Thursday, April 30, 2009

Another Giveaway

There is another giveaway over at Magnoliabay Quilts. The winner gets a copy of her book on making scrap quilts out of 2.5 inch strips. The quilt on the cover is beautiful. If you tell her I sent you I get an extra entry in the drawing. I shouldn't be greedy though, as I've already won a giveaway this week. Isn't blogging fun?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

April Finish

I just finished up the binding on the Welcome quilt. It still wants a label but is proudly hanging in the front foyer. Nancy Hasn't posted a UFO yet for May, so I'll have to assess and think about what is next. I still need to put the words into the Starlight quilt and I have some more happy blocks to make for a sample quilt for the Girl Scout meeting. I've still got the Double Delight out waiting patiently for borders. Hmm, that sounds like enough to keep my busy for a month without a new UFO to add.
Sydney wanted this quilt to be hers. She says it's OK if I make her another as long as it has a curved edge with different colors. She would also like some of the purple sparkly fabric that was in the doll quilt I made this weekend and maybe some flowers like the ones in the corners, but with purple. I guess it is good that she knows what she wants.

I won the giveaway that Amanda was having for her 200th post!! Make sure you go visit. It is so fun to win something. I don't even know what I've won but I'm still happy thinking of little goodies in the mail. Thanks so much Amanda, not only for having a giveaway, but also for having a blog and leaving such nice comments for us all.

Meeting Goals

I am so glad that I decided to do one UFO a month this year. Having a simple concrete goal has really kept me on track. I usually choose to put too much on the "to do" list and then end up getting overwhelmed and ignoring it completely. By choosing a manageable goal, I'm getting more done and I am happier with the results. Yesterday I looked at the calendar and realized April was almost over. So today I sat down and sewed on the binding for Welcome, my April UFO. The hand stitching remains, but I'm sitting down to do that now. Kurt is schmoozing clients for dinner so I'll put something mindless on TV and get it all stitched up soon enough.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Theme Park Day

Today we went to Orlando to use our annual passes for Universal Studios. We showed up right at opening and walked on to every ride with no wait. We did every ride the kids wanted to do, most of them twice, and were done before it started to get crowded around lunch time. It was an absolutely perfect day. We grabbed lunch on the way home and then had lovely afternoon naps all around. I'm sure we'll go back at some point to do the other park, the nice thing about passes is that there is no pressure to get it all in.

After my little snooze, I got the scallops marked on my welcome quilt and cut out the bias strips. Tonight is pizza night, so we are watching Ironman and hanging out as a family. I need to grade some tests before tomorrow so I'm not sure how much further I'll get tonight. I'm hoping for a calm week at work so I can continue to putter along. I think I've managed to put my work worries away, at least mentally. I think it has all been taken out of my hands and I can get back to life as usual.

Oh -- I just saw that Cornfield Quilter is having a giveaway for her 200th post. Go over and say "HI"

Saturday, April 25, 2009


I have scalloped. My edge isn't perfect, but I think it is acceptable. I am ready to attempt binding my Welcome quilt. Probably not tonight, 'cause we are theme parking it tomorrow and I need to get a good nights sleep.

Two New Toys

I stopped on the way home from work yesterday to pick up a new iron. They were on sale at Joann's for $20 off. I didn't get the top of the line, but it seems pretty good, and it even has a retractable chord. I think they should make more appliances with retractable chords. Then when I got home, my birthday/anniversary present was waiting. It's not my birthday/anniversary until next month, but Kurt was in need of a new phone and ordered us both new iPhones. Mine is white and his is black. So obviously, last night was spent playing with both of my new toys. I've downloaded some cool apps and organized my songs and basically had all sorts of fun. It was a nice diversion after a painfully bad day at work. I'm trying to delete it all from my memory and move on with my life. Deep breath.... moving on.

