Monday, December 31, 2007

And the winner is...

Annie & Jasper are checking the basket full of paper slips with names for the drawing
My crack legal team Annie & Jasper verified that all of the names were properly entered into the basket for my 100TH BLOG POST GIVEAWAY. Thank you to everyone for being so patient waiting until the end of the year for the drawing. Holding the basket over his head, Jim then reached into it and pulled out one of the slips of paper. The winner is Darlene from Quilting Daze! Annie double checked the name for accuracy. Congratulations, Darlene! Please send me your snail mail address and I'll get the kit out to you on Wednesday, weather permitting.
Jim's hand with the winning name and Annie is reading it

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Stash Busting Report & Wisconsin Snow

kit of fabrics and pattern for making a basket wallhainging in pinks and browns
First let me report another week of no fabric added to my stash. While visiting our DD and family in Wisconsin, Kari, Abby and I went to Royce's, the local quilt shop. Oh, it was so difficult not to pick up those rolls or FQs of repro fabrics that greeted me right inside the front door. Such temptations! Instead I chose a kit for a small basket quilt in pinks and browns that I would have loved to own and bought it as my 100th Blog Post Giveaway. The drawing will be tomorrow. My urge to buy the kit was satisfied, yet nothing will join my stash. I hope the new owner will love it as much as I do.

We celebrated Christmas with Kari, Craig, Abby and Ian in Wisconsin after Christmas. The trip there seemed to take forever as we encountered a few slowdowns in traffic. Kari had made lots of cookies to share with us. The house was all decorated for the holidays and I think Abby and Ian had grown since we saw them in November.

On Friday, the sky emptied more snow onto West Bend. I watched all day and the snow continued to fall. My grandchildren are Wisconsin born so they love the snow. Grandpa joined them outside to work on their fort. Someone needed to stay inside to take pictures from the doorway. Jim showed me how to play with the buttons on the camera and you can see the different looks I got of the outdoor shots. Luckily, the roads were clear and dry on our drive home. Once we reached the Illinois border, the snow amounts were noticably less than in Wisconsin.
Jim, Abby and Ian working on the fort in the backyard
snow view from Kari's back door
another view of the snow from Kari's backdoor

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas & Stash Busting Report 3

angel announcing and you shall call His name Jesus
Merry Christmas to all my family and friends both in and out of Blogland. It came sooner this year than ever before. Is that possible? May you feel God's love as you celebrate the gift of His Son!

I forgot again to report Sunday on my stash busting, but last week no fabric entered my house. I did make one pillowcase and two potholders from my stash and wrapped the potholders in a FQ of my fabric. So I did make some progress! The pillowcase was made from Raggedy Ann & Andy fabric, but I didn't take a picture. For the potholders, I used the double handled basket pattern from Jo Morton's book "Vintage Charm" and added a border.

double handled potholders in brown and tan colors

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christmas Quilt

me holding my new red and green Christmas quilt
I've won lots of things in my life, but never a quilt. It was quite a shock when Cheryl from Polka Dots and Rick Rack emailed me to say my name had been drawn as the winner of her quilt giveaway. Today, it arrived and it's just beautiful! Cheryl did wonderful work making this one and I am more than happy to give it a new home. It was so thoughtful and generous of Cheryl to do this. I will take good care of it and think of you every time I look at my quilt. Thank you again.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Snow & Stash Busting Report

snow drifts on the deck
snow drifts in the driveway area
We received about 8 inches of snow and the winds produced some good drifts. Here's a couple of pictures of our driveway area and deck. Jim cleared most of the driveway this afternoon after the winds died down. Tonight he found the deck. Although this is a lot of snow for this time of year nowadays, I remember storms that made walls of snow on either side of the driveway when the tractor cleared a path. The schools are all closed for tomorrow. Can you hear all of the children in the area yelling with excitement?

I'm not sure if I gained any ground again this week with my stash busting. Does the fabric bought for The Clothesline Club projects count against me? I cut and stitched 80 nine patches for Step 3 of Bonnie's mystery, I made a string block to send to Mary in MN, three teddy bears for my sewing buddies, and a pillowcase all from my stash. However, I did buy the current kit plus an extra yard of fabric for TCC projects.

