Thursday, June 29, 2006

Broken Dishes Progress

I sure like how this quilt is turning out. As Bonnie says, if the fabric still looks ugly you've just not cut it small enough. There are lots of ugly fabrics here but I think the quilt is going to be striking. Today I sewed on the inner border and the surrounding row of larger blocks. I put it back on the design wall and cut strips for the second border to see how it looks. I'm going to cut a set of navy strips also to see which one I like best. Then it'll be back to making the little broken dishes blocks. I don't know if I have enough small triangle squares or not. If not I think I might add another border then make the outside the larger size blocks. I won't know until I get that far and decide how it looks. It's a fun adventure - not knowing how the finished quilt will look and designing as I go. It's been awhile since I've done that, and I'd forgotten how much fun it is.

Do you like this?

Right now I have two sizes of broken dishes blocks. I think I'm liking the way they look when put together. I'm thinking about dividing border in either blue or red (like the one stuck to the design board in the picture), then a ring of the larger blocks - I have only enough for one ring - then another divider border - then back to the smaller blocks. As you can see in the bottom right corner, I have hundreds of triangle squares waiting to be pressed and made into smaller broken dishes blocks.

What do you think? Do you like the two sizes together? It definitely looks "maverick" to me.

Today I have to get a haircut, go grocery shopping and get the camping food, etc. together so I can't sew all day. Should be able to fit in quite a bit, however.



1. My Mariners are on a tear! They are only 2 games out of first place.
2. Good novels staring quilters - I'm enjoying "Circle of Quilters" very much.
3. Cool breezes through the house.
4. New longarm thread colors to play with.
5. Payday!


Wednesday, June 28, 2006

This is the best!

Today is my first day of 8 days of vacation! I desperately needed a mental break, so on Monday I checked with my supervisor to see if it was OK if I added to the short vacation I'd planned around the holiday. Since I manage the department it was just a "courtesy question" - she doesn't care as long as I have the days accumulated. So here I am - with nothing to do but sew all day until about 5:00. Then I'm heading to the theatre to keep a place in the line for the new Superman. My DSIL is a superman addict - actually a super-heros addict - so the three of us are seeing the 6:45 show together. I enjoy these movies also, so it should be a nice evening. I'll take a good book - currently reading "Circle of Quilters" - and be happy as a clam waiting.

Today I'm feeding more triangles through the machine and watching the "leftovers" quilt grow. I sewed a lot of triangles Monday evening but didn't press anything. I didn't want to turn on the iron. We had a 101 degree day - shattered the old June 26th record of 90 - and it was about 85 in the house. I turned on only my machine light to also cut down on the heat. It was too hot to sleep so I sewed until later than usual, then dragged around work tired all day yesterday. It's much cooler now - low to mid 80's predicted - thank goodness!

Anyway, here are some pictures of my progress. Today I'll start by making the rest of the larger pieces into broken dishes blocks. I'm going to try adding one more row onto what is already done to make it slightly rectangular, then I think I'll surround that with a frame of red 1" to 1 1/2" wide. Then I'll see what a ring of the larger broken dishes blocks looks like. If I like how that looks I'll sew them on then try a second frame in either red again or maybe blue. Then I'll go back to the smaller blocks until I run out of them. Once I see how big that is I'll go from there. Probably won't get that all done today but between today and tomorrow I should make good progress. I can hardly wait to get started!


1. 8 days of vacation!
2. Cooler weather
3. An overflowing stash
4. The steady purr of my featherweight
5. My cordless Maytag iron


Monday, June 26, 2006

Weekend accomplishment

I took a break from current projects this weekend. I had the urge to sew scraps and make what I've come to think of as a "Finn type quilt". I really had the urge to empty some of my plastic shoe boxes of scraps. So I took the boxes of half square triangles and half square triangle squares off the shelf and started making Broken Dishes blocks. I'm going to do this in somewhat of a medallion style and make it big enough for our bed. Lots and lots of little multicolored calicos plus some solid fabrics here - nothing that I'd use for projects today. I think these scraps have been aging for at least 15 years and probably more! This was so much fun I had a terrible time stopping to go to bed last night. I totally emptied one box and almost emptied two more. All I have left in those two is about a dozen 2 1/2" squares in one and a dozen or so 3 1/2" squares in the other. I'm working on the fourth box now, which is full almost to overflowing of half square triangles cut at 2 5/8". What was I thinking? Obviously I cut them as big as the scraps were. After sewing these I'll trim them down a little to 2 1/2" - perfect for the current project.

