Friday, December 31, 2010

Last day of 2010

The sun is out and the snow is almost gone; that is pretty good for northeast Ohio. I hope this is an indication of what the new year will bring. Jack is on his way out the door right now; he is going out for a ride on his motorcycle. It's cold but he has warm riding gear and when the streets are clear he  goes.
Yesterday we had the last of this years family Christmas get togethers.  Most of the family were here for dinner. One granddaughter and 2 of the great grandchildren couldn't come. It was a  nice time even though we were a bit crowded in our apartment. I put my sewing machine away and folded up my sewing  machine table and lowered my cutting table  so the great grand  kids could use my sewing  room for drawing and  playing. They made paper airplanes and the photo below shows them in my bedroom, flying their planes and JUMPING ON MY BED until I caught them at it.

I didn't do very well with the picture taking; there  was  too much going on. I didn't get many good photos so I hope someone else got some.
My DIL thought to take this  picture with my camera just before they left.  This is a "3 generations of John's" picture (father, son and grandson, from the right) . The short person is me. That is Jack  on the end in the plaid shirt. (the one going out today on the bike).

Today I am putting my sewing room back together and restoring all of the things I had to move to make room for the 19  people I figured we might have had. I hope I can find everything. The first thing I am  going to do is get out the quilting hoop and put the BIG UFO  back in the hoop. If I don't do it right away I am afraid I won't do it. I know if I put it away again I will never get back to it. I am going to hand quilt a little bit every day until  it is done. That is my promise to myself.

I am  going to make  a list of all my UFO's and WIP's and keep better track of it all this year than I did last year.  I realize that I made a lot of quilts over the years that I have forgotten about and I don't  have any record of what I did with them. It really isn't of any great importance but I would like to have some idea  of what I have accomplished.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The day after

We had a quiet Christmas Eve; after church we went to our son's house for a light supper and then yesterday we went out to our daughters house for brunch. This year our whole family couldn't all get together on the same day so we are doing it on different days with different people. We were going to have dinner here today but plans are changed because of a cancelled flight so we are postponing dinner together till Thursday (I think it will be Thursday). Over the years we have learned that being flexible works best.

At our son's and daughters houses there are Christmas quilts and things that I have made over the years. I didn't have my camera at  our son's  house but I took pictures yesterday at our daughters house. This blue quilt was the first of a series of about 8 quilts using a pictorial fabric and birds in the air blocks. They were a challenge with all the triangles but fun to make using all the different prints. After 8 quilts I was all triangled out. I still have a  box of pictorial  fabric that I bought for more quilts. I probably will never use them for the same type again.

The tree quilt is about 48 x 60 and too big for any place I had available to hang it at my house. My sister in law needed a large quilt and I helped her with it and worked out the layout and I  made this one myself so I could see if my design worked. My daughter has a good place for it in her family room. I think that the shelf with the little houses is part of the quilt hanging system.

This one block candle mat was from last year.  I made a bunch of small  things with the 3 inch motifs and left overs from a wall hanging I made for myself.  I gave them to a lot of different people but I had forgotten until I saw them this week here and there.
There were other things at our son's house our daughter in law displays all of the things that have been given to them over the years. Our  kids both had the Christmas log cabin quilts out to use during the holidays.It is nice to see that all of the things I gave to my family are being used.

This quilt below is not a Christmas quilt but it was a Christmas present at least 15 years ago for my daughter. It  was one of the first colorwash quilts I made. I used 2 inch squares and hand quilted it. I quilted with metallic thread in a grid pattern in the center where it is light and then I quilted a pattern of vines and leafs from the back with green thread. Metallic thread is  not easy to use for hand quilting but it added a little bit of sparkle to the center. (Bling was not a word at the time I made this).

 After a  couple years I moved on from 2 inch squares for colorwash to 9 patch blocks for colorwash and still have a stack  of trays with piles of 2 inch squares and another stack with 1 1/4 inch squares. I am going to use the little ones for a  couple of 9 x 12 mini quilts for priority quilt donations to the Alzheimer Art Quilt Initiative.   

Friday, December 24, 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

Over the Hill or just running along the ridge?

