Sunday, February 27, 2011

Not about Quilting

Kevin's shingles are healing and he is not contagious to anyone any more, so we followed through with our scheduled dinner last night.  I try to keep the meal simple enough so that I can enjoy visiting as much as everyone else.  Crockpots make this easier.  I made stew.  One pot was chicken stew and the other was beef stew.  Sadly, I have to report that while getting the right size pots out I broke out the bottom of my favorite 4 quart crock. (I did cry!)  Back to the stews...They must have been well received because there was very little leftover.  The beer batter biscuits disappeared as well.
The dessert was a new one and so delicious.  Banana Foster Tart.  Having lived in New Orleans I had experienced this dessert on several occasions and have thought of it several time since, but I was sure it was more of a delicacy than I would be able to concoct.  Believe me it is going into the keep and remake file.  SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO TASTY and decadent.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Binding Attached, Playing Begun

I promised myself that I would finish the binding on the 4 Seasons quilt this morning and then clean up. I am pleased to announce that I got it done by 9:30 AM.  Once the hand sewing is done on the binding I will post a photo.  For a first effort in SID on a large quilt, I am pleased.

Of course once I had it all folded and packed for travel, I got sidetracked and decided to experiment with making my own cup sleeve.  I have more strips and leftover binding than anyone can imagine, so that was a quick part.  I have collected a number of the coffee store paper sleeves and even someone's tracing.  I used all of them to decide what shape I needed and then did it my way.  There is no Velcro or any other means to attach the edges because I like simple, so this sleeve has to be made to fit my glasses.  I will make more in the near future but not today.  This one is going to wing its way to my sister Becky with the hope that it will fit a ceramic coffee glass that she made a while back.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Final Thoughts for Today

I really did not think I would finish quilting all the blocks on the 4 Season's quilt, today, but I came up with a more organized plan for quilting each block and it really sped up my quilting.  As I told you, the quilt seemed tremendously large and hard to manipulate on the domestic machine. The SID is not perfect, but then as I stitched I also noticed how many of my points were off.  Obviously this is go to be a warm, comfy quilt rather than a show quilt, but that is the kind I love most.  In the morning I will SID around the inner border, trim it, and add the binding.  I love it when I get to this point.  The end is in sight and I like the way it looks.

Tonight we are going to watch a movie and I will finish up the application of the 5 ornaments.  The tend to blend into the quilt a little, but I think that will make it more fund for my grandchildren.  I have 5 grandchildren, so they will like knowing that I was thinking of them while I worked on this quilt. 

I has been another productive and wonderful day!

Thursday Goals

Besides the 6-month visit to the dentist, I am going to be sewing.  My goal is to quilt at least 6 of the 9 remaining blocks today.   The quilting of each block took me about 40 minutes yesterday, but I think I finally have a stategy that will speed the process. Then, tonight I plan to finish appliquing the ornaments on my Christmas quilt.  Because I want to have both of these quilts ready to take along for hand stitching of the binding, I have to really focus today.

My husband finished all 30 of his large 16 patch blocks yesterday.  He has been careful to trim all the threads, press the seams with care, and do a pretty good job of matching all the corners. 12 of them have embroidered animals in the middle instead of 4 of the patches (The embroidered squares have a little pull in them, but his dad made them with love, so he will work with them -  He said the fit in because they will be part of a "loving quilt".  He is going to try and have it all put together in the next few days, including the border.  He said he thinks that I want to do the quilting, but we will see.  My schedule is full, but I like to keep him inspired.  lol

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I did it!

My goal for this day was to quilt four more of the blocks in the 5 Seasons quilt that I made with my FIL.  It is 5:12 PM and I have reached my goal.  I have 11 done.  That means there are only 9 more plus the inner and other border to do with the SSOITD (stitch-sort-of-in-the-ditch)  This quilt is far too large for me to handle easily in my domestic machine, but I thought it might be better for SID than on the longarm.  Fortunately the thread tends to blend in and as my husband calls these quilts - loving quilts, it is just fine with me.  I will try to do something more on this tonight be cause the ultimate goal is to complete the hand sewing on the binding within the next week.

