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Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy New Year from Anguilla

Happy New Year to everyone from the island. Our friends, Kris and Bill have been kibbutzing with the blog as they've had their coffees after a nice dinner. I must say it's the first New Year dinner here that we've had an actual dinner on the table before midnight!

Sea Bass with a nice rice paper finish, Italian pasta for starters and some sort of unidentifiable (therefore uneatable)soup. A nice tart passion fruit pie for Kevin and I was a good (dieting) girl and watched.

Tomorrow is another sleep in day, with a walk on the beach in the afternoon.

What a way to start the new year!

Friday, December 30, 2005

More on the beach

Yesterday, we spent a long day, bathing in the sunblast on the beach under an umbrella. We watched kids playing in the surf, took a few walks along the beach, and napped a bit. With all the time there, I got a bit more sun than I intended, so today, I am just sitting by the pool, reading my book.

Speaking of reading books, so far since we've arrived, I've read:
Ann Rule, Worth More Than Dead
Paolo Coehlo, The Alchemist
Anita Shreve, All He Ever Wanted

and now I am reading Alice Munro's short story collection: Runaway.

Today, Kevin went on the ferry across to St. Maarten for his annual shopping trip. He always comes back from the day with a treasure for me. Last year, it was a beautiful Lalique purple heart on a silk cord, saying it was my reward for taking care of him so well during the last year. I wonder what this year's treasure will be?

Last night, we had dinner at our very special place, Cove Castles. The chef is from Lyons, France, and the staff always welcome us "home". We had lobster, infused with truffles. I skipped dessert, but Kevin had his traditional mango creme brulee.

Tomorrow, I think, we are are going to try to make it to a small art gallery for a showing of Haitian art. I've heard there is a quilter there, too. It will be intersting to see what's there.

If only I had a sewing machine.......

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

News and dinner menus from the Island

Lazy sleep in day while K went to breakfast. Then a slow walk on the beach, read about half a book, and snoozed under the beach umbrella. Back to the villa for another short nap and cleanup. Dinner at E's Oven. Entertainment The Happy Hits on their homemade banjos, base drum and steel drums.

Starters - Trigger fish on a bed of roasted fennel in a phyllo cup
Main - Red Hind on a bed of sweet and sour coleslaw
Dessert - Neopoleon of Pumpkin Fritter
Starters - Fish soup
Main - Grouper on a bed of rice and peas with plaintains
Dessert - Ginger creme brulee

Lazy sleep in day while K went to breakfast. Then we went to two grocery stores (actually little markets) looking for our staples for the next two weeks. Went in search of shorts that K forgot to pack, as well as some T-shirts. I found a new two piece swim suit (for an old lady!) so the day was well spent. A short nap, then clean up and out to dinner at the Top of the Palms. Entertainment was Dumpa and the Boys on the steel drums.

Top of the Palms
Starters - mozarella and tomato salad
Main - Sashimi
Dessert - coffee
Starters - Pumpkin soup
Main - Local Crayfish
Dessert - Banana creme brulee

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Christmas stars!

This is not actually a Christmas stars quilt, but I count it as one of our many blessings. My two best friends made this star quilt for my husband during his liver transplant in the summer of 2005. It is presently hanging on the design wall in my stewdio, which is now officially called the Christmas room. It's where the tree and all the trimmings are, and it's the room where we will all gather Saturday throughout the day to celebrate the special day together.

My mom's downstairs apartment is all ready. Clean sheets and towels, freshly vacuumed floors; refrigerator loaded with her favorite snacks. I'll pick her up Friday afternoon from her retirement community, and she'll stay with us until Christmas afternoon.

My daughter's family will be arriving Saturday morning after "The Boy's" nap, and having a light lunch before departing for the other side of town, and the other side of the family. Hubby's dad and significant other will be stopping by for a light early dinner Saturday afternoon - they don't like to drive after dark, so that means my mom, my hubby and I will be having a nice quiet contemplative Christmas Eve.

Christmas Day will find us on the road around noontime going across town to my niece's home for an early afternoon dinner. We'll leave mom there, and then Hubby and I will go straight to the airport!

