Thursday, January 31, 2008

Stash report - better late than never

I'm either very late with last week's stash report or very early with the report due next Sunday. I supposed I could wait until next Sunday, but I'm guessing by then I might forget again to make my report.

I really didn't do very well with my stash busting efforts this past week and a half. I did use a lot of fabric - I cut up all the flannels in my stash into squares for making backs for crumb chaos camping quilts. I had a lot of flannel - I have no idea how much other than to report that the stack of larger pieces was about 12" tall and the stack of fat quarters wasabout 10" tall. I used my larger square rulers and cut 20 1/2", 18 1/2" and 16 1/2" squares. I cut the smaller pieces into rectangles - 2 1/2" x 20 1/2", 4 1/2" x 20 1/2", etc. - which I sewed onto the smaller square to bring them all up to the 20 1/2" square measurement. I didn't realize just how much flannel I had until I finished piecing the back for Rick and Rebecca's camping quilt. That back hardly made a dent in the stash. I should have enough more to back several of the other crumb chaos quilts. I'm glad to use up that flannel - I bought it many years ago and never used it for the original purpose.

It's a good thing I busted that flannel for quilt backs as I also brought a considerable amount of fabric into the house. I'm such a sucker for the new reproduction collections - especially those designed by Judie Rothermel. Her
Merrimack collection of fat quarters arrived at my house at the beginning of the week - love these fabrics! Then half yards of her new 19th Century Backgrounds arrived yesterday. That makes 7 yards of background prints and 7 3/4 yards of the Merrimack collection for a total of almost 15 yards.

I'm going to guess that I busted more than 15 yards of flannel - surely it was at least that much! - so that makes for a new loss. Not much of a loss however!

Congratulations to the winner!!

There were a total of 289 comments left on my blog since I announced the giveaway for my blog-anniversary. That's a lot of comments! I loved reading each and every one of them.

I just determined the winner of the give away by using an online random number generator. The person who left comment number 99 was the winner. Starting from all the comments on the January 27th post I counted backwards until I got to comment number 99.

The winner is Nancy in Marietta, Georgia. Congratulations Nancy! Nancy doesn't have her own blog but very much enjoys reading blogs of other quilters. I've emailed Nancy to get her snail mail address so I can send her present off tomorrow.

As for the rest of you who commented - thank you so much! I love to read the comments that are left on my posts. It still amazes me that so many of you take time to read my ramblings! I wish I could send each and every one of you a gift. You have all enriched my life in so many ways!

Thursday doings

Today was a bit of a "clean up the loose ends" sort of day. It started with a trip to Starbucks, followed by the grocery store, and then on to Joe's (just now learned it's not G.I. Joe's anymore), an outdoor and sporting goods store here in the northwest.

Did you know that tackle boxes make great containers for keeping sewing supplies? And are much less expensive than similar items designed for quilters? I think I may be one of the last quilters around to figure this out - thanks Eileen! What I needed was a way to store all the colors of DMC machine embroidery thread I've been collecting for appliqué - both hand and machine. Not only did I find the perfect boxes - they were also on sale! Yesterday I bought three at $1 off each one, and then got another for free because I bought three. They worked so well that I had to return for four more today. I can now find any color I want very easily, and all the boxes together take up just over 50% of the shelf space of the baskets I was using. I filled five of them with DMC, and another two with all my hand quilting thread. That left an extra for general sewing thread - perfect! If you are looking for inexpensive storage for sewing supplies I suggest you check the local sportman's store.

Once I finished organizing thread I decided to work on the final crumb chaos blocks. I had 10 left over from the six quilt tops I made so decided to turn them into a doll quilt for a special little friend. This friend has a doll named Gigi that she adores, and Gigi has no quilt. I threw together a couple more blocks from scraps, added borders from the strip bins, and the result will be a great little doll quilt for Gigi.

And that is the end of the Crumb Chaos blocks! At least this time around.

Stay tuned - I'm running a little behind on the drawing - I'll be determining the winner within the next hour or so. So come back soon for the announcement.


1. A strong organizational gene
2. Retirement!
3. Cotton fabric scraps
4. Starbucks new sugar free skinny mocha - a grande is only 130 calories!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Happy Anniversary to Me!

Two years ago today I started blogging. Apparently it agreed with me because I've been pretty chatty - this is also my 500th post. No surprise to anyone of course as I've already mentioned this fact a couple times LOL!

