Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Here's a picture of the fabrics I'm using in the New Year's Eve mystery quilt. Darling daughter helped pick out the fabrics. The light color is really a light blue and the dark color is a navy blue. The camera didn't pick the color up very well. I'm still taking the pictures on my phone and emailing them to myself. I really want a digital camera.

The mystery quilt has us making 144 half square triangles ahead of time. I had sewed them on Sunday, then last night I pressed them all. I also trimmed 64 of them...80 more to go! Will get those trimmed up tonight so I'm ready to roll tomorrow when the clues start getting posted. I have to work tomorrow, but hopefully we will get out early.
There is another website group I belong to that is hosting a New Year's Eve mystery. Now, call me crazy, but I am thinking of doing both of them! I think that the clues for the second mystery stay up pretty long, so maybe I'll just pick out some fabrics and see if the mood strikes me or not to make it.

Last night I made tacos for dinner. Usually the next day I make a pot of chili with the leftovers, but I didn't have a green pepper to use in the chili. So I'll go to the grocery store at lunch and then make the chili tomorrow night. Since tomorrow night is New Year's Eve, I think I will just make some snack type food. I'm thinking chili, crackers and cheese, salami, etc. And I still have ham leftover from Saturday. We are going to have fried ham and potatoes for supper tonight.

Darling son is really pleased with the guitar he got for Christmas. It is an electric acoustic. It sounds very nice, with or without being plugged into an amp. He is also happy with his computer. He asked for a new video card for his birthday, which was Sunday. He and his friends put together this computer that he's using from spare parts. Last night about 9 he decided to take it over to his friend's house to play games. He just cracks me up. Since he's 18 now, he seems to be more relaxed.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Post Christmas Post

I joined a couple of mystery quilt groups on the internet. One called apocketfullofmysteries on yahoo groups did a mystery called mosaic tiles over Christmas. It was a pattern created by Dorothy Young. This is a picture of the top I FINISHED. It's hard for me to believe that I actually finished the top over the holiday, but maybe I have found my niche - do mystery quilts! ha ha. Since this was the first one I ever did, I only made the baby sized quilt. It was challenging enough, but I'm glad I did it. This one is done with a focus fabric that is a nursery print, so it will make a nice baby quilt. I should have used yellows with more contrast between them, but live and learn.

The other picture is one of my brother after he found the 'Christmas Pickle' ornament on my dad's tree. He's holding up 2 fingers because this is the second time he's found it. Stinker! I had to put the picture on my blog, mainly because when I told him I was going to he said 'you better not!'. ho ho ho!

I had a nice holiday. My mom and brothers and grandma all came to my house Saturday for our Christmas together. We exchanged gifts and had a nice meal (ham - I'll have leftovers for a month!).

I think my kids liked their gifts. Mostly they got gift cards. My son had a birthday yesterday and daughter has one coming up next week, so we aren't quite finished yet. But things are winding down.

We are going to visit my mom up north this coming weekend. Her Christmas present was tickets to see the Trans Siberian Orchestra. We are going to have a great time. I'm really looking forward to it.

I'm doing another mystery quilt over New Year's Eve. I do have to work that day, but I can at least get the clues and do them when I get home. I'll be off for five days, so I'll just pace myself and get the top done as time permits. Darling daughter helped me pick fabrics for it. She has a good eye for color.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Eve Eve

I loaded up the bags with the kids gifts, all individually wrapped. My darling daughter came home and told me I was evil - she couldn't even see the packages to try and guess what they are! ho ho ho!

I'm down to making lists of what I need to do tomorrow and Friday. I don't have all the little things and groceries I need bought. Friday I need to get more for when my mom and brothers visit on Saturday. But I want to wait until Friday to shop because that's a payday.

We had spaghetti last night for supper. I put together the sauce in the crock pot before work. Some of the sausage I used was leftover from pizza making Saturday.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Another day closer to Christmas...

Here's a picture of the quick bags I made for my kids. I wrapped all their little gifts and then put them in these bags.

The bags were really really simple. I took a half a yard of Christmas print material and folded it in half, selvedge to selvedge. I stitched up the sides, adding a tie about 5" down from the top on one side. Then I just finished off the top by folding over a half inch and stitching a quarter inch seam. Super, super easy.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sunday Evening

The day did not warm up much at all and the wind has been terrible! I didn't leave the house after church or the store.

I was able to get the binding sewn to the top of darling daughter's signature quilt. Then since it's so cold, I thought it would be a great time to have that quilt over me and sew down the back of the binding. I got one and a half sides sewn, then had to quit to start dinner. I may do more, but probably not tonight.

Dear hubby just came in from outside and said it really feels good in the kitchen with the oven on. We are having breaded chicken patties, mashed potatoes, gravy, and corn for dinner.

Sunday Morning

It's four days before Christmas and I am ALMOST done with my shopping, no where near done with my wrapping, and haven't even grocery shopped for Christmas dinner. Argh.

We haven't had any snow or ice the last couple days. However, right now it is only 5 degrees. brrr. I only have to go to church this morning, then to dollar general for laundry soap. Then I'm in for the day.

Yesterday I cut the fabrics for the Christmas mystery quilt. I'm thinking about picking out the fabrics for the New Year's Eve mystery today. My sewing room is upstairs, where we don't have heat vents, so I think I'll have my daughter leave her electric heater on and put it in the doorway between the sewing room and her room. That should make it a little more tolerable up there.

Friday night I was sitting in my favorite chair watching t.v. when I heard this real loud crash. It sounded like wood breaking. And it sounded like it was almost directly over my head. Now, I could see all the animals in the house and I knew that none were upstairs because the door is kept closed to up there anyway. When I went up, nothing seemed out of place, and there aren't any trees on that side of the house, so I am really baffled as to what the noise could have been.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Marley, My Son...

Here's a picture of my son playing Marley's Ghost in the school play 'Scrooge has left the building'. He did a fantastic job. I'm so proud of him. I didn't know he could act as well as he does.
Last night's beef stew was good. Tonight I have stuffed peppers cooking in the crock pot. I think over the weekend we may have homemade pizzas. I'll have to go pick the ingredients up tomorrow, probably on my lunch hour.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Mystery Quilt

Oh, I'm getting so addicted to quilting... I joined a couple different quilt groups over the past week. The reason I joined is because they were both hosting 'mystery' quilt projects over the holidays. I've never done a mystery, but have always thought it would be fun. So I picked up enough fabric (like I didn't have enough at home already) to make a baby quilt for the Christmas Eve mystery. I'm going to force myself to shop my stash for the New Year's Eve mystery. That's my compromise...hee hee. This is a picture of the fabrics I'm going to be using.

Darling son is going to be in a school play tonight. He's playing 'Marley's Ghost'. I'm looking forward to going to the play tonight. He's a senior in high school and this is the first time he's taken theater.

Darling daughter took her last final for the semester today. I'm sure she's relieved...I know I am! The weather has been real cold and we have a lot of ice on the roads. She can get a break now for a while before she has to make that drive back and forth to school in January.

Last night I made a seafood stir fry for supper. I think it was the best stir fry I have done in a long time! I used shrimp and mock lobster from Aldi, plus a frozen stir fry mix also from Aldi. I doctored it up with onions and celery. I also added some spaghetti noodles that I put in the skillet with some margarine and crushed garlic, then some soy sauce. It was pretty good eats.

Tonight I have beef stew cooking in the crock pot. Looking forward to that - something warm on such a cold day!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Icy Roads and Chicken Stew

Once again, the local news channels overestimated the severe weather. We do have icy roads, but no where near the amount of ice that the t.v. was predicting. I know it's better to err on the side of caution, but the news around here always presses the panic button when any kind of hint of bad weather comes along. It's become a standing joke around our house that the grocery stores must need to sell more bread and milk. To be on the safe side, though, my darling husband drove our daughter to her college this morning. She has one final to take today and one on Wednesday then she is done with her first semester of college. Wow.

