Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Spring Time in Wisconsin

I was really looking forward to a great weekend and getting alot of outdoor work done, but after only 30 minutes of raking the front yard, I had to come inside on Saturday and then it started to rain. It felt like the Great Flood -- 40 days and 40 nights right outside my door. It really didn't stop all weekend. My sump pump ran off and on for 2 days straight (I guess that's a good thing, if it didn't run I'd have water all over my basement, right?).

But Monday morning before we left the house for the day, I snapped these two pictures of the flowers struggling in my front flower bed. Spring is trying to get here!

So since it rained all weekend, what did I get done? I finally got my cutting table all set up. I got rid of the piano a month ago and then last week I bought a long (72") folding table from WalMart. I set it up Saturday morning when the rain started and decided how much more height I needed.

Then one of my many errands later on Saturday was to the local hardware store. I love that place. They are so friendly and eager to help. When I walked in and (on purpose) looked lost like I didn't know what to do, I was approached by the owner who asked how he could help. I told him I needed some PVC pipe. He asked if I needed just pipe or fitting, too. I told him just pipe. He walked me down the aisle to the PVC pipe and showed me the various sizes he had. I quickly picked out which one was the right size diameter and told him I needed 4 twelve inch pieces. He cut it for me (for free) and then only charged me for the 48 inches, not the entire 10 feet of pipe we started with. I expected to pay for the entire 10 feet (which would have been a whopping $3.48).

So here's a picture of my cutting table, raised to counter top height. I've got storage underneath (okay, so they're empty so far) and lots of room for cutting and for laying out. I love it so far (except that my sewing machine is in the other room, 40 feet away).

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Side Tracked Again....

Last weekend while I was at my dad's house (he watched DD while I went to the quilt show), he mentioned to my DD that he needed a couple of kitchen dish cloths. His mom (my grandmother) used to make them and I've made him a few from time to time over the years. Now DD does know how to crochet, but I thought he'd want them this year (vbg) so I spent two evenings this week and whipped out two for him. They'll go out in the mail on Saturday when I can get to the post office.
Now back to the tote!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Quilted Tote

I've mentioned that I've been working on a quilted tote. Well, today I thought I'd show you what I'm doing. Here's the pattern:

The last time I made a bag was about 20 years ago. I still use it, but I wanted a bigger one. This one is huge. Here's the pieced front. I have to quilt it next then start the assembly process. It is taking me a long time because I just don't work on it every night (and I've been gone the last two weekends).

I love the colors. It's my colors (pink and purple) plus some orange/sherbet colors. I can't wait until I get it all together. I am worried about finding the dowels for the handles. The LQS where I bought my pattern said I could find them/make them, but I was hoping for handles that had some finish to them (not raw wood). Well, when I get that far, I guess I'll worry about that then.

Chicago Quilt Show

Okay, its been about 17 years since I last went to a BIG quilt show. And the Chicago show really delivered. I was wow'ed by the quilts. I saw. Here's some of my favorites.

I didn't take any classes. I just went and viewed the show and then, of course, shopped 'til I dropped! I didn't really spend that much, just the fact of being on my feet for about 4 hours straight and the intense amount of eye candy. I bought some FQ, a Jim Shorer figurine, a HQT cutting template, and a book. I was really surprised about the amount of booths and fabric that seemed to specialize in the reproduction fabrics. There were a lot of Civil War reproductions. So that meant a lot of dark creams and darker colors. I know I've seen them in the LQSs but I didn't realize it was that popular. Not exactly my cup of tea (no pun intended).
I really was dragging butt by the time I got back to my car and drove back home. And even today, 2 days later, my legs and feet still hurt. I guess I'm not used to walking around on all the concrete.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Easter Morning

Here's DD on Easter morning after she has scoped out all the stuff that the Easter bunny brought. The biggest present was a pair of walkie-talkies that she can use with her friends. We don't do much candy. In fact, it's probably about time to throw out the Halloween candy that she hasn't gotten around to eating. The sugar just makes her too hyper (and she won't sleep for a week!).

Foster Park in Ft Wayne

Now I know that some of you are running around in shorts and t-shirts, but those of us up north are wondering if it's finally time to put away the parka. Last weekend we were in Ft Wayne, Indiana visiting my best friend for Easter. On Sunday, it was so clear and beautiful outside I suggested that we go find some green and maybe some early flowers. We went to Foster Park and strolled around (the adults still had on their parkas) and did exactly that. DD slipped her coat off a few times so that we could take some pictures.
So okay, in Ft Wayne the daffodils were in bloom. No tulips yet. Here in Wisconsin, the daffodils are about 4 inches high. But the crocus are pretty. I have purple and yellow ones in my garden. Only the purple ones are blooming right now.
I can't wait for summer! Okay, I'll settle for spring, 'cause right now it feels like winter will never go away. I know this is typical Wisconsin spring (ie not much to show until May), but I'd like a little green, if you please. The lawn still looks brown/grey and the trees are still bare. Uhhhgggg! Come on Spring!

