Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas 2007. Things have been calm around our house. We are just having a nice dinner of Duck, for my parents and myself, Pork Chops with Stuffing for my husband, Baked Potatoes, Green Beans with Carrots and an Apple Lettuce Salad. For desert we have a choice of Raspberry and/or Cherry Pie. I did not due anything special this year, because the same four people will be at the table as usual.

Most of the time my husband and I go to Wisconsin to be with his family sometime during the holidays. We decided against that this year and it seems strange to just talk on line or via phone. This is just the kind of a year that makes one remember the real meaning of Christmas and to appreciate family and friends.

Today I listened to and watched Ricki Tims Christmas Concert at http://www.thequiltshow.com/ You must register, but it is free and look at the blog if the link is not up.

Happy Holidays to all.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Special Day

Today is my father's 81st birthday. He came from a family of 10 children and 8 of his brothers and sisters are still with us. Believe it or not, my father is fourth from being the oldest child still alive. Actually he does have a twin brother, but he was born before my father, so he is older. They also have a sister age 89. I have some wonderful pictures of all of them taken last June, but I don't want to post them without permission. They all have some health problems, but for the most part are doing well.

My father also has another older sister, I don't know her age, but she still keeps us up to date on her family via e-mails. He has two younger sisters and two younger brothers. Unfortunately they live in different areas of the country, so we don't see many of them.

My father is what I like to call a down to earth man. I mean this with great admiration and wish that we had more people like him on this earth. He is the type of person that you can count on. He puts family first and always has put his family first. He still gardens and likes to go fishing. His activities have slowed down greatly the past couple of years, but he is still active. He does the crossword puzzle in the newspaper, puts together jig-saw puzzles and makes his own lunch. Sometimes he will make dinner for the family.

My father, with the help of family and friends, for the most part built two of the homes in which we have lived. He did hire a few things to be done, like pouring the basement floor and laying block. He was right there while all this was done and even helped. He also had someone else dig the well and put in the septic. So I guess that is why working with puzzles of making quilts comes naturally to me.

I asked him what he wanted for his birthday dinner. I was not surprised when he finally decided that he wanted meat loaf, scallop potatoes and baked beans. I didn't ask him about the cake, because I already knew he would want a Date Nut Cake. I have been making him this cake for years, but usually only on his birthday. The recipe makes two loaf cakes and one gets frozen for later. I remember my Grandmother, my father's mom making this recipe when I was little. It is moist and tasty, but weighs a "ton" kind of like a fruit cake. It usually gets better when it sits for a few days.

Yesterday I sewed together a pillow top from the stash box pattern. Patti wanted a sample in blue to use in the Batiks by Design booth at the upcoming quilt shows. I am going to machine quilt it in a royal blue metallic thread made by WonderFil. Here is a picture part of what I have done so far.

Tomorrow I will wash some fabrics so I can finish my Dashing Nines and a table runner I made last weekend. Both will then need to be quilted and photographed to be used as covers on my new patterns.


Sunday, December 16, 2007

Busy, Busy, Busy

Well not actually busy, just have not felt like writing. I have been sewing on the dashing nines. While putting the rows together I noticed on two different blocks one piece of fabric was sewn wrong side up. So I practiced a bit of unsewing, frogging or what ever you want to call it. That did give me a minute or two with my DH and a rest in my living room chair.

This shows the progress of the dashing nines. I hope to finish sewing the top together tonight or maybe not until tomorrow. I also need to make sure I made all the corrections in the pattern before I forget what changes I made.

I will post another picture once I get it finished and the pattern published.

Last night I was looking for a design my friend told me about and stumbled acrossed a great site for rugs. I kind of got lost there and found some great designs. I was so inspired that I designed another quilt last night. I wonder if I will get all my designs made and into pattern form. I didn't copy the rug, I just liked some elements of the rug. I found that creating the setting was a challenge, but managed.

This afternoon I was sewing a block for a table runner. I was sewing the last seam when the electric went out. It seemed strange, because our weather wasn't bad like other areas of the country. It wasn't out too long, so that was good.