I finally finished the machine quilting on darling daughter's signature quilt. I even cut the binding strips yesterday. Hopefully I can get it done before the end of the year. When I quilted it, I used the old Singer. It really worked well. Once that tension mechanism was cleaned, it made a world of difference. And since I've been using it more, I have learned a couple of tricks. If I pull the thread to the right of the needle to clip it, it doesn't break or pull. It's a little thing, but it sure does make a difference.

I put together a pot of chicken and dumpling stew for supper tonight in the crock pot. That chicken looked so good surrounded by all the veggies and with spices and such over it I wanted to take a picture! Okay, so I'm weird! All I'll have to do when I get home is put the dumplings on top of it and supper will be done.

Last night we had Italian Beef in the crock pot. That was a hit, too. I have the fixin's for beef stew, so I'll be making that some time this week.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas is getting closer...

I love having a real tree for Christmas! Especially because my darling husband puts the lights on for me.

Yesterday I had to go to the dentist at 11, then had to take the dog to the vet at 2. I didn't go back to work after those two ordeals. I did get my Christmas village of lighted houses set up. I love it. This is a picture of the first lighted house I received. It is a little church and my grandma gave it to me years ago. See the little angels carolling next to it?

I did a little bit of hand quilting a couple nights ago. Just a few of the hearts on Tennessee August. It's always a matter of time or not being too tired when I get home.

Last night I made a hamburger stew for supper, bread in the bread machine, and tapioca pudding in, of all things, the crock pot! Everything was pretty good. I think I cooked the pudding a little too long, but it was still good.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Monday blahs

I am not a big fan of Monday's. The best parts of this workday were lunch hour and quitting time. I didn't get any quilting done last night. Been kinda in a slump with my sewing. I'm not pushing myself, and I figure I might get more in the mood after the holidays. If I get in the spirit and sew, fine, if not, no pressure.

Last night darling daughter made shrimp alfredo, garlic bread, and salad for supper. It was very good. Tonight we are having cheeseburgers and fries.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Sunday hike through the trees

We made our annual trip to the Christmas tree farm today. This year it was darling son's turn to pick out the tree. Darling daughter had a few suggestions on which one to pick, but ultimately son won the race! That's part of dear hubby on the ground checking out where to start the cut on the tree! He and son cut the tree, then the tractor and hay wagon came around and took us back up to the barn to have the tree shook and baled. This is the last year this particular tree farm is going to be in business. It's sad for us because it holds many years of memories, and the people that run it are extremely nice. But their kids are out of college now and have moved away so they don't have the help they need, and they are getting older. I understand, but it's still sad.

I haven't done much sewing lately. Just haven't had time. Been doing a lot of cleaning and de-cluttering to get ready for Christmas. I need to get my lighted house display set up. This week I'll work on that. I kinda got sidetracked this weekend. Darling son decided he wanted the computer desk from the kitchen so I had to clean it all off. Our computer at home died, so I wanted the desk out of the kitchen anyway.

Maybe today I'll do some hand quilting on Tennessee August. It will be a good day to have the quilt over me, because it's cold!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Post Thanksgiving Post

Another Thanksgiving has come and gone. The leftovers aren't quite all gone, but they are getting there. We had a nice holiday. I made a big dinner on Friday for our group. We had gone to relatives on Thursday, but I like to make dinner. I was able to hold my cousins 3-1/2 month old baby a lot while we were visiting. He is such a good baby!

I worked on darling daughter's signature quilt. I have almost all of it machine quilted. Just two more sides of the borders and it will be ready for the binding. I'm tempted to put it in a box and give it to her for Christmas! She probably wouldn't appreciate that, though...hee hee.

I have received some nice music themed fabric from friends that I am anxious to get cut into squares for my son's signature quilt when he graduates in May.

I made a beef roast Sunday afternoon for dinner. When it was cooking, I also put together some ham and bean soup for dinner Monday. Tonight we are having rueben sandwiches. I have the fixin's for chicken cacciatore in the crock pot. I may throw that all together tonight and let it cook during the night. And I might even sneak in some leftover turkey meat in the dish...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wednesday before Thanksgiving

It's almost Thanksgiving and I THINK I have all the groceries bought for my meal. Thursday we will go to my dad's for dinner and Friday I will make our Thanksgiving dinner at home. Here's a copy of the menu I have posted on the fridge at home:

Thanksgiving Menu
Friday, 5 p.m.
Exceptionally Tender Roasted Turkey Bird
Monumental Mashed Potatoes
Great Gravy
Stunning Salad
Radical Rolls
Sensational Sweet Potatoes
Creatively Concocted Cranberries
Super Stuffing
Perfectly Perfected Pea Casserole
Plenty O’ Pumpkin Pie

After reading the menu, my darling daughter commented on the fact that chocolate pie was not on there! Then my mother mentioned that grandma was making lemon meringue pie at her house. Sigh. So this morning before work I stopped at the store to get the ingredients for them. Of course, nothing is easy, and one store was out of lemon pie filling and I had to go to another one. But I'm done now. I think...

Monday I didn't work because of doctor's appointments, but I was able to get something baked that I haven't made or eaten for years. It's a Czeck bread we always called 'hoscah'. Pronounced 'hose kuh'. It's an egg bread that my great grandmother put raisins and other things in. The bread is braided and brushed with an egg wash to give it a beautiful sheen on top. I do not remember a single time in my childhood when there wasn't hoscah in the house. We also called it 'sweet bread' but if you say that now to people it means the innards of some animal! ewwww. So I made hoscah, and since the recipe makes two good size loaves, I took half a loaf to my great uncle who lives alone in town. His wife is in a nursing home and he was very grateful to get it. That made me feel good, giving it to him. I know it was part of his childhood, too (that was his mother that used to make it). I was so blessed, growing up knowing my great grandparents. Oh and I also put half a loaf in the freezer for my mother to take home with her when I see her this weekend! She lives 4 hours away and has my grandmother with her for a week, but will stop on her way home when she takes grandma home.

Friday is payday. I'm planning on ordering some Christmas gifts online. I hope they will get here in time!

I haven't been doing much sewing lately. This weekend that may change. My darling daughter finally got a lot of her stuff out of my sewing room. It discouraged me from going in there and sewing when I knew it was so cramped with junk. And there really was no reason for it to be like that...she has her own room next door. It just spilled over into the sewing room and never seemed to go back! I do need to take the vacume cleaner up and vacume at some point.

One of the gals on stashbuster put up instructions to make flying geese that I really want to try. They are three dimensional and look so neat.

Darling daughter wants to get her boyfriend's fleece quilt put together. It's probably just going to be fringe tied on the edges, but the fleece may need to be pieced together to make it big enough. Not a lot of work, but something we have to get on before Christmas sneaks up on us!

I've decided how to make darling son's signature quilt for his high school graduation this Spring. I'm going to just use six inch squares of muslin, alternating with six inch squares of all different music themed fabric. Some great people on stashbuster have sent material to go into it already. I'll be starting that after the holidays.

Last night we had stir fry chicken for supper. Tonight we are having meat loaf. Before I got married, when I lived at home, every Monday I would make meat loaf. My brother's still joke about it being 'Meat Loaf Monday'!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tuesday Ramblings

Christmas is getting closer every day. The only person I have all their gifts bought is my mother. I have some good ideas for the kids and dear hubby, but other than that, I'm stumped. Even though this year it will be a little bit easier monetarily, because of my generous uncle, I still think it's silly to buy for every single person in the family. My adult siblings don't have the money to spend on everyone. And Christmas isn't about buying 'stuff'. My mother is going to be mad because I spent a little money on her, but I think she is going to be absolutely tickled pink with her present. Can't say what it is on here because she occasionally reads my blog.