While I have been working on mine he has continued to work on his own quilt.  Because he has shingles he can't do lots of his normal things, like go to work in a uniform (belt rubs on the shingles).  He has been handling work stuff over the phone and computer since nobody cares that he wears sweats if they don't see them.  He has some big pains in some areas so he sews a little, works a little, and then takes naps.  He does not know how to just sit still, except when he is reading and he tends to rest his book at his waist, so....

He has not lost his edge, though.  He has won 3 of 4 cribbage games in the last two days.  That means I have lost 3 of 4.  Not complaining though because I just like to spend time with him.

The Four Seasons Challenge

I have done a few smaller quilts using SITD on my domestic, but this is the first full size and probably the last!  It seems to take forever to do one block and there are 20 to do.  Wish I could say that all the stitches are hidden, but I am going to let some of that slide and just "get it done."  It is 8:55 AM and I am just about finished with the 7th block.  I am posting this right now so that I will feel accountable to report in later today.  I have a couple of small errands to do, but no snow to shovel, so I am setting a goal of completing 4 more blocks today.  Before the weekend comes, I plan to have it finished and have the binding attached so that it can be stitched down on our next car trip.  It is one of my UFO projects for guild. 

My UFO goal for the month had been to finish the quilt that Jamie and I were each making, but I decided that I needed to deal with some that would ultimately give me binding to do on our adventures.  I also have a queen size Christmas quilt that my FIL and I worked on together, and I got it quilted early this week and have attached and hand sewn 2 sides of the binding.  I have 7 round ornament appliques that I plan to add, as well.   I just keep plugging away.  No new quilts planned for me but have a customer quilt (one from start to finish) that needs to get going next week.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Heart String Blocks, Banana Bread, and MORE SNOW

6 x10 rectangles
6 x 6 with a 2 1/2 " border

juvenile prints 50 x70

2 Quilts of Valor and 1 for a women's shelter

6 x10 rectangles

All of the 50 x 70 size quilts were put together at our sewing day.  The 6 x 6 with the green dotted centers needs to have the binding added.  The rectangular block quilts are not finished but wanted to share.  There are a number of others that need just a couple more blocks or borders, and then there are some that are only halfway there.  I believe that 9 tops went home with members to be finished.  One lady called to tell me she was going to put her top together today since it was snowing and she needed to be doing something.  Hope that holds for several others, too.  Guess you can already figure out that I will have a number of quilts to quilt in the next few weeks.  Love doing these!

I spent the morning repacking all the semi-completed quilt tops and putting all the other things that I took to the sewing day back in their places.  I followed that up by making some delicious banana bread using my mom's recipe. 

As we finished lunch the snow plows went by in each direction so I headed out to clear away the snow.  My guess is that we had 13-15 inches total, but then it is snowing again, so...  While I was clearing the snow (already had cleared the snow the plow had added to the driveway) the plow made one more pass on our side of the street and re-filled my driveway.  The driver did smile and look a little guilty, but I am still glad I had cleared the first bunch because the second was just as large a pile.  Kevin came out and supervised, so I think he is feeling a little better. 

Now we are back inside.....had a hot drink and a slice of banana bread while we warmed up.  The laundry is almost done and I am going to get back to quilting the queen size Christmas quilt.  Hope to have it done today so that I can attach the binding and do the hand sewing while we watch a movie tonight.  It is just one of those cozy kind of days.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sunday Fun

We are in the middle of a large snow storm.  In years past I would not have thought about it in terms of how much I would have to shovel, but this year has been much different. We have had lots of snow and my husband has been doing a great deal of traveling so I have been perfecting my skills. However, this time my husband is home, but he has a bad case of shingles, so I am doing it my way, and he is watching from the window.(It is "killing" him to just watch.)  Tonight I used the snow blower to clear the first part of the storm.  With all the blowing, there were many large drifts.  Some were taller than the top of the snow blower, but since we have experienced lots of melting it was easy enough to get the snow over the top of the old snow piles.  When I just checked out the window, there is some evidence that I shoveled, but there is quite a bit of fresh snow waiting for me to deal with in the morning.  I really do love snow, but I am beginning to think that spring could come sooner rather than later.

Because of the impending snow, I went to church last night.  Today, besides the shoveling, has been spent loading a Christmas quilt and reorganizing my Heart String boxes.  Yesterday's sew-in was well worth the efforts, but there is always the need to reorganize things and set up things so that I can do the quilting.  I have been very busy trimming blocks and counting how many more are needed to complete the unfinished quilts.  As always, it amazes me that we accomplished so much and had so much fun doing it.