I need to practice machine quilting. I just don't have the time or desire to hand quilt, but I am not the greatest machine quilter. I learned free motion when I was doing machine embrodery. I liked the hoop to help with guiding my work. Wish I had a hoop for machine quilting on my home machine! I know one is being developed, but it isn't for sale yet. If I dont come up with a comfortable method I will be buying that hoop.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Dashing Nines

I finally found some time to sew. I had cut out the Dashing Nines....my own design.....several days ago. I finally have made some progess with the sewing.

I know the blocks don't look like much now, but I wanted to show some progess and display the Traditional Batiks with the Bali backgound.

I want to get as many samples as I can made before January. I also need to design a baby quilt and get it completed by April for a new great great niece due that month. Her older sister has one that I made using the dashing nines pattern, so I need a different design. I also must hand quilt parts of this quilt.

Back to the salt minds...or for me maybe to bed. My eyes are tired.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

A Day of Investigation

Usually on Tuesdays we go into town early. My husband goes to his cardiac rehab and my father and I go shopping. This means that the shopping must be nearly completed in about 1 1/2 hours. Today my husband stayed home due to a cold, so my father and I went into town later in the day when the frost was gone. We really didn't have that much shopping to do, but had bills to pay all over town. Town is not that large, but some parts parking is a problem. I have also decided that parking spaces are too narrow for most vehicles. I had to hold my van door so I wouldn't hit the car next to me when getting out and into my vehicle. Then one place my mirror and the neighboring vehicle's mirror lined up exactly. Now that was a fun place to get through.

One of the places we had to visit was the County Clerks Office. Earlier I had investigated the need for license with the State for selling quilt patterns, teaching classes etc. I am somewhat confussed with the answers on their web site, so will need to call them. I did find out that I needed to check with the County Clerk where the "business" will be located. I explained to them what I wanted to do and they said they do not license that type of business, but I needed to go talk to the City Clerk.

The City office was not far away, so I went to talk to them. I really couldn't understand why I needed to talk to the city, because I am in the county. The city office confirmed my thoughts. "If you are not conducting business in the city we do not need to issue a license."

I will be able to take care of all the federal stuff with the help of the state web site. So nice that they have the links I might need. I know some people don't worry about this stuff, but I want to do things correctly. I don't want to be fined later on for not doing all the leg work first.

I feel like I have made my first steps to getting my patterns out to the public. Actually maybe the second or third step, because I have patterns and samples. I have also contacted some people who may be of some help after I do all the legal stuff.

I will be posting some samples of patterns as soon as I can after the first of the year. Some will be quilts, but you never know what I might create. I will also let you know the link for seeing the rest of the collection.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Mixed Blessings

About a half hour ago I sat down at the computer. I checked my mail and there was great news from my Aunt. My Uncle's operation revealed good news. The tumor was next to an organ instead of part of the organ. It also didn't look like cancer, but is being tested. He will be fine if he can survive not driving for 3 weeks. That will be difficult for him! This is the man who drove a semi truck for a living. He continued driving long after he could have retired.

I was really happy about that news and took a copy of the message to my husband to read and then took it to my parents to read. When I returned to our part of the house the telephone rang.

It was our friend Patti. Patti, JoAnn and I went to see a friend, Tina Goodman, last Friday. A few months ago she found out that she had a tumor. This tumor was cancer and it was in the back of her head. She had lost the use of her left side, lost some vision and memory. She spent much time in the hospital. They managed to shrink the tumor, but all knew she was terminal.

When we visiter her on Friday in her home she was happy, laughed, got up to eat lunch, talked about her tumor (which she discribe to us as looking like something out of the program Lost In Space. It had, in her mind, a green body with a yellow fuzzy head like a dandelion. She named the tumor Fred!) We all thought she was doing so much better then we had expected. She asked about my parents. She told Patti that she was sorry she could not make her sample quilts from Patti's fabrics in the patterns she sells. Tina also told JoAnn how she brings so much joy into a room, which she does. Tina did that also. She smiled all the time. Made everyone laugh and loved to quilt.

Well today the tumor...green body and fuzzy yellow head and all...took a very dear person to the other side.

