Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Quilters are the BEST!

Many, many thanks to Paula for her help to get my blog into its new and improved design. Somehow I couldn't make it do what I wanted and you know how things need sprucing up from time to time.

We are getting ready for a camping week-end (although the weather does not appear to be cooperating in any way - the forecast is off and on rain all week-end). I've got a hand work project with me and my copy (on Audible) of "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" by Stieg Larsson. Oh my goodness! I wasn't sure after the first book of the trilogy but was hooked by the end of the last (2nd) one. I should be amused regardless of precipitation.

What do you think? Not my favorite, but came upon 3 strips of this feed sack type of fabric yesterday when I was at Stone Soup. I will save this for Caroline.

Ronda is making a quilt I keep telling her is in my colors and she needs to send it my way. I haven't succeeded yet, but I keep working at it. Corals and brown. Nice!

Well, that's about all the news from hereabouts for today. Have a great holiday week-end. Thanks to all those who have served (and are serving) for me.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Using up the Scraps

I am part of a local quilt guild called Stashbusters and I'm part of the Stashbuster group found here (right sidebar). However, I don't always specifically point this out when I'm using the stash, but seem to have been busy with stash this week.

Two Goodwill men's shirts (blue plaid and red/purple stripe) 2XL

Man's 3XL Tall blue/grey plaid shirt. Look at all the fabric for $3.99. I'm feeling mighty thrifty with this one.
On the back I'm using up the blocks that I didn't have the correct size. You may recall this is a pattern that is in centimeters but I don't have that sort of ruler, so did my best to guesstimate. Didn't get it quite right on my first effort (and ran out of one of the fabrics - thank heavens Caroline could get me some more from Germany).
Quilt friend Ronda made a courthouse steps quilt and had a shopping bag full of Civil War-type scraps. I'm not sure what I will do with them, but I string pieced them by colorways. Do you have any suggestions - I just couldn't throw them away.

A few signs of spring from out in the garden.

Trimmings from my Stashbuster raffle quilt squares - made into pinwheels. Waste not, want not!

Doing my best to keep busy! Hope you are too!

Monday, May 17, 2010


Probably about 2 years ago I decided that I wanted to become part of an on-line exchange. I'm not quite sure I remember how, but I found my Crazy Exchange group and have had such fun sending things away and having Christmas in the middle of the year when I have received hand-made items made by other quilters/sewers/stitchers. As often happens, the majority of the group have dwindled away and there are only a very few of us left. But I do have a wonderful collection of incredible handmade items.

Today my postal lady brought me a parcel from New Zealand,

A hardanger tassel, Maori inspired fabric, scissors, N.Z. spoon, N.Z. chocolate and a Christmas ornament pattern. Aren't I so lucky?

Perhaps one day I can visit New Zealand and meet Margaret in person. I have been able to make two trips to the Netherlands and Belgium where I have met several other Crazy Exchangers. And this has also introduced me to my friend Caroline, from Holland, who has visited here three times, now. [She was here this past March and now we're talking 2011!] Isn't this all such fun?
Life is good, indeed!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Only Some of Us are Old Enough

One of my favorite cookbooks was published in 1965, authored by Marian Fox Burros and Lois Levine. It is called Freeze with Ease and cost $1.25 in the paperback version.

But - don't for a minute doubt that there are some really fabulous things in this little book. We are having church folks for dinner tomorrow, so I made their recipe for Chicken Divan.
Cook broccoli spears and put them into a large baking dish

Cover the broccoli with slices of cooked chicken breast

Make a white sauce and add worcestershire sauce, prepared mustard, cream, dried minced onion and parmesan cheese.

The recipe makes lots of sauce to pour over the whole thing.

I have refrigerated mine as it is for tomorrow. But the BEST PART is that you can freeze it, at this point. And I have done that and it is still terrific. I can't show you the finished product just yet, but I'll try to remember tomorrow to take a photo. I have plans for it to be fabulous (if I do say so, myself). Bon Appetit!

(Send me a note if you want the recipe)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Do you remember. . . .

Fred Rogers used to sing about it being a 'Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood'. Today was that beautiful day - oh, how wonderful

Anyone know what those white flowers are? They are a bulb and they close at night and bloom in the sunshine. Otherwise, we have lilac, rhododendron and (I think it's called) Wygelia.
A Mr. Lincoln tea rose. Their only competition on this side of the house is the rhubarb. Also a wonderful thing.

I know that I talked about learning about geocaching when we were in California over New Years. But we have been very slow to work on it much since. However, over Memorial Day week-end our RV group is going to have a workshop on geocaching and we have been asked to help. Of course, we said of course (and then knew that we had to hurry up and get a bit more comfortable with the whole thing.) So today we found another cache, one yesterday and one earlier in the week. We are catching on to this whole thing and it is fun!

