, but the mojo hasn't been there.  I DO have to make my spring seasonal quilt, part of the series that my mini group is making.  I will be selecting fabrics for that in the next week or two I hope... perhaps I will feel the urge to actually work on the quilt itself once I have my colors selected.

I started dieting with my husband on Monday - we are trying to do this together, so we are cooperating on keeping bad stuff out of the house at the same time.  Perhaps this will help us both stay on target.  It wasn't exactly a New Year's resolution or anything, just a desire on both our parts.

Good News!  My son and his long time girlfriend have set a date for their wedding - they are getting married on June 2nd.  My husband and I leave on our cruise to Alaska on the 3rd of June.  It will be a busy month!  I'm so looking forward to BOTH events. 

Luke and Jennifer have been engaged for about 5 years, so this is something we have been waiting for for a long time.  She has finished college (BA), and he is still finishing his up.  I hope they make it, they are a very cute couple, and obviously deeply in love.  Bless them both and their union.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Long time, no post

Ok, so it's been a while since I last posted.  I have an excuse.  My computer has been down again (I'm making this post from my netbook - a less-than-ideal platform).  

Some of you might remember when my computer was down for a couple of months August-October last year.  What happened then was that one or both of my hard drives failed at that time.  I had to send them out for data recovery first (to Best Buy), then I sent the entire computer to Alienware to have the hard drives replaced.  That's what I thought they did. 

Well, earlier this week, the computer died again.  I took it in to a local computer repair place.  When they opened it up, the hard drives in the computer are dated 2008 and still have Best Buy's repair stickers on them from when they extracted my data. 

When I called Alienware, they first tried to tell me there was nothing they could do - my computer fell out of warranty as of December of last year.  When I explained in detail especially about the stickers showing they never replaced my hard drives last year, they finally admitted they were at fault and promised to send me new hard drives.  I am waiting for them now.

I will probably need to buy a new operating system since these new drives will probably come clean (no windows or anything on them).  Still, I hope to have my computer back soon. 

Until then, I will not be cruising the internet much, or visiting blogs.  I think I might put this time into doing some more sewing and quilting.  Lately I've been making hexagons but not much more.  See you all soon, I hope.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Welcome 2012

Another new year is upon us.  Another chance to make resolutions, another chance to screw up... and most importantly, another chance to get things right!  I intend to do very little of the first, none of the second and hopefully a lot of the third.

I've decided not to make a lot of resolutions.  I tend to make unrealistic ones that I either couldn't possibly keep, or have no intentions of really doing.  So with that in mind, my only resolutions for 2012 are that I RESOLVE:
1. To let go of guilt over regrets for things not done or things not done to my perfectionist sense of righness.
2. To be more forgiving of slights, and remember that they are usually not intended but accidental.
3. To be more loving to my DH, who deserves better from me than I usually give.
4. To be forgiving of my own mistakes.

I hope I can keep these few resolutions.  I'd like to make more:  you know... the typical ones to lose weight, keep my house neater, that sort of thing... but why be so unrealistic?  It's like reading science fiction - when you get to the end, all you can say is 'well, that's never gonna happen.'  lol... and I love science fiction, but you know it's true.  And resolutions tend to end the same way - you start out with all the good intentions in the world and end up failing.  I refuse to set myself up for failure this year.  It's just another source of the guilt I have resolved to let go of...

I won't allow myself to screw up this year - not big time anyway... and I just won't sweat the small stuff.  No big mistakes.  If I DO make any, I will forgive myself - that's one of my few resolutions, so there it is.

I look ahead to the new year with hope and gratitude for what I DO have, and without rancor over what I don't.  2012 is a new chance for everything to go well.  And while nothing is ever perfect, there is no reason why the year cannot be a good one overall.  It is MY year... and by that I mean it is the Year of the Dragon and since I turn 60 this year, that means I was born in the Year of the Dragon in 1952.  My year should be a positive one for me, at least I hope so.

Here is some information about the Dragon in Chinese mythology and Zodiac:

The key to the Dragon personality is that Dragons are the free spirits of the Zodiac. Conformation is a Dragon's curse. Rules and regulations are made for other people. Restrictions blow out the creative spark that is ready to flame into life. Dragons must be free and uninhibited. The Dragon is a beautiful creature, colorful and flamboyant. An extroverted bundle of energy, gifted and utterly irrepressible, everything Dragons do is on a grand scale - big ideas, ornate gestures, extreme ambitions. However, this behavior is natural and isn't meant for show. Because they are confident, fearless in the face of challenge, they are almost inevitably successful. Dragons usually make it to the top. However, Dragon people be aware of their natures. Too much enthusiasm can leave them tired and unfulfilled. Even though they are willing to aid when necessary, their pride can often impede them from accepting the same kind of help from others. Dragons' generous personalities give them the ability to attract friends, but they can be rather solitary people at heart. A Dragon's self-sufficiency can mean that he or she has no need for close bonds with other people.

Dragons are:

Innovative - On occasion, I can be
Enterprising - Usually too timid to be
Flexible - I like to think I am
Self-assured - Oh, I really wish I were moreso.
Brave - Not me!
Passionate - Definitely
Conceited - Maybe a little
Tactless - Never on purpose, though I do tend to open my mouth before thinking sometimes
Scrutinizing - Yeah, I try not to be, but I am
Unanticipated - Sometimes I can be a little spontaneous
Quick-tempered - Sometimes, I can be, though not so much as when I was younger...

You can learn more about your Chinese Zodiac sign at Chinese Zodiac. Just enter your birthday and it will tell you YOUR sign and you can look up all about it at the links below.

Anyway - hope YOUR 2012 is a wonderful year and brings you all the quilty and non-quilty goodness you deserve!   Thanks for dropping by and most importantly ----


A Mysterious start to the year

Well, I finished one of last year's mystery tops... The Meadow Mist Mosaic Mystery.  I have to say I really like how this one came out.....