Over the past weekend I was able to do more machine quilting on daughter's graduation quilt. The next time I sit down to work on it I should be able to get it finished. At least the machine quilting finished. I'll have to make the binding and attach it. And make a neat label, of course!

I've been tossing around ideas for a graduation quilt for darling son. Since he is so musical, I wanted to do something that reflects his talent. I've thought about a quilt made up of two different color squares with one the background and the other forming the shape of a guitar. I've also thought about making one out of musically themed material, however I don't have much of that in my stash. I made daughter's quilt completely out of stash and would like to do that with his. If it's not possible, it's not possible. I would like to get started on the top soon after Christmas. Time will sneak up on me, I know!

Last night I made sloppy jo for supper. We had that with some oven fried potatoes. Friday night I made clam chowder. I had been craving that for a couple weeks. I even brought some leftovers of the soup for lunch yesterday! Saturday night we went out to dinner with two of our good friends. We went to a bar in Prairietown that is famous for it's fish dinners on Friday. Now, I know we went on Saturday, but I still wanted to try the fish. They had a bluegill sandwich on the menu. It was pretty good and we really enjoyed being out with friends.

Sunday I made a beef roast with all the fixin's. It turned out great.

Saturday morning I went down to St. Louis to visit Grandma. We went to the grocery store and to eat at a family restaurant she likes. It was a nice visit.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Veteran's Day

Yesterday was Veteran's Day. I had the day off work, so I began machine quilting on darling daughter's graduation quilt. I have always been apprehensive about starting a project on the industrial Singer machine. There have been times I have started machine quilting on it, only to have it start acting up in the middle of a project. Yesterday I could not have asked for better results! I was able to machine quilt half of the quilt without incident.

I really think a big part of my recent success on the machine has to do with the fact that I cleaned out the tension mechanism. Not too long ago the machine was serviced, the motor changed out, and the feed dogs permenantly dropped. I would have thought the service tech would have cleaned out the tensioning mechanism. Maybe my first clue that it might not have been done should have been when I sat down in the shop to test it out before taking it home was the way he grabbed the material from me and pushed it through, like I didn't know what I was doing. He was very impatient. I don't have a different place to take the machine real close, so I joined an online group that fixes old machines themselves. I learned more from them and was able to do more for the machine myself than I paid the service tech for! Plus I felt really good about doing it myself.

We had chili and hot dogs for dinner last night. The chili had all day to cook in the crock pot and turned out really good! Monday night we had saltesa sausage, oven fried potato wedges and green bean casserole. The green bean casserole was a treat because I found a different brand of the crunchy onions. Aldi sells them, probably just seasonally, in a pouch for almost half what a can of the name brand costs. I bought a couple bags to see if they were any good. They are! Think I'll go back and get a few more bags to have in the cabinet.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Monday Afternoon

I didn't get as much quilting done as I would have liked, but I did get some hand quilting done over the weekend on Tennessee August. The weather has been warmer than normal for November. When it gets cold, I will be doing a lot more hand quilting because having that quilt over me is pretty warm! I usually have the quilt over my lap and legs and a cat behind me on my chair.

The bathroom tile is all set. Now it needs to be grouted and sealed. Then my darling husband wants to paint the bathroom. It will be nice when it's done!

I put chicken and dumplings in the crock pot for dinner, but my darling daughter requested meat loaf. I told her if she wants to make it, fine. So she's making meat loaf and we will have the chicken tomorrow. It doesn't matter to me!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Friday

It's Halloween today. We have nice weather for the trick or treaters. I didn't get too many last night, but I'm guessing I will get more today than yesterday.

I had to go to Springfield yesterday for meetings for work. I took advantage of the trip up there to go to JoAnn fabrics and use the gift card I received for my birthday. I also used several coupons on my purchases. Ended up saving a ton of money and getting some things I have been needing. Didn't get much in the way of fabrics. I bought two packages of the batting I like but Wal Mart doesn't carry anymore. Also bought some rotary cutting blades, sewing machine needles, a new ruler, and a new marking pen. I did buy a bundle of five coordinated fat quarters in neutral shades.

We had stir fry for dinner last night. Don't really have a clue what we will be having tonight. Nothing is jumping out at me.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Weekend Update

I managed to squeeze in a couple hours of hand quilting on Tennessee August and even a little machine piecing. I sewed together five rows of blocks for the green shirtings 16 patch. Now I have to put the rows together and figure out some kind of border.

We worked on tiling the bathroom floor over the weekend. It is almost all tiled, with the exception of around the toilet. Since the mortar takes 24 hours to set, we had to do it in steps. Have to be able to use the shower, etc. while we are tiling, since we only have one bathroom! I'm hoping next weekend will see the completion of the project.

Friday, October 24, 2008

I started quilting Tennessee August!

Last night I started quilting on Tennessee August. I have a stencil with four hearts that fits into the squares nicely. I started quilting in the squares and like the way it looks. I'm using a burnt orange color thread. I think I will also quilt lines a quarter inch from the seams of the 4" squares, but not along the four patch seams.

I made the monte cristo sandwiches last night for supper. Tonight I am either going to make meat loaf or cabbage rolls. It depends on if my son is going to want to eat early or not. The cabbage rolls would take a while to cook.

It's day ten of our bathroom remodel. Here's a summary (keep in mind this is an 8'x8' bathroom and we are using 12" tiles):

Day 1: Pick up concrete board from lumber yard.

Day 2: Cut concrete board and fit pieces, puzzle fashion, to floor.

Day 3: Remove and replace toilet (the only reason this was completed in a day was because I absolutely refused to be without a toilet overnight). This step was completed at 9:30pm. Toilet leaks at water inlet and where tank is bolted to bowl. Put towel down and go to bed.

Day 4: Tighten bolts to correct leaks.

Day 5: Screw down concrete board to existing floor.

Day 6: Husband congratulates self on completing this step.

Day 7: Husband rests.

Day 8: Husband rests some more.

Day 9: Draw one line on floor dividing it in half.

As I said, this is day 10. If this tile isn't down in the next few days, I'm going to put it down myself!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Senior Night

Last Friday night was Senior Night at the high school football game. The football players, cheerleaders, and band members all get honored at the event and are announced and walk onto the field with their parents before the game. Two of the cheerleaders made a 'guitar' sign for my son. He looks like he's in hog heaven standing between two pretty cheerleaders! By the way, that's only part of the band uniform! They have bibbers under their full uniform and it wasn't time to suit up yet, so he was still in just bibbers. He has the uniform top in his hand! He has really long hair and it's pulled back in a ponytail in this picture. I'm so proud of him and how good of a musician he is! He is now giving guitar lessons after school.

The hamburger stroganoff was okay, but not my favorite last night. We are going to have baked chicken breasts with mashed potatoes and gravy for dinner tonight. yum.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Coal Train

This has absolutely nothing to do with quilting, other than the fact that waiting for one of these trains delays my getting home to sew!

I took this picture out of my car window last night on the way home from work. These trains are really long and really slow.

Coal mining is a big part of the economy in our area, although it is waning some at this time. These trains load up at the mines, then go to the power plants. Okay, there's another connection: the coal makes electricity to power my sewing machine! ha ha.

Oh, and for any Route 66 buffs, these tracks run along side Route 66.

I did get over to the Salvation Army Thrift store yesterday. I bought six men's cotton shirts all in fall colors, and I also bought a sweatshirt for my husband to wear. The shirts are for quilts. I washed and dried everything last night. Tonight I'll cut up a couple of the shirts. I should have enough shirts now in that color scheme to start a quilt. I think the sweatshirt was brand new, or very close to it. You can't beat the deals there. If you have the time to poke around for a while, you can really come up with some bargains. And even if you don't have a lot of time, you can get some deals! I went on my lunch hour.

The chicken and dumplings were good last night. Tonight I'm making a hamburger stroganoff for dinner.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Baby Blanket Finished

This weekend I wasn't able to sew in my sewing room much, but I was able to finish the binding on a baby quilt. I put my initials in the corner on the back and the year. That's as far as I got on a label. This quilt is just getting put away for now.