I am so looking forward to our annual trip to Anguilla this year. To see the beach where we will be, click on "Beaches", and if you want to see the villa, click on "Accommodations". For the last three years, I've worried and fretted about my hubby's health - but it looks like this is the year we will enjoy it together! They have the most spectacular fire works on New Year's Eve, along with fantastic fresh fish for any and all meals you want it. We've been staying in the same villa for the last 20 years, so this is a celebration in itself!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Official Weigh In

I can't say that I look less like Mrs. Jack Spratt, but I can say that I did lose three pounds! And that's even with going to Las Vegas and having that 8 course, French wine pairings dinner with foie gras (and yummy French bread)!

I went to the club this morning (early, early, early!) and after a little warmup, my wonderful trainer, Sarah, stretched me out, and the showed me some more machines. Yesterday's machines were for my arms; today's machines were for my legs. Yesterday, I had my time mixed up, so I actually got to work out a full hour before I worked with Sarah on my arms. It's tough for this old, fat lady, but I AM doing it!

I also signed up for 31 more training sessions with Sarah, which should take me just about through to the 22 weeks projected for my initial weight loss goals. Because of the holidays, my trip to the Caribbean and hers to Colorado, I won't see her again until the first week of January. Then she's getting married Jan 14, and I'll be on my own until the end of the month. I am hoping to see at least a size come off between now and then.

Monday, December 19, 2005


So here is how the baby quilt is coming out. Each of the sashings has a wide piece of pink rick-rack basted to it. This is still being worked on....don't worry if there are some places that seem to be missing sashing or rick-rack.

I took everyone's advice, and decided to let it all hang out. Now, if any of you are trying to decide if you want to do this to a baby quilt, it's just fine, BUT remember that my sashings are 6.5" long. And with all those blocks, it took a total of FIFTEEN yards of rick-rack! Gosh! What would I do without my JoAnn's 50% off coupons? LOL

Now, I am going to pack it away until next year. I MUST get the binding on my mother's quilt before Christmas, and this baby quilt wouldn't leave me alone. After the binding, I think I should probably fold down my machine, and get the last decorative quilt up in the sewing room. This is the room where we will be celebrating Christmas with my family on Saturday, so it needs to be a little more tidy, I think!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Home from Vegas!

We are home from a marvelous getaway trip to Las Vegas. We saw The Blue Man group for the umpteenth time, and also Ka, Cirque du Soleil's new show (or new to us anyway). Our dinner was at Le Cirque, a French style restaurant, and we had the 8 course dinner with wine tasting. That sort of blew my diet out of the water, but well worth it! I did leave SOME food on my plate for each course!

This picture was taken at dinner, and it's too bad you can't see the dancing water out the window behind us. I have another picture of us that shows it, but I didn't like the way I looked!!!

Now we are home, and I have to get cracking on the binding on my mother's quilt for Christmas. That's the last of it, I think. It's been snowing while we've been gone, and the house is just tooooo cold!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

25th Wedding Anniversary at the Bellagio

We are off tomorrow morning to celebrate our 25th Wedding Anniversary at the Bellagio in Las Vegas! After the last couple of years that we've had, I wasn't sure if I would ever be able to see this special day, but here it is!

We'll be staying at the Bellagio with a special dinner Wednesday night, Ka (Cirque du Soleil) performance on Thursday, and The Blue Man group on Friday. I'm looking forward to some really quiet talks and fun time with dear hubby. His platinum and gold diamond wedding band was actually ready when promised, along with the engraving. I also have the special fortune cookie with a special fortune inside (25 years ago I followed my heart, and it found yours. Love always)

We return late Sunday night, so tonight will be my last entry until at least then!


Monday, December 12, 2005

Tea for Three?

I thought I would share the stitching on these unique tea towels that I found at a quilt shop in Audubon, Iowa last summer. And yes, Tonya, the flowers Are rick-rack! Such a nice little idea, and I think it would be quick to do. But, since I always say *I* could do that, and then never do, I decided to buy the ones that were for sale!

These three towels will be going to my "hausfrau" niece for Christmas, who loves anything needlework!

