Friday, August 31, 2007

Lunch Bags

I have made a few lunch bags over the years. They have all been just one layer of fabric, with no closure of velcro, buttons, or anything. Today I decided to quilt them, so they are thicker and hopefully can help keep something cool at least for a brief time. Because they are thicker, they are also a little more challenging to close.

What do you think? Would you rather use a lunch bag with a clip like I show here? Or would you like the tie that is sewn onto the side? You can vote for something fancy like a button, but I'm not going to do a button! I'm trying to keep these as simple as possible. Believe me, if I try anything fancy like a button, I know I'll mess up and the bags will look totally amateurish and ugly.

I am planning to sell these at my church bazaar, and I wonder which ones might sell better than others. To do the clip style, I'd have to buy the clips, which I'm willing to do. It requires a big, fat one like shown, because of the bag's thickness. The tie doesn't require an extra purchase, but they're kind of putzy to make. So I am looking forward to hearing your opinions!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Men's Room

Remember a while back I was asked to make a quilt for the women's bathroom at church? I did make one, and it has been hanging in there for about a year. This week I decided I should make one for the men's room, too. Their bathroom isn't all decorated nicely like the women's; their only decoration so far is this quilt that I just made and hung up today after church! How many guys do you suppose will even notice that it's there??

You may or may not realize that this block in the men's room quilt goes quite well with the quilt I am working on in its tipsy turvy setting. This block actually is from that quilt... when I thought I needed to make more blocks so I'd have a set of 24 (4 x 6), I was doing incorrect math. (There's a surprise.) I forgot that when you start out with a 12-inch block and then add borders to each one, the block will no longer measure 12 inches! Duh!! I was planning a zillion borders to fill out the quilt top so it'll fit our bed, not realizing that the blocks are now 15-inchers! So when I finally remembered how to add and multiply, I ended up with extra blocks, and voila - one was directed to the Men's Room.

I didn't have time to work more on the tipsy turvy quilt, but did cut some borders for it. I spent my Sunday afternoon making these 4 bags for school kits we are putting together at church. I was so bored with them that it took me all afternoon to make these 4 (and the pattern is super simple). I also cut more fabric for school bag kits so others at church can make them, too. We are collecting supplies but ran out of bags. All I had left on hand was the boring fabric - solid, dull colors or ugly prints. They'll do the job, they were just boring me to death as I sewed them up.

This weekend I also made this paper pieced block. What for, you ask? Well... I guess in essence I have just started another UFO.

Someone told me it looks like an LSD trip. Um... I wouldn't know! Does it??

My wonderful, carefree, stupendous, fun, much-appreciated time off has now come to an end. Tomorrow I return to work. The staff return for lots of joyous meetings, and school officially starts the day after Labor Day. Why am I so surprised every year when the summer flies by way too fast??

Counting the years until retirement.... except I don't know when to stop counting. (Sad.) Please cross your fingers that my weekends won't fill up with activities so that I can sew every weekend! Also that my school year won't be so stressful and exhausting like it was last year! Maybe I could even squeeze some sewing time into the evenings if I don't use up all my energy at work.

'til next time...

Be nice like me.

:-) My dad used to say that.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Happily Stuck at Home

Our son has one of our cars, and the other one is in the shop. So I'm stuck at home with no transportation other than my own two legs. I'm enjoying the peace and quiet and freedom from running errands! Today I'm doing whatever I want!

Yesterday I went to church and got a lot done. I am working on a big quilt which will be for our bed. I showed you the beginnings earlier, and today I'm showing you the progress I'm making. I have the first three rows sewn together. Then it was time to pack up and come home, so I took the photo like this to help me remember the order of the blocks and the rows. I still have to add borders and such, because it needs to be queen-sized eventually. I'm feeling good about it so far and like what I have in my mind as the final product. Eventually we'll see if the real thing looks anything like what my brain has cooked up.

I am in charge of a small bazaar we do at my church. It's a little "add-on" to a big turkey dinner we do, so it's not a huge affair. But I do want to have some nice things for sale, and so far I just have a few piddly things ready. I need to get busy on more items! This is what I have so far:

a long and narrow summer-theme table runner. It measures 13" x 52"! Can you see the ants?

A wild and crazy table runner, good for all kinds of celebration days.

close up of the funkiness

two tote bags that are not lined or quilted, so they are pretty light weight and not as useable... why did I do it that way??

The other side of the yellow one says Shakespeare. I purposely combined two very different eras and genres.

This little baby and blanket I actually bought at another bazaar somewhere.. can't even remember where. I'll re-sell it at my church bazaar. How's that for lazy - or shall I say clever?!

a fleece baby blankie, one of those ubiquitous tied things..

AND I just remembered I have another doll blanket all made plus a bunch of placemats that just need to be finished off (some kind of binding or stitching is all they need). I don't have pictures of those, but I'm glad I remembered having more items to sell. I need to get busy and make a few holiday items.

