Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Recovering the evidence!

Just happened to read Ruthie's blog this morning (, and found she has posted pictures of some of our Paducah room-mates loading the evidence of their shopping successes into Sue's car to go home . . . claim is they didn't have room for their luggage! There's a little video, too. Hop over there for a peek!

I'm not sure, but we may be able to pad our pockets with monies for our own shopping next year, by agreeing . . . for a price . . . not to reveal this evidence to certain husbands!

When we had show and tell, we thought their "show" was a little light. To be honest, Jane admitted that they left most of their purchases in the car, because some of the fishermen didn't understand that those parking places were not for their boats and trailers, but for the occupants of the adjacent townhouses. So, Jane and her group had to park some distance away from our lodging and walk "home", and couldn't carry all their purchases. (Those boys didn't read their information packet which indicated that boats and trailers belong on the marina lot. I'm the stubborn type . . . I wedged my vehicle between two boats.) Now, we know they weren't kidding about not being able to carry it all!

Well . . . back to work . . . I'd rather be sewing!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Back from Paducah!

I think I'm mostly recovered except for the burning desire to do nothing but sew or quilt . . . but I've suffered that malady for most of my life! We had a great trip. We usually exchange some sort of little "room-mate gift", and mine was the compenents to make and embellish a pincushion. I took my little kits in a plastic sweater storage box, and was able to put all my personal purchases inside it, and close the lid! It only took one trip to carry it in . . . previous years have seen three or four huge bags full of fabrics, so this was quite a turn around. I bought the show catalog, Art Quilts 2009, and Judy Martin's new book on Log Cabin variations. Even found a scrap bag at one vendor in the mall, and some $1 fat quarters in brights to liven up my Orange Crush quilt.

Benartex and AQS had a booth shop hop, featuring the Benartex line, Aspen. I loved the colorways . . . burgundy, a sort of mauve, light gold, and acid green, and had to play. By the time I got to the convention center, most of the booths were sold out of block kits, but promised to mail them to me. I even found a roll of half-yards of the six fabrics in the color palette, so hopefully, I will have an adequate amount of supporting fabric to design a flattering setting for the blocks.

In the category of "Well, duh . . . ", I put the camera in my purse, and the first time I tried to use it the batteries were dead . . . with batteries in the recharger back at the Lake cottage. So, that evening, I carefully removed the camera from my purse, and switched out the batteries . . . then left it on the dresser at the Lake. Needless to say, I didn't take a single picture!

On Wednesday evening, before we left for Paducah, Jan (my DSIL), and Dawn were at my house, and Marguerite joined us. We all were sewing, and had a lovely time. On Sunday evening, after we had returned home, my DH came into the studio, and looked at Jan and I sewing. He asked if this scene would be a constant if we lived closer together, and we decided he was probably right about that.

Yesterday morning, I drove Jan to the airport, and stopped by my brother's on the way home. My cousin, Diane, will be coming for a visit at the end of next month, so we made out an agenda of sorts. And, of course, decided on the menu for a cook-out. My brother grinned and suggested immediately that I could make German Potato Salad . . . I like to make it with LOTS of bacon. Then, he requested Carrot Cake for dessert. Both are easy, so I'm planning on them being my contribution.

On the needlework front, I finished the applique of my title, "You Are My Shining Star" early this morning, and rinsed it out to get the markings out. It should be ready to trim and attach to my scrappy yellow rising star blocks. Borders, and that one will be ready to quilt. I even found a backing at Eleanor Burns' tent sale. I don't care for her, and have never set foot in any of her Paducah locations before, but the other girls wanted to go because of the $4 a yard fabrics. I liked that part, and thought that since we were going as our first stop in the morning, I wouldn't have to listen to her voice, or kindergarten delivery. We weren't 20 feet from the car, and I heard her on the PA . . . I managed to refrain from sticking my fingers in my ears. I know that many people adore her, but she just drives me nuts! I was happy to find a couple fabrics, and some EZ Angle rulers for only $3 . . . I grabbed a couple of those, because I have been known to use one so much that I rubbed the lettering right off the ruler.

