Friday, January 30, 2009


This has been one of those weeks when I have been glad to see it go. I don't have nearly so many of those since retiring, but this has been one. Last week-end I managed to come down with a case of Shingles. According to WebMed it is related to chicken pox and is a gift that chicken pox leaves behind in your system - lurking around for a time to make its presence known. It is characterized by quite a bit of pain - or at least it has for me. Yikes! Monday and Tuesday were 'sit on the sofa' days. Nothing else! But by Wednesday as the medications got into my system (Acyclovir) and pain meds for nighttime - so I could sleep - life was beginning to look up. I really don't get sick very often and can even be a bit impatient with 'sickies', so struggle to give myself some time to get better. Still sore, even now, but much improved and I'm learning how to time the cycles of acetaminophen throughout the day. Having said that, I have done a few things after feeling a bit better:
Those chaos crumb blocks, that you've seen here before with some sashing. Aren't they just so fun. Now I'm thinking that I'll cross cut some of the blocks and make a narrow border. Then what comes after that I don't know. Suggestions?

I bought this wonderful crazy print in the Markt in den Bosch (Netherlands) several years ago and haven't found the perfect place for it. But now I'm feeling quite satisfied with it, with the acid green, yellow and orange pinwheels. It will have a mottled red border (see photo on the left) And then I have a border print with the same crazy people, bikes and houses and that will be my border. The pattern calls for a 7 1/2" border of that. So all in all, it should come out to be twin sized. I have absolutely no idea what I will do with it when it's all done, but thought it was fanciful and lots of fun. (is that redundant?)

Finally I finished up the vierkant blocks little piece. As this is a Dutch pattern using all Dutch fabrics I'm thinking it should go to my friend who just returned from visiting the Netherlands. She is legitimately Dutch, I'm just a "wanna be" [although I can speak it better than she can!] Now just to get it in the mail.
I don't know why this photo looks so yellow. Sorry about that.

Finally, I did mail off a package for my Crazy Exchange group. Confessions: a) I didn't take a photo of it, so hopefully the recipient will take a picture and send it back to me and
b) I realized that the note I had written to be included with the package is sitting on my quilting table, so the only identification will be the return address label. As you usually read my blog, please accept my apologies.

Today is a "field trip" to the Burlington Sewing and Fabric outlet. I'll take the camera. :-)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Joke tagged me

for the latest 4th photo "game". I asked for some guidance in order to pick the right one, but it seems that the guidelines are pretty loose. So having said that, I will go back to the 2006 photos on this computer and choose the 4th photo from each of two large albums. Just because I can.

This is a picture of my lovely daughter in law (in the front) on the day of her wedding to my son. A beautiful bride on a wonderful day.

In 2006 we traveled to the Netherlands for a bicycle trip (fietstocht). We left from Oosterdok - just a short walk from Centraal Station and right next to NEMO. The Angelina was our home away from home for the 2 weeks of this trip. So this was shortly before we departed from Amsterdam, at the beginning of our trip.

Fun to look back.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Nana has been doing a few things. . . .

First of all, I must toot my own horn. Look at just how amazingly tidy that sewing table is. You can see the wood top. Incredible, no?

And this week seems to have been a lot about scraps and using them up. You saw last week the chaos crumb blocks. This week it was chaos crumb blocks set with flying geese (a la stars) - I quite like this one. Apologies to whomever I copied this from (I can't give you credit because I don't remember), but I thought it was a wonderful idea. I also have done a number of string pieced blocks [apologies for the less than really clear focus]

I finished the "Wonder Under" Bunny Hill block and the needle-turn applique version is all done except for adding the buttons. Cute, huh?

A little more using up of scraps - how can I possibly have so many? And the trimmings from the Easter banners I helped with (for church). They are just plain organza strips, but this is so you can see the yummy color. Won't that be fabulous?

So I can give myself credit for doing a few things this week and using up some bits and pieces. I'm about at a place that I can begin a "real" quilting project. I have several things to finish up but also a couple of things that I can think about cutting out. Hmmmmm. I did finish a Crazy Exchange and that should go into the mail this coming week. The sewing ladies are going on a field trip - some of you may remember last year with the amazing Pakistani and Indian and Cambodian and VietNamese fabrics.