Today it is official, I am officially closer to 100 than I am to 50. I don't understand how this happened  so soon. It  seems like  such a short time ago that I was starting Kindergarten. 
I can remember a time, long ago, when I thought that I would arrive at my final age ( whenever that will  be) pretty much intact and not much different in appearance or ability than I ever was.  I also remember when I realized that I was mistaken. Probably about the time I got my first pair of eye glasses. Now when I look in the mirror I see my mother there only she looks older than me.
 I have been blessed with good health with only minor difficulties that go along with aging. I wear glasses but I can still understand what I read and I can see to sew. My hearing isn't what it used to be but I thank God for hearing aids.  I have minor aches and  pains but I can walk without difficulty and I go to the Y 3 or 4 times  a week to exercise. I can eat whatever I want and it doesn't bother me except for what ends up on my hips.  My hair has  been gray/white for about 30 years and now my age finally caught up with my hair. Though my hair no longer supports the  hairstyles I would like but I still have enough to have some style. I am not going to talk about the wrinkles as I don't  see them in dim light without my glasses. There are a lot of things  I don't care much about doing anymore but I can still do most of the things I want to do. So maybe I am not over the hill yet, maybe I am just running  walking along the ridge.

Well, enough about my birthday!   
 I got my room cleaned up last week and I got my shopping finished.
 I spent a couple of days  making these. I made 9 of them and used up most of my fat quarter pack of  Bliss. I love the fabric, it is a nice change from the darker fabric I had  been working  with.
 I am going to put all  my sewing stuff away now for a  few  days, wrap presents, and  get organized for Christmas.Tthe only stitching I  plan  to do is some  hand  quilting on the  BIG UFO that  is  still taking up floor space in my sewing room. It is still in the hoop because we didn't get the Q snap frame out of the locker and it is once again behind  other stuff. Actually the hoop  isn't bad and  doesn't take  up as much room as the frame.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

BOM top finished

I finished my BOM of the month sampler quilt top; it measures 57 x 72.  I am pretty happy with it; it came out nice and square and went together easily. The green sashing and border fabric is not so gray green but has more yellow in it giving it a more up to date look. None of the fabrics are Christmas fabric but it is meant to be a Christmas quilt
I know I am not going to quilt it until after Christmas so I put it up on the wall in my sewing room. It almost covers the width  of the design wall space hanging sideways. In the lower left you can see the corner of the shelf over my cutting table on the adjacent wall. I will clean up the sewing room and probably won't tackle any more large projects for a while. I have not done any Christmas shopping except for a book order from Amazon which I am hoping will get here this week.

The snow has stopped for now and we are off to the Y in a few minutes for our much needed exercise. We missed our Monday routine and got busy yesterday and didn't go. When I sit around too much I hurt in lots of different places. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Yesterday I never did get back to sewing. After I cleaned up after dinner we got the Christmas ornaments out and Jack disappeared back to his computer and I spent 3 hours putting ornaments on the tree. I hang all of the plain shiny balls in toward the trunk where they reflect the lights and all the other stuff out where it shows. It may not be the most artistic tree but there are a lot of memories  there. It is kind of like a scrap bag quilt with every thing all mixed up together, expensive, cheap inexpensive, handmade, kids ornaments, really old, new and anything and everything else.
This year it was more of a challenge to get it all  on the tree. Jack left off the bottom row of branches and  two brances at the back on the bottom row so it could fit closer to the wall.

The photo at the right was taken last night with the  lights on but that doesn't really show. Maybe you can see that I do not have a tree skirt. I plan to do something about that but maybe not for this year. A sheet or a table cloth will have to do one more time. The photo on the left is from this morning and you can see the bare maple tree outside behind it. That is the tree was the reason for our move this summer. It was wonderful in the summer and fall and now that it is bare we can see the birds when they come to visit us for peanuts that we leave on the window ledge. They seem to like the Christmas tree, they stop  and look through the window. Probably because they see the tree and not us; although the blue jays are not shy. If there are no peanuts they will knock on the window and yell at us. We also have cardinals  and chickadees and of course squirrels. So far the squirrels have not been up here much although there are a lot of them around gathering acorns from all the oak trees.  
I am planning to stay in again today and sew. It is not snowing at present and our street doesn't look bad but there are school closings all over. The last forecast I saw predicted more lake effect snow. Ya gotta love that lake.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Staying inside

We stopped at the grocery store on the way home from church yesterday, like half of NE Ohio; they sure were busy. I am all set to stay in till the snow is over. It didn't look so bad this morning at 7AM and it could be worse now but it is snowing and dreary and I am glad I do not have to go out. Do you get the idea that I do not like snow?
Jack got the tree out of our locker and put it together yesterday while he watched football and he is putting the lights on now.  We don't do it all at one time anymore. I will put the ornaments on later today, maybe after dinner.

