Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween and Merry Christmas

My daughter and husband were busy today.  These are the pumpkins I so patiently nutured this summer. Hubbie had to resort to power tools to carve his, but the bat stole the show.
And look at this totally fabulous table runner Ardis made using the SAL blocks.
Very festive don't you think!
I cannot believe how creative everyone has been with these little blocks.

Tonight we dined on a recipe from Sunset magazine -- Squash and Chickpea Fritters.  I will share the recipe tomorrow along with all the pictures from my monthly meeting of our SSQSG.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Holiday Blog Hop

Starting in November several of my favorite designers will be doing another blog hop. I enjoyed the last one and actually made one of the projects. Well, half made.  It is in the finishing pile.  More like a mound, perhaps approaching a hill.
Nov 2nd * Brenda Gervais from
Nov 5th * Debbie Field from
Nov 9th * Jan Patek from
Nov 12th * Kathy Schmitz from
Nov 16th * Renee Plains from
Nov 19th * Tracy from
Nov 22nd * Lisa Bongean from
Nov 26th * Lynda Hall from
Nov 29th * Cheri Saffiote-Payne from
Dec 3rd * Tara Darr from
Dec 7th * Debbie Busby from
Dec 10th * Stacy West from

Perhaps some ideas for gift giving. All of a sudden I feel anxious over the holidays. Why do I do this? It isn't about the gifts! And yet, just about this time every year I get a panicky feeling in the pit of my stomach.  Do you know the feeling?
Linda at Stray Stitches is getting closer to the finish line with her SAL blocks.
Don't forget to send me pictures.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

'Thanksgiving' by Doreen Johnson

I just could not wait to share this one!
What a stunning quilt!
She should enter it in a contest somewhere, don't you think.  
I so need to make her version. Of course, she used my favorite fall colors, including black.  I think every quilt needs a little black! Most of mine do. 
Fabulous job, Doreen!

A Quickie!

My dear friend, Kay, finished her SAL quilt. She doesn't normally work with reproduction fabrics, but I think she did a grand job with the colors in this one.  The most important thing is that she had fun with it and will be back for more!
My morning coffee had me piecing Block #1 for the Paris in Fall BOM. This block measures 14 1/2" square. Big for me! I love the deep, rich colors in this line of fabric.  The kits for the BOM are available here.
I'm off there now to teach, my favorite thing to do.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Autumn's Bounty Update

Lin has the center of Autumn's Bounty finished and will now start on the wool applique. She did a superb job!
Now I need to get mine to the quilter so I can print the pattern.
Denise in Italy is the first SAL participant to complete setting her blocks.  She chose the traditional streak of lightening setting. Way to go, Denise!
Just saw this Dr. Zuess fabric by Robert Kaufmann. Dr. Zuess books were my favorite books to read my children, so I have to get me some.  Save it in my grandma hope chest!
Maybe someday.

Busy week this week.  I have a new Beginning Quilt Piecing class starting on Thursday, a precision piecing refresher class on Tuesday, work on Friday at TOWQS and a two tennis games to fit in between. Not much sewing for myself will be going on this week, so just keep sending me pictures of SAL blocks and quilt tops so I have something to talk blab about! And if you are in the area on Friday, stop by and say hi.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Progress Report

Elin has added another vibrant block to her pile.
 I can't wait to see the final product and see what she does with that striking black and white striped fabric.  I have a weakness for striped bindings!
Anne Mette has only 4 more to go. She has been hand piecing up to this point, but has enjoyed making these little 4" blocks using her machine.
While working in the yard yesterday, I found this vividly hued catepillar. What a dramatic example of the value of value! I adore his spiky antennae and his little feet looked like they had round, black button shoes on them. There were about 10 of them on the milkweed bush in the corner of the driveway, along with several other types of insects.  Most likely he will be a rather unimpressive butterfly.
The yellow orchid like blooms are on the tree in the courtyard. 

I will meet with the ladies who are testing my Autumn's Bounty pattern this afternoon. I know that Lin has been working on setting her's, so I am anxious to see it.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

First JPN Block

We have received a fair amount of rain here in the desert southwest in the last month. As a result, the desert sage is ablaze with purple flowers. Driving through neighborhoods, it is fun to see the manicured bushes laden with their purple blush.
I could not stop myself.  I had to make my first 6" finished block from Just Plain Nuts. There seems to be a fair amount of interest in this quilt, so I am seeking permission from Liz Lois to run a blog group similar to the yahoo groups that form.
We will see what happens.
I'll also be searching for the perfect aqua setting fabric.