Last night I was bitten by the Baking Bug, and in my case that almost always means a dessert. I pulled out one of my many church cookbooks and chose a new recipe. I thought it had to be good since it includes chocolate chips. Well, it turned out kind of odd... almost TOO sweet. I must be getting old. I never used to think anything could be too sweet.

Why is food so hard to photograph? It's difficult to make it look enticing in a photo. My hat's off to professional food photographers. This photo was taken when the bars were fresh and chocolate chips still gooey. Mmmmmm, usually I love that stage, such as in cc cookies, but as I said, these bars are a little weird. I'm not sure I even like them. What a waste of perfectly delicious chocolate chips! Next time I should make a salad or something healthy... I'm too fat, and my husband has diabetes, so what do we do with this pan of icky bars?? Come on over and have one, if you dare! haha!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Family Time

A couple days ago we spent time with family. Guess how many of us? (hint: trick question.. some might have put shoes back on.) It was a farewell to BIL who is moving to another state. We enjoyed good food, a lot of laughs, and a good time all around. I gave BIL the quilt I had promised him for Christmas (only 8 months late - not so bad, do you think?)!

Here's BIL with his quilt:

At the end of the day most of us went to see Tiny Boy who is still in the NICU at the hospital. He has gained some weight and even graduated to the next size of diaper! (Remember my picture of his tiny diaper a couple weeks ago?) He seems to be doing very well, with little ups and downs along the way which he weathers just fine. They hope to have him home by the end of September. Thanks for thoughts and prayers that I know some readers sent his way!

Isn't he a beauty?

Mommy's pats her little boy.

Here's the preemie blankie I made for him. If he keeps growing, it'll soon be too small for him! Way to go, Tiny Boy! That's the goal!

And look at this! He got this super cute quilt from someone... all the preemies get a donated quilt - I thought it might be from Project Linus, but there was no label on the quilt, so who knows. Maybe just some random, thoughtful person! I love this cute pattern. I've never seen it before. Have you?

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Oh, Why Not?!

I just re-visited Tracey's blog and enjoyed her pictures from the Vermont Quilt Festival. I have a ton of pictures from the Minnesota Quilt show and had not posted them. After seeing Tracey's, I decided to share the beauty from this neck of the woods. This show was back in June, and the only photos I showed you then were the Best of Show. This time I'll show you a random assortment of quilts that I liked enough to photograph. Enjoy!

Scroll down to a posting of a couple days ago, and you will see that this quilt also hung in the Dakota County Fair (early August). It was made by Kathy S. from whom I once took a Dear Jane class.

Some might call this quilt an "artsy fartsy" type of quilt, but I really like it for the colors and the shape and the little fishies. I just plain like it! (And is "artsy fartsy" bad?? I say no!)

What can I say? "Wow!"

Great colors! This is a pattern I want to try some day. If I do, I wonder how mine will stack up next to this one?? hahaha!!

For your viewing pleasure I give you this far shot, and then a close-up to see how awesome the quilting is. I love the delicate applique around the border.

This one uses well-placed color to make it look like lights are shining on it. Well done, isn't it?! It's hard to believe it's NOT lights, even when seeing it in person.

The last one I will share with you is just a portion of a quilt. I loved this quilt in small sections; and it is beautifully done. I just did not like it as much as an overall quilt. I thought that it was too busy with all these pinwheels all over the large quilt. Apologies to the person who made it, but it's just my opinion which means nothing, you realize. But as I said, zoom in on a small section, and you see its beauty.

Friday, August 17, 2007

More About SF, and Help Me With Barbie

I briefly mentioned my recent trip to San Francisco, CA. I was lucky to get a tip from an online quilter I know. She led me to this shop, Britex Fabrics. It was not too far from our hotel; we were able to walk there!

First thing I noticed was these men hanging around outside the shop. I took that to be a good sign! Must be a few wives/girlfriends inside, eh?? It's a big shop! I think it has four floors. I only went on floors one and two (street level and floor one to some of you). I drooled over some gorgeous silks but what would I do with gorgeous silks? Just ruin them, if I ever dared even cut into them and try sewing them. So I stuck with what I know - cotton - and bought two small pieces just for SF souvenirs.

Here's what I bought:

I have no clear plan for what to do with them, don't plan to use them together, and I know about as much as you do what they will eventually turn into. For now they are percolating.

On another topic, what do you think you would do with 4 million FQs of Barbie fabric? I got this box free. I don't know if I would have accepted it if I'd really known what I was getting. I plan to make one doll blanket. That will use up about 1/200th of the stash. If anyone wants any of this stuff, let me know and we can work something out. You can pay for shipping, and you can have as much of it as you want.