If you have left me one or more comments since I first mentioned this then you are already entered in my anniversary give away. If you've not commented yet, or would like to enter more than once, then comment on this posting. I will give everyone a couple more days, then will do the drawing on Tuesday evening. I want to mail the package on Wednesday so make sure I have your email address as I'll need the winner to send me their snail mail address right away. I've done some shopping for more things to add to the box - I think it will be a nice present for whoever should win.

I've been busy with crumb chaos blocks since my last post. I'm eager to get all these blocks together into tops so I can reclaim the basket they are sitting in. Rick's and Rebecca's camping quilt is on the longarm all ready for me to start quilting it. I'm choosing a pantograph of blowing leaves which seems appropriate for an out-of-doors quilt. Jeremy's and Chelsea's camping quilts are all pieced together and waiting patiently on hangers for me to sew on the borders. I'm currently piecing a larger quilt for our bed. Once it is pieced I will have used 598 blocks - which will still leave another 418 blocks! I will be able to piece at least three more tops from the remainder - by then I think I'm going to be thoroughly sick of these blocks and more than ready to move on to something else!

Yesterday I completed the orientations required for volunteers at Fort Vancouver, a National Historic Monument and Park here in town. I will be working in the period clothing area, which is run by Eileen Trestain, our instructor of the nineteenth century quilt classes I've been taking. I will be helping create and care for all the period clothing and linens at the Fort. Tomorrow I will report for my first work session - they are held on Mondays and Tuesdays from 10:00-3:00. I'm really looking forward to participating.

Seems like the weeks since I retired have just flown by in a blur. This past week I quilted two customer quilts, visited my Chelsea and Sophie, ran errands, took care of necessary visits to the doctor and the dentist, completed paperwork for moving my 401K into a new IRA as well as paperwork for receiving my pension starting in March, and tried to fit a bit of my own quilting in between everything else. So far next week looks like it will be almost as busy. As so many of you said, I already can't imagine how I ever had time to work!

1. Return of warmer weather
2. Good report for all my lab work - I'm healthy
3. Coffee this morning with Rick and Rebecca
4. Gourmet hot chocolate
5. Wonderful period fabrics for 19th century reproduction quilts

Monday, January 21, 2008

Joseph's Quilt is all ready for him to come home

I finished quilting Joseph's quilt this morning and put the binding and the label on this afternoon. Now it just needs to be washed to remove the quilters chalk and it will be all ready for the little guy. Guatemala's part of the process is now complete - they have received both his birth certificate and passport. The remaining steps are all U.S. Embassy steps which - hopefully - will be completed in the next 4-5 weeks. I just can't wait to get my grandma hands on this precious little boy!

Next must come a customer quilt or two as I have one with a deadline and one that the owner is eager to get back. I've been on such a good roll that I hate to take time for customer quilts. I keep telling myself that the money will be a good thing now that I no longer have a paycheck coming in!

Both my 500th post and my second blog-anniversary are rapidly drawing closer. I wrote my first post on January 27th two years ago. This is my 499th post. What I'd like to do is stretch out the time between this post and the next so I can write my 500th post on my blog-iversary. That's almost an entire week - I wonder if I can go that long without having something else to say LOL!

I'm starting to collect things for my big giveaway. So far I have one of the pincushions I made as well as a lovely book - Small Vintage Quilts by Jo Morton. I'm going to be collecting other goodies to add to these, so if you want your name in the drawing be sure to leave me comments!I've had quite a few people comment since I first mentioned the drawing - problem is that I have no way to identify or contact some of you. So . . . in order to be eligible for the give away I need to be able to contact you via email. If you have your blog set for "no reply" or if you don't have a blog at all, then click on the link to my profile and send me a private email with your full name. Good luck everyone!

