Thursday, January 29, 2009

Honest Scrap Award

Ten things about me that few people know:
  1. I change my mind a lot; no wait, I guess I don't.
  2. I love sushi; I was 45 before I knew fish tasted better raw.
  3. My feet keep growing.
  4. I'm a control freak; no wait, everyone already knows that. I have OCD too.
  5. I love abstract art; if I never see another picture of bluebonnets again it will be too soon.
  6. I have never kept a quilt that I made myself; I love making quilts.
  7. I'm afraid of hot air balloons; this is probably irrational.
  8. I'm very afraid of bears; I think this is perfectly reasonable.
  9. I haven't been able to learn to tat yet; it always goes to knots.
  10. I have the rarest blood type of all, AB-; I better keep my organs *nice*.

Five addictions I'm not afraid to own up to:

  1. My husband; he's verrrrry nice.
  2. Collecting stuff: art, fabric, patterns, books, art supplies, sewing notions; lots of stuff.
  3. Rescuing and restoring old needlework; I love to make it live again.
  4. Channeling my OCD into alphabetizing my spices and organizing my stuff; I find this more useful than obsessive hand-washing. (In fact, sometimes I dip my chip twice!)
  5. Creating stuff: quilts, needlework, art, music, dinner, even large boring technical documents at work.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Beads, Beads and More Beads!

I bought these beads last Friday. I love the colors. The red, gold and turquoise beads are for Christmas siggies. The pink and lime green are to make a thank you present for my sister's sister-in-law, Vickie. The last two holidays we spent in Green Bay, we were graciously included in the festivities at Vickie's home. She and Tom have a beautiful historic house, and Vickie decorates for Christmas like you would not believe. She had NINE Christmas trees this year, including one with all lime green and pink ornaments. It was gorgeous (and more sparsely decorated than the other trees). I'm going to make something quilty using the leftovers from my pink and green quilt and bead it up until it sparkles. I just haven't decided what yet.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Stash Tracking Report

Dum da dum dum, Dum da dum dum DUM! (Think Dragnet) It's bad. Not only did I buy two yards of fabric on Saturday, I also got 2 1/2 yards worth of fat quarters as a gift from my secret pal. (I guess I have to count gifts too, huh?) I've been a piecing fiend, but I'm only counting fabric that wasn't cut before the first of the year, so I only used a yard this week. Sigh. That's a net + 3 1/2 yards for the week. This was *supposed* to help LOWER my stash, what's going on here? I'm up a total of 5 3/8 yards for the year! This reminds me of when my sister put her dog, Max, on a diet and Max gained 2 pounds.

On the bright side, Barb at Bejeweled Quilts gave me the "Honest Scrap" award - love that title. This means I'll have to list 10 honest things about myself that most people don't know, as well as 5 addictions (Only 5? that should be a piece of cake since I have DOZENS of them. lol)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Precision Piecing my Scrap Country Chain and Knot Quilt

I got lots of quilting done this weekend - highly productive. I have renamed the "*Ugly* Brown Quilt" to "Scrap Country Chain and Knot Quilt" because it's not going to be ugly after all; in fact, it's turning out quite nicely. What a relief!. I really like the chain and knot pattern, even though each block has 40 separate pieces. I'm making a 4x5 quilt, so that's a total of 800 pieces for just the blocks. I'm also sashing it with cornerstones, for another 79 pieces.

I got this far on Friday. Hardly any of the tan fabric was sewn to any of the mini 4 patches (top row). The red/tan and green/tan blocks were easy since they could be strip pieced, but the minis and the large patch (center bottom) had to be done in onsies and twosies depending on the size of the donated fabric. I kept the tan fabric in strips for sewing and cut them apart afterwards. I'm always trying to improve my piecing accuracy and this helps a *lot*. I use the same technique for sashing blocks, then I can trim and square the sash/block at the same time.

This was really a terrific pattern for using up lots of disparate (OK, kinda ugly) bits of fabric. In fact, it uses up 13 different donated fabrics - remember the ones that had to be Febreezed outdoors because of their odor? The coordinating tan fabric is actually a Christmas fabric (who knew?) that I got at the Christmas Goose in Las Vegas. I brought all my little bits with me and picked the one that fought the least. lol The dark red and green fabrics that comprise the chains are Hobby Lobby standards.