Clothesline Club & Mystery Step 3

my tea cozy made with fabric from the 30s
This past Thursday was the second meeting of The Clothesline Club at The Quilted Cottage quilt shop. Since our club started later than most, we are combining two months into one until we catch up. Stacy showed us two cute four patch doll quilts done in different colorways. She also had the cutest little fabric dog to match one of the quilts. The kit for this month was for placemats with scalloped edges. I hope I do them justice. It will be good practice for the scallops on my Dear Jane quilt. The tea cozy pictured I made from last month's kit last. Someone didn't read the directions when applying the bottom binding. Instead of folding the curved binding to one side, I should have smushed it down. (That's a technical term) I haven't decided if I will redo that part.

Eighty reds and creams nine patch blocks for the mystery quilt
Step 3 of Bonnie's Carolina Crossroads Mystery is now done. I will post a picture tomorrow after they are pressed. Does anyone else feel like they are back in school and the teacher is giving us 'good' homework?

A huge storm is predicted while we sleep tonight. So far, we keep missing the storms, but the forecasters promise this one is for real. Lots of snow should greet us tomorrow morning. Sounds like another good day for sewing!

Post Addition:
I couldn't wait until morning to see the piles of nine patches from Step 3. I love them! This time I needed to make 80 blocks.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

100th Post, Bee Gifts & Stash Busting Report

My 100th post! I had plans to have something special to share for a giveaway, but no such luck. So, if you are willing to wait until January for a surprise, leave a comment and I'll draw a name or two on New Year's Eve.
Gifts from Plan Bee
three teddy bears
Yesterday was Bee day at Connie's house. We did a bit of sewing, a bit of chatting, a
bit of eating and then exchanged gifts. Connie gave us the cute bee bag to carry our sewing necessities to future Bee get-togethers. It was filled with chocolates, also. Mary made each of us four beautiful cards. Mary is equally talented in quilting and scrapbooking. These are almost too pretty to use. The cards were wrapped in the cute button fabric that is under all the other items. Jane found this cute sewing machine tin with a beaded handle for us. She knows we are tin nuts. There was also a round peppermint which I luckily discovered was soap. At first, I thought it was a BIG candy. I made the girls each a little quilting bear shown in the second photo. I used this pattern when I did craft bazaars years ago. I noticed my fingers did not work as quickly or nimbly as they did twenty some years ago. We had a fun afternoon, as always.

My stash busting report for last week - I cut and sewed 100 rail blocks and 100 nine patches from fabrics in my stash. However, I did receive a package of Chuck Nohara shirtings that I had ordered back in early October. I guess it was a wash.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Mystery Nine Patches

I wasn't going to spend most of the day making nine patches for Bonnie's mystery quilt...I just couldn't stop myself. And if I didn't finish them today, the stack of fabrics would have stayed out and the mess I created wouldn't have been cleaned. So now I am done with Step 2 and can get back to my other projects until next week. I took another picture of the rails and have also added one of the niners. These blocks finish at 3" which is just the size I like. There are 100 rails and 100 nine patches. I wonder how they will fit into the pattern? It sure is fun to see the colors and fabrics that others have chosen for this quilt.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Bonnie's mystery quilt

One hundred red and green rail fence blocks
I need another project like a hole in the head, but Bonnie Hunter from Quiltville is offering a free mystery titled Carolina Crossroads! Who could resist? Bonnie makes the most gorgeous scrap quilts and has always been generous sharing her patterns. She has set up a separate Yahoo list for people doing this mystery. Over 600 quilters subscribed in less than two days! The first step involved cutting 1 1/2" strips, sewing three of them together, and sub-cutting into 3 1/2" units. One hundred rail units are needed. I finished mine today. Actually, I cut, stitched, pressed and sub-cut all this afternoon. This step doesn't take much time. What did take forever was choosing the colors! After picking several combinations, I finally just had to select one group. So reds it is with green accents and light tans for the light. This picture isn't very good so I'll try to get a better one during the daylight hours tomorrow.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Fantastic Friday Sew-In & Stash Reduction

