Wednesday, December 27, 2006

My Next Projects

This morning I am busy filling out registration forms for our guild's quilt show in February. I am registering TEN quilts! I have never shown that many before. Several of these are small wall hangings which explains why I was able to get so many done. I will also have an 11th quilt in the challenge section.

Getting these all down on paper makes me realize I need to get busy and finish all of these! One is in need of more piecing work, two need to be quilted, one still needs to be bound, and several need hanging sleeves. I better quit jabbering and get to work!

BTW, my son pondered for a while, which surprised me, but he chose the yellow stripey bag, which did not surprise me.

Happy New Year, all!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas Day

Our tradition is to celebrate on Christmas Eve after the candlelight service at church. We had a nice dinner and fun family time with our two adult children home. I'm loving having them here! My daughter is helping my son knit himself a Harry Potter scarf. Here he is taking a break from the knitting. This morning I decided to make him a bag to carry his knitting in. I made the pinkish purplish one this morning (instead of making Christmas muffins) and then decided it won't be properly "man" looking for him. So I'll let him choose between these two bags. The greenish/yellow stripey one was already made for another purpose, but I can easily replace it if that's the one he wants.

Our Christmas dinner dessert - individual cheesecakes with fresh raspberries! Yum!

This is a guy I work with and his guide dog. They are both trying out a quilt I made. He had asked if I could make a quilt for his wife. He is worried about her health and thought a quilt to cuddle in would be a nice comfort. I had this one almost done, so I sold it to him for a bargain price. I'm glad it is going to his wife - she and I used to work together years ago, before she was married and even before she became blind. Small world, isn't it?!

Today we are headed over to my sister's house for another family gathering. Fun, fun fun! Hope you are all having a wonderful Christmas Day. I read through all the Mavs' blogs this morning. It was so nice to see all your pictures, your trees, your food, your laundry (haha), and to hear about your traditions. You are a talented bunch!! TTFN.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

A Fading Tradition

This little decoration has been a part of our family Christmas for over 20 years. Way back then, I bought this at an after-Christmas sale. I remember it was marked down from $40 to $20, a 50% off sale that I was glad to snap up. I couldn't have afforded it at $40. It was a mobile, hand-made in Denmark. It had three horizontal metal holders, each with these loops and trees hanging off the ends. So there were six spots of these pretty little loops and trees hanging at various heights. I hung the mobile every Christmas, and it followed us from our old house to our new. Each year I carefully packed it in the same box in which I purchased it. A few years ago the red loops began to droop and tear. I had to tape them together. It was starting to age.

This year it was just too tired out to help us celebrate Chirstmas. The old strings were hopelessly tangled, and the more I tried to fix it, the more the pieces began to tear. Sadly, I had to say goodbye to 5/6 of this mobile. Now all we have left is this one little loop with its pretty little trees. Even this small part is still so dainty and festive. Perhaps this will continue to cheer us during the Christmas season until we can travel to Denmark and get another new one right where it was made -- a grandchild mobile of our original.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Back to LIfe .. Cough.. I Think

Ewww, it has been a long week of coughing, blowing nose, taking naps, eating a lot of chicken noodle soup. Hubby and I both got the crud. I'm finally functioning normally again, sort of. Still coughing and blowing, but I'm upright.

I managed to put together a UFO top while I was sick. I worked at it slowly when I had energy, and just got the top done this morning. Here it is. I guess I will quilt it in time to hang in my guild's show in February, then decide what to do with it.

I am also getting borders on my Tonya-Letters Sampler so I can get that done and hang it in the show, too. This year I will have mostly wall hangings in the show as that has been my new-found love, making small, quick quilts that don't turn into UFOs for years and years.

Hope you all are healthy and that you have safe and happy holidays.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Christmas Preparations

Saturday. I spent all day wrapping presents, rearranging and cleaning the living room, and putting up and decorating the tree. We use a small, artificial tree. I like its small size and humility. I've never liked being showy and ostentatious. For some reason our little tree looks extra pretty to me this year.

I'm coming down with a cold. When I wasn't doing the above activities, I took a nap, and I had a nice, warm bowl of soup for lunch. I'm trying to be careful with myself so my cold doesn't develop into bronchitis, which my daughter has.

Last night we went to a play at the Guthrie. I had never heard of it before: Edgardo Mine. It was a powerful play, based on an historical event. Fascinating. Everything the Guthrie does is outstanding! We're lucky to live close by so we can enjoy the fruits of Guthries' labors.