Patti called to tell me that Tina had a seizure and died today. Today Tina and her husband were to leave on a trip to see Tina's mother. Tina's mother was not able to be with her daughter due to her own health problems. At least her memories of her daughter will be of the fun time they had when they were last together. The two of them shared the love of quilting. I pray that those loving times will help her to accept the passing of her child.

Tina will be missed by all who knew her.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Cleaning and finding

Slowly I have been going thru the items in my sewing room. (Cleaning it out for a remodeling that will take less time to do then the cleaning out.) I have been quilting since 1984 and because of needing samples for teaching and taking "how to do something" classes I have many UFO's. I know that UFO's are not unusual for quilters, but I have them in boxes, plastic containers and bags. Today I found pieces from Primative Patchwork class taught by Ricky Tims when AQS first started their show in Nashville. I must finish some of these things.

Much of what I found were my own designs that I made in multiple color ways to use in classes. I would complete one top or quilt and then have another quilt or two started to show how to sew parts of the quilt together. I could not begin to guess how many flying geese I have made in various sizes, colors and methods in different steps. Some of them have "homes" to fit into particular quilts or wallhangings, but many are just sitting there with no matching blocks. I think a utility quilt may need to be created of all the blocks that don't go with anything. It will take some creating, because I have blocks of all different sizes and styles....and oh the colors changed as often as my moods changed.

Some people only work in one or two color pallets, but since I also teach color classes I would push myself to try color combinations that were out of my comfort level. I learned that there are colors other then blue and blue and blue. Actually blue is not a color I work with easily. I would much rather work with pinks, purples and yellows then add the brown, rusts and reds working my way down to blue. I can put green in most any combination, but it must be the right green for the project. Then when I have used blue in the past it was more of a variation away from the true blue. Believe it or not I can use orange easier then blue.

I am now working with blues due to Patti's traditional batiks (http://www.batiksbydesign.com).
Many of what she has are very pretty blues that go well with one another. I sometimes look in awe at what others have made with the blues and wonder why I have such a difficult time visualizing what something will look like made with the different blues. So again I am pushing myself to a new level. Samples need to be made for Spring shows and now is the time to start. Actually some should have been finished for the Fall shows, but some supplies didn't arrive and some fabrics needed coordinates that "were on the way".

I look at each time new fabrics come out, which is at least twice a year, but some manufactures are putting out mini lines four times each year, it is a challenge to use the new designs and colors. This is especially true if only one or two pieces is in your collection from the manufactures design lines. Then the challenge is to coordinate that "must have" fabric with what you have in your stash or you must buy something to make your new piece look good.

I like to look at older quilts to see how colors were used. Many times there was no rhyme nor reason as to why piece one was put next to piece two. Sometimes they blend so well, but other times it seems like the aging process is a blessing to the over all look of the piece.

Then I start thinking about the makers. Sometimes I think one block may be made from pieces of clothing from a child that may have died at an early age. This block to us my look like a hog pog of color, patterns and textures, but be a very special block to the maker.

Today if two or three friends attend the same quilt show each will remember different quilts. Sometimes it is because of a particular pattern used to make the quilt. Other quilts are remembered because of color combinations or special decorations. I know at the shows I have attended recently some quilts are not really pretty until the quilting is added. All of the dimensions and contours are created due to the quilting, quilting threads and have very little to do with particular fabric choices.

My particular passion when attending quilt shows is first applique, then color. Looking in the booths of vendors at Quilt Festival in Houston I noticed I was attracted to two things. One being bright vivid, but unusual color combinations and then primative pieces. Now can anything be farther from each other then that? I love the African, Australian and the Batiks, but I also love the wools and things made to blend well together in muted tones. Maybe it would be easier if I just like one color.........like blue!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


I had promised a few days ago to post something about smocking and am just getting to it today. One of the best on-line references I have found is http://www.geocities.com/Wellesley/3351/smkstch.html#list I don't know who owns this link, but Country Bumpkin must be associated with it in some way.
The picture of the smocking is of the piece I am going to use in a garment for our great great niece. She will be one year old on January 1, 2008.

