Saturday, February 28, 2009

Trip Around the World is DONE!

I got up early this morning and hand sewed the binding onto the back of my Trip Around the World quilt. I stated this quilt in October at a quilting retreat and now its done! I had alot of starts and stops with this one, mostly between major steps (flimsy done, then waited 3 months to get it to the long arm quilter, back from the long arm quilter and waited 3 weeks before putting on the binding, etc). I think I'm going to name it Pilgrim's Trip (the retreat was at a place called Pilgrim Center in Green Lake, WI).

Here's a close up of the quilting. I'm glad I went and had a professional quilt it for me. I would have been just sick if I had tried to do it myself and screwed it up.

I'm really pleased with it. These are definitely MY colors. You know how it is, some colors just speak to you.

On to my next project, a throw for my dad in FL.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Need to Work on Something Else....

I've spent several days working on some stupid HST using the Thangles paper method. Uhhhgggg! I don't know what I'm doing wrong. The first set I did turned out great. I was amazed. This second set has been awful. Same fabric, same size triangles, but the corners don't meet and at this point, I think I'm going to have to tear them all apart and put them together again, 'cause nothing fits together. And since that seems like alot of work, I just threw the whole thing into the bin I have for that project and got out something else.

I really want a good method for HST because I really want to do several quilts with those shapes and I thought that the Thangles BOM would be a good way to learn how to do them. I guess I'll have to figure out what I did wrong or find another method.

I decided to put the binding on my Trip Around the World quilt. It came back from the long arm quilter about 2 weeks ago and I really want to see it done. I took it with me to church Weds night for Ash Weds service and before the service I cut off all the extra batting and backing that was still attached. So now I have a clean item that I can manage on my machine.

I had put aside the fabric that I wanted to use, so it wasn't hard to find it and cut the pieces, miter them together and iron them in half. But do I have the right color thread? No, I do not. So a trip to WalMart is on the agenda for after work today to get maroon colored thread (we need dog food, too, so I am multitasking).

Yesterday I ordered EQ6. My dad bought me quilting software about 15 years ago (and 5 computers ago) that I enjoyed playing with. I have no idea what it was called or where it is now. But I thought it was time to be a little more creative so I ordered it.

Not much else going on this week. DD has a couple of long term assignments coming up: the dreaded SCIENCE FAIR PROJECT and a Ancestry project. I always hated science fairs when I was in school because I knew that my projects were really dopey and I never had a really cool one (well, the volcano one was cool) like some of my classmates that did electricity and stuff. I searched on line yesterday for some ideas for a 4th grade science fair project. Of course, I was doing it by myself, DD was watching Hannah Montana or some other show and wasn't interested in finding a science fair project because that's not due for another week and a half. Any ideas?

I'm hoping that this weekend is better than last and that I get some quilting done. I think when I get the binding on that I will start a new project. That will motivate me!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Lousey Weekend.....

How come when you have all these great thoughts of what you're going to accomplish on a weekend, then the weekend comes and you don't get 10% done that you wanted to?

Saturday morning started out really good (although the weather was bad). Since I work full time, I don't let a little weather slow me down on running all my errands on Saturday, so as soon as DD got her butt out of bed, off we went. Ran several errands in the driving snow (did get to the re-sale shop and got 5 more plaid shirts), including picking up Girl Scout cookies that she sold and we needed to deliver. Got home, unloaded the car with GS cookies (which filled up my family room) and spent two hours sorting and bagging all the orders. Many of the cookies were to people at church, so we (okay, I) really wanted to get them all ready to take to church on Sunday morning.

After the GS cookies, I decided that I really needed to sweep the kitchen and other linoleum floors downstairs as the dog hair (we have a Golden Retriever) was really getting icky. From there it seemed only the right thing to do to run the vacuum on the rest of the downstairs. Housework has always been my downfall and Saturday was no exception. DD did help as she unloaded and then loaded the dishwasher.