I spent the afternoon and evening yesterday cutting strips and bordering blocks that I made 2 years ago when our group at church did a block of the month. I used Christmas colors. The fabric was from a BOM from a local  quilt shop. I don't usually do  BOM or mystery quilts but I had done one from that shop and really liked doing it and not having to agonize over fabric choices myself. I decided to sign up for the next year and 2 months in I decided I would purchase the BOM packs but use the fabrics for something else. Turned out the fabric was  still used  for a  BOM just a different one.  I started out thinking I would  make 3 blocks every month and then I would make 3 quilts. Well that didn't happen. I think I did that for only 3 months and then one a month was enough for me. I had to make the blocks every month because I needed to show the sample block other wise I may have quit.
In the photo above are 4 of the 12 blocks laying on the sashing fabric with the 9 patch cornerstones. Last month I bought the sashing fabric and yesterday I started working on it. I decided I would make the sashing 3 inches wide to make the quilt a more usable size because the blocks were only 9 inches. The cornerstones are 3 inch - 9 patches and after I made 4 so I could audition them I put them aside while I made the rest. I spent 40 minutes (on and off) looking for them before I found them where I put them so I could find them. Here they are pinned to one of my design boards which was behind my door but still in plain sight.

If I get the sashing cut I may get the body of the quilt together today. Maybe not though because I still have to decorate the tree and then when it is all done I will have to sit and admire it. I have way too many ornaments but every year as I hang them on the tree I remember where I bought them or who gave them to me or made them for me. Some of them go back to my childhood. Maybe when I am too old to decorate the tree someone else will do it for me so I can still enjoy all the things that bring back special memories.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Today's Mail

This is what came in the mail today.
 It is the  half yard bundle I won on Red Pepper Quilts blog. She hosted a giveaway from Pat Bravo. They are from the Natures Elements collection from Art Galley Fabrics. Click on the link to see all the yummy colors. A very big thank you to Pat Bravo  and to Rita for hosting the give away.
Our little group at church met today. I wish I had remembered to bring my camera so I could show you photos of us eating working. As usual we spent our time catching up with everyones news and we had show and tell and talked about what we were working on or planning to make. We had a young woman, Chris, there today who is from Brazil; her husband is a student at the university. Her English is good, though there were some terms that lost in the translation but we worked it out. It was fun talking with her about our different  customs. She is eager to learn to quilt and we are so pleased to have her.

  One of our ladies helped us get started making little bags with metal carpenters tape sections in the top  so they snap closed. This is mine; it is 4 x 5 and it could be better (and it will be next time).

I bought this little pack of fat quarters yesterday and I thought it was perfect to use for these little  bags. I worked that rationalization out quickly so that it was OK to buy as I am  not buying anything unless it is to finish something I am working on or for something that I am going to go right home and start. This is a self imposed moratorium on fabric purchases so I do not actually have to make excuses. It is working pretty well  most of the time and I am clearing out  fabric that has been with  me a  long time and  has lost so of it's appeal.
Well, back to the point. Chris used some of it for her bag. She used the large blue print for the outside and the red with the white flowers for the lining and  accent strip  and the smaller blue print for the prairie  points. All of the little  bags turned out really cute and I am sorry I don't have photos  to show. Maybe next time I will  remember my camera......... maybe not.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Looking back ten years

 Ten years ago I made 9 log cabin Chrismas quilts for my family for Christmas. The blocks were 7 inches finished and the quilts were around 46 x 60. I designed them in Electric Quilt and they are all different. By designing the layouts in EQ I was able to figure out how many of each  kind of block that I needed. I made 9 identical blocks, one for each quilt. In each quilt it was in a different place. I told everyone that it was there but they had to figure out which one it was. 

I started in November a year earlier and I finished all the blocks by September the following year  and I finished the quilts before Thanksgiving. 

I would not allow myself to start any new projects during the time I worked on them but I could work  on unfinished projects. Log cabin blocks are labor intensive and making them can get boring after awhile so I broke up the time with other things. That year I finished every UFO that I had. there were none left by the time the LC quilts were finished. Everyone was surprised because no one ever saw  me working on them.