I have taught several smocking classes, but am by no means an expert. I know the basics and can share them with others. I have done some piece work stitching some smocked panels, but they sent me some to do that I could not accomplish.

I remember as a child making a pillow using gingham fabric and stitching together the corners of the squares in a pattern. For anyone who doesn't have a pleater using a gingham fabric or a checked homespun can make the pleating easier.

Monday, November 12, 2007

New Classes

This table runner is just part of my new class listings. The pattern will also be available for purchase after the first of the year. The pattern will have sizes from the table runner size up to a king size. It is very interesting in the larger sizes due to the surprising borders I have added. More about this later.

I will also offer classes in hand piecing that is great for beginners as well as more experience quilters as I cover the very basic four patch to "Y" or set in seams all in one block. Hand piecing and hand applique are nice projects to have on hand for traveling, waiting at the Doctor's office and for times watching TV with the family.
The above class can also be done by machine.

Now for a quick recipe.

This basic recipe was given to me from a friend as a dip for fruit, but I have changed it into a base for several pies we enjoy.

Easy Basic Cream Pie

1 box Vanilla Instant Pudding
1 pouch Instant Topping Mix
1 cup milk
1 cup sour cream

Mix all together and spoon into a graham cracker pie crust.

To make different flavors I add toasted coconut, bananas or drained crushed pineapple.

I also buy my pudding and topping mix in bulk from the Amish or Menonite stores in our area. Then I will use 1/2 cup of each powder to make my pies.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Home Again!

Going to Quilt Market and helping vend at Houston Quilt Festival was wonderful! I made some invaluable contacts and will be following up on them in the next couple of days. Right now I am exhausted, but am inspired to start designing and getting some classes and patterns ready for the first of the year.

At market I saw many new and interesting fabrics, threads and gadgets. I really wanted to buy, but had to restrain myself. I want to remodel my sewing room first before adding too many new items. We will be doing the remodeling after my brother's visit next week. We have already purchased the wood flooring and the paint, so now it is up to me to clean out the room so we can get started.

I see that I am making mistakes in this post, so I best get to bed.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

When I get back!

We are leaving for Houston in the morning. When I get back I will give you a preview of the classes I will be offering after the 1st of the year. I will give you a preview of one now. It is shadow applique that can be done by hand or machine.

I design all the patterns I use in classes. Besides piecing and applique I also teach heirloom sewing including smocking.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Getting ready to leave!

I need 10 more days to actually be ready for Houston. Some things just will not get finished. I have some hand sewing ready for the road trip and hopefully tomorrow I will be able to cut out a few other things to work on during Market. I know I will only be looking during Market, so I may have some time to just relax in out Motel room before the mad house of Festival begins.

I need to get back to my work, I just needed to rest a bit before going back to the sewing machine.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Today's Work

Today I was working on a sample for the booth at Houston. It is an easy stain glass, but because of the way I had my glasses made for close up work I had a bit of trouble seeing everything I needed to see. So I just pinned things in place and will finish it tomorrow. The sunflower is one of my favorite late summer flowers. You will discover as this blog progresses that I love flowers and many other things in nature. My favorite color is yellow followed closely by purple, but I can't think of any color that I really dislike.

I found them!

Tonight I uploaded a few pictures from my camera to my computer and I found the pictures of the quilt tops I made for Mark Lipinski out of his new fabric line Katmandu. He is going to put pictures on his blog this weekend (http://marklipinskisblog.wordpress.com/), I can't wait to see what he does with the tops. I did not add borders, nor did I add the circle in the center of the Giant Dahlia, as he planned something special for that space. This is what I sent to him.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Easy Stain Glass Window Block

Tonight I put together the block I hope to teach in a Make It Take It during Festival. It is a pumpkin in a stain glass style designed by Diane of http://www.detailsbydiane.com/ She made this special design for Batiks by Design to use during the Houston Festival. If we don't get a Make It Take It class I will demonstrate it at Patti's booth.
I have a Sunflower design cut out and ready to place on the fabric. It is much larger and will take a bit longer to place on the fabric. Guess I better get back to making the samples.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Getting ready for Houston

Today I helped my friend Patti to get things ready for her booth at Festival, Batiks by Design.(http://www.batiksbydesign.com ) We work on kits today, but just seemed to run into roadblocks. Not enough patterns, imperfect fabric and items needing to be copied. One thing that did work was the mesh bags we picked out worked well for the small size patterns.