Although he would not consider complaining, my husband is not good at just sitting no matter how he feels so after several hours on his laptop and a few games of cribbage with me, he decided he would have to do something.  That is how both of his other quilts started.  This time we were sort of prepared for him to begin because we had created an EQ design using fabric from my stash and 12 embroidered blocks created by my father-in-law on his embroidery machine.  There were lots of 5" squares already cut, so it took us less than 1/2 and hour to make enough for the remainder of the king-sized quilt.  He made 8 - 16 patch blocks and is set up to make the others over the next few days.  Thank goodness he actually came up with something to do that can occupy him while he heals.

Maybe tomorrow I will start by making banana bread. Then I will workout with all the shoveling followed by quilting and cribbage. As Always, I am counting my blessings and playing the "glad game" just like Pollyanna.  Hope all is well in your worlds.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Interesting, Very Interesting!

We travelled to South Dakota this week to do some preliminary house hunting. Travelling to and from I did the hand binding on two Quilts of Valor.  We also found time to have a few meals, snacks, and conversations with family and friends. 
We met with the agent early on Tuesday and then drove around the area looking at how much the area and changed and at the same time stayed the same.  On Wednesday we saw five properties that offered some possibilities, but we do have hobbies that require dedicated spaces.
  • Obviously, I quilt and have a longarm that needs to have lots of space, and if I play it right, I hope to have others share my space at times to quilt with me.  That means one large open space with room for all, but I want it to be a dedicated space so that it can always be ready for me to take a spin on the machines.
  • Kevin does woodworking such as large pieces of furniture, bowl turning, etc.  He needs a dedicated space as much as I do.  His needs to be insulated, dry, warm or cool depending on the season, and very spacious so he does not always have to rearrange to use all his large tools.
Beyond that we want both a family room and a living/reading room, master bedroom, 3 other bedrooms and more than 2 bathrooms.  And if possible, more than an acre or two of land is desirable.  Aren't we hard to please?  Kevin insists that we also have a kitchen so we can mainly eat at home, but I told him a few plug-ins for crockpots might be just fine. (He laughed, but I think he still sees the kitchen as a necessary requirement.) 

We looked at five properties.  All had some great features, some had some disturbing features, and all seemed to be lacking studio space or woodworking space.  The agent promises to keep looking.  We have a few months before we have to be really serious about our choices.  If we find a great place that can easily have an additon added, we might go that route.  A little remodeling is okay, but I don't look forward to any of the all-out messes we have fixed up in the past.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Week in Review

A lot of my spare thinking time has been focused on what comes after my husband retires from the Navy.  We are trusting in the Lord to help us make the right decisions, so I don't try to worry into the future or about the past, but I am dreaming of lots of things we could do and also thinking about the things we won't need to do any more.  Time for another life changing/enhancing adventure for us.

Somehow, we managed to squeeze in a trip to see all five of our grandchildren and of course their parents.  My third grandchild was celebrating his 2 birthday.  What a wild and wonderful weekend!  The bright green frosting was a sight to behold considering that all but the youngest was sporting lots of it as we ate.

Last night we had dinner for nine.  We always try to make it something uncomplicated but fun.  I made two offerings that could be combined to fit each person's taste.  I made pulled pork for sandwiches and I also made lots of baked potatoes in the crockpot and had a baked potato bar with lots of fixings.  Then served rhubarb/strawberry cake and my husband's rum cake.  No one left the table hungry, and the potatoes were excellent!!! (Never tried the crockpot way before.)