Don't forget to keep me posted on your progress with your SAL quilts. Who will be first to send me pictures of all their blocks set and which setting will they choose?
I am making progress on my Kim Diehl applique quilt. I should have all the shapes prepped and glued down by the end of the weekend.  I want to get started on several things in her new book, but have told myself I cannot start them until this one is ready to go to the quilter!
Don't put money on it! Remember, I am easily lead astray!

Today is relandscaping day in my front courtyard.
 I love to work in the yard and then see the fruits of my labours.
Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Quilt Show Pictures

Linda over at Quilts in the Barn has started posting pictures from her recent exhibition of the Secret Sewing Sisterhood's quilts. Don't miss it.  She includes information on the maker, pattern and quilter.
And while you are there, grab her breast cancer research button, spread the word and then make a donation to support breast cancer research.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Comments! Love those Comments!

Besides a new look to my blog, hopefully I have made it easier to leave the much beloved comments. I eliminated the jumbled word thingy.  So far no computer generated spam.  Hope this makes my blog more comment friendly. Of course, that means I have to remember to check my 'comment moderation' tab. I may not be as prompt in replying to your comments, but hopefully you will feel more inclined to leave them.
Remember this quilt and the book I am disappointed in.  Well, several others agreed with me and want to sew and share together.  They purchased the book and all the fabrics in a kit. I will draft the blocks for those interested, but only those that can be drafted.  Apparently, most of them are foundation paper pieced! If you would like to sew with us, just let me know.  If there is enough interest, I will devote another blog just to it. There will most likely be fewer blocks and maybe even some new ones.  The blocks are 6" finished and I imagine you would need to buy the book to play along.

It is raining cats and dogs here! Perfect day to drink tea, lounge in pjs all day and sew!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Hot Off the Presses!

 I made this little table runner for my daughter last evening from the pattern, Little Charmers II by Anka's Treasures. What fun to work outside my normal box!
Her decorating theme is 'Florida' style, using aqua's, flamingo pinks and lime greens.
A big scuba diving nut!
Her vignette will have urchin votives and white corals mixed in with orchids.
So much fun to see my daughter develop her own style. 
The runner is a 'thank you' for working so hard to print the first 6 copies of my manual. It is 74 pages long and packed full of her wonderful illustrations.
It took us well over 5 hours to accomplish and I still have to bind them.
Quite a learning experience! We discovered that there will be very little profit margin and now understand why people send their printing projects to China.
A few heads got together and we are working on turning the document into an electronic product.
We'll see what we come up with. 
I added two new books to my collection yesterday. Just Plain Nuts came via the post and I could not be more disappointed. Just lots of drawings of blocks with no cutting instructions, no individual colored pictures of the blocks, nothing! I'll keep it as a resource for drafting blocks, but I withdrew from the JPN yahoo group that makes the blocks as a BOW.
On the other hand, Kim Diehl never fails to impress me.  Her innovative and creative designs delight me to no end and I bought the fabrics to make the quilt seen in the next photo.

The color scheme will make it one quilt I can actually use to decorate my home here in the southwest. There is just too much temptation out there!

Wish me luck!
I am off to play tennis and hope both the weather and my opponents cooperate in giving me my first win of the season!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

SAL setting update

I have started the hand quilting on my SAL quilt. I just love how the little stitches give it texture, which a camera has difficulty capturing. 

And as is always the case, the back can reflect the quilting the best.
I am using a Hobbs Wool Batt and Signature quilting thread. I have found I like a John James No. 11 Quilting needle. It is tiny, but makes the finest stitches.
My fingers are a little sore! I only wear a thimble on my right finger and let the fingers on my  left hand tell me when the needle tip has passed through all three layers.
Ouch! is heard quite frequently.

Doreen's scrappy setting instructions are now posted and you can find them here.
Oh, but her colors sing to me.  Like her, I may make another one and use her setting.
 Ok, I have a few other things on my To Do List and the holidays are just around the corner.

Sigh! I didn't win the raffle from Linda at Quilts in the Barn, but I know my monies went to a worthy cause!  
She raised over $10,000 for breast cancer research.  She is working on a fundraising project that will extend  beyond her exhibition, so go here to check her out. 