About 4pm, I decided that I should go out and snowblow the driveway (it had been snowing a little over 12 hours and I had about 5 inches in the driveway). I got the snowblower running and on the first trip down the driveway my boot hit a patch of ice and I went down with a thud right on my tailbone. There was no windmilling of the arms, no real slipping, just a powerful whump as I landed on my butt. It was quite painful and as I was laying there in the driving snow in the late afternoon dusk, I wondered how long I would lay there before someone came to help me. I quickly realized that freezing to death would probably happen first, so I rolled over to see if I still had use of my lower extremities (I did!) and pushed myself back to my feet. I pushed the snowblower back up to the garage to get it re-started (it has electric start which means that I don't have to pull the cord, but I do have to plug it in and push the button for it to start). For some reason, a split second before I fell, the snowblower engine died. I got it restarted and proceded to blow the driveway. I fell a second time (same patch of ice), but I had time to twist when I fell, so I landed on my hip instead of my butt. So after 20 minutes of snowblowing and using the shovel where the snowblower won't fit (on my front porch and steps), I dragged my butt inside to proceed to whine about how bad I felt and that I couldn't go pick up DD's overnight guest because I didn't want to go back out and even sit in the car. DD called her friend and said friend's mom offered to have my DD spend the night at their house and even come pick her up.

I was in second heaven. I would have all night to myself! But could I sit there by the sewing machine and sew? No, only about 15 minutes at a time, then I needed to get up and walk around. So I got the one block for the Thangles BOM put together. Of course, I found an error in the directions for the block which means that the BOM kits I have do not have enough of one of the fabrics (its the 3 piece block in the upper left on the photo in the previous post). It should be aqua on three corners and brown only on one corner.

Sunday I picked up DD on the way to church. She had a total attitude (although she was good with her customers) with me and of course, by this time, the last thing I wanted to do was more GS cookies. But we finished and only came home with about 10% of the church orders unclaimed. Because she had mouthed off, she was grounded to her room for the rest of the day, other than homework that she had to get done and a dinner party that had been scheduled (with my friends). When it was her bedtime, I started to go upstairs to tuck her in and she met me at the top of the stairs and said she was okay and that I didn't have to come up stairs (remember, I'm still really sore from my fall the day before). I should have been suspicious, but I made her promise me she would go right to sleep. An hour and a half later when I was heading upstairs (my slippers make a lot of noise on the linoleum) she heard me coming and started making minor crashes and running around. So when I got to her room, she was in bed with the blanket pulled over her but the light was on and she still had her glasses on her face. I told her how disappointed I was and how I guess I couldn't trust her when she promised me something and what would Grandpa and Aunt Jennifer say when I told them what she had done. She starts bawling and I just ignored her and continued to get myself ready for bed.

This morning she asked me what Aunt Jennifer said. So now I know who she's worried about disappointing -- not me!

So that was my weekend. I'm still really sore and think I'm going to call it a day pretty soon and go home and take some more Aleve and maybe sit in a hot tub for a while. I don't think anything is broken because now it doesn't hurt to sit down (I DO have a lot of padding back there) and I think its just muscle aches.

Maybe I should be glad to be back at work....

Saturday, February 21, 2009

What the Heck Have You Been Up To????

Sorry its been so long since I last posted. Its been a very busy week. But I was thinking about you all.

Early in the week, I worked on these two pillowcases for my Dad. These are the first pillow cases I've done, so the experience was a new one. He actually picked out the fabric for these at a quilt shop I dragged him to last October. Yes, I know the main fabric is on sideways, but when I got down to cutting it all out, there wasn't enough fabric for two pillow cases if I wanted the design to go the right way (who knew when I bought the fabric that it would matter -- apparently not the lady who sold me the fabric and she knew that I was making pillow cases!). Anyway, these are going out in the mail today.

Last Saturday I went shop hopping and while at the LQS I picked up 3 block kits for the Thangles BOM that the shop is sponsoring. So here's the first block that I've been working on. Its a double block -- a block within a block. Two more to go before I put those away and work on something else.