1. Light strawberry cream cheese
2. A beautiful sunny day
3. Fresh clean sheets

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Dealing with Scraps

No, you are not experiencing deja vu. Yes, these pictures look very much like some I posted last year. Almost exactly the same. Yet these are new pictures.
Last year Cher and I met several times here at my house to tackle our scraps and bring them under control. I had two huge boxes of scraps at that time. After several cutting sessions I was down to only one box - a huge milestone for me! Since this resulted in various strip and square bins overflowing I called a halt to the scrap trimming until I used up enough of them to make room for more.
Yesterday Cher and I once again spent time together. Cher was sorting donated fabric for wrap them in love and I tackled my second scrap bin. I'd removed about 25% of the scraps on Friday night and pressed them all so they'd be ready for trimming. Of course that way way to many to finish in one afternoon session, so I continued to cut last night and today. I finished the trimming a short time ago and got all the strips, squares and triangles put away into their appropriate drawers and bins. What a great feeling! I figure I'm now 25% of the way toward achieving goal number two. Note my string box is now back to overflowing thanks to this trimming. A good thing because the color selection was getting limited and it needed a goodly dose of strips of other colors. There were also a significant number of crumbs added to the crumb drawer - argh! I don't think I'll ever get through all of those.
Time now to get back to working on UFO's. I hope to have at least two more finished projects to show you in the next few days.


1. Weight Watchers English Toffee ice cream bars
2. A coffee date this morning with both Rebecca and Rick
3. A new longarm DVD that I am loving and learning from
4. The last tiny orange from the holiday season
5. Playing ball with Shadow

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Taking a break from quilting

In the first 15 days of 2008 I have quilted, bound and labeled four flimsies. My plan is to do at least that many more before the end of the month. Today, however, I decided I needed a break from quilting. I started by straightening out the sewing room - cataloging the new quilting books, putting them away, and putting away the mid-century album quilt for now. It is so good to see the top of my cutting table again!

Last fall I partially pieced a camping quilt for Rick and Rebecca from the Crumb Chaos blocks. Today I finished sewing enough blocks together. It's now laid out and waiting for their choice of border fabrics. They are coming over tonight to play cards so that decision will be made soon. Tomorrow I'll put on the borders and then this will go next in line for Gandalf after Joseph's quilt.

This quilt top used 156 Crumb Chaos blocks, and is double bed size. That leaves me only 860 more blocks! I wonder how many tops I can get out those!

I started quilting Joseph's quilt this morning and have made a little progress. Should be able to finish that in the next couple days.



1. A tasty frozen Healthy Choice meal for lunch
2. Progressing with my hand quilting
3. An extra long 120" tape measure
4. A beautiful frozen world this morning
5. A juicy orange

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Today's finish

Last night I finished stitching the binding and the label on "Leftovers". I didn't like the green border when I first put it on last summer but it's really grown on me now. These two quilts will be so much snugglier than our ancient sleeping bags when we go camping this summer!

This morning I drove over to the Gateway Max (rapid transit) station in Portland to pick up Pam. I love meeting bloggers in person! Pam is down from Vancouver, British Columbia with her husband who is here for work. We had a very enjoyable day. Since Pam lives in Canada and doesn't always have the best access to quilt shops I figured she'd enjoy visiting a few around here.

Pam made me a lovely little bag that she filled with Canadian chocolate, yummy body lotion and a glasses case that she'd made. What a sweet thing for her to do! Needless to say the chocolate is half gone already. My close-up glasses are snuggled in their new pouch - so much more chic than an old black case from the optical shop!

First we went to Speckled Hen in Wilsonville, which was a featured quilt shop in the last Quilt Sampler magazine. I knew I could get in real trouble at that shop if I let myself. I came home with six fat quarters which were bought with a specific purpose in mind. I've been looking for lighter double pink repro fabrics that are period correct for my mid-century album quilt - I sure hope that's what I found. I'll know for sure when I take them to the next class to be OK'd by our instructor. I also got three stitchery patterns that I couldn't resist.

After a Starbucks stop we headed up I-5 to A Common Thread in Lake Oswego where Pam found a beautiful large print for a bag. Next we headed over into my neck of the woods to go to a funky shop in Battle Ground called Country Manor. Susan's shop is in an outbuilding behind her house. It's the best place I know of for finding a fabric that's been out for awhile. Once again it lived up to it's reputation - Pam found an old Moda print from the Wuthering Heights line that she's been looking for. I kept my hands clasped tightly together at the last two shops and managed to buy nothing - hooray!

We had a lovely lunch at Applebee's and then headed back to Portland where I dropped Pam off at a MAX station so she could head back to downtown Portland to meet her husband. It was so much fun to spend this time together! And thank goodness for retirement - I couldn't have done this otherwise!
1. Sunshine on a cold winter day
2. A new friend
3. My Santa mug filled with hot tea and milk (who cares that Christmas is past!)
4. A sweet, fresh pear
5. Comfy, familiar blue jeans

Monday, January 14, 2008

Are you getting tired of hearing about UFO's?