I whipped up this little doll quilt in order to practice doing a scalloped border before I attempt finishing my welcome quilt. Today I will learn something new! I hope it will all work out well.
This afternoon the Girl Scouts are going ice skating and if all goes well I will have a quilt to finish and an iPhone full of new games to play while they skate. Not a bad day at all. I'm feeling better already.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


I'm sure you are all getting good and tired of seeing this quilt by now. But, as one of my running partners says, I'm terribly chuffed with myself. I've just finished the quilting on the Welcome quilt -- simple diagonal grid in the center and wavy lines flowing around the letters outside. My machine was acting up a bit and skipping stitches. She's due for her well baby exam soon, I'm sure that will fix it. Next on the agenda (deep breath) is attempting a scalloped border. I'm terrified of messing it all up, but I have scallops in my head and want to give it a shot. I think I'll save it until tomorrow, because the first step is to cut bias strips, and that might require some planning and organization. I saw the quilt in a day lady do a thing with freezer paper cut to the right size and then folded again and again to make a template. I think I'll try that to get the spacing just right. Then she marked it with a sharpie marker, and I'm not brave enough to try that.
Ooops, I forgot to mention that Amanda is having a giveaway for her 200th post. Go over and check it out. Leave her a comment and tell her I said "Hi".

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Welcome Flimsy

I have officially gotten my Welcome quilt to the flimsy stage! (For my non-quilter friends, that is the un-quilted top.) I sincerely hope that I didn't misspell anything else. It's all fastened down now, so it would take some work to undo. There are some potential backing fabrics auditioning on the family room floor right now. I went crazy buying this fabric for my Elm Creek Sampler quilt, so there were plenty to choose from. I added in some fat quarters that I won in a giveaway a tiny bit ago, and I think they mix together happily. The tub isn't even close to empty yet, so I'm thinking of adding in some of the lights and putting a wonky log cabin on the someday list. I am patting myself on the back for starting this one and getting it to this stage in just 20 days. Thanks to Patchwork Penguins UFO challenge, I'm doing well on my list. I guess spring break had something to do with my success, but I'm still smiling from ear to ear.
I just got back from the Girl Scout SUM (service unit meeting). I dropped off my Buttons and Bowties quilt for donation. It was my March UFO and I just never quite liked the color combinations on that one. It was much easier to say goodbye to that one than the Scrappy Irish Chain last month. I worked forever on that one as leaders and enders and was super happy with how it turned out. I need to start thinking about the Happy Blocks project again and try to put something together before the next SUM which is the last before summer. I got some more of the sock monkey fabric in from Fat Quarter Shop, so I should be able to put a sample together to show everyone the plan. After I come up with a plan of course.
OK, I just spent half an hour putting in all those links. Somebody please follow them so I don't feel like I've shamelessly squandered my time:). Fringe is on TV and I watched a Hulu marathon of it this weekend. I had never seen it before then, but now I'm feeling attached to the characters. I think I'll watch while I plan out the Welcome Back and scrounge for some batting. Happy Tuesday everyone. It's almost hump day.


Late night quilting can be hazardous to your sanity. I should have gone to bed last night instead of trying to connect the letters to my quilt. I didn't do any ironing thankfully, because when I looked at the photo I had snapped, I realized that welcome had a few extra letters. Unlike the time I put the "A" backwards in the Yes We Can quilt, I didn't attatch it. I did however, take it as a sign to call it quits and head to bed for the night. Dyslexics of the world untie!
Grades are due today and it is the first day of gymnastics for Sydney. Maybe tonight I can commit to these letters and get them attached so I can layer the quilt. I'm a little anxious to see how the quilting process will work with the fusible. Maybe I'll just quilt around the letters? Amy has finished up yet another quilt and her beautiful work has inspired me to get this one checked off the list.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Girl Scout Monday

Tonight was the night for our Girl Scout Troop to take a tour of the pet shop.

Look at the adorable hats we got.

We worked on our Caring for Animals Badge. The ladies who work at the store did a very nice job of telling us about all of the different animals and what kind of care each needed. The girls were so excited to hold and pet all of the animals.

