Thursday, February 26, 2009

Bunco or Bunko?

Just got back from playing Bunco with a group of neighborhood gals. We have so much fun eating and talking its amazing we get through three rounds. I love a no skill game--no need to strategize and no one can ever be better at it than another! Two of our members are pregnant, one is having a girl after two boys, and the other a second boy. We have a variety of ages in the group and never run out of things to share and laugh about. No other quilters in this group but they are interested in my work and appreciate the craft. One member mentioned a quilt her sister in law had specially made after her father died, out of his shirts, and someone else mentioned they knew a family who got teddy bears made out of their dad's shirts after he passed away. I had never heard of that. Two of our group are going to the Bunco championships held in Las Vegas next weekend. They are making a fun trip out of it by taking hubbies along!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Another finish

I got the binding and hanging sleeve all sewn down on Susie's quilt. Can't post pics yet; it will get sent by mail probably Tuesday to OZ. That's all the quilting activity I got done this week, unfortunately.

Now I'm off to my mom's bday party. I made a cheesecake, well, actually it's a cream cheese pie, from the good old Betty Crocker cookbook my Grandma bought me when I got married. This is the kind of dessert you can only make if people are coming over or if you take it somewhere---otherwise you will eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with a midnight snack too. I almost stopped to buy fresh strawberries from a roadside stand just now as I was coming back from an errand, but the man was closing the gate and I was in the wrong lane. It always seems too early for strawberries in February but that's when they start harvesting them around here. Many hundreds, maybe even many thousands of acres are planted in strawberries in my county. There is a huge field just a couple of miles away on property that has been owned by the same family for three generations, and their kids man the roadside stand during the season. My youngest is good friends with the daughter and she brought a half flat of strawberries she had hand picked herself to my DD's birthday party last year! A very special gift indeed!

Monday, February 16, 2009

A good quilting day

I love this kind of a Monday---very little work and lots of time to play! Susie's project is all quilted, the binding is machine sewn on and ready to be tacked down, and has turned out very well. All that's left are a hanging device and a label before I send it to OZ.

DH's quilt backing got measured, cut, and sewn together and then ironed, the biggest job! I think I will have to borrow my mom and dad's living room floor to get it laid out, though, it's too big to pin to the carpet. I usually tape down the back to my carpet, then after the layers are smoothed down I lift up some of the tape and slide my largest cutting mat under the backing, reaching back in and sliding it around as I safety pin. It works pretty well for most size projects that I do but DH's is 72" x 84" and that is too big. Mom and Dad have hardwood floors so I don't have to use a mat. I would love to do this on a table someday!

The predicted rain was not as heavy as believed, though DH told me it woke him up several times early this morning. As usual, I didn't hear a thing. We had one huge crash of thunder in the early afternoon that scared the dog, but then the sun came out and except for a few more showers, the rain party was over. Looking forward to some sunny days!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

DH and I are both sick with colds and we spent our Valentine's Day just hanging out at home. I received a lovely card and a can of Almond Roca. DH got nuttin'. Yep, I am a baaad wifey. The truth is that I don't care about Valentine's Day because our anniversary is so soon after this Hallmark holiday that we never celebrate Valentine's.

I spent the afternoon working on various quilting projects so my heart was happy. My MATH worked out perfectly for Susie's project and I was very pleased. It is now a partially quilted sandwich with the binding all ready to go on as well. I to have to remember to put a hanging sleeve on the back or sew on a ring to hang it from. I won't be able to post pics until the project is winging its way to Susie in OZ. I'm really excited about it tho!

I also cut the binding for DH's quilt, for which I am going to buy batting tomorrow. I have decided to do some hand quilting on DH's quilt as well so I don't think I will finish by the Quiltbuddies deadline of the 20th, but it should be well along by then I hope.

Another decision was made regarding a quilt for DD#1, who likes simple, graphic designs. She liked a quilt called "Zen" from my Feb 2009 American Patchwork & Quilting mag, and I already had a kit of batiks I bought years ago that will work perfectly for it. Serendipity Zen may turn out to be the perfect name for that quilt. So I had a happy and pleasant afternoon playing with fabric.

DS came over for dinner and we had wonderful minestrone soup my mom had made. DH decided it would be perfect on this chilly day (now, I know that is a relative statement coming from SoCalif! but it topped out at about 55 degrees today--cool for us). DD#2 brought over a girlfriend and made her dinner since they are both single this Valentine's. I finished off my evening by reading blogs while listening to DS play Guitar Hero. Now I really must get some sleep if I can--last night I woke up coughing quite often and need more rest. I'll sing the song to myself that I got from a Dave Barry book and sang to my kids: Go to sleep, go to sleep, go-o right straight to sle-eep, aaannd slee-eep all the wa--ay until seh-e-ven o'clock!