I know I'm getting just a wee bit tired working on them LOL! But I accepted a challenge from May Britt and I don't want to back away from it. I really don't have a competitive bone in my body but decided I had to participate because of the number of my UFO's. You've seen both these pictures before but that's OK - it's been awhile - and I need to follow the instructions of our fearless leader.

The first is Crumb Chaos #2, recently renamed "Leftovers". This is the second quilt for our camper. Just as "Spare Parts" it was made from orphan blocks, triangle squares, flying geese, checkerboards, etc. It was funny how these two quilts used up every orphan I had without me needing to make anything else. I'd saved the orphans for years and years, never realizing there were two such fun quilts lurking in their midst. I loaded this one on Gandalf and quilted it yesterday. Today I made binding and machine stitched it on. It's all ready for it's label and it's hand stitching.The second is Joseph's quilt. Rick and Rebecca requested a quilt with animals on it. I finished the top sometime last summer. As Joseph's arrival was delayed again and again so was the need to finish this quilt. Now that we are expecting him by the end of February it's time to get it finished. I'm loading it onto Gandalf today and hope to have it quilted by the end of the week.

No more organizing for me today. I took a break and treated myself to a manicure and pedicure. Nothing else makes me feel so special, pampered and relaxed - unless it's a massage. I think I'll treat myself to that next week LOL!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

You made my day!

Tracy and Helen have given me the "You Make My Day Award". Thank you so much ladies - how very sweet of you! After almost two years I'm still amazed that people find my chattering valuable!
As far as choosing 10 others - I don't think I can possibly do that! I currently have over 300 blogs listed on my Bloglines - no wonder I can't keep up. It is impossible to narrow my favorites down to 10. I'm inspired by each and every one of you. Blogging has enriched my life in ways I never thought possible. So I'm just going to nominate every single one of you who's blogs I read - you all make my day every time I visit.

Stash report

No new fabric purchases - hooray!
One flimsy quilted, bound and labeled - hooray!
Stash busted - 3 yards 6"

Unfortunately not much stash busted. Just the backing for the one flimsy. It was already pieced together and waiting, but I figure I can call it part of my stash so I can say I accomplished something!

Not much of anything quilty accomplished yesterday - just one hour of hand quilting. I hope I can keep my overactive organization gene at bay long enough today to get another flimsy turned into a quilt.


1. Frozen lasagna, lazy lettuce, and crisp bakery bread - an easy, tasty meal!
2. A warm, fuzzy robe
3. Sleeping in a little
4. A walk down memory lane looking at old slides
5. A beautiful bouquet of pink roses from friends

Friday, January 11, 2008

Spare Parts is Complete

I'm happy to report another UFO finish for 2008. Tonight I finished stitching down the back side of the binding while watching a couple Buck Rogers episodes with my husband. He received the DVD series for Christmas from the kids. We are enjoying watching them - though some things now seem rather silly.

This morning I focused on refilling the freezer - there was no meat to be had! I spent an hour at Costco stocking up. After spending an hour or more repackaging everything into smaller quantities for the freezer I proceeded to reorganize my pantry and about half the kitchen cabinets. It's been so long since I did any serious cooking that I'd forgotten what I had and where everything was kept. Some very old foods got tossed. I had a large shelf full of empty tall plastic containers that once held things like macaroni, noodles and raisins but had long been empty. I washed all of those thoroughly and put them to better use keeping various foodstuffs fresh. I've made a partial list for one more shopping trip. Tomorrow I'll plan next week's menus and make one more trip to the grocery.

Tomorrow I'll also oil the longarm and give it a general cleaning and load "Leftovers" for quilting. Hopefully I can get that quilted by the end of the weekend!

Tornado time

Just a quick post to let everyone know all is well in my neck of the woods. We did have a tornado here yesterday - a very, very rare occurence! The last one was 36 years ago in April, 1972. I guess we made the national news, and a couple of you have emailed me to make sure everything is OK.

It was a strange day weather wise - that's for sure. Dark clouds in the morning, which cleared to such beatiful blue skies and sunshine at about 10:30 that I took the dog out for a walk. Shortly after we returned dark clouds recovered the sky. Around noon thunder and lightening started - so strange for this time of year. I was watching out the kitchen window, seeing the sky grow darker and darker. Torrential rain started falling, turning to hail within a minute. A very strong wind started whipping the trees every which way. I turned to Shadow and told him that if I didn't know better - and if we lived in the midwest - I'd think this was tornado weather.