I also made a few yo yo's and sewed some together for a wine bag. Nothing big, but I did do some sewing.

Today is Monday and that means the Salvation Army Thrift store has new items for half price. I'm thinking of going over there at lunchtime. I need to get more orange and brown cotton shirts.

Made sausage tortellini soup Friday, ham and bean soup Saturday, and lasagna last night for dinner. Tonight I have chicken and dumplings in the crock pot.

I may start hand quilting Tennessee August this week. I have a stencil with four hearts interlocking that would be nice for the quilting. I'm not sure I want to make that many curves, though!

You can see some of the quilting detail on the back of the baby quilt in this picture. I crosshatched the center with rows about an inch apart. Along the borders I quilted inside the triangles, then in rows along the outside edges.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Friday Musings

Last night I cut binding for the baby quilt I recently finished hand quilting. I attached it to the top with the machine, and now I've got it started sewing down the binding on the back. The quilt measures about 44" square. I thought that would be a good size to lay on the floor for a baby to lay on. It's bright colors with some pinks in it. I told my husband when it was done it was going to be put away for our first grandchild. He said yes, if it's a girl! So I'm taking the hint and I'm going to put together a top in 'boy' colors. No rush (hopefully), since neither of our kids are even remotely thinking of having babies!

I have been lurking on the Nolting chat site, gleening bits and pieces of information from Nolting longarm machine owners. I would dearly love to be ablt to afford a longarm machine right now. I am forming a plan of action so that within six years I can purchase one and do some home quilting. I would like to be able to have my own business and quilt for others on it after I get good.

I even bought Linda Taylor's guide to longarm quilting. I have read the book a couple times now and keep paging through it. Pretty soon it will be so worn out and drooled over I won't be able to read it! ha ha.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Thursday Blues

I just don't feel like I'm running on all cylinders today. We have had a tragedy on my step father's side of the family. Although it is not directly related to me, the sorrow carries over because of the circumstances.

I have been doing a lot of hand quilting. I finished the baby quilt I was working on. Tonight I'd like to put the binding on it with the machine, then hand finish it.

Sunday, Donna and I went to the church hall and basted quilts. I had two to pin baste and she thread basted one of hers. Tennessee August was one that I pin basted and darling daughter's graduation quilt was the other. I plan to hand quilt Tennessee August and machine quilt the graduation quilt.

I'd like to get to work on machine quilting the graduation quilt this weekend. Then I should make a decision on what type of graduation quilt to make for my son, who will be graduating this coming spring.

I also have been cutting up some shirts to start another quilt with. This time I'm using orange, rust, and brown. Not sure what design I'll make. What I'm trying to do is cut up two shirts a night until I have all I need. I've been buying the shirts at the Salvation Army Thrift Store. I try to only buy shirts that are half price that week. Each week the store has one color tag that is half price.

Last night I made shrimp scampi for supper. It really was quite easy. I just boiled some spaghetti noodles to put the scampi over. The scampi was butter, garlic, onion, and shrimp. I sauteed the shrimp. They were just frozen guys from Aldi, but were they ever good! mm mm.

Tonight I'm going to make veal parmesan for supper. I bought some breaded veal patties at Aldi today to try. Hope they're good. My dear hubby loves veal but it's difficult to find anymore. Not politically correct, I guess.

My husband took a few days off to work on the floor of our bathroom. He is putting down new tile and also putting in a new toilet. Both these revisions are sorely overdue. I can't wait to be able to flush the toilet more than once in an hour if necessary! (it took our old one that long to fill!)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Backing Colors

Here are some of the colors going into the backing on the graduation quilt. I had a backing all pieced and my darling daughter did not care for it one bit! So I'll save it for another quilt and make a new pieced back with colors she likes.

Friday, October 3, 2008

They say it's my birthday...

and it is! Happy birthday to me! I plan on going home after work and cutting some muslin squares to go with the 16 patch shirting blocks. Since neither my daughter or son have remembered yet that it's my birthday, I will probably be making dinner first. Now, if my daughter remembers, she may offer to make dinner. hee hee hee. I went to Aldi on my lunch hour and bought the fixins for a chicken stir fry for supper. Usually I purchase the chicken breasts uncooked, but today I splurged and bought precooked chicken. Less work for me tonight.

We are all Chicago Cub fans at our house. The past two games have been real heartbreakers! My brother and I have been texting each other words of encouragement today because both of us are getting a LOT of grief at work from non Cub fans! Since he lives closer to Chicago, with a good amount of White Sox fans, he's getting it a lot worse than I am, although the Cardinal fans in my office are by no means quiet!

Last night I made saltesa pork sausage, baked potato wedges, and frozen peas for dinner. The saltesa comes from a local catering company located a couple towns over. It's a short drive, but their hours are only until 5 on weekdays, so I have to go there straight from work if I want the sausage. Sometimes they have it in one of the local grocery stores, but it's always a gamble.

We had a breakfast spread here at work yesterday. Three of us have birthdays in the same week, so we usually go together and make a meal. I made breakfast burritos, another made a hash brown casserole, and another made baked french toast with peaches. Plus we had orange juice, fruit, and bacon. I was so full from breakfast I didn't eat lunch!

After piecing the back for my darling daughter's graduation quilt, she didn't like it! Argh. She wanted something less busy. So I have some nice big pieces, 18x18 (from fat quarters, mostly) that will go together nicely for a backing. I need to get on that and put it together. I took a picture of her rummaging through my stash and was going to post it here on my blog, but when I told her that she got upset and was adamant that her picture not go on the 'net. So I'm honoring her wishes.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sewing but not QUILTING

Sewing, but not QUILTING, which is what I want to be doing! Darling daughter wanted me to finish a dress for her (5 hours straight on a Saturday - it was like working in a sweat shop)! Then a friend wanted help finishing a scrub top for her daughter. Now, my darling hubby has informed me that he pinned up the hem on a pair of jeans and they are on my sewing table and would I please hem them tonight? ARGH.

I did get some 16 patch shirting blocks finished. I have 21 of one kind, to make a top from (only need 20, then use 20 muslin squares in between). I have to cut the muslin before sewing them together. I have enough mix and match blocks to make another quilt with several left over!

I sorted through five bins of fabric over the weekend. I sorted it into bins by color.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Pet Mats and Pot Holders

I finished four of the pet mats, finally. The fifth needs a piece of batting cut for it. I also whipped up a potholder since I desperately needed a new one in the kitchen. At least I can say I finished something!

Also finished the backing for darling daughter's graduation quilt. Took a while, but it's done. Now I need to iron the top and back. The weather turned hot and humid these past few days, so once again I was in a sewing slump.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Getting in the mood to sew

Argh! I can't seem to motivate myself to sew! I tell myself I'm going to go home from work and sew this or that. Then I get home and after making dinner and doing laundry and whatever else has to be done, all I want to do is collapse on the couch.

I did start on the pet mats. I put five of them together. They need to be quilted. I want to do that on the industrial singer, so that's been my stalling point. Haven't gotten upstairs to work on them.

On one of the blogs I recently read was the story of how this gal met her husband. Since I don't have much news to report on sewing, I can at least relate a bit of ancient history. I met my husband in May of 1985 at a mutual friends house party. I was actually sitting on the couch talking to his brother, when my future husband knocked on the front door. Someone had accidentally locked the door, so I got up since I was closest to the door to let him in. I remember opening the door and feeling this rush that almost knocked me over. I was tongue tied (a small miracle since I was/am quite a chatterbox). We didn't start dating right away, because I was trying to make up my mind if I liked his brother or not. Didn't date the brother, and then in July of that year my future husband and I got together and the rest is history.