On the quilting/sewing front, I am making a little progress on the baby quilt with the rick-rack. I've decided to go with my initial instinct (with your permission) to surround each little block with the large rick-rack. Someone asked if this was added or if it was fabric that showed rick-rack. Well, to be exact - it is TWENTY yards of giant pink rick-rack. I was the only person in Jo-Ann's who was not buying fleece! LOL!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Mr. and Mrs. Jack Spratt

I've been joking for the last couple of years, that as my dear hubby has lost all his weight (because of serious illnesses), we have become Mr. and Mrs. Jack Spratt. The only real difference is that my hubby must eat about 7000 calories a day just to maintain his 138 pounds! Not fair at all!

I've been getting mentally prepared to do something about all my unhealthy weight, and I just made my move! I am not getting any younger, and now that I am not a caregiver for my hubby or my mom 100% of the time, I must take the opportunity to do something for me.

We don't really watch much TV, but I watched this last season's episodes of the Biggest Loser while I sewed. Talk about inspiration! So I asked for, and received a membership with a personal trainer at our local 24 hour Fitness. I've been twice now, and I'm getting ready to go another 3 times next week before we leave town. I have a special meal plan, customized just for me. I have my personal trainer customizing my workouts and working with me. I've signed up for the aqua classes, three times a week.

I think in about 22 weeks, you will see about 30% less of me!

I know that the holidays are coming up, and that we will be out of town about 3 weeks total between our Anniversary trip to Las Vegas, and then 2 weeks in the Caribbean. But you know what? There's always something special in any given month. I just have to start NOW!!!!

Friday, December 09, 2005

White Winterland - INSIDE!

Yesterday was all about the snow outside, and today is all about the snow inside!

Here is a picture of our snow village. There are stick-on snowflakes on the window behind it that glow in the dark, so it's pretty cool when the lights are off.

This is probably my favorite part of the village. I use mirrors and little glass pebbles and jewels from Michael's to make waterfalls joining one lake to the next. At the fishing village towards the back is a couple sitting on a park bench watching the ducks. Guess who that might be?

This is the left side of the village, where most of the residential houses are, along with the toy shop on top of the hill.

And this is the right side of the village where all the recreational activities occur.

Not all the pieces are the same scale, but I love them all the same. Over the last 10 years in particular, my husband and my grandkids will pick out a piece and present it to me proudly for "next year". I don't think there's much more room for anything....except last night at a neighborhood Christmas dinner, he spotted that *their* snow village had an antique little car in it, so I can imagine there will be one in ours next year too!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Winter wonderland

Snow! Snow! Snow! About 12" of the beautiful sparkley kind fell in the last 24 hours! Of course, it's a mess to clean up and get out of our driveway, since we sit back about 2 acres from the street.

The poor little birds are so cold and hungry. When we were getting ready for the snowfall, the two most important things we forgot to do? Bring the snowblower out of the shed to the front garage, and to get more birdfeed out to the feeders.

It's about 2 degrees Fahrenheit now, with a windchill of -4 degrees. Brrrrrrrr!

So what am I doing? I'm getting our Christmas winter snow village set up! How appropriate!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Gifty Exchange

I promised I would share some of the gifts from my quilting friends, so here they are!

This first one made us laugh, since two of us can vegetable/fruit during the growing season, and the third one does not. So this was her gift to the two of us canners. (She is the non-canner.) They are two canning jars; one is filled with green fat eighths for the green beans, and the second one is filled with red fat eighths for the berries. Cute eh? And such a quick little gift if you need one at the last minute for a quilter, too!

The beautfiul clock is a quilted paper pieced block. The space between the pieced designs ends up being one inch apart, and it makes a perfect time piece. It is heavily machine quilted, and the numbers are "inked" on with a pigma pen using stencils. Doesn't it make you think: "Time to Quilt!"

The same gal who doesn't do any canning, DOES do beautiful wool work, and I've been asking for one of these pincushions for two years now! It is absolutely gorgeous, and delicate and useful, all at the same time. It has found a home on the side table in my hearth room - the colors are the same. I've used a neutral green and a sequoia red in that room, so it's perfect! Now I don't have to worry about leaving pins in the arms of my sofa as I sit and sew at night!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

OK - I was good, and got more done!

Here is my quilt display wall in our hearth room. I change out the quilts here at least by the season, and when we are home, I try to change them out monthly. The top of the Displayaway usually has an appropriate seasonal swag across it, and of course this is the one I like the best!