I thought that if I made everyone Christmas quilts they might last forever because they wouldn't be used all the time. My mother in law kept hers out all the time because she liked it. She didn't really use it but kept it draped  over the  back  of a love seat. When  she moved into a nursing home she used it every day and it was laundered in the laundry there. We have it now that she is gone and it still  looks pretty good, only a few of the green fabrics are faded. 

Below on the left is the one block  that was identical in every quilt.  

Now that there are great grand children I think about making Christmas quilts for them, that would be 5 quilts. I still have some red, white and  green strips and I am considering pineapple log cabin.
From the time I started quilting I always liked to include something in every family quilt I made that I had used in another family quilt.  I think I started doing it because I bought 10 yards of a  background print but it seemed like a nice tradition  to continue. The quilts are kind of like families
the come from the same gene/fabric pool but they are each different and unique.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A nice surprise and more Christmas quilts

Monday morning I got a very nice surprise. I won the giveaway on Red Pepper Quilts for a Half yard bundle of Pat Bravo's natures Elements fabric. I love the colors and I can hardly wait to see it "in person".

I  have been busy getting out all my Christmas dishes and quilts and making more place mats. about the time I was thinking I have too many Christmas quilts I decided that maybe I need a couple more for a couple of places but not for this year. I do have one in progress that has been in progress for 2 years,maybe next year.

I made 4 more place mats using this same blue snowman fabric and different red strips. They are all alike except for different red  fabric. I don't thave them quilted yet. They will all go for our visitation pastor and his wife to take to  the shut-ins and nursing home patients.

 I made this quilt  last year and I made a bunch of small projects with the little motifs and log cabin strips, pot holders  and mug mats and little bitty quilts for little  places. I was in the use "it all up" frame of mind. One of the ladies in our quilt guild said she has no stash, she buys what she needs and uses it up. I thought that sounded smart after sorting and sorting and organizing and reorganizing all my left overs from many years over and over and over again.
I pretty well used up all of the left overs from this piece. I did have a few  red strips left that I used this year in some mug mats. The little gingerbread people are foam cut outs that my great grand children decorated with glitter pens a couple of years ago. I try to use all the things the kids make and it is sometimes a challenge to figure out where to put it all but I think it pleases them to see it.

   The quilt below is a wonky log cabin I made a few years ago probably before wonky was in style. I bought the Letters to Santa fabric but the rest came mostly from fabric I had left over from years of quilting. I quilted it in the ditch around the blocks and then handquilted with big stitch using embroidery floss around the edges of the focus squares. I did a search on-line for Merry Chrismas in other languages and free motion quilted them all around the border. The other photo is the back  of the quilt.
This is a more sedate log cabin quilt that I originally made to use for a table cloth. I turn my plaid quilt over so the back shows and put the Christmas log cabin crosswise on the bed. I didn't notice all the various things laying on the bed when I took the photo but that's OK; it is kind of typical of the way I do things.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Getting ready for Christmas

I had plans to get out my Christmas dishes and quilts yesterday but it was not to be. When I turned on my computer at 5 AM I got a message that told me it couldn't start. Long story short... the operating system could not be found. After much fiddling around with it and talking on the phone to a tech, we took it in to Micro Center where we bought it and left it. As I was reading the fine print on the contract/receipt, I saw that the warranty did not cover software. So... we went back and got it and took it home and ran the installation disk. I spent the rest of the day putting back all the stuff I lost. Fortunately most of it was on disks I made to transfer files when we bought the computer 2 months ago . That means I lost 2 months of work, bad enough but it could be worse. This morning I made a recovery disk and backed up my files which I intend to make a practice of doing.

Well, I didn't get everything done that I had planned but I got out 2 little things for my sewing room. This one has a sleeve that fits over one of those 8 x 10 plastic holders that you can slip a photo into. I love those because you don't have to find a permanent place for them. This is sitting on the shelf above my desk. I made this for my MIL a few years  ago when she was in a nursing home and didn't have a lot of room for decorations. I have a little quilt for almost every month.

This Santa made from a log cabin block was a gift  from  a  friend. He hangs on the door to my sewing room. I took this photo with him on my design wall because I couldn't get a good photo on the door, hence the red threads behind him.

Maybe today after we go to the Y and stop at the grocery store I will get out the Christmas dishes and quilts. The lake effect snow has kicked in and though the streets look good, just wet, it feels like a good day to stay inside.