Now I have to get ready for work. Really, really hard when all I want to do is sew!


1. A cool night that lowered the temperature in the house.
2. Kids with air conditioning who live very close.
3. A safe arrival in Kalamazoo Michigan for my husband.
4. My vacation starts later this week!
5. Birds singing outside my window


Saturday, June 24, 2006

Two are caught up!

I'm very happy to report that I'm totally caught up through June with two of my Block of the Month projects. What a good feeling! The first picture shows Lori Smith's Heirloom Stitches, and the second is Jan Patek's mystery quilt. I have the blocks through May prepped for the third one - Jan Patek's Girl Gang quilt for this year - but as they are all needleturn appliqué it will be a little while before they will be finished.

This is going to be as "quilty" a weekend as I can make it, but right now I feel the urge to machine stitch instead of appliqué. I'm either going to get my string project back out, or work on cutting and stitching scraps, or start something with all the half square triangles I have sorted into various plastic shoeboxes. I'm also going to start going through my stash and pulling things that I'm no longer in love with. My favorite quilt shop, Momma Made It, has a "yard sale" every year the third Saturday in July. It's only $5 to rent a table, and we can sell anything sewing related we want to. So one of my Tangled Threads friends is going to get a table with me, and we'll see how much we can pass along to someone who will use it now. I know I have lots and lots I can pull to sell. That will help me pay the balance on my new featherweight cabinet, as well as give me breathing room on my stash shelves. I have lots of pretty ribbon left over from when I did bears and dolls, so I'll tie them all up pretty. The hardest thing to do is deciding on the price for each item. I don't want to give everything away, but I also want to price it low enough that it sells. If any of you have done this sort of thing before I would appreciate suggestions on how to price things.

Now I'm going to head to the shower and get dressed. Today is my daughter's 32nd birthday - how can I have a child that old? - so I'm taking her out to Starbucks for coffee. Have a wonderful weekend everyone!


1. My weight is starting to drop!
2. Sunny blue skies
3. Boxes full of wonderful scraps
4. A clean cutting table
5. DVD's of wonderful old movies


Thursday, June 22, 2006

We were so young . . .

but we thought we had all the answers. Fresh out of college, new teaching jobs, new marriage - we were on top of the world! Now the older we get, the more we realize how little we really know.

I wore a dress that I'd borrowed from one of my older cousins. Looking back I'm sure it was a cost saving measure on my parent's part, but I loved the dress and felt honored to wear it.

The second picture was taken on May 17, 2003 at our son's wedding. I'd lost almost 40 pounds the year before, and spent what seemed like a small fortune on this beautiful navy suit - size 12. I still have it, but despair of ever being able to wear it again.

The third picture was taken early this year. On the left are our daughter and son-in-law, in the center are our son and daughter-in-law, and we are on the right (obviously!).

Have a super day everyone!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Happiness is . . .

Thirty-seven years with the same wonderful guy. Today is our anniversary. It seems like no time at all since we were both putting ourselves through college, living at home, and squeezing pennies. We were engaged for 2 1/2 years, and it seemed like forever. I drew up so many budgets trying to figure out how we could get married before graduation and it just wasn't possible. Even with little top floor studio apartments going for $75 per month. So we were married one week after we graduated. I can't believe it really is that long ago.

Not sure what it says about us, but we've talked all week about how we should spend our anniversary and didn't come up with anything. We go out to eat at least 1-2 times a week as many times I come home from work too tired to cook so that doesn't seem special any more. We always spend Wednesdays with our son-in-law and daughter - we could call that off but why? We love spending time with them! So I guess this Wednesday will be like most others - having dinner with them, watching Mariners baseball and playing games. So that's what we are going to do.

It's been fun seeing other's wedding pictures and anniversary pictures, so I'll try to scan a couple this afternoon to post.


1. Sleeping in, even if it was for only 10 minutes.
2. Fresh, clean sheets
3. Fluffy, newly washed towels
4. Fresh, homemade strawberry lemonade
5. Dove ice cream bars


Sunday, June 18, 2006

Independence Day decorations

I get distracted so very easily it sometimes drives me nuts! Does this happen to any of the rest of you? Here's the progression . . .