I decided the easiest way to piece this block was to create the chunks for a standard nine patch, which I got done today. They are displayed in their proper places above. This means I'm down to about 180 pieces from 800 for just the blocks. It's actually starting to look doable! Also I used the Precision Piecing pinning techniques to align my blocks and all of them turned out deadly accurate, which was very nice on such a large project.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Secret Pal Gift Arrived Today!

I got my January gift from my secret pal today; what a haul! She sent me a lovely card and ten, count'em TEN, fat quarters! What a lovely surprise this turned out to be. Thanks so much, Secret Pal, you're the best!

Today was a great quilting day all around. I spent a good 5-6 hours working on my latest quilt and got lots of work done. I should probably quit referring to it as the "*Ugly* Brown Quilt" which is how it's labeled in the project list on the sidebar. I've tried to leaven the more unfortunate donated fabrics with some that are a bit more tasteful, and I've designed a very scrappy though structured pattern, which makes good use of all the fabrics. I'm hoping it will end up more charming than ugly; at least that's my goal. I'll post some pictures tomorrow and let you decide for yourself. lol

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Emerson White Update - Mission Accomplished!

The state of Colorado has, in its infinite wisdom, seen fit to reinstate little Emerson as a Colorado resident, assuring her of continuous Medicaid coverage. Thank God! And thank you, Colorado. Better late than never! Full update here. Now if she can only get well so she can go home to Colorado.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Emerson White Update and Stash Tracking 2009

I read today that Emerson White is doing a little better and is getting LOTS of needed publicity for her insurance status. Read all about it here. There may be a resolution soon. I sure hope so.

If you give a fat quarter away to your secret pal does it count as stash busting? I'm going to say yes, which makes my total: 1 7/8 - 1/4 = 1 5/8 yards. Still in the wrong direction, but better.

At least I got my secret pal gift sent out; I don't want to turn into one of *those* pals whose gifts show up on the last day of the month.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Secret Pal Stuff - January

It's been so much fun gathering little oddments and gifts for my secret pal. I've never had a secret pal before and I'm really enjoying it. I would love to share pictures of everything I'm giving her, especially the stuff I'm making, but I'm afraid she'll see it and it will spoil the surprise. I know she has a blog of her own; I've seen it. She's probably visited my blog as well. What's a girl to do? I know others have been in this situation before. How did you handle it? Here's my solution:

Can you tell what it is? Any guesses? I never twirled an image before; it was fun! I'm going to take pictures of everything I make, disguise them somehow, then at the end of the year I'll have a *reveal day*.

Emerson White - Stop the Insanity!

I read the story of poor little Emerson White yesterday and I've been really mad ever since! To summarize: Emerson is a 2 year old girl from Colorado who has traveled to Nebraska for life-saving small bowel transplant surgery and has had nothing but one health set-back after another for months. She's been out of state so long that Colorado no longer considers her a resident and is discontinuing her Medicaid insurance. Unbelievable! Despite the fact that Colorado has no treatment facility for this sort of operation, despite that her father still works and lives in Colorado, despite that her bedroom in her house is in Colorado, and despite the fact that she will certainly DIE if she goes back now, she's not considered a resident of the great state of Colorado. How shameful is that? Who are these people? What are they thinking?

I've written four letters so far asking Colorado to reinstate her Medicaid status and I'm encouraging everyone to do the same. All the details are here.

They really shouldn't get quilters riled up like this. We know all about doing the same thing over and over again, and we've only just gotten started on this!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Favorite Spray Adhesives

Gail asked me on Friday what basting spray I use and I couldn't remember the name of it, so I thought I would post pictures of the two sprays I've been using. For quilt basting I use June Taylor Quilt Basting Spray in the big pale blue bottle. This size bottle will spray baste 3 queen sized quilts. You're supposed to open the windows and protect the floors when using it; I open the windows, but I've been lazy about covering the carpet and I've gotten away with it so far. 8-) I really like it for stippling because it makes the surface of the quilt very flat and firm, yet completely washes out in one wash cycle.