Last night, I put together the framing sashing for the upcoming Somewhere in Time blocks. The fifth block in that series should be posted in a day or two. I pieced the first four last week before departing for Paducah. On my lunch hour, I started cutting for Clue #3 of Orange Crush. Once that is out of the way, I have to decide what I will work on next. I think I'll get my Millennium quilt (WAY AHEAD on that one!) out and prepare the sashing strips "leader and ender" fashion. Also, have a lay-out planned for my 2006 Florida Shop Hop blocks which are all assembled, so will probably start the applique for the setting pieces on that one. Can you imagine what I might get done if I didn't have to work?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Has the clock stopped?

My sister-in-law arrived from Texas last night, and we lost no time in getting to sewing in the studio. I made the next two blocks in the Block Central BOM, "Somewhere in Time". Just one to go, and I'm caught up. The next one, for May, should be posted shortly after I return from the Paducah trip. Then, it will be slow going . . . only a BOM, amazingly enough!

I just was looking at the AQS site, and note that they are having another Paducah Booth Hop. I got the list of vendors and booth numbers. I might have to indulge in that. My shopping list is really quite short. I need one for fabric for the borders of Somewhere in Time; I have another quilt in the planning stages, and I'm looking for a lemon fabric for that one. There are a couple of stitchery books I'd like to acquire, but they are Aussie publications, so the availability in this venue may be limited. So, I could easily add the booth hop blocks. I NEED to replace the shop hop blocks I recently assembled with another project; and I have details all figured out for another . . . so that would be two projects making space for a new one. Of course, if the blocks happen to be made with some of the Kaffe Fassett fabrics, I'll just pass. They don't do anything for me!

Tonight is Paducah Eve . . . we'll gather together, and have a big meal, including our husbands . . . sort of a last hot meal for them! Since we aren't leaving till Thursday morning, we're talking about doing dinner tomorrow evening, too. After all, we will be spending four days solid together . . . might as well squeeze in a little more time together! Obviously, we never get tired of each other.

I took the day off tomorrow, too, so I can throw my clothes into a suitcase, and bake some cookies to take along on our journey. We usually have too much food, and I would hate for this year to be an exception!

My DSIL is looking for some batiks to finish a project she has underway. She went shopping in my basement this morning, to find a fabric to add to her Orange Crush palette. She had picked out a solid originally, but felt it was too stark for the rest of her choices. All the scraps she has used have some metallic embellishment. Fortunately, she found something she liked right away.

Time for me to sew a little bit before going back to the office. It's been very quiet, but under Murphy's Law, some ugly project will show up at the very last moment of the day, just to make my heart stop!

Monday, April 21, 2008

I've been tagged!

I've been tagged by Candace to give you 7 Random or Weird things about me.Here are the rules:1. Once you are tagged, link back to the person who tagged you.2. Post THE RULES on your blog.3 Post 7 weird or random facts about yourself on your blog.4. Tag 7 people and link to them.5. Comment on their blog to let them know they have been tagged.Here are Seven Random or Weird Facts About Me:

1) I had the best of both worlds. I am my father's only child, and my mother's eldest of five. My parents divorced when I was three. They had been married eleven years when I came along, and the marriage couldn't stand the strain!

2) I don't like eating raw tomatoes, but I love to cook with them.

3) I have all kinds of collections: silver thimbles, advertising recipe tins, pin cushions, needle books, tea pots, cookbooks (have around 500 of them). I suppose one could say I collect sewing machines, too, since I have about ten, five of which are the working "fleet". Have a couple that I need to have serviced, and one that should be a boat anchor.

4) I'm in the Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown, New York . . . as a donor, not as a player . . . I throw like a girl! When my sons were playing Broncho league ball, I organized a cookbook from the families of the players, and solicited recipes from some major league players, as well. After the cookbook was published, I took a copy to Cooperstown, and it was accepted for their library there. They sent a very nice certificate of thanks!

5) My DSIL and I have been married to brothers so long, we've started to look alike. People are constantly asking if we are sisters, or just presume that we are. We like the same things, so we might as well be! I have more in common with her than I do with my sister!

6) I love flowers, but don't like to garden. My brother told me that I don't like to get my hands dirty . . . and I realized he was right on target. But all the things I like to do require clean hands . . . quilting, sewing, knitting, cooking!

