Friday, September 30, 2005

On the subject of UFOs...

Debra, over at , had a lovely talk this morning about UFOs.

Got me thinking. I know, watch out!

Got me thinking about the projects that I start and then abandon, for a time. One project that comes to mind is one of those patchwork sweatshirts. Anyway, when we lived in the frozen tundra of Indiana, I started a flannel one. It was going to make me so nice and toasty in my cold and drafty 80 year old craftsman style house. The first problem I ran into was that I somehow did not buy enough flannel fat quarters to finish this sweatshirt. Not sure how this happened. This was also the same time period that my favorite quilt store was sold to new owners and quickly became not my favorite quilt store! This is the store where I bought the flannel. After an extensive search of most local quilt stores (there aren't many) I managed to round up enough flannel to finish the project. This involved finding other fabrics that would blend with the original 8. But then DH got a new job in the tropical area otherwise called ALABAMA. Do I really need a quilted FLANNEL sweatshirt in order to survive an Alabama winter? No, I think not. I barely need pants to survive an Alabama winter! Don't worry - I do keep my pants on! So this poor sweatshirt has sat lonely in a rubbermaid box, waiting for the day when DH moves us to Sweden! You think I am joking but you don't know our history.

Do you have a moment? Grab a cup of coffee...I'll wait....


I grew up in Wisconsin and Illinois. My husband grew up in Arkansas. We met and married in Florida twelve years ago. After living in Gainesville (GO GATORS!) for one year, he hauls me off to New York City, where he goes to grad school. Three years later after finishing school, we decide NYC is not for us and he finds a job in..... Seattle. We live in Seattle for two years and have our DD. When she is four months old, we decide we can't afford to stay there if I am not working. So DH finds a job in Muncie, Indiana. Where, you may ask, is Muncie, Indiana? It is an hour northeast of Indy. It is home to Ball State University, alma mater of David Letterman. We lived in Muncie for four years and had DS. Then DH gets an opportunity to be a visiting professor at Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama . We have been here for two years. So, as you can see, the trend seems to be where ever is the last place on earth that I think I would live, that is the next place we move. So I am trying hard not to think about China, Russia, or Argentina!

Ok, enough of my rambling. I need to go do something productive.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

More curves...


Since I eagerly await everyone else's updates, I guess I should keep my blog updated to. This week has been crazy. Yesterday I went to the eye doctor to get my eyes checked. My regular doctor suggested this, just to make sure my eyes weren't causing my headaches. So the eye guy does his normal things and then wants to dilate my eyes so he can check my optic nerves. NOT FUN! The drops themselves don't hurt but the overall sensation of everything up close being blurry made me feel faint and nauseated. He says he has people faint all the time. And yet it is safe for me to drive home 10 minutes later? He told me "You won't be able to see how fast you are going, but it is safe to drive." Anyway....I made it home in one piece.

Later that afternoon, I had a organizational meeting for Girl Scouts. I am a new leader for Brownie troop #206. Please hold you applause! We have our first meeting with the parents on Saturday and our first meeting with the girls on Tuesday. My daughter is so excited. She told me she wants to do it as long as there is no fishing involved!

As far as quilting goes, I have been doing my best to get the binding on the three baby quilts I have done. One is totally done, one is halfway done, the last one is next in line. I have the hot pink one left to quilt. I am still waiting for the hot pink thread to arrive. I called the store yesterday after waiting for over a week. Usually orders from them arrive in 2 to 3 days. Come to find out, they lost my order! Now I am waiting for her to call me back and tell me that they found it and have shipped it. If I don't hear from her this afternoon, I might call her and give her an ear full!