This will be our first time to attend Festival in Houston. We don't know how much to take with us, nor what to expect. We will also be going to Market, so at least we will have an idea about the layout of the Convention Center and hopefully make some great contacts prior to things being open up to the public.

I am working on some of my designs to have them ready for sale. One is a new apron with lots of pockets. I remember as a child that my step grandmother always wore an apron. She made all of them herself. She had nicer ones for Sunday, but always had practical cotton aprons of many colors for week days. These were always fresh and nicely pressed in the morning, but she loved to cook and bake. By noon you could see the flour from the bread baking and maybe a spot or two from her wonderful home made soup she was making for dinner.

I also have a fat quarter friendly quilt. It does contain one of my favorite blocks the Churn Dash. I think the reason I like this block so much is because it looks so different on point then it does straight. I have also in other quilts played with the coloring of the Churn Dash to create other designs elements. It is just a fun block.

Maybe I will show you some pictures tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

One of my Creations!

The "Flowers of Friendship" started out as a computer drawing sent to me by an artist friend of mine. I was so touched by the thought and effort he put into the drawing I just had to turn it into a wall hanging. I did all the applique by hand. The quilting is also by hand, but I ran out of time to really finish the lower part. I wanted to give it to him when I was visiting another mutual friend in Ohio.
I have another one started, but I work on it only when I have to wait at a Doctor's office or while traveling. So progress on that one is slow.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

So much happening!!!!

I finally found my ID and password to be able to post again. So much time has passed since I posted, but would you believe that I still don't have my table runner quilted. I did send a picture to the designer, so all is good.

Lots of DR appointments this week for our family. One will be a long wait for me in the waiting room, so I need to get the table runner marked and sandwiched so I can work on it Tuesday afternoon while DH is getting 6 teeth pulled. OUCH!
Next week I will be in Nashville working at the AQS show. It will be exciting seeing friends that I have not seen in years, but it will also be a long week away from loved ones.
I do hope the weather cools down before going to the show. It will be difficult to move the merchandise into the show for my friends booth.
Hope to post again before I leave.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Table Runner

Today I plan to sew a table runner to use on the serving cart near the front door. I have the pattern all figured out and pulled the fabric. It is paper pieced, not a favorite of mine, but this pattern uses a method of paper piecing I have never used. The paper is folded back prior to sewing the seams, so no paper gets caught that will need to be removed later.

I need to learn how to post pictures, but not today.

Friday, June 8, 2007

No Progress

Seems like I just can't get motivated to clean out the to be sewing room. It has been humid and hot here since we arrived home. Several boxes in the sewing room will need to be removed and carried to the storage room on the third floor. Maybe I will feel like doing this tomorrow.

I have done a little sewing, (hemming, made a sling and added to the dog's collar) but no quilting since we have been home. I have been so tired and today somewhat sore. I am not going to let that stop me. I try to keep going and accomplish something everyday.

Today after baking 2 pies and getting dinner going I picked out fabric to start a table runner. It will be used in the living room on the chest by the door. We seem to drop things down on it as we come in the door and I want to protect the wood surface. I will be testing a pattern as I make this project. I have decided on 3 greyish blues. I hope I have enough of the background. The fabrics I am using are from my stash and part of the background has been used in another project. When I have more time I will learn how to post pictures and add a sample of the fabrics I am using. I need to go read the pattern to see if I can use this background.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Time to get started

Today we arrived home from WI where I taught classes in smocking, color and applique. DH and I decided over the weekend that one of the first things I (we) need to do this summer is to remove everything from what will be my new sewing room. Most of the stuff in the room is sewing related, but there are also many items just set in there from our remodeling of three other rooms. We plan to remove the carpeting and paint the walls. Giving the room a fresh new feeling....and organizing the area will help me to be more productive with my sewing, quilting and designing.