The small bottle is what I use for everything else. Sulky KK 2000 is absolutely wonderful to use with Thangles. I'm also going to try it the next time I have something to applique; I think it will work very well at that too. No fumes and no overspray worries at all. It only lasts a few hours, then it's completely gone. I covered my work surface with paper, and initially the paper was a bit sticky, but in a few hours the stickiness was gone, no residue at all. Neat stuff!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Stash Tracking 2009

Here's a hilarious new acronym: SABLE - Stash Accumulation Beyond Life Expectency. I'm getting very close to SABLE and I want to step away from the edge while there's still time. lol Soooo, to that end I'm going to track my stash level for 2009. Not the total current amount, that would take forever to figure out, just the in's and out's. I want to see the number go down this year, as I plow through my UFOs, WISPs and dreaded WIVSPs (works in very slow progress).

I thought, "Oh, this will be easy, I haven't bought anythi.... oh wait; yes I did. Dang! I forgot about that one - how much was that?" The road to SABLE is sooo easy!

Let's see: 1.75 yards of denim for the denim quilt (and is denim ever *hard* to match! Who knew?) And 2, no wait, 3 fat quarters. And all I've used so far this year was the pink binding on my last quilt and nibbles from several fat quarters to make a pincushion. Say 1/4 yard total. Sigh. OK, so that's: 2.125 - .25 = 1.875, which, I believe, leaves me up 1 7/8ths yards for the year. So, I'm going in the wrong direction. Not good.

Friday, January 16, 2009

I have Followers! and News...

I updated this blog to use Blogspot's new Followers gadget and it works just fine. Martha and Caron both have wonderful blogs of their own, and I want to encourage everyone to use the new widget and go visit them from here. You won't be sorry.

We had our monthly Blanketeer meeting today at lunch. Very bad news! Our fearless leaders, Lynn and Kerri, who have served faithfully for 3+ years are resigning. Lynn has taken a promotion in Phoenix and will be completely leaving us! Boo hoo!!! Rachel and I agreed to take on the leadership roles. It's really important to both of us to keep the Blanketeers going. We have made commitments this year, both to the USO and to the Snowball Express, and we're not willing to let them down. Fortunately we have a core group of dedicated volunteers, so I'm confident we'll be able to carry on. From now on, my middle name is "Delegate", because that's what I'm going to be doing. lol I already owe a big shout out and "thank you" to Sheila, who wrote up the minutes of today's meeting. That's one task I'm *always* willing to delegate!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

January Challenge Complete!

Last night I finished quilting and binding my pink and green U.S.O. quilt. Now I can turn it in at the Blanketeers meeting tomorrow. I'm very pleased with it; I think it turned out really nice. Best of all, it's DONE!!! My January WISP challenge is fulfilled. Yippee!!

I stippled in green on the top and pink in the bobbin.

The floral fabric was from the stash Christine passed on from her friend to the Blanketeers. It was kind of dull, so I tried to perk it up with the pink and green.

Here's long-suffering Larry. What a gem. It was about 25 degrees out this morning!

Friday, January 9, 2009

International Siggy Swap

I'm very late in keeping my promise to post these siggies, but here they are... finally!

I just love Sara's funny kitty. I got a nice letter from her with the siggy. Her Christmas in Bellingham got completely snowed out, which was too bad. I hope she's not getting the horrible flooding that I've been reading about! Sara told me that she first heard about the International Siggy Swap through my blog and she has swapped with one person in each country on the list. How about that! My blog is performing a public service!

Teresa's whole family are fire-fighters, which her fabric choice really reflects. Love that fire truck fabric!

Margun's fabric looks just like the batik I used for the Friendship Stars quilt I just completed, only with swirls instead of circles. Her hand-embroidered owl on a limb is so detailed and well done. It's one of my husband's favorites - he just loves owls.

Kristine's siggy reminds me of the little fabric postcards that I've seen being blogged about. I love the colors and the somewhat more abstract design. The silver swirls of metallic thread are integral to both the design and construction of the siggy. Nice!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

One Project a Month Challenge

I've decided to join the "One Project a Month Challenge" over at Tag Along Teddies. We're supposed to complete one WISP per month, that's "Work in SLOW Progress". My first project, which has just been *sitting* there on the stairway railing is the pink and green baby quilt I'm making for the U.S.O. All it needs is to be quilted, bound and labeled. I gave myself an easy one for January!