The picture above is a class sample I made a few years ago. My friend who owns a quilt shop asked me if I could teach a free-hand curve class. Keep in mind that I had never been a student in a quilt class, let alone teach a quilt class. I had just learned free-hand curves because this same friend had hired me to make a shop sample using this method. So anyway, I made the class sample in colors my husband likes so that he can hang it in his office. I will post pictures of the shop sample quilt and a quilt I made for my daughter's birthday using the free-hand curves. It is really a fun thing to do.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Stars for Finn

Yes Finn, we are all still here, just a bit busy! Today was the homecoming game here in Auburn and friends had their annual pancake breakfast. After eating breakfast we hit the grocery store. We got home at 9:56 to discover that the b-day party my kids were supposed to go to starts at 10, not 10:30! So we rush back out the door. The party was at a place called the Sports Academy. They played dodgeball, tug-o-war, and had batting practice. Wore them out! Came home, had lunch, and then I insisted we all take a nap! Tonight for dinner we had "supper club" at a friends house. A group of 4 couples takes turns, one each month, having the group over for dinner. We all get to try new dishes and don't have to cook! Last nights dessert was especially good - chocolate cheesecake! We got home in time to get the kids bathed and in bed by 8:30 pm at which point I too was ready to collapse.

This star quilt is one I made for my newest nephew, Denver, who was born in July. Still haven't met him but we are headed his direction in November. The pattern is one I saw in a magazine and then drafted the stars myself. The magazine used 4 different colors for the star points. I love blue and yellow so I used my scraps for this one. I really like how it turned out.

Finn - I promise to try and be better about posting more often!

Hope everyone is having a good weekend!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Challenge from Finn

Ok, Finn - here you go!

5 Things I want to do before I die:
-Travel through the Italian countryside with hubby
-See a big building of my famous architect husband be built
-Meet my great-grand children
-Have a big welcoming house in the country on a lake where the whole family loves to gather
-Make piles of quilts for both my children, their children, etc......

5 Things I can do:
-Produce really cute kids...really!
-Make really good chocolate chip/peanut butter chip cookies
-Make a quilt for someone who needs a lasting hug
-Encourage my family to be the best they can be
-Be a good friend

5 Things I cannot do..yet:
-Fit into a size 8, like some people I know!
-Keep up with hubby on a bike ride of any length
-Machine quilt as beautifully as Bonnie, Judy, Nina, or most anyone else I know!
-Keep my house clean for longer than 5 minutes
-Get my 4 year old to go to sleep in his own bed (although I do enjoy the extra cuddling!)

5 Things that attract me to the opposite sex:
-a great smile
-sense of humor

5 celebrity crushes:
-John Cusack
-Mark Ruffalo
-Sean Connery
-Johnny Depp
-Harrison Ford

5 People I'd like to do this:
As Finn already said -
-you know who you are
-yes I am talking to you

Finn - this was much harder than I thought it would be. I had to stop and think hard about all of these.

A favorite quilt of mine

Since I have nothing new to share, I thought I would show you one of my favorite quilts from the past. I made this quilt for a friend for her 35th birthday. This friend can not even sew a button on, so she was amazed that I had made this whole quilt. She has it on the back of her couch in her living room and says they use it every night to snuggle under. I think this quilt was the beginning of my falling in love with chocolate browns. I also loved the floral fabric which was the central fabric in the quilt.

This week I have been struggling to quilt all the baby quilt tops that I have made recently. My problem is getting my inertia going in that direction. So far I have gotten two done - the green and yellow pinwheel and the purple trip around the world. I am waiting for hot pink thread and white thread to come in the mail. Donita Reeve has good prices on Aurifil thread on her website at . The only problem is waiting for the thread to arrive all the way from Montana! I have told myself I can not make anymore baby quilt tops until I get these five quilted and delivered to the Project Linus drop-off site.

I also need to get started on the coffee quilt I want to make for my father-in-law for Christmas, otherwise December is going to sneak up on me! I would really like to get the border put on the CW quilt I stole from my mom so I can use it on my bed this winter.

All of my huge quilting plans get put on hold everyday about 11 a.m. when I get a headache. They started about a month and a half ago, lasted for three weeks, stopped for about a week, and then started up again last Thursday. Tuesday's headache was so bad I finally caved in and called the doctor for an appointment. I will go to see him tomorrow. I also still think my thyroid is off but can't find a doctor to agree with me. I have many of the symptoms but my blood tests all come back at the high range of "normal". My sister and two different aunts have thyroid problems. Anyway...enough about medical problems.