7) My brother mentioned about another brother, "you can always tell when he needs a haircut, because he starts running his hands through his hair on the top of his head, just like our uncle." I looked at him thunderstruck, because I do the same thing, but had never recognized it as a family "trait". As I get older, I find myself with other little "signatures" that I recognize from my mother or dad! I think we all have a litany of things our mothers said that we resolved never to say. It's amazing to hear those things coming out of my mouth . . . and I hear them in my mother's voice. But, even scarier is when you realize that you are railing against the government, just like your father!

So, there you go, Candace . . . just another nut in a nutshell! I won't specifically tag anyone, but I would love to see others respond!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Studio is Tidy!

Spent most of Saturday evenings, and all day Sunday, finishing up the clean-up of my studio. Thought I'd better hurry up and take pictures, while it's still tdy! This is the view from the doorway.

This is the view from the computer station, next to the doorway! Hey, Sossy . . . take a good look at the bookcase! It doesn't show clearly, but to the immediate left of the bookcase is an interesting roll-top sewing box. Multiple chatelaines hang from the shelf, too. Look at that collection of rulers, will you? They are all lined up in a file sorter on the cabinet at the left.

Speaking of the computer . . . here's that and the bookcase in the other corner. You can see some of my collectible pincushions on the shelves above. Also, you might note that I have two printers. The one on the right is an old dot-matrix that I use for printing paper foundations on freezer paper. Works like a charm!

Here are my entertainment components. Inside the armoire, is my television and DVD player. I can sit at the sewing machine and watch movies. The doors of the armoire are convenient to drape a flannel-backed tablecloth, and display blocks I've assembled.

And, here's my reward to devotion to task. I'm collecting the Block of the Month at Block Central, called "Somewhere in Time". This is block one, Union Square. It's an 18-inch block, and uses a color palette that I had assembled with no known purpose. I think it's going to be a fun project. I have three blocks to make to catch up. I wouldn't let myself start it until the studio and basement storage were cleaned up.
Friday evening, I completed assembly of Clue #2 blocks for Bonnie Hunter's Orange Crush mystery. It will be about a week until Clue #3 is posted, and that will work perfectly for me. My DSIL arrives from Texas tomorrow for Paducah Week! We will be departing on Thursday morning for our annual adventure.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Crushing and Road Tripping!

Bonnie Hunter posted Clue #2 yesterday. I'm still in my never ending quest to clean up my studio . . . now that the basement is tidy. I was really good, and worked on the stuff on one of the bookcases, and one double-drawer unit. Having "earned" some sewing time, I proceeded to cut the half-square triangles and squares I need for the second clue. This morning, I put about 20 units of the 142 necessary together. Since Bonnie said she will post a new clue every two weeks, that fits my schedule perfectly. I can get my units done, go to Paducah, and come home to Clue #3!

Next week is going to be a blast. My DSIL arrives from Texas on Monday, along with Queen Patti from Atlanta. Tuesday, of course, is Paducah Eve, and the accompanying dinner . . . we sort of feed our spouses a "last meal" at this event, which includes Patti's famous cream puffs! They are spectacular. I was lucky to be accepted at the Cream Puff Symposium which she offered for us before her move to Atlanta. Hers will always be the best, though.

Wednesday, Dawn and Linda G. will arrive from the Chicago suburbs and Cleveland suburbs, respectively. Linda is to be an honored guest of a former student on Wednesday evening at the student's senior banquet. Dawn and Jan will both be staying with me that evening, so we will probably work on our Orange Crush projects.

For several years, we have driven to Effingham, Illinois on Wednesday evening, so we can hit the ground running into Angie's Nine-Patch, there when she opens the door. I always send her a note to warn her that the quilting "locusts" will be there, so she has enough help to cut for all of us at the same time. So far, she hasn't locked the door when she sees us coming! This year, we have gone back to the Thursday morning departure. The way we do it, it will probably be dinner time before we see the doors of Hancock's in Paducah!

I'm on the same fabric diet, continuing into Paducah. A jelly roll, and some charm squares are the probable limit . . . perhaps a scrap bag, if I can find any. I saw several new patterns that I wanted to buy in Chicago, but I managed to abstain . . . hope I can keep that willpower going. Maybe I should stack all my PIP's bins . . . which would be substantially higher than my 5' 8" . . . take a picture, and put it where I can see it all the time. Sort of a self-imposed guilt trip. Once, I mentioned having a quilt project in a box, and my friend, Garnet, said, "That's not a quilt in a box . . . it's guilt in a box!"