I posted my entry for today then headed to the sewing room.
I noticed the clothes I took off last night on the floor in the corner of the hall and remembered I need to do laundry today in order to have clothes to wear to work tomorrow.
I headed to the garage and started the first load of clothes.
On my way back to the sewing room I noticed all the red, white and blue decorations that I put up on Thursday. I realized I needed to take pictures to post.
Came back to the computer room and got the camera.
Went back to the living room and took pictures.
Came back to the computer to upload the pictures.
Realized I'd left my mug of morning tea somewhere.
Spent 5 minutes looking for my morning tea. It was on the counter in the bathroom. Notice I'd not gone into the bathroom. Obviously I reached out and put it on the counter somewhere in the process, and the fact I'd done that registered NOWHERE in my brain.
Came back to the computer room and started writing this post.

Notice . . . . it's now been half an hour since I told you I was heading to the sewing room to work on BOM's, and I've not yet stepped foot in that room! No wonder I don't get as much done as I'd like to!

Anyway, since I'm back here chatting again I'll post the pictures I just took. The room is red, white and blue, so these decorations tie in better than those from any other season or holiday. And now I'm really going to go into the sewing room to work. After I make myself another mug of tea and have some breakfast. My stomach is growling and I realize I've not yet fed it.

I can hear you all laughing now. Does this sound like any of the rest of you?

Hi everybody!

Just a quick post to let you know I'm still here. I plan a quilty day today - first will work on my three BOM projects, then head upstairs to pin the latest customer quilt onto Gandalf. This time I will have to take off my own quilt first but that's OK, because I've not begun to quilt this one yet.

We celebrated our daughter's 32nd birthday yesterday a week early because it was the best day for the family to get together. Had a wonderful day with the kids as always. This afternoon we have to open the camper, drain the antifreeze, and start getting ready for our first camping trip in a couple weeks.

Weekends are just too short - especially in the summer. Fred finished school on Thursday; it's so hard for me to head to work when I know he's home doing what he wants to do. My "honey do" list isn't very long - he works very hard so deserves a rest - and he's already started on the first one. I'll just have to make sure he stays on track over the summer. :-)

I wanted to read through the ring postings before heading into the sewing room, and now I have not more reasons to delay. Have a wonderful Sunday everyone!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

For all the women you love

How many of you have been touched in some way by ovarian cancer? I know at least one or two of you have fought this silent but deadly killer yourself. What about your mothers, sisters, daughters and friends? My dear friend Peggy in Tangled Threads has been fighting this disease for almost three years.

Did you know there is something "quilty" you can do to help? Blank Fabrics, a manufacturer of quilting fabrics, is helping raise money for Ovarian Cancer research. I hadn't heard of Blank Fabrics until Peggy told the Threads about this last fall.

The company makes beautiful, colorful fabrics for quilters. For every 12" finished (12 1/2" unfinished) quilt block sent to them they will donate $1 for ovarian cancer research. At least half the fabrics in each block must be Blank fabrics, with the other fabrics being anything you want to use from your stash. The blocks are being made into Inspiration Quilts, which will be auctioned to raise even more money for research. Each Inspiration Quilt is dedicated to a particular quilter who is battling ovarian cancer; names to be considered are submitted by friends. The first quilt is totally finished, and the second quilt is at the quilter now. Blocks are being collected for the third quilt, which will be dedicated to my friend Peggy.

If you go to their website you can read the stories of the women to whom the first two quilts were dedicated. You can see pictures of the "virtual quilts". Clicking on each of the individual blocks will give you a close-up of the block and a picture of the maker of the block. There is also a link for finding a store in your area that sells Blank Fabrics. You may already have some in your stash and not know it.

I'm posting this in the hope that you will help spread the word about this effort, and maybe even send in some blocks yourself. Ovarian cancer is very deadly because there is no infallible way to test for it, and by the time the victim begins to feel pain the cancer is almost always too far advanced to cure. The symbol for the fight is a ribbon similar to the breast cancer ribbon in teal instead of pink.

I encourage you to do this yourself or for the special women in your life.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The ABC's of me

Since I don't have anything quilty to post today, I'll consider myself tagged by Jeanne and Siobhan. I'm sure this is more than you ever wanted to know about me.