I promised my son I would go for a bike ride with him when I finished the baby quilt, so I'd better get going!

Monday, September 19, 2005

It's Finally Here!!!

The Quilts of Gee's Bend (Alabama)

Last Sunday, the art museum here in Auburn Alabama opened its exhibit of the Gee's Bend quilts. Sundays there is no admission fee so we went yesterday after lunch. The quilts are beautiful. It is amazing what these ladies made with their scraps! The museum had a whole room devoted to quilts made out of old work clothes. Several of the women made these out of their husbands' old work clothes so that they could remember their husbands after they passed away. I plan to go back several more times before the exhibit leaves in December. I took my daughter with me and she really appreciated the bright colors and bold shapes. A lady we were with asked my daughter if she was going to learn to quilt and M told her that she already knew how! The lady was quite impressed!

Here are a few pictures I grabbed off the net of some of the quilts.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The story of the missing shoe box

On the same trip to my grandparents' house that I mentioned in the previous post, I was going through some sewing stuff with my aunt and grandma (mimi). One of the things we came across was a shoebox filled with various blocks made with 30's and 40's fabrics - the real stuff! There were several different block patterns - dresden plate, grandmother's flower garden, little sail boats. There weren't enough of any one pattern to even make a small baby quilt. I, of course, asked if I could have the box. My grandmother says no, that she might finish them someday. My grandma hasn't sewed in probably 25 years. She's lost most of her eye sight. - But someday she was going to finish these blocks! When Mimi left the room my aunt said she would put that box aside for me and get it to me later. Fast forward a couple of months when my grandparents have gotten everything they want out of the house, had several huge garage sales, and the house is still filled with junk. The new owners of the house were going to bulldoze the property and put up some kind of store. So anything left in the house was going to end up at the dump after being bulldozed!

Of course the shoebox was not to be found at my grandparents new house. It broke my heart to think of those beautiful lost blocks. UGH!

My parents try to go visit my grandparents when they can because they are both in failing health. My grandparents always send them home with boxes of junk for me and my sister and the kids. Usually there is nothing in the boxes that we even keep. So when my mom said she had a box of stuff for my from my grandparents I wasn't very excited.

That is, until she brought out the shoebox!

More treasures

Treasures from my shoebox

My favorite quilt backing

One of the most important things I have learned from our dear Miss Bonnie is that a pieced backing is so much more interesting than a huge piece of (expensive) yardage. The back of this quilt means more to me than the front. The backing is fabric that came from my Grandmother (Mimi). She used to quilt but I don't have a quilt that she made. But like all good quilters she collected fabric. Added to the mix is that fact that my grandparents both worked for an auction house and would go in and prepare an estate for the final auction. People would often give them things from the house in exchange for all their hard work. Anyway... Two years ago my grandparents decided to move from northern Illinois up to Wisconsin to be near my uncle's family. This involved cleaning out a 22 room house, filled to the brim with stuff. We made a trip to Illinois to see them before we moved to Alabama so they could see the great grand kids again. My grandmother sent me home with 4 large black trash bags full of fabric. Before you get too excited, lots of it was junk - polyester, old sheeting that had already been cut to shreds, you get the picture. But there was still a good sized pile of usable things. This usable pile was split between me and my dear quilting friend, Nina. Nina has a knack for taking the ugliest fabric and making a beautiful quilt. She has an amazing sense of color. (Are you blushing yet?)

So these two pieces of fabric came from this pile of fabric from my grandmother. The toile was too cool to cut up but there wasn't enough to make the whole backing. So I added the yellow fabric to it.