About 5 minutes later the phone rang. It was my daughter asking me if I knew a tornado warning had been issued for our area. I said no, and asked her whether any funnel clouds had been seen. That's when I learned that a tornado had already touched down just west of here, had come directly down the main street a couple blocks away, and had risen back into the air just moments after the path crossed about a thousand feet south of the house.

Needless to say my plans for the afternoon went right out the window. I sat in front of the TV all afternoon watching reports of all the storm cells over the area and film of the damage done. Thank God no one was hurt. We were very lucky in that regard. The boathouse and all the boats of the rowing club for all the local middle schools and high schools were completely demolished - debris strewn over a very large area. An hour earlier or a couple hours later and those building would have been full of kids and adults. Lots and lots of roof and building damage and dozens and dozens of uprooted trees, but no loss of life. I listened to many eye witness accounts of people dodging flying shopping carts in the grocery parking lot and cars being spun around in the middle of the street - we were all so lucky it wasn't worse.

At least I got all but one side of the binding on Spare Parts stitched on. Should finish that quilt today.

1. Calm after the storm
2. Friends checking on us
3. A tall glass of orange juice.
4. A sparkling, clean smelling vehicle
5. A delightful guild program featuring Eleanor Peace Bailey

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Chain Reaction

I received an extremely strong organizing gene from one of my ancestors. I have no idea from who - my mother was fairly well organized, but nothing like my obsession. When I finish one organizing project it seems to lead to another, then another, then another. And even if there are things I'd rather be doing - like sewing - I can't seem to relax until I get to the end of the chain reaction.
Up until this morning all of my finished tops waiting for completion were stuffed onto shelves in the upstairs bathroom next to the longarm room. A few of them have backings made and battings cut for them - most of them don't. Though the batting is also stored upstairs, all the fabric that could become backings is downstairs - meaning every time I make a new back I have to drag that quilt top back down to the sewing room.

No more. This morning I brought all the flimsies that have no backing or batting cut down into the sewing room closet. I refolded them so I can tell at a glance which top is which. Because this is the almost lightless black hole of the house I don't need to worry about them fading. So what was an empty closet space yesterday morning is now full again.So am I finished yet? I don't think so. Now those two empty shelves upstairs are talking to me - telling me they are a perfect place for organizing all my batting pieces plus some of the other miscellaneous stuff that is now crowded under the longarm.

When will it ever stop? At this point no one knows!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Better storage for UFO's

This is post number 488 - only 12 posts after this one to reach 500. If I continue to be this chatty in my retirement I'll reach that by the end of this week LOL! Must be something about spending all day home alone . . . . do you think so?
This is the sewing room closet where all my casual knock around home clothes used to hang - jeans, shorts, tank tops, flannel shirts, etc. I've always thought of this as the "dark hole" because it's under the stairs and thus very little to no light penetrates the depths. Long ago I usurped the hanging space at regular height - this is where my drawer stacks of strips, squares, etc. live. Pillow forms and long ago projects - partially done needle point and cross stitch, partially done rag baskets, etc. - live in the back depths. Now I have the perfect place to hang sets of blocks and more while they wait for completion. Right now there are five sets hanging there, as well as three tops waiting for borders to be finished and three stitcheries waiting for something to happen to them. These were in the drawers in my center island - hanging them here is much better storage. I saved a bunch of the skirt and slacks hangers just for this use - they worked just perfectly!

More cinnamon rolls

But first! Just in case some of you skip the post because you aren't interested in making rolls, I want to announce that I'm rapidly drawing near my 500th post! I think I have about 12 or 13 posts to go. So between now and that last post I'll toss your name in a hat for each comment you leave, and after my 500th post I'll draw a winner. Between now and then I'll have to think of a prize!
And now back to the rolls . . . .

We are seeing some friends for dinner tonight - friends that I promised cinnamon rolls the last time we saw them before Christmas. The nice thing about making cinnamon rolls - or any other kinds of yeast bread for that matter - is that even though it's a long process one can get lots of other things done while the dough is rising.

I made our Christmas rolls using my Kitchen Aid mixer - I'd never done that before. It worked great - until it came to finishing the kneading of the dough. I've always kneaded by hand, and didn't realize how very much I depended on the feel of the dough in order to determine how much flour to add. I always kneaded in the last 1/2 to 3/4 cup flour because sometimes it takes more flour than others depending on the weather and the temperature in the kitchen. When I used the mixer to knead the dough I couldn't tell just by looking. Maybe it was my imagination but I didn't think those rolls were as good. They seemed a little bit dry from too much flour.