I'm headed to bed and will catch up on the Mavericks' goings on tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Quilt is On its Way

I finished! This quilt will soon be delivered to a friend of a friend... she has cancer, and this was ordered by her friends so she can have a warm, tangible sign of their caring for her. I showed you the top after I put it together at a retreat. I wanted to do a pieced border but ran out of time, so I did plain old borders. This is the largest size quilt I have ever quilted by myself on my little Pfaffy friend. It measures 61" x 85". It's not perfect, but it's warm and cuddly which is what she needs right now. It's all batiks except the back which is a very soft cotton!

The boutique thing I went to last Friday was fun. Most of the vendors were businesses such as Mary Kay, Avon, and Pampered Chef. I wasn't very tempted by their products, so I spent very little money. I got a lot of sewing done, and a friend came along and knitted while we chit chatted. My time was almost uninterrupted. Since I didn't know anyone there, they pretty much left me alone except when they wanted to admire my quilt tops. They were shy about that since I was a stranger, so I was able to keep sewing.

I'm almost done Christmas shopping. Now I just need my next paycheck so I can get the last things that I couldn't squeeze into the previous expense account. I hope to catch up on reading your lovely blogs, my friends, but I haven't had much free time lately. I'll do that ASAP! I hope everyone is doing well, including Tanya.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Neat Idea for a Boutique

I found the neatest idea for a boutique. I happened upon it while searching the web for something else. There is a church craft boutique in a nearby neighborhood this Friday night. In addition to having things for sale, they also have tables that a person can reserve for working on crafts. People will be doing scrapbooking, card making, one person will do her Christmas cards, and I reserved a table for sewing. In addition, local businesses paid for a massage chair and operator. People can reserve a spot for a Free 15-minute chair massage!

I don’t know anyone else who will be there. I usually don’t join events with complete strangers, but this seemed too good to pass up. I told a knitter friend about it, and she is going to come and sit by my table and knit. I have been wishing I could find some extended hours to sew uninterrupted, so this is perfect! I am getting tired of having so many UFO’s. I want to get a bunch of them done. Hence my need for uninterrupted hours of sewing. (I know, this is something we all need.)

I am making a quilt to order (sort of). I’m going to get paid for it! I’m nearly done with it, and will post a picture as soon as it’s complete.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Moral Support

My husband made these wonderful dinner rolls for Thanksgiving, while I offered moral support. We had a great day and hope you all did, too.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

A Last-Minute Quilt

I've been so busy! I didn't even know it had been so many days since I posted here. Time just flies by. It is mostly work that has kept me so busy. Thank goodness I will get a bunch of days off now for Thanksgiving (Th, Fr, Sa, Sun). Yippee!

Last Saturday I met another blogger in person. She and I are part of my other blog ring - St. Paul Daily Photo. She's from St. Paul, too. We met at a nice coffee cafe - I decided about 2 hours before meeting her that I wanted to give her a small quilt. I made this little quilt and had it almost done, but had to sew down the binding while we sat and chatted.

She said she is going to use it as part of her centerpiece for Thanksgiving. After we had our coffee and I finished sewing on the binding, we went downstairs to an open house at a new book store which is owned by Garrison Keillor of Prairie Home Companion fame. He was signing autographs, so my blogger friend photographed me with him. Here we are - guess this might be my 15 minutes of fame, eh? Proximity to someone famous counts, doesn't it? He was nice and seemed genuinely interested in a short chat about what I do for a living.

We're making home-made rolls for our Thanksgiving dinner contribution. It's always so hard for me to not eat a bunch of them before we get to the family gathering! Here are my favorite parts of the Thanksgiving meal: dinner rolls, mashed potatoes, pecan pie and pumpkin pie. I can never decide which pie I want, so I usually have both. And I wonder why I look like a whale??

Happy weekend, everyone, and a Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate this U.S. holiday.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Stuff in a Bag Challenge

Remember a while back I said I was working on a project that I could not show you? We had a challenge at my guild: we each put fabric of our choice into a bag. The bags were redistributed, and when we received a bag, we had to make a small quilt and finish it. We didn't know whose fabric we were working with! Last night at guild we had the big reveal. It was amazing and so fun! Everyone made gorgeous quilts, and such a variety! This first picture is me with the quilt I made. You can't see it here, but there is white lace going around the inside of the binding.