I had a little time last night to work and started putting together the letters for Star light Star bright. Looking at the photo, the top of the second S seems to have disappeared. I still need to make two more blocks for the bottom. I'm always surprised at how long a twin sized quilt is. This will be another donation quilt, so it needs to be the right size. I want to spend a few minutes puttering away at the welcome quilt, but I need to get to bed early. I've been up until midnight too many evenings recently and I am in serious pain from lack of sleep. I even tried to take a nap this afternoon, but Sydney prevented that from happening. I spent all afternoon at school finishing up grades and preparing for an electrophoresis lab tomorrow. The kids are all counting down the days, so getting anything done is like pushing jello up a hill.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


The pineapple quilt was destined for the front foyer, therefore it has evolved into the welcome quilt. It says welcome in English, Hawaiian, Irish, Japanese, French and Kiribati. I think it still needs a skinny bias strip and maybe the English welcome needs to be bigger. I haven't fastened anything down yet. It started as applique, but I decided to cheat and use fusible. I used my scrapbooking sizzix to cut out the letters. I have gotten more use out that thing than you can imagine. I even used it to cut fruit roll ups to decorate a birthday cake one year. I really hate fusible, but I spent an hour preparing the first flower and decided I needed to finish more than I needed to create delicate needle turn. This is supposed to be my April project after all. I'm still pondering the scalloped border. I'll get that figured out before I start ironing. Speaking of ironing, mine burned out last night. I guess I do more ironing than an average person, but it wasn't all that old. A leg fell off the barbeque grill today and the chlorine generator for the pool just got replaced. Groups of three right? I should be in the clear now.

Wonky Options

I sashed out the wonky stars to make them all fit together, but decided that I needed to either make more blocks or add something else. Having the attention span I do, I opted to add some wonky letters. To follow the star block theme I decided on "Star light, star bright". Initially I thought I would add the words to the border, but then I decided to replace individual blocks to spread them through the quilt. Of course when I got them done, they were too big to fit in a single block, so I had to come up with another plan B. My issue with the border plan is that I always get caught with wrapping words on the bottom -- do you wrap them upside down, or leave them right side up and wreck the flow? Maybe I should start on the right and leave the bottom empty? So please look at my two pictures while mentally filling in the missing blocks.

I need some feedback about which plan is better: option A --wrap around border, option B - in the middle. I'm having way too much fun playing with these blocks, it almost makes me forget that I have a never ending to do list that did not include this project until last night.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Happy Quilt Festival

I decided to celebrate the online Quilt Festival by making some wonky star blocks. They started with a 3.5 inch base square and then I double sewed the corners to make 2.5 and 2 inch base squares. I think I'll float all the blocks in a wide white sashing and mix all the sizes together. Another column should make it about twin sized with a dark border of some sort. I'll make a few more tomorrow I think.

This morning we ended up double booked with Ice Skating and the Cub Scout Pinewood Derby. We had to pass on the chess tournament, but it's hard to be so many places at the same time. Anna passed her test to go to the next level of skating and Ryan won in his age group at the Pinewood Derby. Even Sydney took 2nd place in the sibling division. His den took the first three places overall and will all be headed to the next level of competition. We all came home happy and spent a nice relaxing afternoon at home.
I'm supposed to run in the morning, so I'd better get some sleep before it is morning. I hope everyone else is having a happy quilt festival weekend.

Friday, April 17, 2009

My Favorite Quilt

Every time someone asks about my favorite quilt I change my mind. Amy did a poll for her 100th post quite a while ago and I chose my Road to the Marathon quilt. Now when I look back over my blog history, I really like my Elm Creek quilt. The colors are bright and happy, it reminds me of reading the books, and I love the fact that the blocks came out month by month and I followed them on a blog. That was before I had one of my own and discovered the rings of people who all kept up quilt blogs. I am still working on the hand quilting of this one. I'm not very adept at it, and I tend to avoid things that I am not confident about. It is on my list though, so it will be finished when it's number comes up. I'm off to sew something. It's Friday and I can sit at my machine without guilt. The online quilt festival is this week, so I hope you all get to spend a little time creating something.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Way Too Funny!

I put a couple of bookmarks up on my tutorials the other day. I was checking up on my bloglines just a couple of minutes ago and found a link to a much different version of a binding tutorial. I thought I'd share. It's been a tough week at work and I haven't had any time or energy for sewing. On the bright side my grades are up to date and I watched a marathon of Fringe while I was marking lab reports. I am getting addicted to Hulu. Tonight's dinner was brotoyu by the letter "S": Spaghetti, strawberries and sprite. Happy Thursday to you all. I'll be marathon sewing this weekend to make up for lost time.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Strung Out

The kids were up bright and early in search of Easter eggs and chocolate bunnies. They spent the morning playing with the kites and outside toys they found in their baskets. I know there aren't too many years left of happy surprises and willing suspension of disbelief. I'm glad that we all pretended, at least for today, that magic is still possible. Ryan especially is always quick to point out myths, but he was happy enough to play along with our little game. Sydney is still enthralled with the wonder of it all. I know it can't last much longer.