So today I went back to my old fashioned method. I mixed up the butter, sugar and eggs in the Kitchen Aid - no reason not to do that. But when it came to kneading I turned the dough out onto my breadboard and used my hands. I could immediately tell that the dough was too wet so I added some extra flour. Sweet rolls don't take nearly the kneading that bread does - the gluten doesn't have to be developed as it does for bread. I kneaded for about 5 minutes adding more flour as needed. Because the dough picks up flour from the breadboard it's important to reserve at least the last 1/2 cup called for in the recipe for flouring the breadboard.
I've cranked up the heat in the bathroom to 85 as we keep our house at about 65, and that's where the dough is rising. I put a tablespoon or so of oil in the bowl and rolled the dough around so it was covered with oil. Cover the bowl with a damp dish towel and let the magical yeast do it's work.

Now I have an hour to an hour and a half to do whatever else I want to do. Let's see - the bed is made, I've had breakfast, I'm dressed - hmmmmmm - I think I'll head to the sewing room!


1. A healthy, growing grandson who should be here soon!
2. A healthy, growing granddaughter who has started to walk
3. A spoiled old dog who's decided he loves having me home
4. The feel of bread dough in my fingers as I'm kneading
5. A cup of hot tea with milk

Wonderful news!

I just got off the phone with our daughter, who called from work to tell us that they should have Joseph's Guatemalan birth certificate in the next 3-4 days! This means they are getting close to the end of this incredibly long adoption process. Next comes the second DNA test, which takes about three weeks. If all goes well they should be on a plane to Guatemala to pick him up in 4-6 weeks!
I guess I'd better get that baby quilt finished!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Retirement - Day 1

I set a good many goals for my retirement. So today - my first official day of being retired since the weekend really didn't count - I jumped in with both feet. And now I'm exhausted! I can't remember when I last worked this hard.

After I got up I had a couple cups of coffee while I read my email and caught up on some blogs. Then I headed upstairs to the exercise cycle for some riding. I lasted 10 minutes - what a wimp! I need to work into a half hour at least as quickly as I can. Then I came down to the kitchen for breakfast - cereal and fat free half and half. I logged into my online Weight Watchers account and dutifully logged what I ate - haven't done that in months. (And the scale certainly verifies that fact!)

I stripped the bed and tackled laundry next - right now the third load is in the dryer.

Next I went to the garage to the freezer to take something out for dinner. Cleaned out the freezer while I was there. Tossed several plastic bags of questionable contents. I think two or three of them were turkey carcasses, plus a ham bone or two. All suffering badly from freezer burn. I think they've probably been in there for years and years. Then I tossed the rest of the ice cream bars that had melted and refrozen when the door got left open a tad. I sorted all the frozen vegetables into like kinds and lined them up in the basket drawers. Then I arranged the rest. Not much there - that's for sure! Time to plan some menus and get to the store.

Next I attacked the closet in the computer room. That's where I keep the clothes I'm currently wearing. This house is almost 40 years old and has VERY small closets. My clothes are spread throughout all the closets except for the one in our bedroom - that's Fred's. I pulled out all of my work clothes, folded them and started packing them in garbage bags. After the computer room closet came the longarm closet for all my off season work clothes. Many of these things are hardly worn, since I replaced my entire work wardrobe three years ago and then gained so much weight that I wore them all only one season. By the time I was finished I'd filled ten kitchen size garbage bags! As you can see I've packed them all into the back of the CRV, ready to take to the YWCA for women who need clothes and can't afford to buy them. I saved a few things - blouses I might wear once I slim down and some wool suits that I'll shrink and felt for quilting. Now all my clothes fit in one closet and my dresser in the bedroom. Isn't it nice to know I'll spend most of the rest of my life in jeans, t-shirts, sweatshirts and shorts!

But what in the world will I do with this pile of hangers!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Orphan Train Quilts

I'm happy to report that I finished quilting the first Orphan Train quilt - my husband's camping quilt. I've decided to rename it "Spare Parts" because very little of it was made from actual orphan blocks. There were many more parts of blocks than full blocks - flying geese, half and quarter square triangles, strata leftovers, etc. I really like how it looks. Tomorrow I hope to make the binding and machine stitch it onto the quilt. I'll save the hand stitching for Tangled Threads meeting on Tuesday.
I need to wipe down, clean and oil Gandalf and give him a new needle before I can load the second Orphan Train quilt - my camping quilt. I've renamed that one "Leftovers" for the same reasons I renamed the other one "Spare Parts". I'd love to get "Leftovers" quilted tomorrow if possible. I'll see if my back, legs and shoulder can take that much quilting for the second day in a row.