Just in case you are wondering, I didn't make it to the gym yesterday.  Thought to myself, "Why do I want to spend my special day doing something I don't like to do?" DH and I have a gym date for today. We'll see if I come up with another excuse.
I don't think my 'special' friend knew what a hard case I would be.

A big thanks to those of you who have commented on my blog's new look.
The picture is one of my favorites from our walk in the aspen grove.
Madame Samm is looking for fall pictures for Stash Manicure's November look. I may send a few of mine to her and just see.
Who knows? National Geographic, here I come! LOL!

Finally, if you are looking for a full scale quilt along,
 check out Thread Head here.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Years fly by so quickly...


To Me!
...or so it seems.
Today is my birthday and it has started out as a glorious day.
The heat has broken and the air is cool and crisp this morning.

Last night I celebrated the passing of another year with my family. First, we had dinner at the White Chocolate Grill. Then to a wine bar for libations and board games. We played Old Maid and Go Fish, which brought back memories from traveling in our camper when the children were wee tots. Card games have always been a family favorite and we shared lots of laughs over Crazy Eights and BS.

Presents abounded.  A decorative iron butterfly and precious little gnome (inside family joke!) from the kids. DH took care of the photography habit with an electronic picture viewing frame, camera backpack, tripod and lens organizers.
Someone forgot to tell him women like sparkly things! But honestly, these presents spoke more to my real inner person than jewelry ever could.  Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't have turned it down.
How will I spend my day? Promised myself the gift of health for my birthday.
So today is a day for making doctor's appointments for all the parts of me that seem to be breaking down with age. I'll include a hair appt. to cover up the grey that has invaded my head.
I joined a gym and will go 'workout' for the first time in many years today.
Let's hope I follow through with this one.  A special friend is going to help me try to stick with it.
And then,
I will sew.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

October Sew In

My Friday Night Sew In wasn't 100% successful,
 but definitely not a waste.
I did piece together half of the background for my Kim Diehl applique quilt.
Stating that I would also make all the applique shapes was a little over ambitious for someone of my character.  (I am easily lead astray!)
I started at 4pm as I sent my DH out for take-out
 (a deliciously fresh spinach and strawberry salad from AJ's.)
Homespun, brushed cotton is difficult to work with if you are a precision piecer. When the second seam intersection did not match, I threw my hands up in the air in total surrender!
I am a morning person and do my best work around 5am, not 5pm!
Perhaps it is the coffee?!?
I actually worked last night to around 7:30pm.
So you are saying to yourself, "And that is all she got done."
Remember I said I am easily lead astray.

Over the last week or so, maple leaf blocks from all over the country and from abroad have been arriving in my mailbox as part of an exchange I am participating in over at Small Quilt Talk, Kathleen Tracy's yahoo group.
  I could see the lovelies out of the corner of my eye and my mind began to wander.
How will I set them?
I remembered Kristine's quilt from SSQSG that I shared and decided to make miniature log cabin blocks.
Viola', here is what I really did all evening.
I can't decide to set them like this
OR
like below. 
I like the star frame idea, but that means I would need to make 4 light log cabin blocks to replace those maple leaf blocks in the corners.
And yikes, there are 34 pieces in each 5" unfinished block.
When I have received all my blocks, I will see how many scrappy ones I receive like the ones pictured and then decide which way to go.
I am loving it so far! and besides it is manicuring my stash, 1" at a time.
While surfing blogland yesterday afternoon, I found this project.  Over the next 5 weeks the blog owner, Jodi, will be writing about what to do with your scraps.
Scraps? 
When I first start quilting, I saved every morsel of fabric in color coded bins.
Waste not, want not!
Over time, my tastes have changed and the fabrics we buy now are so much yummier than what is in those bins. So a few months ago, I purged myself of those tiny scraps.
Not in the trash can, but in a big garbage bag that was then donated to a Boy Scout Troop that makes dog beds for the animal shelters.  I still keep all my trimmings and take them to the ingenious gal that guides those young men.
No guilt purging!
And the perfect stash manicure!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday Night Sew In

A few weeks ago I signed up for this project.
Basically, once a month, you get in your jammies and work on any project you want.
Then you post pictures on Saturday.
On Sunday, the hostesses draw prizes.
Tonight is the night and I'll give it a try.
I'll use it as motivation to keep going on my Kim Diehl applique.
My goal is to finish piecing the background and turn and burn all the applique pieces!
There! I said it, now I must do it.

