Showing posts from January, 2011

Design Wall Monday--Jan 31, 2011

I made it for this week's Design Wall by the skin of my teeth!  The entire weekend was taken up by the #6 UFO Challenge project's quilting and binding.  I'm thrilled to say I've finished it and will be posting pics on my page and linking to Judy's blog directly.  Yay!  Anticpation now for the next number drawn... Yesterday I showed this photo of the Brown Bag Quilt Contest fabrics I got from my swap partner along with the pattern I've chosen and a blue dot I pulled for sashing: Then I re-read the contest rules and it said I could add whatever percentage I wanted to these fabrics.  I decided this grouping has a garden/flower theme and pulled some like fabrics from my stash to add punches of color and contrast to the soft blues.  I love the stripe and it will make a nice bias binding, just as Heather Mulder Peterson (the pattern designer) uses so often.  I think a black sashing will be better over the blue dot.  Now I'll have more direction for my search f

Brown Bag Quilt Contest

A few months ago I joined the Brown Bag Quilt Contest.   There were some administrative problems and some delay in matching up swap partners, but I was so happy to finally receive notification that a match had been made.  Though I picked my fabric to swap out, getting to the post office seemed to be a big problem for me between the holidays, my two jobs and getting ready for Erica's move this month.  However, I got a big kick in the pants last week when a package arrived from my swap partner.  Inside were these soft blue lovelies.  The rules of the contest are that you are to use 90% of the Brown Bag contents and can add any percentage you like of fabric from your own stash, as well as one newly purchased fabric.  I like this quilt on the left from the book I just got called Livin Large, by Heather Mulder Peterson.  It is called Sunday Picnic.  The book is based on precuts such as layer cakes, so the blocks start as 9 3/4" squares cut into triangles and sashing added.  It i


We took my mother in law out to dinner the other night for a birthday celebration--she will be 92 on Saturday.  Frances is very mobile and though she is getting forgetful about some things, she says she only noticed that "since she's been 91".  We ran into an old friend of ours at the restaurant, who met Frances and told her that her own granny had lived to be 99 and 1/2, and was healthy up until the end.  Frances said, "Well, I only have eight more years to go!"  Too funny.  Here's Grant with his mom last August. On another note, DD Elaine, who reads my blog regularly, complained that "there were never any fun facts about her in Tuesday's Orts".  So, look for something special next week, my dear! There has been no crafting this week due to late nights at work and just being too tired, and I'm beginning to get a bit cranky.  Last night I required retail therapy on the way home from work and found Kohl's to be nearly deserted, so th

Tuesday's Orts--Jan 25, 2011

Today's orts will be short and sweet--I'm late to work at Job #2! It was fun to read all the responses to my Bullseye bargain shopping post.  I wonder how many quilters I have just infected with that new source of fabric hunting sickness? A neighbor of ours went to a taping of the Jay Leno show recently and the new American Idol judges were the guests.  She reported that Steven Tyler had about four assistants rush out at every break to fluff up his hair.  Too funny! My sister was going through the drive-thru line at a fast food restaurant that was being remodeled and  noticed a handwritten sign posted to apologize for the hassle.  It read: "Sorry for the Unconvince".  Yeah, my sister was unconvinced that anyone literate wrote the sign. Traffic rant:  Oh, the fun of driving behind someone unflappably keeping their speed 10-15 miles an hour below the speed limit, totally oblivious to the 4 or 5 irritated people behind them.  Even worse: Then turning onto a two lane

Design Wall Monday--Jan 24, 2011

Not much to show on my Design Wall but there is something this week, as opposed to last! The first few rows of the Kitchen Sink quilt.  It is coming together nicely. Saturday I pinned the Comfort Zone quilt with my mom's help.  It is great to have a quilting assistant.  Thanks, Mom!  Now I have to come up with a quilting plan and get this finished in the next week.  I already know I have no appropriate thread to use so it's back to the fabric store for me. Oh darn. This time when we set up the folding tables we propped them up with two pavers under each leg, raising the level of the tables by about 5 inches to a height of 34 inches, which is standard kitchen countertop height.  Working on a table instead of the living room floor required about the same amount of setup time (i.e., getting the tables/pavers from the backyard shed versus moving furniture and rolling up a big rug) and was so much easier on backs, knees and necks!  Go to Judy's Patchwork Times blog to see ot


I love a bargain, and that store with the red bullseye as its logo is one of my favorites to find them in.  Being a textile lover, the towels and linens section always beckons.  All those yummy textures and colors and prints.  Like an addict needing a fix, I can't resist the fabric in those aisles that stretch from kitchen towels to embroidered pillows, cotton sheets, quilted throws, and even shower curtains.  Yes, shower curtains.  I came home with three of those tonight for the miserly sum of less than $15.00  Check it out: Won't this make a great quilt backing? At 72" x 72", that is four yards of nice quality 100% cotton fabric for $3.74.  This one with the letters was definitely irresistible to me, a WORD girl.  Did I ever mention before that I was on Wheel of Fortune years ago? Four yards of modern looking printed 100% cotton fabric for $4.24.  This is the only shower curtain that is actually going to be used for that. Originally $25, I paid $6.24.  Amazin

UFO and Other Progress

I'm all ready to put together the quilt sandwich for #6 on the UFO Challenge list, my Comfort Zone quilt: That striped fabric is the backing, pieced and trimmed to size.  The binding is made and I've got batting too.  Now to rent time in my mom's studio and her tables so I don't have to crawl around on the floor while pinning. Other progress was the completion of one of the embroideries for the pillow fronts for Erica, and starting the second.  Two more to do after that. The printed fabric will be the back of the pillows so they will be reversible. I love all the colors in this fabric Erica picked out.  My brother and SIL generously left two couches in the guest house for Erica to use and the pillows will look nice against the creamy off white slipcovers. Crate and Barrel had reasonably priced feather/down pillow inserts.  I ordered six and they came in a huge box with all this bubble wrap, cushioning PILLOWS.  Pretty funny!