The quilt that is shown here is my Lucky Christmas Stars. I fussy cut the centers of the stars from some of an old Michael Miller fabric, and then just used scraps from my bin for the star points and sides. I do have to admit that I did buy some of the fabric in Rochester, MN. This quilt was made during my hubby's recovery from his liver transplant in June/July of 2004. I sure got a lot of sewing done while we were there, waiting for his final release to come back home. We had been there since May, and returned home the middle of July. Two of my best friends who also happen to quilt, came there, too, and we had a weekend sew-in just prior to the 4th of July. They made Lucky Stars, too, but each of them had a different theme. We thought the Lucky Stars pattern was very appropriate considering the circumstances!

I showed you two close-ups of the blocks so you can see the Michael Miller fabric, but the first picture of the kids and angels is a bit dark. I also wanted to post a picture of one of the star centers. I ran out of the MM fabric, so I found a FQ in a sale bin that had some Christmas things, and used that in about 5 of the blocks. The background fabric has all sorts of joyful words on it, too. I really like this quilt because the colors aren't what you first think of for Christmas. And it just makes my entire hearth room so happy!

Monday, December 05, 2005

Baby, Oh Baby!

So now the quilt blocks that are on the design wall are calling to me! I'm trying so hard to finish some more Christmas decorating, and they just won't leave me alone! What's with that, anyway?

The top picture is how I think I am going to finish it out. The wide pink rick rack will only go around the outside. It seems to pull the pinks together, but not overwhelm the blocks.

The second one is how I really like it, but about 6 people have seen it now, and just look at me like I'm nuts. Of course, they all know my theory of "more is more and that's good".

So what do you think?

More chicks have hatched!

As you can see, I haven't really been getting much done, other than taking care of all these chickens. And I see by the pictures, that one has escaped. But you know, they all sort of look alike - enough to be cousins, anyway! LOL!

Anyway, I've decorated the top of the Displayaway for my Christmas quilt to be hung as soon as hubby returns from errands. I've vacuumed the floor and picked up most of the doo dads that would entice a one year old who is coming to stay for dinner with his grandparents this evening. I've gotten half of the garland on the staircase, but I can't seem to make myself do anymore right now. So I thought I would gather all my chicks and post them for you to see. And no, I haven't forgotten those of you who want the pattern. I am still working on how to describe one section of the directions, and then it will be off to you1

One of them was given away on Sunday to one of my stitch buddies. It was sitting on top of 300 cut 5" neutral squares for a nickel quilt - and all of this was in a big green bulbous jar that sort of looks like a terrarium from the 60's. The only rule our stitch group has for Christmas exchange is that it must be a container of sorts. In the 10 years that we have been exchanging gifts, there has never been a duplicate! We've received everything from baskets, and boxes, and pitchers, and piggy banks, and wire cages and storage totes on wheels. It's always so much fun to see how creative we can be.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

The tree is done!

The tree is done, the presents are wrapped. Well, almost all of them, anyway!

This is a new tree for us. We purchased it 2 years ago after our beautiful 12' (department store) tree got strangled in our basement flood (you don't even want to know) May 2004. I cried and cried over losing it - it was the most gorgeous tree I've ever seen! But now, I realize that it was probably a good thing that the tree is buried in the landfill, and I've moved on to a more manageable one. The old one took us 7-8 days to assemble, along with over 8000 multiple color lights. The new one is pre-lit, white lights, and it's only 11' tall, and much narrower than the old one.

But I do have to share that when we opened the box, and my hubby saw the all white lights, it just about got put away again! He is of the old school idea that all lights for Christmas must be colors. When he saw how quickly the tree went up, he quickly changed his mind, though! However, after assembling it, and arranging the cords just so, we plugged it in, and there were two big bare spots on the tree. After fiddling around with it, I decided to just lay a couple of strands of white lights on the bare spots and call it good.

I've reminisced long enough over the ornaments now, and I am moving on to the hearth room which is all done in snowmen. I usually leave those decorations out until the first of March, so it's not so much to put away. Tomorrow will be the garland on the staircase, and changing the upstairs quilts (both bed and wall) with winter/Christmas styles.