That being said, lets talk quilting.
  • I have been very busy with the time consuming task of making more kits for HeartStrings so that we will have plenty of kits for our sewing day.  I put together far more than we will use in one day, but I used up all the donated fabrics and fabrics I was willing to sacrifice from my own stash.  Cutting the foundations and centers did seem to go pretty quickly, though, probably because I have had so much experience that I know the best ways for me to get the most from the yardage.  No more of this kind of kitting until I have moved and gotten settled.  Therefore, I found someone else that is willing to take donated fabrics and carry on the efforts in this guild.
  • Sharon and I also took some of the other donated fabric and created some fun scrappy kits that will eventually be stitched, quilted and given to those that need special hugs just like all the other HeartStrings quilts.
  • I have not touched my star quilt this week because of lots of other things, but I did purchase the backing and the 2" Tangles that I need to finish the sashing. 
  • The extra large queen size quilt I am making for a customer is not actually started, but I have almost all the fabrics needed to complete the top.  It will be a beautiful quilt even though there are 90 of the same block.  There are about 20 different prints in what I refer to as garden cottage colors.  It is on the calendar to begin next Friday.
  • I have quilted 3 more HeartStrings Quilts of Valor and will be attaching the binding on 2 today, which will give me some hand sewing to do in the car, etc.  The other one's binding is at Sharon's house and she is going to handle that task. 
  • Saturday I participated in a Quilts of Valor sewing day sponsored by our guild.  One of our members created kits using EQ to design simple, eye-pleasing quilts.  Another member helped with all the cutting and bagging.  Fun day.
  • Today I am going to work on the 4 Seasons quilt.  It is going to be done with simple stitch-in-the-ditch because I want Dad's embroidery and their settings to be the most important part of this quilt.  I don't think it will be finished today, but my goal of getting it completely finished by the end of February is truly attainable.
Better sign off and get crack-a-lacking, or I will never finish what I have set out to do.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


My husband and I have spent a good chunk of our married life moving all over the country as a military family.  Now we are headed for his retirement and a move back to South Dakota (We think.)  We have talked of many options but one that has appeared several times is the idea of opening a retreat lodge where we could both put our passions to work and also spend time offering a place where people could come to relax, read, quilt, do woodworking, visit with a few others, find space to have personal quiet time, and maybe go hunting in season.  It could be a time for a friends' get away, or even a great couple's week or weekend.
  • I have been quilting for many years and consider myself the type of person who will provide positive support and insights for newer quilters, while learning from those who want to come and share the experience.  I also have a HQ16 that I use to quilt for several customers and have also taught several of my friends to use to quilt charity quilts.
  • My husband makes beautiful arts and crafts furniture and does lots of turned work, as well.  When he builds a piece of furniture for our home, he considers how it will be use in our situation and customizes the size and interior to fit our needs.
  • We both value time spent reading, talking, relaxing with friends, and taking time to be still and reflect on our blessings.
  • We would locate our lodge somewhere near Sioux Falls.
If you have any thoughts please feel free to share them.  We are thinking about lots of other options, as well, but thought my readers might just have some opinions that would help us with our thoughts.

Friday, February 4, 2011

11, but not really!

I finished 3 blocks this morning.  Two were spot on at 9 1/2 x 9 1/2, then I hung the 3rd one.  It measures 9x9.  How could that be?  Well, I did not reset the needle position so my seams are all larger.  How could I have missed it?  It was going together so nicely, that I was kind of lost in oblivion.  Fortunately there were enough leftovers for me to cut out another one to be sewn later today.  Love my new Bernina 440QE but have not learned to a flight check before take off.  (Wait, maybe I have at this point!)  May frame this one to remind me to always do a pre-flight check.  lol

Thursday, February 3, 2011


Finished 4 more today.  Had lots of trouble with one, but after remaking a second time and having the same problem decided that I would keep this one and see if there is any of the green left over when I finish the last 4 blocks.  Should be able to finish these before the weekend.
Have to buy more Tangles for the finishing stars.  I affectionately call them ninja stars but they are more commonly know as friendship stars. 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Very Special UFO

My daughter gave this Buck-A-Block quilt kit to me as a gift.  The plan was/is for both of us to be making the same quilt blocks and following the same directions to get there.  After making the first block, each following month when I received a block I promptly put it with its friends.  I was kind of focused on other things that were already in the works.  However, I decided that this was one UFO I was going to finish this year and this is the month.  There are 12 main blocks that are all stars made with Tangles.  Then there will be a large sashing that includes smaller 4 pointed stars.  When finished the quilt should measure 63 x 78.

I have only used Tangles a few times in the past and have somewhat perfected my own HST blocks, but I want to follow the pattern as directed.  So far, so good.  I will probably make at least one more block today.  Then I have a good chunk of time to work on them on Thursday and Friday.  My goal is to get this one completely finished and bound before our March guild meeting.  With all the unrelated events that seems to be happening this month (quilt show workshops, grandson's b-day, house hunting, taxes, charity projects, etc.), I am going to have to really focus on these, but I am determined.