The "something else" has been going around and around in my head all week. I've got loads of fabric that I've bought for the past 6 months with "projects" in mind. I'm thinking I'd better work on a quilt for my dad in FL before he comes back for the summer. I bought a bunch of Florida fabric -- shells, palm trees, etc, when I was in FL at Christmas time, so I'm thinking that those warm weather fabrics might help me out of my mid-winter blues.

Speaking of mid-winter blues, it snowing outside. Snowing SIDEWAYS!. I'm only about a quarter of a mile from Lake Michigan and the snow is blowing off the lake from the east. Now as most people in the midwest know, weather here comes in from the west, or sometimes from the south. But rarely from the east. It must be some kind of swirl coming back around off of the lake. And its not a diagonal. No, its pretty much horizontal. We're supposed to get 3-5 inches today up here north of Milwaukee. South of Milwaukee is supposed to get 5-7". Yuck!

Tuesday night I went to DD's Girl Scout meeting to tell the girls what we'd be doing at the campout next month (relax, the campout is in a winterized building). I showed them some quilts that I had done and showed them the sample quilt like they were going to make. They are really excited. There's 15 signed up. I had them fill out a questionnaire on color preferences and I was really surprised that many of them picked animal print and green! I have no idea where the green came from. Even my own daughter (who is a very pink and purple person) voted for green. So I've been looking at animal fabric both on line and in some stores. I talked to a lady in the fabric department at WalMart last night about them donating fabric or thread or batting to the cause. She told me to call during the week and talk to the department manager. So I guess I'll have to wait until Monday. But even if I get the fabric for $3.00 a yard, the fabric alone will cost almost $100. Plus the batting, thread, pins, etc. I know the girls have money in their account, but it just seems like alot. So I'm hoping to get a bunch donated.

I did hear from a lovely lady in GA who works for the GS and runs quilt workshops with the girls in GA. Wow! What a wonderful operation. It would be cool if this campout expanded that far, but I need to take it one step at a time. Here's the link to the group in GA.

Later today we're supposed to go get DD signed up for summer softball and then pick up the Girl Scout cookies that we sold and get them ready for delivery. So we'll be out trudging through the snow and cold both today and tomorrow. Before I knew how much snow we were going to get today, I thought we'd drive over to Madison and check out the quilt shops over there. But with this kind of snow, I'd hate to get stuck 100 miles away from home, so I think we'll just stick close.

Well, that's all that's new in my part of the world. Hope you all have a wonderful, warm weekend.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Girl Scout Sample Quilt Done

I got the sample quilt that I made for teaching the local Girl Scout troop how to quilt done. Here's the unquilted top.

And here it is all quilted. The blocks are 6" finished blocks. For the binding, I just pulled the back around to the front, folded it over and sewed it down by machine. I don't know what that method is really called, but I call it the diaper method. I had all the fabric in my stash, so it was just a matter of pulling it all together.

When I meet with the troop on Tuesday, I plan to give them a form to fill out for fabric preferences (ie pinks, blues, purple, animal, flower, etc). They will get to pick 2. Then I'll tally all the votes and depending on the turnout, get the fabric in the categories that got the most votes and pre-cut all the squares. Of course, when I made my sample I used the strip piecing method, but I think the girls will have more fun laying out different designs.

I don't think I'll worry about teaching them 1/4 inch seams. Not many machines/feet have good markings. Instead, I'll show them that its important just to have a consistent seam. I also don't think I'll make a big deal about making their corners meet. I want them to have fun doing this and not thinking that this is really hard and over their heads. Maybe I'll even do rectangles instead of squares (gee, does that mean I need to make a new sample?).

Hope everyone is having a good weekend. DD and I are going to a baby shower out of town today so not much time for sewing.

Friday, February 13, 2009

50's Sock Hop Party

Isn't she cute?