I love the back because it reminds me of my grandmother. Chances are she just inherited the fabric from someone else, but to me, it still came from her.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Another way to help

I was surfing this morning and found this blog. It lists shelters in Mississippi that you can mail boxes of supplies directly to, via UPS or Fedex or DHL. They have a list of suggested supplies. They want you to only send one kind of item per box so that it won't need to be sorted on the other end. I might have to take the kids to Walmart to help me make up a box to mail off.

Here's the address:

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Just a thought...

I was surfing blogs and ran across a lady that was talking about motherhood and how its not always what she signed up for. One of the things she mentioned is how she never gets to finish anything . Something went click inside my head. I know...scary thought! Anyway, it made me think that this reasoning might be why I fell in love with quilting. It (a quilt) is something that I can actually get to a finished state without anyone coming along to mess it up. Sure it may not be done as quickly as I like sometimes but eventually it will get done. Unlike cleaning my house, cooking, laundry, etc. All of those things are nothing but a vicious cycle that never ends and usually only gets worse!

Yet another reason I love QUILTING!

Warning - you might want sunglasses!

All of the bright fabrics in my stash have been calling me, saying "Make us into a baby quilt!" I bought this fabric about two years, only because all the pinks were on sale together. The blue and the purple are from my stash. You can't see it too well but the blue has pink polka dots on it that match the other fabrics perfectly. Usually pink is a fabric that I never use. (Have you heard that from me before?) Once again there was just enough for a good sized baby quilt for Project Linus and I am left with no leftovers! I have just enough blue to put on one more border. Some little girl is going to love this PINK quilt!

Using up purple scraps

The top picture is a watercolor wallhanging I made for my niece about three years ago, when she had a purple nursery for about six months. I have recently found out that the wallhanging is sitting in my sister's closet. UGH! I need to learn not to make anything for this side of the family because it is not appreciated! Anyway... I was left with about 1/3 of a yard of each of the fabrics. I never use purple. I ran across the pile of leftovers the other day and decided that there was enough to make a baby quilt. So here is my purple trip around the world. Another quilt for Project Linus and no more purple for me!

Monday, September 05, 2005

Labor day and I'm laboring...

Yesterday my son woke up feeling pukey and to prove it he started puking! So me and him stayed home from church. He threw up about every twenty minutes all morning, right up until my husband came home with lunch from KFC. So then my son wanted to eat everything in sight! He ate mac-n-cheese, a biscuit, and some chicken. I kept telling him to slow down because he was probably going to throw it back up in a minute! We all laid down for a nap and I was expecting for my husband to start yelling that my son needs me in the bathroom... but he never did. When we got up from nap, son seemed to be his normal happy self. Don't know what it was but I'm glad its gone!

Besides sitting on the couch with my son all morning, I tried to sneak in some sewing. When my son is sick, he wants me right beside him at all times. I did manage to make some cheery 9-patches with some cute blues and a sunny yellow. I used a white alternate block that has some blue meandering through it. I think it turned out really cute, but then I am a sucker for anything yellow and blue.

This morning after recovering my kids rooms from the abyss, I decided it was time to tackle all the labels I need to put on. It is amazing how quickly you can machine sew on a label! None of them are very noticeable from the front. Now I can mail the three quilts off to Houston and take the two baby quilts to the sewing center tomorrow. My sewing room will feel so empty! Time to make more of a mess!

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Another Saturday in the South...

I think that fall may really be on its way to Alabama. In other words, it wasn't 95 degrees by 9 a.m.! I was thankful for this because we spent the morning try to cleaning up the building mess next door at the spec house my husband and a friend are building. This involves picking up cut up shinlges, bags from the grout, broken bricks, all sizes of left over lumber and sheathing. You get the picture. We filled a 8' by 20' dumster about 75% full. I keep telling myself that all the labor we put in means a bigger profit in the end, but my legs and back don't really care about profit!

After I gave up trying to be helpful, I came in and took a nice cool shower and then I have been sewing for a while. First, I pieced a backing for the green and yellow kid size quilt I made a few weeks ago. I had a piece of bright yellow yardage that made the perfect backing. I have tried in vain to track down more of the sunflower fabric to make a border with. Oh well, it is still going to end up being about 46" square, which is the perfect size for the Project Linus contest.