I have 2 borders anxiously waiting for me to make some decisions, but today was not a day for decisions. I felt a serious need for some mindless sewing.

After pulling out the last of the scraps from my men's shirt quilts, I decided to work on some string blocks. I was sure I had done quite a few already, but maybe they got used in the nursing home quilts? I had phone book pages conveniently stashed in the same tub as the scraps and dumped them into a happy heap on the floor before diving in and sewing myself silly. I decided to work with a simple diagonal layout and finished up a goodly number of blocks. With the one still sitting on the ironing board, it looks like about 25. I took pictures along the way thinking I might make a quick tutorial if anyone is interested.

When I got tired of making string blocks, I picked up the trimmings from those and started making crumb blocks. I kept the trash can handy, and anything that was too small ended up finally retired. It is fun to think about the evolution of these scraps. They started their life as shirts before being worked into quilts, the leavings of those turned into string quilts, and the last gasping fragments made their way into these humble little crumb blocks. Looking at the picutures, I can also see some scraps my neighbor left when she moved away and some partial blocks from Carolina Crossroads. I think that was the first of the mystery quilts that I did. These little guys got squared up to 6.5 inches. I think I will set them with a wide blue lattice and some bright red corner stones.
Ryan had a timeline project due tomorrow so we finished that up after dinner. The kids are all fast asleep already. Tomorrow it's back to the usual routine of school and work. Just 5 more weeks for me, 4 until the seniors are gone. I need to get summer camps and schedules all pinned down -- it will be here before I know it.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Easter Party

We headed off to an Easter party this afternoon, so it is obligatory to torture everyone with pictures of my kids in their new spring ensembles (mostly for my mom who loves the kids in fancy clothes). The older they get the harder it is to get them to all stand still for a group picture.
We took the no-bake strawberry pie that Judy L. had a recipe for recently. It had a little mishap during the no-baking process, but my dear husband stepped in to rescue it before I completely lost my mind. I guess these things happen when you are cooking with children, I just wish they didn't happen quite so often when I am trying to make dishes to take to someone elses house. I didn't take a picture, which is probably for the best considering what it had been through. I never got to taste it, but I heard it was pretty tasty.
My good friend Meisje has hosted this party every year since before I knew her. She makes hundreds of cascorones. Those are confetti filled eggs that you break over the heads of nearby friends or strangers.
Here she was explaining the rules of the game to the children when Kurt snuck up behind her and broke one on her head.
There are regular plastic eggs as well, and the kids were all pretty anxious to find them. Look at the intensity on those little faces! The littlest kids got a head start before these maniacs were released for the hunt. After that it was a mass of flying confetti and shells until the last egg was found.

The kids were exhausted from all the fun and collapsed into bed as soon as we got home. We've got our own eggs ready for morning as well as Easter baskets that Kurt has hidden somewhere. His family always hid the basket with gifts rather than finding eggs. It seems odd to me, but we've hidden the baskets, and the eggs are ready to be hidden first thing in the morning. I hope he didn't hide the baskets too well or they won't have anything to put the eggs into. It's always interesting to meld together the traditions from different families and turn them into our own little script. I'm continually surprised at how many different variation exist on the same basic celebrations.

I hope everyone else is having a happy Easter weekend.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Spring Break Fun

The kids decided to make dinner last night. The theme was foods that start with the letter "P": pizza, pineapple, peperoni, peanut butter, Parmesan cheese, pink lemonade, popcorn and pound cake. For tonight they have planned an "M" meal: meatballs, mozzarella sticks with marinara, mushrooms, marshmallows and mini muffins.