Accent - None as far as I know. I sound pretty much the way people on TV sound, so I'm judging by that.
Booze - Wine, preferably white, and an occasional Long Island ice tea.
Chore - Dusting our 50+ feet of bookcases
Dog/cat - A totally spoiled 15 year old miniature poodle. I'm allergic to most anything else.
Essential electronics - Absolutely the computer and digital camera tied for first place, with the DVD player a close second.
Favorite perfume - Anything lavender
Gold/silver - Usually always silver, but occasionally gold - I'm a "summer" color-wise
Hometown - I grew up in Seattle, Washington - but we've lived in Vancouver WA for 32 years now
Insomnia - Yes. I find it almost impossible to turn off my mind at night.
Job title - Staff Development Manager for a large credit union. Working here has been my 12th or 13th career. It took a LONG time to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up.
Kids - A grown son and daughter, both in their early 30's and both married. Grandchildren soon, we hope.
Living arrangements - Remodeled story-and-a-half home, originally built in 1969, in the suburbs.
Most admirable trait - I'm VERY organized - almost too much so.
Number of countries visited - Only two. Canada many times since it's within easy driving distance, but other than that only Japan. I toured Japan with my high school choir in 1964, singing as many as three concerts a day.
Overnight hospital stays - 3 as an adult. Two babies born and one surgery.
Phobias - Heights, absolutely!
Quote - "You can do anything if you believe you can do it." My mother, one of the wisest people I've ever known. She had many quotes I remember to this day, but this is the most important.
Religion - Raised Methodist, with a current belief system coming from several different religions
Siblings - An older brother and younger sister, both deceased
Time you usually wake - 5:00 am
Unusual talent - Using only a pencil and paper, I can compute the square root of any number.
Vegetable I refuse to eat - I'll try most anything, but would rather not each brussel sprouts. Love most of the "weird" vegetables.
Worst habit - I talk too loudly. I was raised before microphones were prevalent. The teacher would stand at the back of the auditorium and shout "I can't hear you" so I learned to project my voice really well. Now it's just the way I talk - I can't talk softly to save my life.
X-rays - Like Jeanne, more than I can count including lots of mammos
Yummy foods I make - Desserts, particularly double crust fruit pies and cakes, and homemade cinnamon rolls.
Zodiac - Taurus


1. Lunch with a dear friend
2. Hot and sour soup
3. Electricity and indoor plumbing - read Pam's blog to see why
4. Comfortable sandals
5. Business casual dress at work in the summer


Monday, June 12, 2006

I see blogger isn't feeling well.

I've accepted the fact that sometimes blogger eats photos instead of posting them - I feel like we should at least hear a "burp" of thanks for the meals when he says he's "done".

Now he's decided he won't let anyone comment. I presume it's not just my comments he doesn't like as Jeanne mentioned something about it on Spiral. I tried to post a comment on at least a half dozen blogs this morning before I finally gave up trying - I'm tired of getting error messages.

I'm enjoying catching up with everyone this morning even though I can't "drop in and say hi".



1. A surprise "good news" visit from our son and daughter-in-law.
2. Rain this morning!
3. A Mariners sweep of the Anaheim Angels.
4. A quilty weekend
5. A venti decaf Americano with lots of nonfat milk and a low fat Marionberry muffin for breakfast.


Saturday, June 10, 2006

Progress on Heirloom Stitches

All the pieced blocks for Heirloom Stitches are done, and I've sewed together everything I can. I love this quilt so much! Now I'm going to prep the appliqué block so I can stitch on it during the baseball game tonight. It looks like the blocks coming later this month are also pieced blocks, so I hope to be totally caught up by the end of June. The first picture is the basket block, and the second shows everything I've completed. Lori Smith is such a talented designer!

Anne suggested I try The Other Boelyn Girl, also by Phillipa Gregory. That is the first book of hers that I read; a friend in Tangled Threads loaned that one to me. I love stories set in the time of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, so I immediately went out and bought more of her books. She's a very good writer.

Catching up on BOM's

My goal for the weekend is to do as much catching up on my block of the month projects as I can. I spent last evening piecing two more blocks for Heirloom Stitches. I turned the radio to the Mariners game and stitched away happily, my featherweight purring like a kitten. I have another block to piece today, and an appliqué block to prep for stitching, and then I'll be all done through May other than doing the appliqué on the last block. The kit doesn't come in the mail until the end of the month, so I should be all caught up by the time it comes. I have a set of three blocks to piece for the mystery quilt - easy blocks - so will finish that today with no trouble. Then I'll get out my Girl Gang notebook and start catching up on It's a Wonderful Life. Lots of little appliqué blocks to prep for that one, but they are all pretty simple if I remember correctly. That prepping will be fun, because I'll get to dig in my stash and choose fabrics.