I do want to back this story up a little. Some of you readers are going to scoff at this next part, but I'm adding it anyway. In February of 1985 a friend and I went to see a psychic. She had an office on Michigan Avenue in Chicago and was well respected. She had a radio show on one of the local news channels and helped the police in missing persons cases. My friend and I had never gone to a psychic before and this was just a fun thing we were going to do. Well, we had our readings that day, and also had audio tape recordings of them made. I laughingly told my friend that the psychic told me I would meet the man I was going to marry in May. Then promptly forgot about the reading and the tape.

After my husband to be and I had been together for almost a year, he proposed to me. I said yes, obviously. As wedding plans progressed, I was cleaning out a drawer and came across the tape recording of the reading. I laughingly put it in the tape player and was listening to it, when she got to the part about meeting the man I would marry in May. I laughed, because we didn't start dating until July, so I pooh poohed it all. My fiance walked in the room and I asked him what month we met. He immediately says "we met in May". I asked how he can be so positive of that and he told me we met a couple days after his birthday, which is in the beginning of May.

To this day, 20+ years later, I have not gone for another psychic reading. If I were to go to one that was reputable and he/she told me something bad, I would probably think that they were right and be upset. On the flip side, if they were wrong, I would still have thought the bad things were going to happen and been miserable for nothing.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Pet Project

I have always been a pack rat. It is difficult for me to throw anything away. Well, with my fabric stash, this hasn't been a bad thing, on the whole, but I have a lot of fabric that I would never use in a quilt. Most of this fabric was included in boxes I was given or had purchased at garage sales.

Yesterday I called the local animal shelter, Adopt A Pet, and asked if they needed any blankets for the bottoms of some of the cages. They said yes and told me what size to make them. When I got home from work I pulled out some ugly fabrics and cut enough to make five mats while I was cooking supper. I am going to put a piece of heavy fabric in the middle as a batting. I think I'll use the industrial Singer to free motion quilt them. That will be good practice for me. The animals won't care what the stitching looks like, or what the fabrics look like.

This project may also jump start me into sewing again. I know it was because of the heat that I didn't do much sewing, but it's starting to cool off some and I'm anxious to be doing some more sewing. I have to get darling daughter's graduation quilt done soon.

We had a nice vacation. I made some yo-yo's during the car rides and while at the campsite. It was mindless sewing, but satisfying because I was doing something, at least. I went to the Nolting representative to see the long arm machines. The reps were really really nice. They let me try the Fun Quilter and two of the industrial long arms. I don't think there is much room for me as a representative in this area. I do, however, really want a long arm machine. I have wanted one for quite a while. Since they are expensive, I don't see myself owning one in the near future, but it's something to dream about.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Baby Quilt Done and Done

Being the procrastinator that I am, I waited until Saturday morning to make a quick baby quilt for my cousin's shower. Here's a picture of it, with the corner turned up to show the backing fabric. It was just two pieces of coordinating fabric that I pillowcased and then did some quick quilting on the machine. I'm assuming she will know it was homemade. She didn't open her gifts at the shower, at least not in the first two hours of it, anyway!

Still making yo yo's. We are going camping in a couple days and I'm really looking forward to relaxing and sewing if I want to. I'm going to pay a visit to a longarm representative who has a shop close to where we camp. I've got in the back of my mind some vague plans of becoming a rep. The plan is only half formed, but who knows what might happen?

Daughter's car is ready to be picked up from the mechanic. Don't know if we will get it tonight or not because she was sick today and might not be feeling good enough to go get it.

Gram was released from the hospital and is spending a week at my mother's recouperating. Glad she is there, and not alone.

We have had terrible storms here the last few days. Sunday night and last night the tornado sirens went off in town. No touchdowns or damage, but enough to set your nerves on edge, that's for sure!

Went to that interview yesterday. I wasn't really impressed with the place. Maybe I'm getting picky, but the office looked really shabby and disorganized. Peeling paint on the walls. If they can't afford to keep the office looking decent, my thought was can they pay a decent wage? I'm very fortunate to have a job, and for that I'm grateful.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Pics of Yo Yo's

Here are a couple pictures of the yo yo's I have been making. The green ones are sewn together, 7 rows of 7. The pattern called for 9 rows of 7, but that seems to be too big for the bottle of wine I plan to put in the bag. I'm thinking these will be nice Christmas gifts. The pile of blue yo yo's are for another bag. All of them have come from the material I picked up at the yard sale last week.

I stopped at Wal Mart this morning and purchased (gasp!) material to make a quick baby quilt for my cousin. She is going to be 43 this year and is expecting her first child! She's been married 17 years and I didn't think they could have children. He has children from a first marriage and my cousin is actually a grandma already! I think my grandma who passed away in 2004 may have arranged this little event... Kinda worried what she has in mind for me... :)

Worked on the backing for darling daughter's graduation quilt this week. I have three more rows to sew together and the backing will be finished. Maybe I can get it done soon and go pin it together over the weekend. I usually go to one of the church halls and push some tables together to pin or thread baste my quilts. We have two Catholic churches in our town. My family belongs to one, and my father's family belongs to the other. The churches share the same priest, so he's pretty easygoing about letting me into one of the halls to baste a quilt or two. I still have to sign her quilt.

Her car is still on the fritz. The mechanic was on vacation for two weeks, so I'm hoping Monday he will come pick it up. We are going on vacation in a week, so maybe he can get it fixed by then. She needs it for work and school will be starting pretty soon.

I have a job interview next week. I have been sending out resume's here and there, when I see something interesting. I'm fortunate that I have a job and can be selective. This will be the third place I have interviewd at. Maybe third time is a charm? Could this be Gram's surprise?

My other grandma, in St. Louis, is still in the hospital rehabing from the broken hip. She may be released tomorrow.

Our dogs were both due for their shots last week. The one dog is 12. She's starting to show her age. She has cataracs, arthritis, and is showing some signs of senility. I sure love that dog and will really be tore up when she is gone. Hopefully she will be around for a while yet.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Yo Yo's

Yesterday I got it in my head to make a wine bag out of yo yo's. It's a free pattern from JoAnn's and Clover. I do not own a yo yo maker from Clover and I'm not inclined to make all kinds of perfect circles for this project. Donna, however, does have a yo yo maker. She is in Florida for the next couple days on vacation, but has someone housesitting. I called her and asked if I could borrow her yo yo maker and was able to pick it up on my way home from work last night.

I was at a garage sale yesterday and picked up four bags of material for $6.50 total. I sorted through it, and actually threw out some material! Usually I save everything, but I'm at the point that I can throw stuff out if I don't think I'll ever use it. I did get a nice pile of usable scraps and some nice pieces of yardage. In sorting through my new finds, I pulled several pieces of green material. Two were solids, and the rest were prints.

I started making yo yo's with the greens. Those things are addicting! Once I got over the fact that I had to waste a small amount of fabric and thread when using the yo yo maker, I really went to town. It is a no brainer to sit in front of the t.v. and whip those puppies out! I made 16 last night. This morning I got up and rough cut some material so I can sit down tonight and go right to work. The Cubs are playing at 7 tonight on WGN, so I think I should be able to get quite a few made while watching the game.

Tomorrow morning I plan to go to St. Louis to visit my grandmother. She is in the rehab part of the hospital since breaking her hip last weekend. Maybe she would like to make some yo yo's? Hee Hee.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Backing in Progress

Here's a picture of some of the pieces I'm using for the pieced back for the graduation quilt. I was able to chain piece about half of together. I'll just keep chain piecing until I have enough in a row, then sew the rows together.

I think the colors will work well with the front of the quilt. Even if they aren't in the front, they are close in color and value.