I did a bit of finishing this evening:
Binding on Nathan's quilt. It is so "plain Jane" (should I say, plain Nathan) that I think I will tie it at the block intersections just because. I don't know if you can see well as the blue binding is so dark, but it is a stripe and I love how they look on a bias binding. The other finish was to put a back on the baby quilt I assembled at the quilt retreat. Little left-over squares on a flannel back. Our quilt guild sends these premie quilts to a local NICU (400-600 per year)

Have a great week-end everyone!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wednesday Update

Hello, Hello - The weather is finally looking like it actually is spring (it is only mid May, for heavens sake!). The furnace mostly continues to run in the mornings - it's just too doggone cool over night to skip that step. We have our fingers crossed for at least a dry Memorial Day, better yet sunshine, but I don't want to seem greedy. ;->

Made the binding for the quilt which will be heading off to (I just learned the name today) Nathan James. Sweet name - due in August.

Have made two of the three required blocks for the Stashbuster's Raffle Quilt. I really like them a lot!

Today was the May Quilt Guild meeting. Our speaker was Dale Fleming.
Not really my style but she does amazingly complex designs - although she says they are simple. Hmmmm. And there you have it for Wednesday.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

More of Saturday

As I said before, today was my turn to be a volunteer at a local fabric/quilt store - simply to answer questions that folks have. Of course, we are often mistaken for employees and do get to regularly direct folks where to find this or that. But it is a pleasant enough way to spend 4 hours. Today we had questions about knitting, crochet, bias binding, "do you know what this fabric is?", "why don't my pins go in easily?" Big store, nice folks and all together a nice day,

This is the store that astonished Caroline when she was visiting the first time, because they have shopping carts to take through the store. But of course! :-)

And I had 4 hours to sit and do handwork - today was finish up the thread catcher, do some embroidery work,

and 'de-construct' two men's shirts (brand new size XXL, plaid) for some project or another. What a lovely day.

American Mother's Day

Willemijn seems to be taking great joy in pointing out my error - no, it is not my first, but at least I did admit it! But we are moving on, right?

Happy Mother's Day for all mothers and mother-type folks. Flowers sent by my sweet son from the other Washington - but that should change in a few months - yeah!

Stashbusters has finally gotten ourselves organized to think about and plan for our raffle quilt. Last week we all brought in our stash of appropriate colors of batiks (no yellow) and divvied them up amongst ourselves. Each person will make 3 blocks and then we will sort and arrange them in a pleasing fashion. I haven't made mine yet, but I do like the block and as it finishes at 12" it should go really fast.

Friday morning was spent working with Kris - an incredible artist from our church. She is making a wedding canopy for a couple from the church who will be married later this month. So between us we surged and finished 20 organza panels. I wish I could be there to see them all assembled (we're off on a camping trip) so perhaps someone will take photos and I can see.

Today is my turn to be the CTA on duty at a local fabric store. We are just there to provide help and perhaps some answers to sewing/quilting questions that shoppers have. Our CTA group has been doing this for a couple of years at another location of this same fabric store, so we are now instituting this at a local store. It's always fun. And I get to do some handwork while I'm sitting there. [finishing my friendship exchange - photos to follow] Happy week-end.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Do as I say, not as I do

Well, now, that's an old saw but still true, unfortunately. Youngest nephew is having his first baby, which I hear will be a boy. So time to get busy with that (I know, I know, I've talked about for some time already). I found a simple but attractive pattern which called for 11 fat quarters. Fine, I had enough f.q.'s and yardage to do that all in blues. Cut them out, stacked them up, shuffled them as directed and started sewing - stitch and flip. Got it all done, but somehow it didn't look quite as interesting as on the pattern photo. Hmmmm.

Well, let's see what's wrong here? Cut? shuffle? stitch? OOOOPPPPSSS - I was supposed to cut the first block in half so that not only was it shuffled, it was supposed to be staggered as well. Makes it much more interesting. Well, bummer! Oh well, I'm not going to do it again - I'd have to start all over - too much unsewing required and anyway I don't have enough of those fun fabrics left. I can in all humility say that my corners are all almost perfect.

I bet that a newborn won't know that Great Auntie messed up too badly. But my word to the wise, for today - READ THE DIRECTIONS and then check to see that you are following them correctly!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Works in Progress

Well, the new-to-me car finally arrived on Thursday afternoon. It was quite a treat to have my own car and I managed to find a couple of errands to run with it - just to try it out! :-) Among other things I went to pick up my sewing machine which was BACK to the shop. After over a month in Jan-Feb, it went back after the quilt guild retreat as it quit working. The service notes said that they had to reset the bobbin case tension, reset the default pivot height and adjust the hook needle clearance. I guess these were enough to cause the general shut-down. Hmmmm. I really like many of the features on that machine, but this is way too often to head in for service.

As for projects:

I started to assemble this at the retreat. I have finished putting the squares together on point and adding the setting triangles. I'm happy with the white fabric I used for those - it seems to go well with the background white used in the squares within a square. Next will be adding the triangles for the corners and then start on borders. I did go out and purchase a couple of different blues to try out.

The other project is the bag pattern I bought at the Sewing and Stitchery Expo in February - along with the requisite 6 fat quarters. Pretty nice.

The bag is completed in pieces. The pockets are sewn to the lining before it is all assembled. The handles are complete, so now it's time to put it all together. I have several other things to start next (including that baby quilt I mentioned and finishing up the quilting on DD's birthday quilt -last month)
Can you believe that it's May already? Yikes!