1. The sound of my featherweight humming away while I piece.
2. Getting to sleep in this morning
3. Pink knit pajamas
4. Well written, well researched historical fiction - currently reading The Queen's Fool by Phillipa Gregory.
5. Digital cameras


Friday, June 9, 2006

Quilty things

I've been feeling my stress level building for a couple weeks or more now, especially with some struggles I'm having at work. I knew for my own health's sake that I needed to be doing some actual stitching, as it is my major stress reliever. Other than a little stitching at Tangled Threads on Tuesday nights I've done nothing by hand for several weeks. So I skipped guild last night, put my birthday movie in the DVD player (Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe) and took up my needle. I felt so much better by the end of the evening! I finished the April block for my Jan Patek mystery and the Whig Rose block for Heirloom Stitches. Then I started cutting out a pieced block for Heirloom Stitches. I plan to sew all weekend, so should have lots more finished blocks to show you by Sunday night.


1. Fridays
2. Hand appliqué
3. Lori Smith patterns
4. Spell check
5. Good books to read


Monday, June 5, 2006

How time flies!

I can't believe it's been a whole week since I posted last. I know I didn't get many quilty things done last week, so I guess I didn't have much to talk about. As usual, the 4-day work week seemed extra long. I think it's because I need to fit 5 days of work into 4. We are rolling out a new lending system at the end of this week, and are currently putting about 50-60 or more employees through the training. Never a dull moment!

I did get the quilt basted for my friend Lanny on Friday night, and also had time to load the customer quilt I took in on Friday. That quilt is being done with a very complex pantograph; each pass takes two bobbins of thread and a long time. I stitched one pass then called it quits for the evening.

Saturday I traveled about 90 minutes north to our district longarm meeting. I love getting together with other quilters, seeing demo and show and tell and sharing tips, tricks and new gadgets. The demo this month was very interesting, though probably not something I'll do. Here is a picture of the "more-or-less" finished item. The background is "paper" made from muslin, paints and/or dyes and torn tissue paper. Coat the muslin with a solution of 60% Elmers glue and 40% water, using a paint bruch. Add paint and/or dye and torn pieces of tissue paper on top of the "painted paper, then paint it again with the glue/water solution. Draw the desing on tear away stabilizer and pin it to the back side. Load the bobbin with Ricky Timm's "Razzle Dazzle" thread. Place how ever many layers of synthetic organza needed to create the desired effect on the right side of the paper. Secure the edges with pins, then machine quilt the design from the stabilizer side. Go over all parts of the design twice. Then flip the piece right side up, and using a soldering iron cut away all the "background" organza. Because the organza is synthetic, it melts when the soldering iron touches it. Just run the soldering iron around the design right next to the thread. Don't touch the thread as it will melt. Danetta, who did the demo, had a finished piece that she'd done to show us. She fused fabric to the back and then bound the piece. She's going to frame it or use it as a wall hanging. The design puffs up almost like the puff paint we used on sweatshirts years ago. The idea came from a Quilting Arts magazine published last fall - I'm not sure which issue.

Sunday I went south to Keiser Oregon for "A Quilters Faire". The quilts were wonderful! I will upload some pictures later. There were lots and lots of vendors too. Before leaving home I stood in my sewing room and told myself over and over "You don't need any more fabric, books or patterns!" I was determined to be good. And I was! I didn't buy any quilt books and only one quilt pattern! The pattern is really a stitchery pattern, with the stitchery made into a quilt, so that really doesn't count as I have almost no patterns like that. The only fabric I bought were three packs of 5" Moda squares - not a single fat quarter or more. I was so proud of myself. That doesn't mean that I didn't spend money, however. I still had my April bonus from work that I'd not spent yet, and I've been looking for something special to spend it on. Well, I found it! The picture on the left shows the table I've been using for years with my featherweight. It's definitely been a "make do" situation. It's the table that fit my old Elna, with the "folding extention for the free arm" in the "down" position. I've managed OK with it, but that makes for a very small flat sewing surface. The next picture shows you what I found. It's all hand crafted from solid wood, and has a matching stool that doesn't show in the picture. There is a place behind the doors to store the machine when not in use, and a second top that fits over the top you see to turn it into a beautiful oval table. I went back to the booth three times during the 3 1/2 hours we were at the show, sat at the display model over and over, and finally decided to order one. I would have loved the bird's eye maple, but it was 50% more than the red oak, and the read oak is very pretty so decided on that. I put 50% down to secure the order, and left a very happy quilter. The craftsman is 3 months out with his orders so I won't have it until fall, which gives me time to put my longarm income aside for the other half of the payment. I can hardly wait. Here is his website, in case anyone is interested in seeing what else he makes.

Back to the weekly world now - I must get into the shower for work.


1. Rain showers

2. My favorite coffee mugs

3. Quilt shows

4. Car pools

5. Blogger friends