In working with the quilt, I realized that my Dear Hubby and I haven't signed her quilt yet. I don't think Dear Son did, either. Don't want to forget to do that! Some family members were unable to sign it, also. I sent them pieces of paper the same size as the squares on the front to sign, then I will trace their messages and signatures on to the quilt.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Pieced Back Pieces Cut

Pieced back pieces cut - only a quilter would know what that means! Ha ha. I spent part of the weekend cutting 8-1/2 x 10-1/2 pieces of solid colored fabric to make a pieced back for the graduation quilt. I changed my mind about doing it in squares because I had a lot of fat quarters that would work and if I cut squares there would be too much waste. I also had a lot of quarter yard cuts from Miller's Dry Goods in Arthur that would work with that measurement. I have all the pieces cut and am really going to try and get some sewing done tonight. Daughter is working but I'm not sure what Son is doing. He's usually not to interested in what Mom is up to, so even if he's hanging out at home, as long as there is food within his reach he's pretty self sufficient...Teenagers, gotta love 'em.

One of the reasons I was able to get so much fabric cut was that I brought a card table down from my sewing room and did the cutting while watching the Cubs play ball. My husband usually growls when sewing stuff migrates out of the sewing room, but I assured him it was going to be put away and he kept the peace. I did put things away, just so he wouldn't get grouchy.

Another reason the cutting wasn't such a big deal was that I used that new ergonomically correct cutter. That is such a life saver! My wrist wasn't sore at all! Now, if only someone could invent a way to make ironing fun....

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Paducah Pic - sorta!

Here's a picture of my friend and I at this really neat restaurant in Marion, IL. We had to stay in Marion because all the hotels close to Paducah were filled. We had a great time anyway! This restaurant was called the 20's Hideout and was a gangster themed place. Really neat.

Still haven't done much in the way of quilting. I have really been in a slump, but I am going to kick start myself out of it here pretty quick. I did iron some of the material for the backing of the graduation quilt.

I also ironed some pieces that need to be cut for a 16 patch green shirtings quilt. Slowly, but surely, I will get back in the groove!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

June Update

I am ready to get back into quilting. This summer heat is trying to make it difficult to do that, but I'm going to plunge forward anyway.

I have decided to do a pieced back for the graduation quilt. I have several fat quarters I'm going to cut into squares.

Got the pictures back from the show in Paducah. Plan on posting a couple of those soon!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Time to Decompress

Wow. I didn't expect to feel so down after graduation! I'm very happy Darling Daughter is out of high school and going to go to college this fall. I'm just feeling rather melancholy about everything, I guess. Add to the mix that her lovelife is in turmoil (18 year old girls do NOT know what they want!). But that's what being 18 is all about.

On a quilty note, I was very pleased with everyone's reaction to signing her graduation quilt at the party. It is quite full of signatures. Now, I need to sandwich it and quilt it! I am just going to run a stitch along the seam lines for the quilting. Nothing fancy, just want it to stay together! She was very pleased with it. I will post a picture of it when I get one. I am going to have to start thinking of a graduation quilt for Darling Son next. He graduates next year.

The bags game was a hit at the party. One of the bags split, I think because the material was older. It wasn't a big deal, but I want to remake the one set of bags. My neighbor's daughter is graduating this week and they wanted to borrow the games, so I should work on them tonight or tomorrow.

I'd like to spend the entire Memorial Day weekend sewing, however we will have graduation parties to go to and we have some work to do around the yard. We are putting privacy fence up along one side of the yard where we have new neighbors. Our previous neighbors didn't use their back yard, so the chain link fence was enough to keep the dogs in. These people are out all the time and we need some privacy so that the dogs don't set off every time they see them.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Almost Graduation Day

Darling Daughter will be graduating this Sunday. The last two weeks have been pretty hectic. Her graduation quilt top is finished and I have it back from the school where some of the teachers signed it. It will go out to the party with us for guests to sign.

Party planning is hard work! Lots of fun, but it's work. Getting down to the wire now and I still have to make the mostaccioli and the brownies. Tonight is the pinning ceremony for daughter's CNA class, so won't be able to do anything tonight. Tomorrow is Thursday and I'm hoping to get more done.

My husband and son built two sets of boxes for an outdoor game called 'bags'. I have made one set of 8 bags and filled them with corn for one game, and have the bags sewn ready to be filled for the other game. No brainer sewing but it's getting around to it that is the issue! I'm hoping to finish them up tonight after we get home from the pinning.

Last night I was over at my dad's cutting up beef and pork for bbq for the party. After using the electric knife for a short time, my wrist was singing! I'm too young for arthritis like this! argh.

My grandmother had to go into the hospital last week. She was there two days. I was with her for those days, as was my mother. Seems like it's hard to get back to normal after that.

I've pretty much stopped going to the guild meetings. Since they are in a town 25 miles away, I just can't afford the gas in the car to get there an back. Plus, I just wasn't getting much out of the meetings. I got an email from one of the gals who was going to guild meetings that lives in the town I work in. She invited me over to see a quilt she had made for her granddaughter today. It was very pretty and her granddaughter will be lucky to get it.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Graduation Quilt in Progress

I'm back from Paducah and inspired to do more quilting! This is a work in progress for my daughter who will be graduating in a few weeks. These pieces are actually the borders. The center of the quilt is currently at the high school, where teachers and staff are signing it. She does not know about it yet and I'm hoping she will be pleasantly surprised. I will also have the quilt top at her graduation party for guests to sign.

Paducah was nice. Donna and I drove down on Friday morning. The quilt show was spread out in the expo center and the hotel. It was a LOT of walking! I don't know if it's bigger than Nashville or not. I think I liked Nashville's setup better because everything was in the same place, but Paducah was very nice. I purchased an ergonomically correct rotary cutter that I'm already in love with! My wrists are showing their age with some arthritis, and this cutter really helps ease the pain. Cutting is not one of my favorite parts of quilting to begin with, so anything that makes it easier is a plus to me.

After going to the show, we drove back into Illinois to stay in Marion. Marion is about an hour North of Paducah. This was the closest hotel reservation we could get and we made reservations in December! There were a lot of people at the show, to say the least. Once we were back in Marion, we went to a restaurant called the 20's Hideout. It was all done in a 1920's Chicago gangster theme. Really a neat restaurant. I think my husband would enjoy it.

Some of the vendors of longarm machines had displays set up at the show. I really liked trying out the longarm machines. Some day I hope to be able to afford one. Even if it's a used model, they are very pricey, so it won't be anytime in the near future! But I can dream.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Tomorrow's the Day!

Tomorrow we are going to the quilt show in Paducah Kentucky. I'm excited about our trip. I'm going with my friend Donna, who I went to Nashville with last August. We are leaving early in the morning and plan on spending the night tomorrow night.

I started working on a graduation signature quilt for Johanna. It is 5-1/2" squares, alternating between prints and solids. The signatures will go in the solid squares. I'm planning on making blocks with letters in them to spell her name and numbers to indicate the year. Time is growing short, so I think I'll just send the center part, when it's done, over to the school to have teachers sign. Then I can put the border on it and have it at her graduation party.

Monday, April 7, 2008

April Update

I have been out of the mood to quilt these past couple weeks. I did manage to make Darling Daughter a scrub top for her CNA job. It was out of material with kitty cats on it. She liked it.

Yesterday, Sunday, I had a baby shower to go to. Being the procrastinator that I am, I waited until Saturday to go to the fabric store and purchase some flannel. I lucked out and found a sale at Joann Fabrics on flannel. I made five receiving blankets out of one yard pieces of flannel. All I did was cut the fabric into a square, then turn the edges under and finish.

I also took two pieces of flannel and some light batting and made a very quick quilt. Just stitched and turned, pillowcase style, the flannel and batting. I sewed a few lines from one end to the other and called it good.

So now I need to get back into the swing of things. Just have to motivate myself!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

After Easter

We had snow on Easter Sunday. I shouldn't be surprised, but I felt a little bad for the little kids that had to hunt eggs in their heavy coats!

On a quilty note, I have just been doing some hand quilting the round robin. Haven't had much motivation to do anything else right now, but I have to get motivated to make a baby quilt for the April 6th shower!