This purple applique quilt is my favorite of the bunch. Sorry the picture is so dark.

This one is for me! In my bag I put all batiks and never imagined it would come back like this. It's really cute and quilted well for the penguin theme, too.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Back from Retreat

This weekend I went on a quilt retreat with my local guild. It was great! We were at a church camp in Wisc. Weather was a little cold, but we had sunshine on Saturday, and the scenery was beautiful. Take a look at the view I had from my work station. Not bad, eh?

Here's a top I put together for a woman who was recently diagnosed with cancer. I plan to add borders and get it delivered soon.

Here's our group at work, followed by some miscellaneous shots of the weekend's activities.

There was another quilt group there in a different building (also a large group of scrapbookers.).

This one is my quilt in process

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

My "Tote Bag"

The other day I impulsively suggested on someone's blog that we all make tote bags and compare photos. "Well," I thought, "since I opened my big mouth, I should probably make a tote bag." So I sat down with purple scraps and started to make scrap blocks that could go together to become a nice, purple tote bag. Something happened, though. I noticed that one of my scrap combinations looked like a letter "C." Then I remembered that I alrealdy had a letter "A" that was a reject from a previous project. That's almost half my name, so I went ahead and finished my name. I still thought it could become part of my tote bag design. But then I made my husband's name... and now I have a whole new idea as to how to use these letters. For all I know, the project will take another 180 degree turn at some point. They say that's how a lot of writers write a novel... it writes itself as they go along. We'll have to wait and see how this quilt designs itself. One thing I'm pretty sure of: it is no longer a tote bag.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Comfort Food/Comfort Quilts

Hooray! I finally got to do some sewing today. I put comfort food in the oven (meat loaf, potatoes, squash.) While those things baked, I got to sew! Earlier I had gone through my stash and cut squares from some fabrics that had just a little left. I made one quilt top from 9-inch squares, and one from 6-inch squares. The 9-incher is here:

I also got a top put together from blocks made by other people. Here's that top:

Both of these quilts will be for Wrap Them in Love.
Just for fun, here's the comfort food I enjoyed for dinner tonight:

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Made in India

I went to an art fair today and bought this gorgeous piece for myself. Here it is with some fall items on top and then with some Christmas candles. I was trying to get some good angles to show how pretty it is, but as is true with all pieces of art, pictures don't do it justice.

Friday, November 03, 2006

My Son Did It!

I have not had time to do much sewing, so I'm showing you a quilt from the past. My son made this when he was 18!! He wouldn't let me help at all except for a bit of cutting and part of the binding. He made it for his girlfriend. The sad part is that they have since broken up. But what a sweet guy my son is! He did a great job, and I was (am) so proud of him!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Something Good for Breakfast

Today I learned something: a cold Apple Dumpling is just as delicious as a warm one, perhaps even better, if that is possible, especially when eaten first thing in the morning! Best breakfast pastry I ever had!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Apple Dumplings

Recently Finn posted a recipe for Apple Dumplings. Now I can't find it on her blog to link to it. Maybe I remember it wrong.. was it someone other than Finn? Yesterday a friend of mine gave me some apples from her own orchard, so today I tried the dumpling recipe. Oh, man! Yummy!! Mine didn't turn out all that professional looking, but they sure were delicious!

Here are some pictures of my apple dumplings. Is your mouth watering? They would have been even more delicious with ice cream. Next time....

One of my Houses

One night I played with Tonya's wonky house tutorial and made two house blocks. One immediately went into a project that I can't show you yet. The other one sat around waiting for a good spot to go, and eventually found its way into this quilt. The hot air balloons were made by someone else in a challenge from me to use that wall paper-ish looking fabric and make it kid-friendly. I decided to add the house (with added tree made from wall paper-y fabric) underneath and a bird and cloud above. After I got it put together I had these thoughts:
1) the tree next to the wonky house looks like a large guitar jammed handle first into the ground
2) the bird is either sitting on a cloud or is producing a very large "splat"

This is going to a kid's quilt donation group; I just hope whoever gets the quilt enjoys the ambiguity of my tree and cloud designs.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Trying Again

Yippee! Blogger finally allowed me to post the photo. Hmmm.. I tried 3 times with the photo posted on the left, and it didn't work. When I changed it to center, it worked! Coinkydink?