I also got tagged for one of the 4th photo "games", but as I'm still a bit confused about how to choose the correct photo (i.e. how to count it) I will save that for another post. Good "fabric"wishes to one and all!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Dumplings, Sewing and Sunshine

Such a lovely, fun week-end. We began Saturday with a visit to our new next-door neighbors. We were invited to learn how to make Chinese dumplings and enjoy them for lunch. The 8 1/2 and 6 year old daughters were helping us, along with Grandma, visiting from northern China. Such a treat!

The dough is a very simple flour and water, but allowed to "mellow" for at least 2 hours. The filling is ground turkey, carrots, cabbage, onion, sesame seeds and a small amount of vegetable oil. They are boiled and eaten with a soy/vinegar dipping sauce (or then can be fried for traditional 'potstickers'). And lucky for us, we brought home 2 plates of left-overs.

Sunday was a day to practice with the new sewing machine with oldest GD. This little machine, which I've shown you before, is simple and plain, but in fact, can sew a perfectly acceptable seam. Nana had prepared a selection of squares of fabric to "play" with. We had located a small table that is height adjustable - so it worked perfectly for shorter legs to reach the foot pedal. This little machine does not have a light, so it is necessary to position it near a lamp, but easy to adjust. She was amazing in how quickly she caught on and was able to sew a straight seam. The use of blue painters tape was also a great assistant. So now she is imagining all sorts of things to be making. Nana looks forward to many more sewing sessions.

We have been so lucky for these past 4 days with beautiful sunshiney days. Having played weather roulette, we have managed to come out very well - compared to those poor folks in the eastern US. Although cold, at least it is clear for our president's inauguration. My DS and DIL are somewhere on the Mall, trying to stay warm. So here are a few images from our corner of the world - oh, so beautiful.

Gratitude - a mighty power to 'move' our lives.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Gray and Cloudy Thursday

I have been quite busy here with needle and thread but don't have much to show. Yesterday was Quilter's Anonymous (my large quilt guild) and our featured speaker was Frieda Anderson. Her work is quite amazing - check out this website. This is all fused applique and while she does lots and lots of background quilting there is very little or no stitching on the applique pieces themselves. All from the Chicago School of Fusing (I think that's the name).

I decided to make another basket from Bunny Hill. This time I'm doing needleturn applique - or at least trying it. Ever since I took a class from Becky Goldsmith, I have wanted to turn out projects nearly so well done. Thus far I have not succeeded, but I do keep trying. I have also been working on a crazy exchange but, as you know, I cannot show you yet.

Tonight is our delayed Holiday party for my small quilt guild. We will do the requisite ugly fabric exchange, but this year we will also include some nice fabric along with the less than attractive. I think last year I got something with pink and purple seashells - really bad. We will also give everyone a muslin square to create a string block then we will draw a name and one of our members will get them all. Last year we did all Christmas fabrics. This year we are doing only black and white.

Finally in the "do you really want a big laugh" category, I unearthed two rather antique photos:

My dance career was rather short-lived. (age 3) and lovely, swirly dresses (age 18, Sr. Prom) aren't much in my wardrobe these days, either. Although I do remember those marvelous shoes: white satin, clear vinyl and rhinestones. Oh my goodness!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

thanks Paula

Blessings to Paula for getting me back up and going and helped me move margins so that I could insert the little travel ticker. Now just to figure out what I'm doing wrong that doesn't allow the counter to show up. But I'm here and off to the sewing machine after Quilt Guild this a.m. So many things to try out.

And that silly weather girl has NOT looked outside - it is very gray and cloudy, not sunshine. Alas!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


I know that I've changed the look of the blog again - I have been having troubles and cannot find how to change things around. It started with my ticker - the borders cut off the end of the ticker. I tried several different ones, but they all cut off the end. Well silly - move the borders! I cannot find out if that is possible or how to do it.

Then my counter disappeared. Yesterday I spent almost an hour trying to get that back on and nothing seemed to make it show up. Oh the words (title) would show but nothing on the blog itself. If I went into Layout and looked, the HTML code was there, so I don't know what to do. I tried removing it and re-inserting it about 6 times without success. That is why I did away with the cute border/edging thinking that might be the problem, but alas.

OK you computer genius (what is the plural of that word? geniuses?) can you help this wayward blogger?