classroom at The Quilted Cottage on Fantastic Friday night
Churn Dash pattern next to finished 3 1/2 inch churn dash quilt blocks
Another 'Fantastic Friday' night spent at The Quilted Cottage. Everyone gets their own six foot table on which to sew that includes an attached cup holder and waste basket. Our dinner was salad, loaded baked potato and banana cream pie for dessert. Every hour a name is drawn for a door prize. (Connie was a lucky winner) All that plus the social benefits of sewing with nineteen other quilters and the beautiful surroundings in which we sew for $10.00. Several guild members from Piecemakers were in attendance this time which was fun. Connie and I made more progress with our little 3 1/2 inch churn dash blocks and met a few new quilters. The churn dashes have been a retreat project only and were purchased as a kit in Paducah, KY. a couple of years ago. We are almost done with the needed 132 blocks. We're signed up for more FF and are on the waiting list for the next one which is a pajama Christmas party. Doesn't that sound like fun?

Quilt book and gift tag pattern
I didn't purchase any fabric, but couldn't resist this new book and pattern. My friend, Karen, had this book in Shipshewana and I liked the projects that it contained. The pattern for the tags will hopefully be used for Christmas this year, but no promises. This week I put thirteen yards of fabric into bags for donation. There's plenty more to go through this week. Thanks to Judy for the challenge.

My SSCS gift was packaged and mailed on November 28th. I hope it has safe travel and arrives soon for its recipient.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Pay It Forward Sign Ups

Pay It Forward logo
I now have three participants for the PIF I posted earlier this month. Mel, Beth and Paula. If you are still interested in playing, click on over to one of their blogs and sign up. Let's keep the fun going.

This morning, the local quilt shop, The Quilted Cottage called to say there had been cancellations for the Friday night sew tomorrow. Looks like both Connie and I got in so we'll be eating out and working on those churn dash blocks again.

There's been no sewing here this week, but I have been cleaning and clearing things from my sewing room. It gets so cluttered that I can't even work in it. -- One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries. --A.A. Milne

I've been adding feeds to my Bloglines in hopes it will shorten the amount of time it takes to check my favorites. Is it correct that I still have to go to the Blogline page to check for new entries or can I be notified by emails? This part is still fuzzy to me.

This is my 96th post. I'm getting close to that 100 number and will have a giveaway or two for those that comment on my 100th post. Be sure to check back.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

End of November

As the last days of November are upon us, I am so looking forward to a new month that will hopefully bring some sunshine with it. November has been a very gray and gloomy- looking month outside.
Floral centerpiece on kitchen table
Did everyone have a nice Thanksgiving? I'm still hungry for pie. Simone served the big turkey meal on Thursday to nine of us. Her sister, Katarina, was visiting from Germany and ate her first Thanksgiving meal in the U.S. Craig, Kari, Abby and Ian brought this pretty centerpiece from Wisconsin. It looks so nice on the table. We had a ham dinner on Saturday with them, my parents, Mike, Simone and JJ.
Retreat sewing room at The Farmstead Inn
I wanted to show the huge room we had to sew in at The Farmstead Inn during our Dear Jane Retreat in Shipshewana. This is only a portion of it. Plenty of room to lay out projects and pile up yardage. Friday night is always Show & Tell. This time I was able to share my Dear Jane top with the other Janiacs.
Me showing my Dear Jane top during Show & Tell
I was able to take my new Featherweight sewing mat that I bought from Tazzie's Etsy shop. It received many compliments. You can also see one of the little churn dash blocks that I worked on while there. I need 32 more and then they will be stitched into strips that alternate with applique strips.
My Featherweight on the sewing mat I bought from Tazzie in Australia
There are still two openings for my Pay It Forward. Don't be shy.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

cornucopia with pumpkins, leaves, sunflowers & pumpkin pie

Wishing everyone who celebrates a very Happy Thanksgiving! Don't eat too much pie!