Speaking of Orphan Trains, "They Named Me Marjorie" arrived at my house yesterday from Holly. I'm eager to read it. There was nothing in the package to indicate who to send it to after I am finished. If someone knows who should get it next please leave me a comment - thanks!

Stash and WISP Report

Our weekly stash report is due to Judy L. on Sundays. I've been remiss up until now because I've not reported at all. Wouldn't you know it - for my first report I must confess to some purchases. I figure they were allowed, however, as they were all for borders. I still have lots and lots of strings to stitch into blocks, as well as 1016 Crumb Chaos blocks to sew into quilt tops. By the time I finished all of last year's charity and orphan quilts my border stash was more or less depleted. So I chose 2 1/2 yards each of six different border fabrics. These patterned solids such as Moda Marbles, Maywood's Shadow Play, and Michael Miller's Krystal make perfect borders for these quilts. Whenever possible I cut my borders on lengthwise grain - they just behave much better that way. I can get the borders for two quilts out of each of these pieces, so I feel they were a worthwhile purchase - especially since they were on sale at 30% off.

As far as stash busting goes I didn't do much last week. I used 1/2 yard to make the bindings on the two Christmas table runners. I'm OK with that however, as my current focus is both May Britt's WISP challenge and the Stashbuster UFO challenge. Until I start making backs for tops to be quilted I'll be using stash for nothing but bindings. And that is OK.

Speaking of May Britt's WISP challenge - I've loaded my third WISP for 2008 onto Gandalf and started the quilting. This is my first orphan train top from last summer, which will be a camping quilt for one of the beds in our tent trailer. I'm quilting it with a pantograph of leaves - I figured that was appropriate for camping. I'm also using Hobbs heirloom wool, which should be perfect no matter what our camping weather. I hope to finish the quilting on this one either tonight or tomorrow morning. It will be so nice to toss the sleeping bags we are currently using. They were expensive down bags when we bought them 36 years ago. Now they are uneven, lumpy old bags with down that has migrated into wads in some areas and left other areas devoid of any warm filling. They should have been tossed years ago, but we needed to replace them with something first.
1. No rain this morning to mar Fred's golf game
2. A new 120" tape measure
3. Leftover pizza for dinner
4. A warm bagel with light strawberry cream cheese
5. Shadow slept in this morning!

Friday, January 4, 2008

This feels so strange!

I've been retired for just about an hour now.

I've waited for this for many months, and looked forward to it, and now it's here. I think it's going to take a bit of time for it to sink in. I felt more retired these past 6 days off work than I do now LOL!

I've had many different careers and many different jobs in my adult life, but never found a place I felt like I belonged until I started working at the credit union. I've made many friends in the thirteen years I've been there, and met many people who enriched my life. Because I spent 12 years in Staff Development and Training I'm one of the few people who was privileged enough to know and work with every single one of our staff - which now numbers almost 200.

Today was definitely a bittersweet day. So many people came to my retirement luncheon and told me how much they would miss me. Lots and lots of hugs from front line staff, branch and department managers, and vice presidents, as well as a handshake and nice words from the CEO.

My reasons for speeding up this retirement were both personal and professional. I was certainly feeling burned out. I wanted to spend the rest of my life with my family and friends doing what I love. However, it's very nice to know that I'm going to be missed. So far they are having no luck at all finding a replacement.

I know I'll have no problem switching to "retirement mode" by tomorrow - but just for today it feels very strange.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Two down . . .

I started the quilting on these two table runners on New Years Day, and finished it yesterday morning. Yesterday afternoon and this morning I got both of them bound and labeled. About time, don't you think? The blocks were pieced sometime in the early to mid 90's, and were set into three table runners in 2003. I'll give my daughter her choice and then will keep the last one for me. I'm so glad these are done - I was awfully tired of seeing them waiting on Gandalf! It sure feels good to cross the first two flimsies off my list!

1. Toast with chunky peanut butter
2. A comfortable, familiar sweatshirt
3. The satisfaction gained from finishing an old project