Monday, January 12, 2009

2nd week of the month - always the busiest

Well here we are. Even though my weather girl for today says rain -luckily it is not! It looks wet but not coming down right at this moment. And all that silly snow business has gone away. The one particularly good thing about being snow-bound for a few days, all of us got in some good sewing time. Hurrrah. [At my CTA meeting this morning our "show and tell" time was especially long as everyone had been busy amusing themselves.] I got my chaos crumbs put together and if I do say so, it's pretty darn cute. I'm not sure what will happen to it now - probably find someone to give it to. The blocks are cut at 6", so I may make some 9 patch ones, too. Fun little things to have on hand.

I also have been making the Bunny Hill BOM - decided it was time to get with that program. Very cute. I have made this one using Wonder Under -to see if I liked it. And I do. So I will do another with appliqued pieces. If you are familiar with the pattern you will note that I haven't finished the leaves and vine overhead, but I'll get that one done. Now to decide if I like this fabric for the snowman. The sparkle seemed somewhat snow/ice-like, but I was also toying with using white batting for the snowman. And I think the star behind him/her needs to be a bit stronger. What do you think: sparkle or batting? Stronger star behind?

I have also been playing with some of the Dutch Fabrics I get quarterly from Minewood Quilting. [She even has her site translated into English. Waaaayyy easier!] They are marvelous and I keep saving them for just the "right" project. So I think I have found it with the "Vierkanten" pattern from Elly Prins. It is in Dutch but as long as you can translate from cm. to inches, you are all set. This is the same basic pattern that I used for Ronda's birthday wall-hanging.

I swore after White Chocolate that I would NOT be making any more quilts larger than wall hangings, but am finishing up with a crazy exchange that is a lap size quilt. Not so big, but it does require my 72" fold-up table to get it sandwiched. Takes up the entire family room when that baby is up for business. Quilting it now and soon will send it off to its new home. I forgot to include the photo of the last one I sent off, which went to North Carolina, just after Christmas:

This is just the greatest - to be able to sew and sew AND perhaps even more, to meet so many amazing people through this little "hobby" of mine. Gosh it's great. I feel so lucky, so my thanks to all of you who read my silly prattle and even come back for more. Happy January, 2009!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Chaos Crumb blocks

As I need to give Gretta a bit of a "breaking in" these seemed like a fun way to give us both some practice. Pretty darn easy and lots of fun to do.

Not sure what happens when I get these all put together. And my goodness but I have lots more partially done.

Also had a very fun field trip with my Stone Soup Quilting group out to Martingale Press. Their offices are just filled with tens of amazing quilts. So interesting to walk through. And then, the best for last, we got to visit the warehouse and shop for books that are more than 6 months old, for a whopping $5.00 apiece. Guess who spent a bit of money, but not too crazy. [they don't allow photos inside, saying that is because all the quilts are copyrighted.]

Come on out here and see what we have to show you. (the snow is gone, now) Only rain and nobody melts.

Happy January

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Meet Gretta

I bought myself a Pfaff Quilt Expressions 4. I have looked at and tried out a number of different machines. While I have been tempted, I knew that I did not want the learning curve of an embroidery machine - while I love, love what they can produce. Basically I am a quilter so I needed something that would do all the requisite things (forward, back, zig zag) as well as a few stitches for quilters. I also still do a bit of sewing for the grands, so having a few cutsie stitches was fun, too. My old Pfaff 7550 (why did I think it was too extravagent to buy the top model, the 7570?) has 229 stitches on it. My Gretta has 220 - more than enough for me. In fact, I probably won't use all of those, but I suspect there may be some that I use a whole lot. Once I had a sewing machine tech. tell me that the 7550 was a good ole "work horse" and so that is why I was not interested in having to trade it in. The ad said the price included a trade-in, but they ended up selling me the new machine without a trade in. Score! The only extra I purchased was the (clear plastic) table that slides onto the machine, specifically for quilting.

Among the functions that I am really enjoying are:
* a 10 inch opening right of the needle - larger than many
* two lights to illuminate the "sewing field"
* and what has been my favorite, so far, if you 'tap' the foot pedal, the needle will go into the fabric but the presser foot will raise just enough to re-arrange the fabric or, better yet, allow you to insert fabric for chain piecing.

And in order to try out these wonderful new functions, I have been playing with scraps and making "crumb chaos" blocks , a la Patti They are something to use up a whole lot of bits and pieces. I'll let you know when I get enough 'rounds' done to actually have blocks. Not yet, but it is kind of fun (and reasonably mindless). Woo Hoo!!!!