Pay It Forward

I signed up on Linda's blog for her Pay It Forward offer. If I understand this correctly, I will make a gift in the next six months for the first three people who leave a comment on this post requesting to participate. They in turn, need to post the same promise on their blog. Who wants to play?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

More doll quilts

Just a quick post with a few more of the doll quilts that were exhibited at The Quilter's Hall of Fame in Marion, Indiana.

butterfly quilt
red baskets quilt

little girl applique and applique shoe quilts

pink and browns churn dash quilt

red nine patch quilt with scalloped edges
sampler quilt in browns

SSCS Partner

I would rather not see my gift before Christmas. I will TRY to be patient when it arrives and not open it until Christmas morning.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Monday - back home

row of Amish buggies & horses

I love the sound of the buggies clip-clopping on the paved streets. This picture was taken at E & S Bulk Food Sales. It's a must stop if you are in Shipshewana, IN in addition to Lolly's Fabric Shop, Rebecca's Antiques, The Bread Box Bakery, Jo Jo's Pretzel's, Wana Cup and The Blue Gate Restaurant. In these places you'll no doubt run into a fellow retreater.

What a wonderful time was shared by everyone these past few days in Shipshewana! The time goes by so quickly and soon we are counting the days until the next retreat.

On Thursday, two cars carrying eight Janiacs traveled to Marion, Indiana to see the exhibit of doll quilts belonging to Judi Gunter and Phyllis Twigg-Hatcher at The Quilter's Hall of Fame. This building was the home of Marie Webster who wrote the first book on quilt history. There were 100 years of doll quilts on display. Our group was excited to see the double handled basket quilt that inspired Jo Morton to make it.

The next two photos show the room and the desk where Marie Webster wrote her book, Quilts: Their Story and How to Make Them.
Marie Websters bedroom & work area
Marie Webster's writing desk

I'll post more pictures soon. There's lots to catch up on and Thanksgiving is only three days away. It's good to be home.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Off to Shipshewana, Indiana

horse and buggy logo
Tomorrow morning I'll be heading south to Shipshewana, Indiana for the semi-annual Dear Jane retreat held at The Farmstead Inn. I'll be sewing, socializing, shopping and eating the Amish food until Sunday. There are more than 75 people signed up for this gathering and it's always a fun time. I'll miss reading all of your blogs, but will catch up next week.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Clothesline Club & Four Seasons Quilt Swap

table with tea cups and muffins
Yesterday was the first meeting of The Clothesline Club at The Quilted Cottage. We were told that we are the first club in Michigan. Stacy, our leader, gave us some history about feedsacks and aprons. She also brought aprons from her family to share with us. We enjoyed a cup of tea and muffin while listening to the outline of what to expect each month. Our free pattern this time was a pillow with a teapot and a needle card with redwork on the cover. For purchase, we could buy a kit to make a tea cozy with a fan design and a pattern for a reversible apron. You can see by my picture that I opted for the whole caboodle this month. The kit included the tea cozy pattern, fabrics and a ruler. The red and yellow fabrics towards the bottom are for my reversible apron. I have a whole month to finish the two projects.

basket filled with patterns and fabrics for the apron and tea cozy

It's time to sign up for the winter part of the Four Seasons Quilt Swap. I think there are at least 50 already committed to this swap. Don't miss out.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Birthday, wallhanging, & more

Today is Jim's birthday. I won't say how old he is, but next year there will be a zero in his age. We ate dinner (roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn, & rolls) at home with Mike & Simone topped off with banana cake and cream cheese frosting. Here's the birthday guy opening one of his gifts. He received phone calls from Kari and the grandkids and JJ so his day was perfect!

After our church service on Sunday, we attended a Harvest Brunch at St. Paul, our neighboring church. They had the cutest decorations on the tables made from different sizes and shapes of gourds. As we were about to leave, one of the ladies asked if I would like to take one home. They also had pumpkin men made from four little pumpkin gourds. The gourds were stacked like a snowman with stick arms and a painted face.

gourd with feathers and legs to look like a turkey

Monday, my friend, Jane and I pin basted eight quilts, four of each of ours. It was good to make some progress and get them closer to being done. They are folded onto hangers with the batting cut to the appropriate size waiting for their turn at quilting.

Pilgrim couple and words Give Thanks

While looking for backings and battings, I found this old UFO that I had appliqued many years ago. Doesn't look like it will be hanging on the wall this year either. I really liked this pattern and how it turned out. So, why don't I finish it?