Next, I decided it was time to get working on the quilt I am donating to an auction in two weeks! The blocks were all together but it needed a border to be a useful adult size. I found the perfect green fabric at the sewing center the other day - it even had tiny purple flowers that matched the purple in the blocks. I got enough to make a 8" border , which will make the quilt end up being 60" by 80". Now to get the backing pieced, the quilting done, and then the dreaded binding! Yes, and a label. All before the 15th. UGH!

Right now I think I need some lunch!

Friday, September 02, 2005

Quilts with no purpose

I just read Finn's post about how sometimes we make a quilt with no specific purpose in mind but somewhere down the road the perfect recipient shows up. I was thinking that exact thought last night as I was scrounging the house for quilts I can send to Houston for the refugees. The three quilts I am going to mail were made about 5 years ago. They were all made in my fruitless attempt to use up scraps; all of them caused me to buy more fabric! Anyway, I was never overly fond of any of them. Not that they are ugly, just not my favorites. One of them my daughter had laid claim to. She doesn't use it on her bed. It hangs on the quilt rack in my bedroom. I picked up the quilt last night and took it into her room. I sat down on her bed and told her about the hurricane (she's only 6) and how it had flooded an entire city, lots of people's houses were destroyed, and they had to go to a different city to live for while. They did not have all of their favorite things with them. Lots of them were having to sleep on the cement floors or in chairs. I asked her if we could send them the quilt. She immediately said yes and asked if she could sleep with the quilt before I mailed it. I went back to my room and a few minutes later she brought me in the quilt and said I could go ahead and pack it.

I am glad someone will finally be using them and hopefully loving them.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Another one bites the dust....

I know you are in shock (Especially you, Nines!) - yes that makes three bindings done in one day. And a total of four in two days. Granted two of those were only sewing the backside down but the other two, I had to make the binding and put it all the way on. It feels so good to get those out of the way.

I was mostly doing this last one to keep myself awake until my daughter gets home from school so we can all take a nap before church tonight. 25 minutes to go! Guess I'll go do something mundane like loading the dishwasher! I really need a self cleaning house ...or a maid ...or a husband that likes to clean.

Lots of accomplishments

I have already accomplished more today than I have in the past week, therefore, I think it is time to go back to bed. Wouldn't want to shock my system too much!

Yesterday I sewed on the binding for the baby quilt made out of thirties fabrics. I knew it would just sit around waiting for another few weeks for me to do the handwork so I sewed it all down by machine. So quick and easy! This quilt is going to a friend to give to a friend of hers. Her daughter recently passed away at the age of 22, and only 6 weeks after giving birth to a baby boy. So now the grandmother has inherited the baby. This little boy is going to have a tough life without a mama around and I thought he needed a quilt to wrap up in.

This morning I helped my husband clean up a mess next door in the spec house that my husband and a friend are building. They (my husband and friend) installed all the insulation themselves over the past week and the drywallers are coming tomorrow. So me and hubby spent about an hour and a half picking up trash and sweeping up saw dust and stuffing insulation scraps into trash bags. I have had a shower but am still itchy and my eyes are dry.

After doing that messy job I thought I deserved some quilting time. I decided to sew down the other two bindings that were waiting for me. The green squares is just a baby sized quilt I made out of scraps. This will go to the Project Linus contest at the local sewing store. The Wonky Houses quilt is going on the wall in my sewing room. The pattern is on Bonnie's page if anyone is interested. The blocks go together very quickly and it makes such a cute quilt. Both bindings got machined down. It feels so good to get those done! I may just have to go make the binding for the last 30's baby quilt I have sitting there. Not sure if I shared the story of why I have so many 30's baby quilts. I made 60 blocks to make a quilt for my bed and then decided my bed frame was much too formal for a 30's style quilt. So instead I used the blocks to make 4 baby quilts.

I think it is time to go find some lunch. I wish Papa John's would magically show up at my door!