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Welcome in from the cornfields!

Carol has joined the blogging world. Be sure to check out her blog at She lives in north central Indiana . . . in the general area where part of the Hitchcock movie, "North by Northwest" was filmed. Remember the scene where Cary Grant gets off the bus out in the country, and then takes cover in the cornfields from the crop-dusting plane? That's Carol's neck of the woods . . . or cornfields, as the case may be! Carol is a long-arm quilter, who does fabulous work, and has posted a picture of her Carolina Crossroads quilt designed by Bonnie Hunter. It's wonderful!
Got to sew a little bit on my lunch hour. I had hoped to have my rising star quilt top completed for Guild tonight, but I'm still doing the applique of my letters. Have just started to stitch down the second "i" in Shining (You are my shining star!). I had good intentions of working on it on the recent bus trip to Chicago, but the road was so bumpy, I couldn't keep my needle threaded. After our frequent freeze and thaw winter, the asphalt and concrete is just exploding. We might have lost the bus in one crater, if it weren't for the volkswagen that had already disappeared into it! The main belt line around Lafayette is supposedly scheduled for repairs . . . in 2010. By that time, it will have busted up into just plain gravel. Maybe we can re-name ourselves as the hubcap city of North America, because there are plenty to choose from along the sides of the roads!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Chicago Quilt Show was fun!

Managed to drag myself out of bed, get dressed and get on the charter bus to the Chicago show on Saturday morning. This after a night of tossing and turning and sitting up to look at the clock entirely too frequently . . . terrified I would oversleep and miss the bus! Made the bus . . . forgot my camera!

I did remarkably well on my fabric diet. I bought a couple charm packs for my Civil War Love Letters stash. Then I grabbed four fat quarters in a watermelon print, and a watermelon rind print . . . want to make the pickle dish pattern, and call it, "Watermelon Pickles"! I had just posted a note in my journal of ideas to do an inchworm quilt . . . found fabric with tape measures all over it, so I bought that for borders. The Pfaff booth had fat quarters for $1.49, and I found an acid green print for my Civil War stash, and picked out three others for a friend who couldn't make the trip. I got a little packet of hand-dyed wools for my friend, Laura. My final fabric purchase was two five-dollar grab bags from the Little Quilts booth. My friends all laugh at my addiction to grab bags. There were lots of Moda's and Andover prints, and many WOF cuts. Yesterday, out of curiosity, I measured the WOF cuts and came up with a total yardage of 6.5 yards. That didn't include the squares and strips narrower than 5 inches, and odd shaped scraps. Lots of them will go into my Civil War stash. I guess buying 6.5 yards plus of fabric is falling off the diet, but I only spent $10 on it, so I think I'll count it as scraps!

I picked up three spools of Aurifil thread for piecing . . . love this thread. I put a spool on my machine in January, and have pieced at least three quilt tops, and I'm still only halfway down the spool. It's a nice fine thread, that seems to permit the seam allowances to lay flatter. Best of all, it doesn't lint up my machine.

I bought an applique quilt pattern from Primitive Gatherings, and while standing in the check-out line, I felt faint when I saw their BOM, Primitive Garden. By the time I got to the cash register, I had my credit card in my hand, and I signed up. It is stunning, and a gift to myself which will keep on giving for the next 14 months!

Friday night, I finished assembling my four-patch blocks for Bonnie Hunter's Orange Crush mystery. Yesterday, I finished tidying the last of the basement stash of yarns and fabrics, and began attacking the studio. I found the desk top by putting all the books stacked there back on the bookshelf, emptied two plastic tubs and a Longaberger basket of an assortment of things. I sewed buttons on two hand-knit topped dish towels, and put those away. Tonight, I'm planning to dig down to the sewing machine cabinet top. I had an ill-assortment of "stuff" under one wing of my sewing machine cabinet, and I removed it all. It now houses my sewing machine "fleet". On the bottom are my vintage Pfaff and a Viking. Next up is a basic Elna, and the case for my featherweight, as well as the case that fits atop my new Pfaff that is in the cabinet.