I know part of my funk right now is because my son is giving me fits (again). Anyone who says 17 year old boys are easy to deal with is pulling your leg! argh!

I did pick up a couple men's shirts on my last visit to the thrift shop. One was green, the other neutral with a light green strip through it. I pressed and cut them into 2-1/2 inch strips. I sewed the strips together over the weekend, but that's as far as I have gotten. I need to sew the pairs of strips together to make 4 strips sewn together. Then I can cut them apart and sew into 16 patch blocks.

Part of my slow down is due to my daughter needing some modifications to her scrub tops for her job. She is working as a CNA in a nursing home. She wears an extra small, so that makes it difficult to find off the rack. She has bought larger sizes, then I take them in. But, the last one I picked up for her was a small and I mistakenly took it in too much, so that was shot. Luckily it was a real cheap one, only $4.50 from Rural King!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Rainy Days

We have had rain for two solid days. It’s been a good time to stay in and sew! I didn’t have anything to work on by hand, so last night I dug around in my sewing room and found a top about four feet square that was a round robin. It’s bright colors, pinks, purples, even some yellow. I was thinking of using it as a baby quilt, but the center has material in it with spools of thread in the pattern. So I’m not sure if it’s going to be a baby quilt or a lap quilt. .

I had some pink material that was about six inches too short for the back, so I added some purple to it. It’s just one strip of purple, but since it’s the same print as the pink, it blends nicely. I also did something different to help with the hand quilting. I saw on Simply Quilts the suggestion to sew a strip of scrap material all around the border of the quilt when hand quilting so the border edges don’t get stretched out. I did that, so hopefully it will work.

I drew a grid in the center of diagonal lines, an inch apart, going both directions to make a cross hatching pattern. I may continue it throughout the entire quilt, or may change it for the outer borders.

I’m thinking of going over to the thrift store during my lunch hour today and picking up some men’s shirts in green and neutrals to make some more 16 patch blocks. I have about half of what I need in the green blocks for another quilt like the 16 patch done in red shirtings. I was thinking of starting my own design quilt using the four inch squares of muslin and the solid squares, but that task seems so monumental that it’s difficult to get myself motivated just to cut the squares! I think need almost 600 squares of just the muslin for the size quilt I want to make out of it! What I should do is cut maybe a hundred squares at a time. Eventually it will get started…

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Guitar Quilt Finished!

It’s finally finished! Nick’s guitar quilt is done and has pride of place on his bed. He was one happy camper to finally get his quilt. I had been working on it for a couple years now. The guitars are hand appliqu├ęd. It is all hand quilted. There are musical symbols all over it, and Nick’s favorite band names are sewn into the sashing strips. The wording on the label was sewn by machine, then the label was hand attached.
My uncle in California called Monday night. He finally received his quilt! He was happy to get it.
I don't have anything to work on by hand right now. I really logged a lot of hours when I had hand work to do. I'm thinking of putting one of the baby quilt tops in the hoop and hand quilting them. There is a baby shower sneaking up on me the first week of April. Going to have to get something done for that!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

So Close to the Finish Line

Last night I worked on Nick's guitar quilt for three and a half hours to finish all the hand quilting. Today I'm going to pick up some material for the binding and hopefully get it cut and put on over the weekend. I'll probably not get it all completely hand sewn, but if I can at least get the machine part of the binding done, I'll be on the home stretch to finishing it completely! And I have to put a label on it, of course.

Got a call from my uncle in California last night. He has not yet received the quilts that were sent 10 days ago. I'm not too worried about them being lost, yet. If he doesn't get them after two weeks, I will start to get a little nervous.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Time Well Spent

Since the beginning of January I have been keeping track of the hours I spend sewing. I have to say my totals have shocked me. In January, I sewed a total of 33.75 hours. This was made up of five weeks, two of which I only sewed for 2.5 and 3 hours each. In February I sewed a total of 42.75 hours, with one week having only 3.75 hours in it. In those two months, there were 22 days I did NOT sew.

I seem to go in spurts with the sewing. One day I may sew like a mad woman, and the next three days not do anything at all. This is just me, and it works for me, so that's really all that counts.

I am pleased, though, that I was able to get that many hours in of sewing. I enjoy it a LOT. I even enjoy the cutting more now that I have that strip cutting tool. Now if there was some way to make ironing more fun....

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Two Finished Quilts

Today I mailed these two quilts to my uncle in California. The one that is all squares I named Precision Squares. The other one, done in strips, I named Chaotic Strips.

Precision Squares is made up of 6" squares sent to me from all over the country and New Zealand and from my fabric stash. It is machine quilted in the ditch.

Chaotic Strips is made from leftover squares and solid fabric purchased in Arthur when I went to the Amish shops. It is heavily machine quilted all over in whatever design struck me at the time.

I really enjoyed doing the machine quilting once things started to work on the machine. I'm waiting now for a different presser foot to arrive. The one I'm using now is round all around the needle and it is difficult to see where I'm stitching sometimes. The one I'm waiting for is clear, so I'll be able to see where I'm going and where I've been.

Planning to go to Paducah, Kentucky the end of April for a quilt show down there. Donna and I are going to it. We had to book a hotel room an hour away because they are all booked up close to Paducah! I never knew there were that many quilters...

Monday, February 18, 2008

Success at Last!

The old Kenmore was just not cutting it... I tried again to get the Singer up and running. This time I used a very heavy duty needle. Hmm... It worked! I drove almost an hour one way to the only shop I know of that carries needles for that machine and bought two packages today. I was able to finish the quilting on the chaotic strips quilt. I even got the binding sewn to the front of the quilt. I need to hand sew it to the back and that quilt will be finished. Going to give things a rest tonight, I think. Sewed for almost five hours today, plus traveled to pick up those needles.

Made spaghetti for dinner with some garlic bread. Last night I made a big turkey dinner. That was a hit. I logged quite a few hours of sewing in over the weekend. Tried to make meals that didn't need a lot of attention. Made clam chowder one night, and Italian beef in the crock pot the next.

The Saga Continues...

Last count, 20 broken needles on the old Singer. I gave up. The Singer won that round. I switched to the old Kenmore. It's not as easy to work with, since the Singer is a table model, but it will have to do. I'm going to mess with the Singer for a little bit today, but if I can't get it to work, I'm seriously thinking of banishing it to the basement. Or throwing it out the window...

Friday, February 15, 2008

As the Needle Breaks...

Frustration! I started quilting Chaotic Strips on the industrial Singer. Worked my way across the bottom 10" of it without a problem. Then I broke a needle. No problem, I have two packages of 10 needles each. I put in a new size 14 needle. Started to sew. It broke. Replaced the needle again. It broke. This went on for 5 size 14 needles! Thinking it may be the package of needles, I put in a size 12. It broke. Now I'm really getting mad. My friend stopped by to pick up a quilt pattern and she asked what was the matter. So I showed her. The machine sewed just fine. Okaaaaaaay. Told her she needed to just come over and sit in the sewing room while I finished the quilt. By this time I was so aggravated, I thought I had better quit on an up note. The machine was working. That was Tuesday.

Last night, Thursday, I decided to continue, thinking somehow I had solved the problem. Ha. I sewed for about 3" and the needle broke. I took the machine apart. Took the tension discs apart. Took the faceplate apart. Took the presser foot apart. Hmm. Presser foot. Needle alignment? Hmm. Okay, maybe, just maybe I'm pulling the needle too far to one side when I finish an area and it's moving the needle just enough that it's hitting the presser foot. The manual I downloaded from the internet says to pull the thread to the back (I was pulling to the right, since the needle threads left to right). Started doing that. It seems to have worked. I sewed for 45 minutes without a hitch. I am really hoping it will continue to sew properly, because I have a three day weekend in which I plan to sew up a storm.