Erin's Quilt Done

Before we left for our Easter weekend out of town, I finished the baby quilt I stared last week. I used a different kind of backing than usual. I think it was called "Minkee". It has a great, soft, knap, kinda like velour. When I bought it, I specifically asked how well it quilted and how it was to work with. I was told that it was fine, and maybe a little stretchy. Well, let me tell you, I won't buy it again. Fortunately I tried to do free hand quilting on a test piece. It would not move at all on my machine. I really had to pull to get it to do anything and I wasn't ready to go through all that. So I decided to put on my walking foot and just stitch in the ditch. That went very well. No puckers, no folds. But then I decided just to pull the back up over the front and stitch it down for a binding. Well, this stuff pulled and wouldn't lay straight and twisted. Uhggg! I guess I'll just stick with cotton from now on. :)


Sorry I haven't posted anything for a while. We were out of town for the long Easter weekend and also have plans to be out of town this coming weekend. I've been working on a quilted tote for a couple of hours each night (well, maybe I only work on it 45 minutes a night, but sit there looking at it while watching TV the other 1.25 hours).

I have pictures coming of last weekend, no quilts, just family & friends. Hopefully I'll upload them tonight (if I can beat DD to the computer after dinner).

Friday, April 10, 2009

Out of Town for the Weekend

Just a note to let all my friends know I'm out of town for the weekend. Be back home on Monday.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Blueberry Crisp....YUM!

Every summer I buy 40 pounds of blueberries from Michigan and freeze them. Obviously, we love blueberries. This morning I got up and made two blueberry crisps. One for us and one for the man and wife (as a thank you) who are helping Katie and I with her Science Fair project.
Can you eat blueberry crisp for breakfast? With ice cream? Hmmm........

Friday, April 3, 2009

What a Ham!

DD got all dressed up last Saturday night to go to the YMCA for a 3 hour shut in for 3rd and 4th graders. They were supposed to have a DJ, so she got all dolled up and came down to model her outfit. She had a great time with her friends, but was rather disappointed that the DJ was cancelled.

Beatles Concert

Weds evening I went to a Beatles concert. No, the Fab Four were not there, but all of the 4th graders at my daughter's school put on a Spring Concert. They all had to wear white shirts and black bottoms. When the curtain came up, the stage was dark and slowly started to light up. As one, all of the kids pulled the sunglasses out of no where and started to sing "Here Comes the Sun". We loved it. DD is right in the front/middle next to the little boy. There's about 100 kids in the 4th grade class. The music teacher made all the little ties, they were just pieces of black fabric with a safety pin at the top. So cute.
The kids sang seven songs, including "Here Comes the Sun", "Let it Be", Hey Jude", Blackbird", "Ob-la-di", and you guessed it, "Yellow Submarine". Most of the background music was pre-recorded, but one of the 4th grade boys accompanied the choir to "Let it Be" on the piano. He's very talented and the music teacher said he'd been taking piano for 4 years.
The Beatles were done before I really started listening to music, so I've never really been a fan of theirs. But DD has been so gung-ho about the Beatles that I said I would add some of their songs to our iPod. I do have the album "1" already and it's loaded on, but several of the songs that she knows aren't on that album. So I went on iTunes and was flabbergasted to see that the other Beatles albums aren't available for downloading. Huh.... So I went on eBay and found one that had the songs we were looking for. Should be coming in the mail early next week.
What was pretty cool was that before the concert started and people were still coming in, I stood up at my seat to look for another parent. I was amazed that I recognized 90% of the parents from other events, etc. Maybe not by name, but usually by their kid's names and it felt pretty cool to think that we've all be together supporting our kids for the past 5 years (including kindergarten) and that we'll continue to see each other for another 8 years. DD and I moved to this town when she was just 2 and we didn't know anyone at that time. Of course now I know people from church and other moms from Girl Scouts, dance, and gymnastics, but I hadn't realized that the school is such a big community within the bigger community. Pretty cool, huh?
Next week the 4th graders start learning to play the recorder (what we called the song flute in my elementary school days). I can't wait. :)

Erin's Baby Quilt Top Done

I've been working on this baby quilt for the last couple of nights and this is what I've gotten done so far. I'm going to put a lavender border on it that matches the backing. I'll add the border before Sunday so I can lay it out for pin/basting at church after services.

I've just racked my brains trying to figure out where/how to hang my quilts so I can take good pictures of them to show you. I can't think of a single place in my house that has an entire wall that furniture isn't in front of. In past pictures, I've mostly just laid them out on the floor or on the bed, but I think that you can see so much more when they are hanging up (plus, there's not a lot of floor space and even then I'd have to vacuum up all the dog hair before I took any pictures). In the above picture, I have my DD holding it up. But she's not very big and even this baby blanket is bigger than her arms will reach. Oh well. Maybe its just another excuse for me to somehow get a sewing studio. Of course, that would mean adding on to the house...(vbg).

I'm already eying my next project. I bought a pattern and fabric for a really cool craft tote so I can carry around my quilting stuff. Fabric pictures to follow.