When I finally sat down last night, I was still wound up tighter than a $2 watch, and felt like piecing something. So, I pulled out the kit collection for The Quilt Company's "Sweet Tea" BOM, and pieced the first tea pot. This morning, before leaving for the office, I managed to applique the spout into position. I was lucky to score a couple grab bags at the LQS where I bought these kits before they closed up (owner's illness). The grab bags gave me an extra border kit, and lots of extra strips for the various components of the quilt, so I can make this one a bit larger, if I want to. That's a trap I always fall into . . . Ooooh! I like this . . . I'll make it bigger!

Now, I'm on the countdown for the Paducah show. Next Monday, Good Lord, and American Airlines, willing, my sister-in-law will arrive from Texas. I'm only working Monday and Tuesday, so I think a few of us will play, "Orange Crush" on Wednesday evening, before departing Thursday morning. I have three items on my shopping list: 3 yards of fabric with lemons for a blue and yellow quilt, and I'm hoping to find two books by Bronwyn Hayes of Red Brolly Designs, Polka Dot Girls, and Miss Mary's Garden. If I can't locate them, I'll break down and order on-line. As you can tell, I need more projects!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Quilt Show is history!

Our Guild show was another success story. I was really proud of my DSIL's quilt. It was wonderfully displayed. One rounded a corner, and there it was right in front of you. It is stunning. She did a magnificent job . . . of course, blogger is being obstinate again!

I managed to get my Peppermint Pinwheel finished, and didn't even get any blood on it! I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out, too. It's nice and flat, and the hand quilting shows up nicely, though you might have to squint to see it here.

So, with those obligations behind me, I'm free to just freak out! I still have "Start-itis"! I signed up for Bonnie Hunter's Orange Crush Mystery. She will be posting Clue #2 sometime early next week, so I thought I'd better get the first clue done. I have about 60 blocks of the 150 required four-patches complete. I'm using a bright palette. Won't have to have a night light!

Early in the morning, our Quilt Guild bus departs for the Chicago show. It's always a good time when you go with friends. One of the things we started doing several years ago is to bring cheese and crackers for the trip home . . . oh . . . and some wine! We serve the cheese and crackers to the whole bus. Of course, its just not the same without Patti doing the "flight attendant" routine. I remember the first year she did that, I thought we would have to get oxygen for one gal's husband. He was hysterical . . . especially, as people were getting off the bus, and she was saying, "Buh-bye! Bye! Bye! Buh-bye!" But, she lives in Atlanta now, so she doesn't make this trip with us. She will be here next week to go to Paducah however.

Since I'm in the final stages of tidying up my stash in the basement, I'm hoping to remain on a fabric diet . . . though a couple appetizers in the form of charm squares or jelly rolls won't hurt! Now that everything downstairs is organized, I can turn my attention to the long neglected studio . . . which is really a major mess. I think I remember seeing carpeting in here, and I'm going to find it before my sister-in-law arrives from Texas. Rumor has it that the computer desk has a wood top, too. Now, it looks like a vertically challenged bookshelf!

I'm doing the applique of lettering for a quilt top made entirely from my stash, and scraps of yellow. I have thirteen rising star blocks set on point, and "You Are My Shining Star!" across the top border. I am ready to start on the first "n" in Shining. Hope to have it assembled for our Guild meeting on Tuesday.

I've made one block from the Civil War Love Letters book. I bought the software, so I need to print some paper piecing patterns for the more difficult blocks. The first block is titled "Enthusiasm", and I just rotary cut it to size, because it is a very simple block.

Next in the hopper from my seemingly endless supply of UFO's is my 2006 Florida Shop Hop blocks. I have some applique work to do on the setting squares and triangles. I'm anxious to get going on that one. Then, it's the luck of the draw to see what I'll work on next.

Surfing for primitive stitchery led me to a neat website full of clever designs, and lots of cute free-bies, too. Check out Jennie Baer's designs. They are enchanting. She has a new book out, too, published by Leisure Arts . . . of course, the name escapes me, but you can get to it from her website.

Hope everyone has lots of quilting and or sewing in their weekend plans!