This is the pillow I talked about in the previous post (same day). It also is my sit and stitch spot, although it doesn't show much detail other than a close up of the chair. I'll get a better picture of my sit and stitch spot a little later.

I owe, I owe, so off to work I go!

Boutique Results

Blogger isn't letting me upload a picture. bllllttthhh. I wanted to show you the pillow I made for the boutique I was in charge of. Last night the boutique happened. My pillow didn't sell, but I have another place to put it where I'm sure it will. However, my two Halloween bags did sell. Yippee! One never knows what will be popular from year to year. We didn't have a very good selection of stuff this year. I need to talk it up more next year.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Response to my Self Portrait Game

Interesting comments and guesses. Thanks for playing my game. Yes, I'm a quilter. Yes, I enjoy music. I have played instruments in the past, both clarinet & recorder, but currently don't play any instrument. I have also been in several choirs over the years. I love listening to music and last week attended a fantastic Minnesota Orchestra concert.

I write a lot of letters and have two trusty pen pals, one in Nebraska, one in Czech Republic.

Red? That postcard really is orange. I used to say that yellow & orange were my favorite colors. These days I love so many colors, I can't pick a favorite. I chose that orangey background because it is bright, cheery, and warm, three attributes that I like to pretend I have.

Winter is my 2nd favorite after fall. I did not attend Hamline University, but my son currently does, and I just love that school (I'm on a parent council there.)

I do know American Sign Language! I'm a sign language interpreter by profession... have done so for 24 years! It is a wonderful career.

The blue piece is a picture of a hand. Hands are important to me, both for my profession and for my avocation, quilting. Admittedly, this is a frog hand, but what the heck... it's representational.

I have only seen the Gee's Bend exhibit in books and on TV. Would love to see it in person some day.

This one puzzles me: I have an expensive sewing machine? Is that represented on my self-portrait somehow? I have a low end but very nice machine, more money than I ever thought I'd spend on a machine, but definitely not as high as one can go.

This was fun!

All About Me

I made a postcard that is my self-portrait. What can you figure out about me from this picture?

Friday, October 20, 2006

The Sampler Becomes a Top

All my letters and rows are put together! It was kind of putzy, because I added thin strips between most of the letters and between the rows, but it was fun to watch the rows grow into a top. I won't get to quilt it tomorrow, because I have to go to an all-day workshop. Boo hoo! (I'll take my knitting along so it's not a waste of a day.)

For the small letters, I just did raw edge machine applique, at least that's what I call it. Here's a look at the back where it's much easier to see what I did.

Thanks for the reminder, Forestjane. I meant to tell you the size of this top and forgot. It is 27" x 34". And about your other question, when I started this blog I didn't know what I was going to focus on. I should have guessed it would be quilting. I might have named it the Quilted Giraffe. Giraffe Dreams is just something I made up based on an excerpt from _Out of Africa_ by Isaak Dinesen. I fell in love with giraffes when I read that book and have been a giraffe person ever since.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Textile Center Part II

Here's more about the Textile Center of MN. If you missed yesterday's post, scroll down and look at that, too, so you get a look at all the photos. This first one is pretty yarn that is for sale in the store. See the sign that says you can win the $1200 item? That refers to the dress, which is the 2nd photo here.

I didn't enter the contest for this dress. I didn't even pay attention to the contest rules. The dress on me would look like putting Tinkerbell's dress on Babe the Blue Ox.

This is taken from inside the store, through some silk scarves, to the out of doors.

The mirrors in the women's bathroom... they're all different!

They have this truck that says it's textile mobile... I really don't know what they use it for. I've never seen it at any events.

The picture is fuzzy, because I did not want to use flash.. these are some display pieces. Prettier in person than my fuzzy photo can show!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Textile Center of MN

I thought I'd share some scenes from this unique place, Textile Center of Minnesota. All the fiber art groups got together and financed this place. There is a gallery, office & work space for each group, a library, a small store and probably even more that I don't know about.

This is the Minnesota Quilters' office - closed when I was there today.

This pretty weaving is hanging outside the Weavers Guild of MN space.

Made of fabric and beads. Don't you think Tonya's wonky letters would have looked great in this piece?

This figure is on display in the library.

These quilts are mostly for sale.

Hands on the bathroom wall...

A quilt project for Somali women displays some of their feelings about living here and living in their former home.