Here's pictures of DD in her costume for the 50's Sock Hop party we went to last Saturday night. I got her costume last Halloween on e-bay when we bought her Halloween costume (she was a Japanese girl for H-ween). She has naturally curly hair, so it was really easy to make it do the up flip. She played a bunch of games and after dinner, danced and danced while the DJ spun the records (or CD's - I didn't get close enough to check it out!). She made lots of new friends (most of them under age 8) and I made friends, too.
We had a great time.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Bad Night....

No quilting or sewing done last night. Instead, I got an email yesterday from DD's 4th grade teacher that we have a bit of a problem. Suffice it to say that our problem is HOME WORK and the HOME WORK is not getting done. So I spent 3 1/2 hours last night working on HOME WORK with my darling DD.

The most interesting part to me is that when I was in elementary school, I lived in Indiana. So we learned things about General Anthony Wayne, Battle of Tippecanoe, Salt Licks, etc. Well, DD has to learn about people I never heard of (Pere Marquette - okay, I know there's a Wisconsin State Park named that; LaSalle, Nicolet - okay, I know there's a High School near Milwaukee named that, etc). What I find is so interesting is that in today's society of very mobile families that the elementary curriculum is very localized in nature. Yes, 40 years ago when I was in 4th grade, the US was not as mobile. Now however, society is very mobile and how will DD ever need to know who was the first white man in Wisconsin? Is that any more relevant than the first white man in Indiana (and I have no idea who that was)? But a fully 50% of her grade for the social studies test is based on the names and accomplishments of these Wisconsin explorers. Very interesting.

Of course, I did get up early this morning and took the backing for the Bento Box quilt (which I had to piece and was sitting on the back of my couch for the past 2 weeks) and ironed it so that its ready to get sandwiched. I had to at least touch some of my fabric. I didn't want to get withdrawal or something.

Have a good one.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Teaching the Next Generation to Quilt

DD is in our local Girl Scout troop. I've always been the mom who helps out with the camp outs and other outdoor activities.

Well, I volunteered to teach the troop how to quilt. So the troop leaders and I decided to take the girls up to the GS camp (about 1/2 hour away) for an overnight camp out with a major theme of learning to sew/quilt. I'm expecting that we'll have anywhere from 8-14 girls age 9/10. I have 3 machines, the camp has 4 machines, and we'll find out how many of the girls can bring their machines.

My plan is to have them understand the historical nature of quilts (I'll bring along a couple of my older quilts for show and tell), have time for them to do design work, then sew together a simple lap quilt and tie it. I'm hoping we can get it all done.

I'm putting together a couple of samples so they can see what they will be doing and so that I can get some votes on colors and fabric themes so I can go shopping for the fabric for them. I started the first sample last night after I spent about 20 minutes going through my stash. I found a fun fish fabric that I used as a backing for a baby quilt I made several years ago and some solids to coordinate. I need to get the sample done by next Tuesday for the GS meeting. Pictures to follow.

Any ideas or hints on teaching children to sew? Several of them learned basic machine sewing at summer school last year, so not everyone will need machine instruction. Also, has anyone hit up fabric stores (like Jo-Ann's or WalMart) for fabric for a project like this?

Thanks and have a great day.


Monday, February 9, 2009

Whirly Giggle Done!

Well, I got the Whirly Giggle quilt done last night. I still want to throw it in the washer and dryer to get some of the stiffness out (and let the batting crinkle up a little) and sew on the label, but its now a quilt by all other names.
Here's some close ups of the quilting. I machine quilted it free hand. I drew all the lines on using templates and then just followed the lines. I don't know if I'll ever get good enough to machine quilt without the lines.