Friday, February 13, 2009

And now for more pictures


The above Turning Twenty quilt I made for my dad a couple of years ago. Many of the fat quarters used came from my M&D's travels in the midwest, including Amish country in Shipshewana, Indiana. Fat quarters are my payment of choice for bringing in mail and watering houseplants. :)


The above is a detail from my first large applique project--its another pattern from AP&Q mag from about 2000. Below is the entire wall hanging (it was supposed to be a table runner but I do NOT want anything to get on it so I hang it in my dining room every Christmas).

Note: I am not really bowlegged. I believe cheap pants caused this photographic deformity!


This was from a Quilter's Cache pattern called "Hard Times". The fabric is a small print oriental and as you can see, it turns muddy when you get about three feet away. This disappointing result caused me to leave it at work as the "office quilt". I used a "flap" piping and there is some straight stitch embroidery in each X as well that you can't see at all in this pic.



This is a disappearing 9 patch made almost entirely from my stash. I bought a small amount of yardage for binding. I arranged my 9 patches so the center was red in each one. I started this quilt on a Sunday and finished it by the following Wednesday for the baby shower for a co-worker. You can tell I'm at work by the terrible lighting...




Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Some progress

I did get pieces cut for Susie's quilt the other night but no sewing has happened yet this week. Working three part-time jobs really cuts into my sewing time. Many nights I want to sew but am too tired and really just want to veg in front of the TV or surf the web. The upcoming Monday holiday is almost that, as I only have to do one of my jobs that day. Here's the shorthand of my three jobs: I work per diem for the local hospital doing medical transcription for the physiology department. I call that one my Jammie Job as the commute is only up the stairs to my home office where I log on and type. I generally devote about an hour or hour and a half per day to that one, and probably every Saturday the same amount. The pay is great and the work interesting. I have an ongoing list, though, of cardiovascular conditions I never want to get!

Then I put on my Office Manager clothes and go to a doctor's office. I worked for the same orthopaedic surgery group for 13 years and after my main doctor died suddenly nearly four years ago and the second doctor quit a year and a half ago, the third doctor kept me on part-time doing odds and ends. Then last April Dr. P fired the office manager and I took over that job the next day--with no training--but fortunately knowing the staff and generally having their trust and confidence that I would bring order to the chaos left behind. It has been a steep learning curve for me: after having been hidden away for many years doing intake workers' comp histories and transcription, suddenly I was making policy and learning about insurance and billing and talking on the phone a lot. I'm there probably 25 hours a week or more and do a wide variety of tasks.

Lastly, I put on a different Office Manager face and work for a psychiatrist for whom I have done transcription on the side for many years. His is a one-doc shop so I answer phones, make appointments, copy things, keep logs, and generally run the show the way the doc wants it. That one I work at for probably 14 hours a week. I try not to add it all together, but it is a lot and I generally don't get home before 6:00 every night, sometimes it is 7:00. Luckily my DH is a real sweetheart and my kids mostly grown so I don't have to worry about fixing a big family dinner when I get home. Rereading this is making me tired! But I am grateful that I am so busy because there was a period of about four months in late 2007-early 2008 where I only had one part time job and it was pretty scary there. Then the hospital job came along and when I called the psychiatrist to tell him I was using his name as a reference, he offered me a job because his gal was going back to school. It was amazing how it came together. I am lucky to be working and am worried because my son can't find work. Its the economy, ya know.

More photos should follow this weekend when I devote some time to Picasa and figuring out how to upload directly to it...I hope!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Monday again?

The weekend went by too fast! Saturday found me taking a trip to Ojai with my artist mom to a reception for a new exhibition of pastel artists. This reception took place in the studio classroom where my mom is taking a watercolor plein air class. One display window outside the classroom included various student artists' renderings of a model dressed in a formal Japanese kimono and obi, with a fan held open on her lap. My mom's painting was there with about 10 others'. A good friend of my mom's had a window opposite that which held her beautifully repurposed vintage cards, made from bridge scorepads, old books, wallpaper, and other treasures. She also made some quirky and fun little figures from some garage workshop parts. Really fun and funky. The pastel artists exhibition was amazing--it is a very difficult medium, pastel chalk (these are not oil pastels). It is amazing what control some of the artists had and yet how free with color and layering others were. Most were landscapes and I wanted about 80% of them! It was quite a large showing, maybe 100 pastels of all different sizes. I tried to trick my mom into buying me one I told her was only 7 dollars, though she happened to notice that it was really $700. Too bad--it would be gorgeous in my house! Classic California plein air style--rolling hills, live oaks and grasses, blue sky and eucalyptus. Yummy. Midway through the reception there was a performance by a bellydance school and then they invited the standees to join in. My mom and I skipped that but most people looked like they were enjoying themselves.