Maybe tomorrow, I'll be able to share my presents from my two best quilting friends. We went to brunch this morning to share our Christmas time, and it was just lovely! Stay tuned!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Cubic Ribbons

I made this quilt with a group of gals from another old defunct internet list when we had a midwestern get together at my house. I didn't understand the directions on this quilt; green is not one of my favorite colors to work in; the batting is really terrible for the piece; and it was the first thing I ever machine quilted (poorly).

It looks really great in the picture, and it looks really great from across the room. But I still don't like it. Thus, it sits under my porcelain reindeer display on the dining room table. When the reindeer aren't nesting in it, my cats like it, too.

Everytime I see it, though, I remember how much I learned about the value of color when I made it!

My very best!

These are my two most special ornaments in the whole wide world!

The reindeer has lost his antlers, but it was made for me by my wonderful son in first grade. He is now 34 years old!

The picture is of my daughter when she was about 12 or so, and now she is 35. She made it for us in Girl Scouts, and she hates that I still hang it on the tree. Something about the way her hair looked that day! LOL! Each year, she tries to steal it away, but I always catch her. I would cry if it ever got broken or heaven forbid...stolen!

I've reminisced long enough now, and have to finish up the tree. Pictures of that tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

It's Beginning to Look a Little bit like Christmas

Slowly but surely, the boxes that are being brought up from the basement are starting to reveal all those goodies I always forget about until I see them again! Here are a few of the "littles" that I decorate with around the house.

This is one of the first quilts I made - or at least one of the first wallhangings, anyway. I think it's about 50" square. I handquilted hearts until I lost the template, then freehanded hearts some more. Then I got tired of that because I chose a very difficult (called CHEAP) batting that my fingers couldn't handle, and then I tied it in the cornerstones and called it good. I use it on my table between the sofas in the hearth room, and my hubby says the little black heart is his for his little bit of humbuggedness during the season!

I did this wallhanging at an overnight retreat at a local quilt shop. It's about 45" square. Yes, I was one of those folks who stayed up all night, mostly giggling and drinking hot cocoa. I decided I wanted things a bit more 3-D, so I added the coiled metal wreath, and stuffed some imitation candies in the stocking after I got home. The bow on the outside border is about 5 spools of Offray ribbon just coiled where it wanted to lay, and tacked down with little jingle bells.

The yo-yos that make up the tree have buttons of significance - my girl scout uniform button, a button from a practice husband's coat, and some buttons from my Mom's button box. I love the sparkly snowflakes on the background. This wallhanging greets people in my entry way hall.

This "little" is probably one of my favorites, though I always have a difficult time finding a spot to put her, even though she's only about 12" X 18". I guess you could say she was one of my first "ahas" using Tonee White's Appliquilt technique. The lace circles are from one of my old dress collars, the doily is one that my Granny crocheted long ago, and I used and entire hank of embroidery thread for her hair. The bow has a bell in it, and it is simply a pretty ribbon that came on some package the day I was fooling around with this. Not much, but something a little fun, and it certainly spells out my mood in this season!

Monday, November 28, 2005

Crazy Chickens

Everyone is asking what I use to fill the chicken pincushions with? Well, you go to your local big pet store chain like PetSmart and go to the bird section. You will be able to buy a BIG bag of crushed walnut shells for about $5.00. This made 6 pincushions. They are heavy enough to make a nice weight, but not so heavy as to make it difficult to move. The shells also keep the pins sharp - after all, that's what birds use to sharpen their beaks!

I think, rather than posting the instructions, I would rather send you a copy of the instructions via email. That way I don't infringe on Miss Rosie's copyright by posting the instructions to the world. She *did* say I could share it with a few of my friends, so let me know what your personal email is, and I'll send it to you that way. OK?

They're quick and fun to make. And once you start, you can't stop making them. I have another two on the cutting table right now. They are great for preprinted panels, leftovers, anything your hearts desire!!!! You can make them any size you want, but I found that about a 6"-7" square (times two) is about the right size.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Best laid plans....

For the last three days, I've gone to bed saying the same thing as when I got up. Today is a sewing day! And each day, something happens that keeps me from getting there.

First on Friday, it was getting all the outgoing presents wrapped and shipped to the right and left coasts of the United States. Doesn't sound like much, eh? Well, the right coast has 4 children (nieces and nephews) and a mother father (SIL and BIL). Their box had 28 gifts inside! The left coast has 2 grandchildren and a son. Their box contained 2 fleece blankies, and 18 gifts inside. The largest gift for my son had to be packed today after I found a box big enough for it!

