Tuesday, July 30, 2013

I Did It!

I got the top finished! It's not as huge as I was thinking. It is 83" x 83". Even a tad small for a queen, technically. It felt huge after making so many baby quilts.

Now I can get it to the machine quilter. It's a surprise gift for a friend who doesn't read my blog, so I think I'm safe in showing it to you.

I'm still a little disappointed with that green star that is not blue enough, but I guess it'll do.

Can't wait to see how Diane will quilt it. She's a "5-star" quilter so I know it'll be gorgeous, whatever she does.

P.S. This pattern is from a book, Big Blocks Big Style by Gudrun Erla.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Working at a Snail's Pace

This weekend I finally buckled down and dedicated my time to my Quilt That Has a Deadline. I'm making slow but sure progress. It's hard when a person has to think and do some quick math in one's head. Not to mention working with quilt parts that I left undone a month ago, and now attempting to remember where my thoughts were when I packed it up. Quite the challenge.

Before I buckled down, I did let myself finish this scrappy top which was taking up space on my design wall. After that I buckled down. (This top is headed to Quilts Beyond Borders.)

Here is what I had done on my Deadline quilt as of Saturday night. It's so huge that it doesn't begin to fit on my design wall. The left-hand side is folded over to attempt to make room for the right-hand side.

I'm still plugging away, although even more slowly. It is now Sunday afternoon. I got up, went to church, and now Hubby and I are sitting outside on a most glorious and sunny day. It's beautiful in Minnesota today!! So I have made no more progress on this quilt top. I definitely will go inside soon and will work further on this quilt. This weekend is the time, beautiful weather or not.

Check in later this week, and hopefully I'll be able to show you the finished top. I'll need to find two or three people to help hold it up for a photo.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Friday Books: Two Reviews

A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash

Glad my book club picked this; I would never have read it otherwise. The title and even the author suggest that it may be a western. It's not... although, in genre sense it fits into the "cowboy" mold. There's a good guy (sheriff), bad guys (zealous pastor and a town drunk), naively-trusting woman, a climactic event, and the fallout.

I liked the format which tells the tale through different characters' viewpoints. The story unfolds in an attention-grabbing way. My favorite character is Jess, an 8 year-old boy.

I was a little disappointed with the end, that is the actual last couple paragraphs at the end. Otherwise, it's a well-done book and a good read.

On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves

A plane crash results in two people being stranded on an island. It's kind of a "Castaways" story but with two people stranded rather than one.

Recommended by a friend, this was a good, quick read. The story kept my interest and was a page-turner. I liked it overall and found it entertaining and even thought-provoking. Perfect to read on vacation or when you want a story that'll grab you.

The second half grew a little weak, but overall it was entertaining enough that I'll give it 4 out of 5 stars.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Last Weekend I ...

... went to an all-day meeting on Saturday, at the campus which includes this awesome chapel. Was really tired, because I had not slept well Friday night. The morning meeting was interesting and informative. The afternoon was boring, and I may have taken a short snooze during that one. Hope I didn't snore!

... enjoyed the beautiful flowers on the college campus!

... photographed this house (above) which I loved. It looks like the wonky houses we bloggers love to make in quilts. It's on the entrance road into the college campus I visited.

... Saturday evening drove on to my destination. On the way, the sky was AWESOME! The sun was shining through the clouds and making long sunbeams from clouds to earth. Just beautiful. I kept trying to photograph it, difficult while driving, and the photos didn't do it justice. I pulled off the road into the little town where Victoria Findlay Wolfe grew up (name-dropping. [See one of her blogs here.] Took some sky pics (below) but couldn't get them to depict the beauty I was enjoying. I call this one "Window to Heaven."

... got to friend's house. Had fun chatting and spending time in her home. It has been a long time since we just hung out! Had a good sleep next to her long-arm quilting machine. No, I did not do any sewing while there, but it was tempting!

... took pics of her estate, animals, etc.

... went on to visit my mom in time for lunch on Sunday. We have quiet times together. We talk, read, watch some TV, eat, I knit, and that's about it. I help take her garbage and recycling to their appropriate places.

... drove back, on Monday morning, to the town where I attended the Saturday meetings. I was able to do my Monday work hours in our Sister Center. Nice that I didn't have to rush all the way back home.

... happily arrived back home Monday evening. Caught up with husband. Watched some TV. Had a good night's sleep in my own bed! It was a good weekend, except I didn't get one minute to sew!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Friday Books: I Love Anne Lamott

I read a fiction work by Anne Lamott: Imperfect Birds. I love this book! I love Anne Lamott! My very short review can be seen in the Goodreads shelf in my sidebar. (I basically gush about Ms. Lamott. She rocks.)

Looking ahead to a busy weekend... an all-day meeting, some girl-time, some driving, hopefully some reading, and a brief visit with my mom. Maybe a bit of knitting, too.

Stay cool!

Monday, July 15, 2013

I'm Running Behind Myself

I have a quilt project that has a deadline. That's almost a guaranteed downer for me... something I have to finish, and something I've already started, so the initial excitement has faded. Now I just need to keep slogging ahead and get it done. What I find much easier to do is new projects.

So, my deadline project is still sitting there waiting, and I'm running behind... and messing myself up in the process. Soon I'll have to scramble.

Meanwhile, though, I've been having fun. I made this for Bundles of Love. It's all done, quilted and bound. All it lacks is a label.

this small baby quilt measures 32" x 40"

Then I got a donation bag of extras to do with what I wish... so I played immediately, and made this top for Quilts Beyond Borders.

it measures 39" x 60"

It's a hot week.. good week to stay indoors, sew, read, and maybe convince myself to finish that project that has a deadline. Go, Carol, go!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

A Little Help From my Friends

I couldn't do as much quilting as I do without help from many friends. People give me fabrics, scraps, blocks, ideas, moral support, and they help with the steps such as machine quilting and binding for me! I certainly do "get by with a little help from my friends" (song lyrics, if you didn't know).