Sunday I lazed around most of the morning after walking up--bing!--at 7:22 am. I did a few chores and straightening up but then attacked my messy sewing corner and managed to make quite a dent. I spent extra time clearing off the Hoosier cabinet that holds most of my quilting projects, patterns, tools, etc. Upstairs I have half a closet where my fabric bins are and I made a few trips up there with handfuls of leftover fat quarters from the previous look-see. Later I finished my MATH calculations (there's that dread word again!) for Susie's project, which is next on my list for piecing. I bought a batik panel at a quilt show last year and am bordering it with flying geese in a dark blue/black solid with oriental fabrics for the corner triangles. Tonight I will cut the pack of charm squares into 2.5" squares as a start. It's already getting to be 9:20 so I should finish up this post and get going!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

We've got pictures!

These loaded opposite of how I wanted, but Whatever, Martha.
Some pics from MIL's birthday party 1/31/09: Her cake matched my gift
All smiles


Frances with her quilt


Pineapple Blossom


Opening her surprise gift!


I didn't get a pic of the back but will have to when I deliver some prints of these shots to MIL, along with the birthday card the kids forgot to bring.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Friday at Last

This weekend I must return my sewing corner which is in total disarray from my last minute quilt making before my MIL's 90th birthday party last Saturday. There are drawers open, binding clips on the floor, and loads of thread clippings, random scraps and an explosion of pins (note: my husband has magnetic feet. I myself have NEVER stepped on a pin).

I made a Pineapple Blossom quilt from a quiltville pattern in MIL's chosen color, red, adding to that white centers and black sashing. Nearly 98% of this quilt came from my scrap bins and stash. I had actually purchased a backing fabric, unfortunately without any of my blocks to check the color against, and it turned orangey when held up to my blocks. So now I have five yards of a red calico that will have to find another project!

My attempts to piece a back were quite time-consuming and might have been amusing had I another week or so to finish the project (I didn't). I wanted to stay in the same colors but didn't have quite enough of anything to take up a big chunk. It took me hours longer than I thought it would to wade through all my bins and come up with suitable fabrics and I kept adding strips here and there, plus a few "bonus" triangles I stitched into a row. I even had to pull the backing up off the floor after it was taped down, to make adjustments to a wonky seam. Then I barely squeaked by with about an inch of length to spare on the top and bottom when I pinned my quilt sandwich! I am a WORD girl, not a MATH girl, see?

Lastly, the binding got put on the morning of the party and I was hand sewing it to the back for at least an hour and a half before I made the observation (one hour before the party) that there was absolutely no way I could get around a twin sized quilt in less than another two hours! So I dashed to my machine and stitched the remaining half-plus of binding down. Another crisis occurred when my binding was 8 inches too short (see above reference to MATH). Luckily I had a random strip of the same fabric that I slapped on and that allowed me to finish up with time to even get dressed and put on makeup before the party. Whew. MIL was so surprised and I had my quilt hanger there (DS is 6'4") so I could get some good shots. I hope to post those sometime this weekend when I have figured out how to upload things from my new camera.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Ha! I tagged myself

This is from Carol at giraffedreams.blogspot.com, a blog I enjoy!

Rules: Use the first letter of your name to answer each of the following questions. They have to be real; nothing made up! You cannot use any word twice and you can't use your name for the boy/girl name question. Have Fun!!
1. What is your name: Annie
2. A four Letter Word: arch
3. A boy's Name: Alvin
4. A girl's Name: Audrey
5. An occupation: author
6. A color: apple green
7. Something you wear: A-line dress
8. A food: avocado
9. Something found in the bathroom: antibiotic cream
10. A place: art studio
11. A reason for being late: adding a row to a quilt!
12. Something you shout: Ahoy!
13. A movie title: Arthur
14. Something you drink: absinthe
15. A musical group: ABBA
16. An animal: anteater
17. A book title: Anne of Green Gables
18. A country: Australia (where I want to go!)
19. A city: Agoura (in my county)
20. Something you value or believe: adventurousness

A Beginning

I am plunging into this blogging world after enjoying reading so many wonderful quilters' blogs for the past several months. What an inspiring place to spend time (and boy, have I). The first blog I read was from Bonnie Hunter's Quiltville website and I think I was at that site for about three hours the first visit!

First, a little about the name of my blog: an "ort" is a scrap, and I love scrap quilts. I also love words, having made my living by spelling for the past 20 years as a medical transcriptionist. So combining that often-found-in-a-crossword-clue plus quilt equals Annie's Quilt Orts.

Next, a little about me: I've been married 24 years this month to a true "keeper" of a man, and we have a young man and two young women (they can't be called children if they are all over 18, can they?) I have been machine sewing since I was 11 and quilting became my prominent hobby about ten years ago. Before that I spent most of my sewing time making clothing for my family and others, including a few wedding and bridesmaid dresses, costumes, prom and cotillion dresses, and all kinds of home sewing. I belong to a Yahoo group called Quiltbuddies and have done annual block swaps and some strip swaps with this lovely group of ladies from all over the country and four corners of the globe.

Finally, my goals with this blog: sharing my passion for fabric, quilting and sewing!