Tuesday's Orts--Jan 18, 2011

January is speeding by awfully fast!  Today's orts are quite a mix... Human beings are not made to sit for excessively long periods.  So says my tailbone, which is sore from intensive sewing/quilting sessions and two 8 hour road trips in two days. Erica's heavy social calendar, especially the last few weeks before her move, will probably be the hardest adjustment for her to make.  Next will be getting a job, as she has been unemployed for several weeks, having quit her jobs in preparation for the move.  Her dad was casually mentioning to the clerk at the hotel upon checking out that we just moved our daughter to AZ and she needed to find a job.  The clerk said they needed help there, immediately, as two people had recently left and a third had given two weeks notice, and handed Grant a business card.  You never know what a little idle conversation can turn up.  What is it about traveling that tires you out?  You are often just sitting but as soon as you get to your destinati

A Finish for Erica

My first finish of 2011!  Stitching the binding down took a great deal of time, mostly because of the polyester suede-like material being very bulky and thick and certainly not taking a crease.  It was cut 4 inches wide per the pattern instructions, so that was a lot more fabric to deal with.  I started out with a bigger hand needle but was glad I had run back in the house at the last minute and grabbed my pincushion, as I found a smaller needle in it that worked with much more ease.  Wish I'd had a thimble too!  Stitching took place in the van, in the hotel room after dinner until I could not keep my eyes open by 10:45, and then again for a couple of hours the next morning, and continued after checkout and breakfast at my brother's.   While stitching, my SIL Laura and I talked quilting.  I love that!  Her most recent finish was this cross quilt: Laura saw a similar cross quilt on Sew Mama Sews blog and dug in her stash to make her version.  She just made blocks until she thou

Speed Trip

We have returned, tired and bleary eyed, and me with a sore stitching finger... Friday night found me sewing late into the night by machine, finishing up the last of the border work.  I scrapped the stencil/free motion quilting for something much simpler but still time consuming, cross hatching. After repeated thread breakage, lumps on the back, more skipped stitches and frustration, I determined the cause of all my problems was cheap needles.  Months ago I found packs of EZ Quilting machine needles for a song at Tuesday Morning.  Though they were the same length as my other machine needles, the eye of the needle was lower on some and this caused my bobbin thread to be pulled up incorrectly.  I threw all of them away after switching to my only "good" needle in the house!  The binding got machine sewn on before I crashed for the night at 1:00 AM with a wake up call set for 5:30 AM. We headed out by 6:30 and had an easy drive through L.A.  Spotted some lovely snow capped mou

Off to Arizona

The time has come--too early, but we're heading out the door.  The cargo van is packed and the cat has been sedated.  I'll be stitching the binding down on the quilt on the way!  More soon...


So a couple of nights ago son Nick complained of feeling warm.  He did have a hot forehead and sore throat.  I told him to take Advil and drink fluids and go to bed, thinking it was a viral thing.  We made a trip to the Urgent Care on the following evening, however, as he was boiling hot, had slept all day with nothing to eat, and the back of his throat was a mess by my flashlight inspection.  He could hardly swallow from the pain. Luckily, with the new laws, we were able to put both our older kids back on Grant's company insurance plan so it was only $40 copay at the Urgent Care.  We were also fortunate to have missed the backlog of patients that had just cleared, it being 9:00 PM at that point. I spotted the doctor on duty from the front counter--lo and behold, my old family physician since I was a new baby!  He had taken care of my own family, including Nick.  Dr. P recognized me too.  He said he loved to work in reply to my question as to why he hadn't retired, and the re

Tuesday's Orts--Jan 11, 2011

1/11/11, another fun calendar date!  Today's orts are accompanied by windy, wintry weather... The national weather extremes listed in my local paper had Mammoth Lakes, California at minus 22 degrees as the lowest low one morning last week.  The next morning the national low was in Minnesota at minus 23 degrees, back where it belongs, as I told my husband! I bought some blueberry bagels at the grocery store last Friday and put them in the pantry with the loaves of sourdough and wheat I also purchased.  I could smell them every time I opened up the pantry door and even when I didn't.  On Sunday when Grant was making a sandwich with the wheat bread, he said it tasted like blueberry, which didn't go very well with his tuna.  Looking at the package, it read "naturally and ARTIFICIALLY flavored".  Ahh, mystery solved.  The bagels were pulled out of the pantry and relegated to the top of the fridge.  Much better. Son Nick calls his dad the Grant Mouse.  Being very pol

Design Wall Monday--Jan 10, 2011

There's again nothing on my design wall, as I have spent the weekend wrestling with Erica's quilt, trying to get it finished by the 14th. Saturday's job was to stitch arcs around each of the large triangles on the border's inner side: That part did not go too badly.  I used the walking foot and just marked the center of the arc with a pin, aiming to curve at midpoint.  There was quilt pushing and shoving required but since the stitching was all at the edge, it was not too much of an upper body workout. Sunday's job was much harder--completing all the stippling in the white sections.  Nightmare!  The top thread must have broken at least 40 times, I ran out of bobbin thread multiple other times, broke a needle once, and changed the needle size once.   About three times I had to stop and clean the bobbin case of fuzz.  Skipped stitches were occurring repeatedly until I removed the Supreme Slider.  Not sure why that was a problem, maybe I was just trying to move t