An addendum. Here are Linda's last blocks. Way to go girl!
She is ready to set them.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Finished!

It is finished and I am very pleased!
 I am a little short of the background fabric to put on the top and bottom rows, but I'll remedy that problem today with a visit to TOWQS.
At this time, I don't think I'll add an outer border.
I will just bind it in the navy stripe.
Instructions for this setting will be posted by this weekend.
Also, look for Doreen to post her instructions for the scrappy setting she is using.
And yes, I will hand quilt this puppy.

Made another little pincushion this week.
It went to a friend who loves pumpkins for her birthday.
I am addicted to this crazy wool! 

A few projects to put the final touches to and then back to my Kim Diehl applique quilt.
I started  'Sparklers' from Summer Gatherings and that will be my next machine piecing project to complete.
These are the sawtooth stars I have pieced already. It will be a throw size quilt when finished. 

Don't forget to send me pictures of your finished SAL quilts, or even just your blocks as you finish them, and I will keep everyone updated.  I really enjoyed this, loved the positive feedback and will definitely do something similiar in the future. 

Hopefully, I will print my Quilt Piecing 101 manual this weekend. 
If you are interested in a copy, please let me know.
Cost will be $18.95, plus shipping.
Proceeds will go to my daughter, the graphic designer of the project, to help fund her education in Radiography.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

SAL setting update

The instructions for setting the individual blocks is now posted. 
This is the traditional and simplest way to set these blocks, using the half blocks at the top and bottom of the middle row. Instructions for the half blocks has been posted.
Just add 1" finished inner borders and a pleasing outer border,
 maybe 3 1/2" finished.
I always 'interview' my borders. 
 I decide what width is pleasing to me visually and then I measure it, adding a 1/2" for seam allowances.
However,
this is where I am going.
Floating LeMoyne Stars incorporated in the border.   
Stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Real Challenge!

My Brown Bag Quilt Contest exchange fabric came from Micki in Ireland.
This will be a real challenge for me because these are not fabrics I usually work with. However, I think they are the makings of a winning quilt. 
The rules are that I have to use 90% of the 'ugly' fabric I am given and can add as much fabric from my stash as I want. 
I can only buy one new fabric.
Here is what I have come up with from my stash so far.  
The red  and black fabric is the 10% I will put aside.  The grey and green will get used in the backing.
Now to come up with a pattern to use and one new fabric that will be the 'sparkler.
Stay tuned.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Mystery Quilter Found!

Yesterday I posted a picture of this quilt.
With Carolyn's help at Lee Prairie Designs, I was able to identify the 'mystery' quilter.  It is Missie of Hallbrook Designs.  She invited me to take a look at her work on her website.
WOW! She does some amazing things and I purchased a punchneedle pattern from her.
Make sure to check out her favorite things.
She has a few miniatures, one of them appliqued!
I will not bore you with the 125 pictures I took yesterday on our hike on the Anderson Trail in the Weimenuche Wilderness.  We didn't need to drive to Ouray!  Fall splendor was in our own backyard! 
These are just a teaser.  If you want to see more, try this link
Ignore the confusing background display and just press slideshow in the upper right corner.
Enjoy!

Anne-Mette is making great progress.
Look for setting instructions in a few days.  We will be closing the cabin up and making the drive back to AZ today and tomorrow.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Advice Wanted!

Denise in Italy would like advice on which setting fabric to use for her SAL blocks. Go to the SAL patterns blog and click on her blog link.  You can then translate it when you arrive and give her your advice. 
 I like the brown or pink. How about you?
And Linda is making steady progress.
I am thinking about my next small scale project.  I like the Farmer's Wife Quilt, but 6" blocks are too big for me.  Perhaps 4 1/2" blocks set medallion style like the following quilt.
This quilt was hung at the Des Moines show this weekend.  I need to find out who made it to give them credit if I mimic their setting. I know two women there this week who might be able to help with that. If you do know who made this quilt, please let me know.
This quilt is in the book Just Plain Nuts by Liz Lois. 
I love the cheddar and blue setting and the complexity of the blocks.
I will be buying the book soon.
Food for thought.