My summer vacation is fast coming to a close, and I'm feeling panicked about not having enough time to sew. For the next couple of days I have to clean house and get ready for a big batch of company - a farewell party for my BIL who is moving away. I have given zero thought to menu and other plans. Next week is my last real week of freedom, but I already have so much to do and places to go.. I think I won't get much sewing done then, either. Time is sometimes my enemy!

Speaking of time, Thursday was my husband's birthday. It's a big mid-way one, making us both feel somewhat shocked at the passage of time. When he turns a big age, it's a signal that it'll soon be my turn. He's about six weeks older than I am. So with that thought in mind, I'll go to bed for my Beauty Rest. (I keep hoping for a miracle along those lines.)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Secret Santa Swap

I joined the Secret Santa swap that Chookyblue is organizing! Deadline to join is August 31. Please check it out and join, too! This is an international exchange. Won't it be fun???

Thursday, August 09, 2007

SF CA and the County Fair

I've been away for a week. I went to a conference in San Francisco. I had a blast! The workshops were good, and my friend and I also took time to do some touristy stuff. Time in San Fran goes really fast, because there is sooooo much to do and see! I'm so lucky I had this opportunity to go.. a few years ago I drove through San Francisco on the way to somewhere else, and I really liked the city and wanted to get another chance to stay and visit. Now I've had that chance!

I came back last night and stayed up way too late trying to organize my SF photos. They still are a work in progress, but I can share a couple of shots.

We took a short cruise through the bay and under the Golden Gate Bridge. We also cruised pretty close to Alcatraz, but didn't go in. It was very interesting to see it up close! The next photo is Lombard Street, the crookedest street in the world. It's also a very beautiful one!

Today I visited our local county fair so I could check on how my quilts did in the competition. I entered four quilts and won four ribbons: two firsts, a second, and a third! Isn't that nice? I never enter quilts in other judged arenas, but I find it fun to put them in the county fair. Many of the quilts are from quilters I know who are members of my local guild. I guess that's what gave me the confidence to join in the fun.

You can see that space is at a premium, so we don't get to look at entire quilts. They have to be exhibited folded up, but that's OK.. they make such a pretty picture, don't they?

This next photo is my table runner - it won first place in its division!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Babies and Bridges

Little Guy with his mommy's hands. Ignore the incorrect date on the photo.

I haven't yet seen our new great-nephew. My sister-in-law shared these photos with us. Little Guy is doing well considering how early he arrived and how small he is. He was on a ventilator very briefly. He takes in about 1 cc of formula at a time (and hopefully will grow into being able to nurse). His mommy and daddy will get to hold him soon. So far they've visited him in the NICU but could only touch him, not even stroke him because of his skin sensitivity.

Our niece had to have emergency c-section and needs her rest, so I haven't wanted to go crashing into the hospital, demanding her attention. I'm not sure when she will go home, and when the baby will get to go home... though I'm sure it won't be on the same day. Little Guy needs more time for growing and getting used to this outside world.

It's now almost 24 hours since the big bridge collapse in Minneapolis. I don't even know what to say. It's such a random, arbitrary loss.. could have been ANYONE on that bridge. People are waiting for word of missing loved ones. I can't even imagine that pain. Plus, because I know many people who live around that area, I am waiting to hear whether or not I know anyone who perished in this tragedy.
Here's a link to some amazying pictures taken by regular folks who were in the area.

My heart is warmed by how great people can be when others are in need. People have big hearts during disaster.
Big hearts are helping Little Guy grow, too. He is lucky to be where he is.
Life is precious! Give your loved ones a special hug today.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Disaster in Minneapolis

Just 90 minutes ago a freeway bridge in Minneapolis collapsed over the Mississippi River. There are multiple injuries, and at least 50 vehicles involved, either thrown into the river, crushed, or otherwise traumatized. I took these pictures off copies of video that I got off the web, so they are very blurry. I'm shocked and feel sick looking at the pictures. Lots of people need prayers for courage and healing.

Now they are saying that a thunderstorm with lightning and hail is headed into that area.

My immediate family is fine, and I am praying that my friends are as well.

He's Here!

Little D. was born on July 31, weighing in at 2 lbs 12 oz. I don't know many details at all... I have no idea what condition he is in! All my messages have been via e-mail and answering machine.

I looked for preemie patterns on-line and found some! This little shirt is supposed to fit a baby that is 2-3 lbs. Can you imagine that it really will?? It had the pattern pieces, but no directions. I had to fly by the seat of my pants, and I certainly learned some things. If I can find some soft enough fabric, I'll try another one and make it less amateurish, I hope. I'm not even showing you my beginning attempts where I had one sleeve correct and one sticking straight up into the air.

I hope to see baby D. later today and maybe will have pictures to share. I don't know if I'm allowed near him or whatever area he is in. Thanks for your kind thoughts for D. and his mommy, recovering from emergency c-section. I'll keep you posted.