Yesterday was great. DD and I played hooky all day; we didn't go to church and we stayed in our PJ's all day. That's probably why I got the quilt all done. Then at 11:30pm last night when I finished it, I went and did my taxes on line. So that's another thing taken care of.
Saturday was a busy day for us. DD had a friend spend the night Friday night and she had to be home for her piano lessons at 8am. So we were out of the house early. Ran a few errands and then had a pedicure (DD had her fingernails painted). The weather was great, so we picked up smoothies and then I dragged her to two quilt shops (in all fairness, she did have her DS - that's a game boy, not a son - with her). I was looking for one fabric of each of two lines that I bought earlier last week and hopefully, quilting stencils for the border of the Whirly Giggle quilt (I didn't find any of the fabric or stencils that I was looking for) Did quite a bit of damage at the first one and only bought a coordinating fabric at the second shop. We had a quick lunch in Cedarburg where they were having their winter festival with ice sculptures being carved on the sidewalk. I felt sorry for them as it was 50 degrees and everything was melting. We drove back home and ran more errands (WalMart and oil change). Then Saturday night we went to a 50's Sock Hop party with the Wisconsin Camping Association. DD was dolled up in a poodle skirt, saddle shoes, and a flip hair-do. She was soooo cute and had such a good time running around with the other kids (they had games for the kids). They had a DJ for after dinner and she danced and danced and danced! So much fun!
Well, I need to get back to work and take care of business.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Whirly Giggle and the Tooth Fairy

Sorry I don't have a picture of the Whirly Giggle quilt here today. I got all of the figures outline quilted and last night I started on the open white spaces. I decided I wanted to show movement with my quilting and thought of all those windmills turning. So I'm quilting circles in the white spaces as if the windmills are spinning. I had half of my kitchen dragged out to the family room auditioning plates, saucers, cups, bowls, lids, etc to make the right sizes for the concentric circles. I actually am using the top to a Phily Cream Cheese container for the smallest circle. Last night I got 6 of the 12 blocks done, so I should be able to get the last six done tonight. Then I'll just need to figure out how to quilt the borders. I'll post a picture when I get a chance.

I've been very busy at work this week traveling to visit suppliers. These are 3-6 hour trips (including travel time) so I haven't had a lot of time in the office getting that work done and now its piling up.

On Monday evening, DD lost a tooth while we were eating dinner. She had mentioned that she had a loose one earlier that day, but I figured we had a week or two before it would come out. But no! While we were discussing the plans to put the tooth under her pillow, she told me that some of the kids at school said that there was no Tooth Fairy and that it was just parents leaving the money and putting the tooth in the bottom of the garbage can. I asked her what she believed and she said she wasn't sure. So anyway, we did the whole ceremony with the tooth in the Tooth Pillow under her pillow. After she went to bed, I got a one dollar bill out of my purse and put it on my dresser so that I could swap it out later. Only I forgot to make the swap before she got up. The next morning she came running into the bathroom where I was getting ready for work and said "The Tooth Fairy didn't come!" She was nearly in tears. I said that maybe the Tooth Fairy had a lot of teeth to take care of last night and she just didn't get to our house. DD replied "No, I think she heard us talking about not believing in her and so she didn't come." So I suggested that we both say really loud "I DO BELIEVE IN THE TOOTH FAIRY" and maybe she would come after all. So we did and the Tooth Fairy came last night. So funny. Its only a matter of time before DD figures out that the Tooth Fairy, Santa, and the Easter Bunny are all the same person. She's 9 (okay, 9 and a half) and I've been waiting for that magic to disappear. So far, so good.

Have a great rest of your week.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

I Love Saturday Mornings...

It used to be that you would find me in bed on a Saturday morning until 10 or 11am (pre DD). But now I find its my favorite time all week. I can sleep in until 6 or 7am, get up and do whatever I want until DD gets up (yesterday that was at 10am). I had 4 glorious hours of uninterupted sewing time.

I got the Whirly Giggle top done and this morning I took it to church to baste (they have such nice, big tables there). So its already to begin the quilting process. I have two weeks until the shower at work, so I have plenty of time to quilt it and put the binding on. I'm so ahead, I've shocked myself!

Have a wonderful weekend all. We're on our way to a Super Bowl party for the evening (even if we don't care who wins).