Friday night, Connie and I spent six hours sewing at the new quilt shop, The Quilted Cottage. We were served a hot dinner of chicken enchiladas plus other goodies to eat. We each had our own table for sewing with a cup holder, waste basket, candy bars and an ironing station at the end of the row. At the top of the hour there were door prizes, too. This opportunity to sew and socialize is offered every other week and needless to say, they are already booked through the end of the year. We had a fun evening, met some new people and managed to sew quite a bit, too.

Tomorrow I'm heading back to the Cottage for the first meeting of The Clothesline Club. We're supposed to bring a favorite teacup and our machine. It promises more fun.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Another Lesson Learned

backwards Detroit Tigers fleece blanket
finished Detroit Tigers fleece blanket
My children heard me say, "Be sure to double check your work" more times than they would like to remember. Apparently, I wasn't practicing what I preach when I attempted to make a Detroit Tigers fleece blanket for a former teacher from my parochial school and his wife who are both very loyal fans of the Tigers.

Jim set up two additional tables in the kitchen and we put the extra leaves in the kitchen table in preparation for the project. He helped me lay out the two pieces of fleece and we made sure there were no bulges or ripples before cutting them to size. Next I carefully cut out five inch squares from each corner and cut five inch slits along the first side, tying the double knots before moving on to the next side. This process took awhile, but I was getting more excited as I knotted away.

Finally I finished and made arrangements to deliver it. A photo was needed so I snapped a couple of digital pictures. When I looked at the pictures, I noticed the Tigers were coming out of a backwards English D. In fact, all of the letters and words were backwards. Did I buy a second? What was wrong? The light bulb finally went on and I couldn't believe that after all of the careful planning and preparation, I had put the Tigers fleece wrong side up! I spent the rest of the afternoon and early evening untying and retying the fringe while the double check phrase kept revolving in my mind over and over. The blanket was delivered, they really liked it, and I have learned another lesson.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The Fall, Y'all! Bloggy Giveaway

JJ sent me this link for a huge list of blog give-aways. There are almost 600 prizes to be won. You can add your own give-away, also.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Halloween candy & XStitch

Another month is almost history! I can't keep up.

Projects seem to be moving in slooooooooow motion here lately. The x stitch project is done, though, and this is what it will look like in its frame. I just positioned it in there for the effect. I have several designs waiting for framing and that's a good thing.

I love quilting cross stitch in frame

Today I finally bought the 'official' Halloween candy. We average about four trick or treaters each year so having a large bowl of candy ready for the doorbell ringers is not a necessity here. Besides, if it's bought too early, I eat it. One year, I even bought candies I didn't like thinking the temptation would be gone. Didn't work and I was stuck eating candy I didn't like.

Kari sent pictures of their Halloween adventures the past few days. You can see some of them on her blog. Each year the whole family carves pumpkins and they all dress up.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Quilt Show & Other Stuff

church pews with quilts over the backs
another view of the church pews and quilts
My sister, Connie and I took a road trip up north last Saturday to a quilt show in Harrisville. With the sun shining most of the day, the trees displayed a marvelous mix of color with their golds, reds and greens. The show was to benefit the local library and was held in seven locations around town. Five of them were churches where wonderful quilts decorated the pews in addition to other areas. One church served a delicious homemade soups and breads luncheon, while another church served cider and sweet breads. You can can a feel for the show in these two pictures that Connie took. We heard the attendance was very good at all locations.

There's a wonderful tutorial for a fast and easy charity quilt on Nancy's blog.

I Love Quilting cross stitch project in a hoop
I've been working on a little cross stitch and cutting some squares for charity quilts. The outer borders to the wedding quilt are still waiting to be stitched to the center squares and I'm always sorting my sewing area/s. Jim says I'm spreading my things into the kitchen now. (Only in an emergency)

That sweet Kim at Kim's Cozy Quilts sent me another fun mail package today. I think she said her DH thought I should have this. Well, of course, I was thrilled when I opened it. Kim wrapped the bottle of Detroit Tigers Hot Sauce in another color of her beautiful hand dyed fabric. Perhaps if the Tigers had used this sauce during the final two weeks of the season, I'd be watching them tonight in game one of the World Series.
Detroit Tigers Hot Sauce bottle

Thought for the day: "Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see." - Mark Twain