We had a garage sale today. Mostly it was an excuse to clean out the garage so that I could paint the floor. I've been on a purging and organizing spree. Spring cleaning I suppose. Kurt was out of town for a couple of days so I stayed up until the wee hours ironing and cutting fabric into little bits and pieces. I'm going to have trouble shifting back to a regular schedule when school starts again on Monday, but I am enjoying my time at home.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Pinewood Derby

Tonight the Cub Scouts came over to work on their pinewood derby cars. Kurt got the garage all set up with tools (pardon the chaos, unfortunately, this is how our garage usually looks). He doesn't have a bandsaw, which he thought was critical for optimal curve cutting, and so asked our neighbor if we could use his garage for that part of the process. The kids all had their designs planned out ahead of time and after tracing them onto the wood blocks, we all traipsed down to do the cutting and then came back again for the sanding and painting. The boys seemed to enjoy the painting and decorating more than anything else. The dads seemed most concerned with getting the cars as close to the 5 ounce weight limit as possible and spent lots of time drilling holes in the cars and filling them with birdshot and candle wax. Sydney and Anna both wanted to make cars as well, and painted them many shades of purple and pink. It was good that we limited the fun to the garage, because lots of glitter seemed to be part of the fun (for the boys as well as the girls).
I spent most of the day getting the top done for my pineapple blocks quilt. Actually, putting the top together took about 1o minutes first thing this morning. Getting the %$#@* paper off of the blocks took the rest of the day. I will definitely find a more efficient way to handle that part of the process next time I try a foundation block. I am thinking that water soluble stabilizer might be the way to go. I'm trying out applique flowers now, so maybe tomorrow I'll have some options to show.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Pineapple Blocks Done

I just finished off the pineapple blocks. It helps that I decided to make it 5 x 6 rather than the 6 x 7 I had planned. I've got it up on my portable design wall so I can tinker with the blocks. I can't make the little corner bits stay down for the anything. I think I need some sort of border to let the eye rest a little after all of that color. I'm thinking of trying a scalloped border just because I've never done one before. I think the curves would contrast nicely with all the angles of the blocks. Maybe a wide white strip with some sort of applique in it, what do you think? I tried last night to get some of the foundation paper out of the blocks. Are there any paper piecers out there with some helpful advice? It seems like it is going to be slow and tedious process. I don't mind slow and tedious, but the fiddling makes the blocks wonky. I don't usually mind wonky, but this is not that kind of quilt.
Spring break is going well. It is nice not to go anywhere for a change. I loved the cruise we took for fall break, but it is also nice to be able to putter around the house. I did some painting today, catching the touch up from our house painting and freshening up some baseboards and doors.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Spring Break!

It is Sunday and I am looking forward to a week off. The kids had their OM competition yesterday and I took the girls ice skating this afternoon. Maybe tomorrow we'll hit the zoo or the beach. It is nice to have some free time to look forward to.
I was up until the wee hours on Friday morning working on my pineapple blocks. I sat the laptop up next to the sewing machine and used Hulu to catch up on the last season of ER. I used to watch it regularly, but lost track over time, so it was fun to watch all of the episodes leading up to the finale. The paper piecing on the new quilt is going slowly compared to the sewing I am used to, but the results are worth it I hope. I ran out of the Fundation paper I had been using and had to run out to Joann's for more on Sunday. They didn't have anymore, so I bought some pattern paper from the interfacing aisle. It seems a little flimsier than the stuff I was using, but I guess it is working well enough and it is much cheaper than the ready to go kind.
I've been making a mental list of spring break projects. I'm not sure how far I'll get, but I'd like to do some general painting, cleaning and organizing. I worked on the garage today so I could get my car back in. We had planned to have a garage sale last weekend, but got rained out. I've stashed everything in the corner so we can try again next weekend. After that it's off to Goodwill with all of it so we can put both cars in again.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Getting Started and Finishing Up

It's the home stretch to spring break. Just one half day to make it through (15 minute periods). I think I can make it, but it's going to be close. It was truly one of those days that makes me wonder if I chose the right line of work. I'm not going to start a rant, so I'll just leave it at that.

I got the first 5 blocks done on my new quilt. I was starting to think that I didn't have enough color variety going on, so I cut up a fat quarter bundle that I won in a giveaway a while ago. I may have way too many strips now, but I'm envisioning a wonky log cabin with the leftovas from this one.