Tonight I have some clam chowder ready for dinner. I made it from scratch last night. I put together some bread in the bread machine before I left for work this morning. Dinner will be all ready when I get home from work. I know I can spend several hours in the sewing room if I feel like it. Darling Daughter is working until 8 and since it's Friday night, I sincerely doubt she will be spending a lot of time at home. And since Darling Son is grounded, the last person he wants to be around is his jailer, so he'll be occupied on the computer or play station. Darling Husband is working afternoons, and even if he gets off early, it won't be until after 7. He's had a terrible head cold, so I would bet he goes home and goes to bed early.

Just a note, his union and the company he works for are in contract negotiations right now. I have to say, it's something that makes me nervous. He hadn't worked for a union before this job, and this is the first time their contract has come up since he has been there. Combine that with the fact that the company has been bought out by some big corporation that the union hasn't dealt with before, it gets a little hairy. We will just have to wait and see what happens.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Ready to Machine Quilt

Saturday I went over to the church hall and pin basted the two tops I finished, Chaotic Strips and Precision Squares. After not doing any quilting all week, getting these tops pin basted and ready to roll was a big accomplishment. I was in the mood to start sewing them this morning, but after church, making breakfast, and doing dishes, I think I'll just sit for a little while. Might get Nick's guitar quilt out and do some hand sewing.

I'd like to get a top cut out and ready to be pieced but can't decide what I want to do next. I am thinking of doing the square in a square pattern out of some flannel I have washed and ready to go. But I am also thinking of doing a sudoku pattern quilt. They really have caught my interest because I enjoy doing those puzzles.

Just as I do every year around this time, I start thinking about how it would be nice to give everyone a quilt for Christmas and I should start working on that right now. Ha, like it ever really happens... Well, one year I did make 19 comforters for presents, but I wasn't working full time outside of the home then. Anyway, as I thought about making things for people, I realized that when I give certain family members quilts they really don't seem to impressed or happy about receiving them. As much thought and work that goes into the quilts, I should at least feel like they appreciate them. So, my dilemma arises - do I even attempt to do this or do I pick and choose who to make them for this year? I have probably answered my own question here. I will probably decide who could use them and would appreciate them the most and start with making them quilts for Christmas. After theirs are done (if they GET done) then I can move on to others.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Snow Storm

Here's what we woke up to this morning! Ten inches of snow! I love it. This picture is of Main Street in my little town. Not much going on, is there? I actually made it to work, but a few of my coworkers didn't. It's been a nice and slow day. I'm looking forward to doing some sewing tonight. I didn't sew anything last night. One of my t.v. shows had a new episode on, after a long dry spell, so I just vegetated in the chair. I should have been doing some hand quilting while watching t.v. Maybe tonight. Last night we had beef stew for supper. Tonight I think I will make some spare ribs and sauerkraut. Maybe some baked potatoes to warm up the kitchen a little.
I'm hoping my dear hubby doesn't get called off of work tonight. The last two Fridays they have called him off, which has resulted in smaller paychecks. With the power bills being what they are, this is a big crunch. Darling daughter is supposed to work today and tomorrow. The shop where she works had a fire New Year's Eve and this weekend they are having a 'fire sale'. They are planning on reopening and all, it's just taking time. Don't know what darling son will do tonight. He's grounded from his car because of bad grades, so he'll either be home or someone else will be driving.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Two Tops

I have been working on two quilts to send to my uncle out in California. One is a strip set that alternates 6" blocks in strips of brown, green, and yellow, going from light to dark and strips of solids, with a couple of prints that strayed over into the solids. The other is a trip around the world done in 6" charm squares. I tried to radiate the color out from the center. Since these pictures were taken, I have added a 1" border of black to each of them and a 3" border of a light green print. The tops are ready to be quilted. I washed muslin last night to put on the back and purchased the batting this morning. If we get snowed in, I will have everything I need to complete the quilts!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

16 Patch Finished

Over the long weekend I was able to finish the 16 patch quilt top made out of shirtings. I did something a little different on the borders. I like it. My dear hubby said he would like it for our bed, but I don't think this one is going to stay home. I'm gearing myself up to free motion machine quilt it. Mentally, I'm ready. Maybe. maybe... Okay, it's scary, but I'm really really thinking about it.

Yesterday I had a meeting about an hour away from home in a town that just happens to have a fabric store. I went in and purchased a set of two rulers with my 40% off coupon for $6. They make an equilateral triangle and a right triangle. I'm excited about making some different shapes. Triangles and I really haven't gotten along in the past. I have tolerated them and they have tolerated me, but they weren't my favorites to work with. These rulers should help me get past that. I do okay with half square triangles.

Still waiting for my digital camera to come. It's backordered, of course. My luck.

Last night we had a dinner of fried ham and au gratin potatoes. Used part of the half a ham I had in the freezer that was leftover from New Years'. Tonight we are having chicken alfredo and tomorrow night we are having clam chowder. It was 3 degrees when I came to work today, so these will be good cold weather dinners.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

16 Patch in Progress

Here is a rough idea of what the 16 patch quilt made of shirtings will look like. This particular quilt will have 10 rows down and 8 rows across. Each 16 patch is made up of one red shirting fabric and one light shirting fabric. The alternating squares are muslin. I worked on it last night and was able to sew all the squares of muslin to the 16 patch blocks, then into sections of 2 16 patch blocks and 2 muslin blocks. It should go together pretty quickly now.

I made stuffed pepper soup for supper tonight. It is a really good and hearty soup. Since the weather has been cold and promises to be colder in the next few days, the soup hit the spot.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

I Won!

Remember those chunky churn dash blocks I made for the block lotto? I won a set of them from Stashbusters! They were to be mailed out yesterday, so I'm anxiously awaiting their arrival. Still waiting for my digital camera to come from the phone company, too.

I cut some more pieces out for the 16-patch quilt made out of shirtings over the weekend. After my careful calculations, taking into account shrinkage, I washed and dried what I thought was the correct amount of muslin to make the alternating squares for the 16-patch squares. Yeah, right. I still needed enough muslin washed and dried to make 10 more blocks! If muslin didn't shrink so much, I wouldn't bother washing it first, but since I know the shirtings have been washed many times, it would be a disaster not to wash the muslin. So I cut more muslin and washed and dried it. Now I have to press it and cut the squares.

I really have to get back into the swing of things with my sewing. Every day I think I'll go home from work and work on this project, or that project. Then I get home and I just plop in the chair after making dinner. And fall asleep.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Block Lotto

Last night I was able to get upstairs to the sewing room after I fixed dinner (fried pork chops, mashed potatoes, steamed brocolli, and garlic bread...mmm mmm). I made five of the chunky churn dash blocks in muslin and different scraps. They are for the block lotto on Stashbusters and are winging their way to participate in the contest. For each block submitted, my name goes in the hat to win a set of blocks.

I spent over an hour working on those blocks last night and really enjoyed it. I think I'm going to try and get some sewing done every day, if I can. Stashbusters has suggested 15 minutes per day, but I am going to be more ambitious and try for an hour a day. Sure beats vegetating in front of the television.

I called our local phone company last week to see if I could get a better deal on our bundled services (local, long distance, dsl, and sattelite). They had a really good deal that lowered my bill, plus as a bonus I will get a free digital camera! I am pretty excited about this. When I get it, I can take a lot more pictures of my quilts and post them. I have been using Johanna's camera. She will be happy not to have all those quilt pics on her memory card!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

January Freeze

Today has been one of the coldest days this winter so far. It was 7 degrees at 7 a.m. when I left for work today. It has been difficult getting back into the swing of things at work, since I was off for the holidays.

I didn't get much quilting done while I was on vacation. I did complete two wall hangings that I had started last winter. I had three wallhangings started, one with a Christmas Tree, one with a reindeer, and one with big ornaments. I completed all but the tree. Hopefully I can get it completed before I put the Christmas decorations away this year.

I was able to get my sewing room cleaned up, after spending a few hours in it. I rearranged my area and consolidated some boxes, so there is less clutter.