First thing to show you is the cute blocks I got from my friend, B. She is a knitter, not a quilter. But she is a quilt fan (hooray!), and she pitched in when I asked for verb blocks for my 60th birthday quilt. She freaked herself out by thinking she had to provide quilt blocks, but managed beautifully, don't you think? These words are knitted, then attached to fabric. I love them and love the diversity my quilt will have (when made, which will be who knows when).

My stated goal for completion of my word quilt was my 61st birthday, which is coming up in September, but I have made no progress so far, and, as you can see, I'm still receiving blocks in the mail. So fun! I no longer have the expectation to get this quilt completed in time for my birthday. But it's still in celebration of my new decade, the 60s. So far the 60s have treated me quite nicely.

The other help I'm getting currently is machine quilting by my friend, A. She is taking SIX quilt tops from me to be finished for Sunshine. We donate quilts to Wrap a Smile and to Quilts Beyond Borders. Taking six off my hands is quite a relief to me. When I get too many backed up, waiting for quilting, I begin to feel overwhelmed. These are the six she will quilt and bind for me:

The first five are for Wrap a Smile. This last one is for Quilts Beyond Borders.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Friday Books: Men Aging

This week I read Pathos Rising by W. Roers. He's a Minnesota author. It's about a group of aging men, in their 60s, who struggle with their ideas of love, friendship, marriage, aging, relationships, and mortality.

I was not crazy about this book. It was OK but not stunning. I give it 3 of 5 stars.

Have you read anything fantastic lately? I'm looking for one of those "can't put it down" books, fabulous writing, that I can get lost in.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

I Don't Like Summer

Have I ever told you that I don't like summer? It's my least favorite season. Maybe I'm crazy, but so be it. I'm fair skinned, burn easily, and don't like feeling sweaty. I don't like heat and humidity. When it's really hot I get grumpy and lazy!

I'm trying to count my blessings and not be Ms. McGrumpy. I'm lucky and thankful that we have air conditioning, and I'm lucky on many other fronts, too. So I try not to complain about summer too much. After all, winter is not that far off. I prefer winter over summer.... but winter has its unpleasant moments, too.

Maybe some day Hubby and I can be Snow Birds. Where would I like to live in the different seasons, if I could have my choice? Let's see: summers in the Pacific Northwest (Port Townsend, Sequim, Olympia or up in the San Juan Islands at Friday Harbor). Winters... not sure yet. I'd like a place that is cool, not frigid, yet sunny. I don't mind some snow. I just don't want to be inundated. Maybe Denver? Sedona, Arizona? I don't know enough about their climates. I think some road trips are in order... for research purposes, you know.

Then there is San Francisco that just might suit my climate preferences year 'round. If I move to the west coast, can they guarantee no big earthquakes?

It's fun to day dream, anyway. What's your favorite season? And if you could live wherever you want, where would that be?

Monday, July 08, 2013

Sewing For Kids

I have done a little sewing, but not on the big project that I'm trying to finish. I need to pay some attention to that one very soon.

Instead I have been doing random sewing on tops that will become quilts for kids.

This is a partial top, made from some 2.5-inch blocks I bought on e-bay. I will add a border or two to make it big enough for the places where I donate quilts.

The border is not yet attached, but it will be soon. Also for a kid somewhere in the world, donated through Quilts Beyond Borders.

I can't remember if I showed you this one before. It was put together a while ago. It has been sent to someone who will quilt it for me, and then it will go to Wrap Them in Love.

Friday, July 05, 2013

Friday Books: Rien, Nada, Zippo

Are you looking for my weekly book review? So am I!! I wish I had another book to tell you about. I was reading one, and I gave up. It was not calling to me, and I disliked it. The world is too full of excellent books to waste my time reading a bad one.

Last week I was quilting with friends up at my family's lake cabin, so I didn't do much reading. I hope to have a book review for you soon (well, next Friday).

Thanks for checking in.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

A Slab For Alberta

Do you want to help make quilts for people who have suffered devastating floods in Alberta, Canada? All you have to do is pull out your scraps and make a 15.5" slab -- one color-way per slab. Nice, easy way to use up some scraps and to help our neighbors in Canada. Here's one I made:

I have seen pink and blue slabs at other blogs, so I made a yellow one, thinking it would not be as common a color. Here is the information about the collection.

Here are some photos of the flood mess. (Floods are really destructive. I have been to Iowa to help in post-flood clean-up. It's a mess, and it stinks. Oy. Just imagine how appreciated a beautiful quilt will be after experiencing that mess!)

I think I will go make a second slab. They're fun: big, pretty, and very uncomplicated. Just sew rectangles together. The woman collecting the blocks is Cheryl, co-author of Sunday Morning Quilts along with Minnesotan Amanda Jean. The slab block appears in their book.

P.S. Later -- Here is my green slab:

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

We All Dyed!

Friends and I went to the family cabin for an extended stay and quilt-making retreat. We had a blast, and I came home so tired! These days it takes me a few days to recover from a few days of fun. Old age. You gotta love it.

These are projects I worked on...

My cousin taught us to ice dye. It was quite fun! I'm going to do more of it. First I must purchase the dye supplies.

After the retreat I went to visit my mom. She was kind of ... dare I say this publicly? ... crabby. At the end I said, "love you" and she said, "yes. I know you do." Harrumph. I am going to keep saying it to her. Stoicism be damned.

I am glad tomorrow is the 4th of July. A day off!!! I have worked two days this week and have to work one more. It's too much work after a hard week of relaxing. I hope to get more done on the above projects.

sunset at my sister's house