I also finished up my Quilting Buddy Santa exchange gifts on Thursday. Now, I have them all packed and ready to go tomorrow. I can't post the pictures here yet, lest she sees what is in her box.

That was Friday and part of Saturday. We went to the post office yesterday morning, and when we got home from breakfast, the weather was SO BEAUTIFUL! I think it was in the 70's!!! So we decided to take advantage of the nice day, and finished up the trimming in the garden. Now, that meant 23 bushes around the house and in the central garden bed!!!! While Kevin was finishing cleaning up that mess, I started on the outdoor Christmas decorations. I only got so far as to put out the 10 wreaths with red bows along the walkway to the deck, and along the front of the house, before I had to call it quits! Today it is supposed to be raining, so unless we get another nice day, there will be no Christmas lights outside at our house!

So, today is a sewing day! LOL!

I am going to finish up my Pollo Loco pincushions.

That is what Clyde is sleeping on right now.

After that I need to finish up a baby quilt top and I'll post a picture of that when it's ready to go. THEN I am going to break down some of the sewing tables and start on the big Christmas tree.


Thursday, November 24, 2005

Kitchen Tales

No, this isn't a tale of my Thanksgiving kitchen. I am living vicariously through all of my Quilt Mavericks friends for those tales. Today, we will be having a day of Thanks with my Mother at her retirement community dining room. We will have standing rib roast, turkey, ham and all the fixings. The only thing we won't have will be the leftovers, which I dearly love!

Today's tale is about the little Kitchen Tales wallhanging that I completed for my friend, Sandy Brown, who died unexpectedly a couple of months ago in her sleep. She had started the redwork, and it was sent to me to finish. The cherry fabric and the red fabric were fat quarters that were in a box of her fabric that was also shared with me. After re-thinking the border, I was able to finally get it done with no additional fabric! The doily adds a touch of whimsey and makes it feel more like a friendly kitchen tale at the table, I think,

Anyway, it's done now; quilted, bound, and hanging sleeve attached. It's all wrapped and waiting for the mail to leave tomorrow to go back to Sandy's family in CA. I am thankful today to have known my friend, Sandy.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Life is a bowl of cherries

I know I shouldn't be working on anything else but my own Christmas things, but I just can't help myself!

I pulled out my friend's (the lady who died unexpectedly) redwork and took it with me to stitch group Thursday night. I won't say anything about how they had to call me and ask me if I was coming or not. I knew stitch night was on Thursday, but was it Thursday, already? LOL!

Anyway, I got the redwork almost done, and then I finished it last night. Sooooo, I thought, well I'll just look through the fabric pieces that were sent to me and see if anything popped out to go with the redwork. I found the blue background with the red cherries that goes perfectly. I also found a piece of red for accent. The pattern that came with the redwork originally called for prairie points, but I thought of something I liked better. BUT, here's the deal. I've used up every scrap of the blue/cherries fabric, and it was only a fat quarter!

I am asking (really BEGGING) anyone reading this blog to check to see if you might have a little piece of the fabric in your stash. I only need 4 pieces that are 4" square. That's it! Of course, if you have more, it would be nice for the binding, but not necessary. I believe this piece is going back to the family. I'll post the finished picture of it when/if I get the last 4 pieces of fabric!

Please let me know if you do - I'd be willing to swap fabric or postage!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

3 of twelve or 6 of twenty-four!

I thought I would play a little catch up today and complete some monthly blocks I have committed to make. It should have been easy; a piece of cake as they say. Well, I'd like to have the piece of cake, please. Make it chocolate, too!

How many different ways can you sew one triangle to a half square triangle and still not have it be right? The answer is so many times, that I had to cut an entirely new triangle! Oh well, Mama said there would be days like this!

These blocks are from a local quilt store, Prairie Point Quilts. Each month they have a Block Party where you buy the pattern and fabric for $2.00. If you bring it back the following month, completed, the next block is $2.00. If for some reason you can’t get there or complete the block, then the kit is $5.00. At the end of 12 months, they present the settings choices, and each color range has a different completion for the blocks. The theme of the 2005 Block Party is “Forget Me Not”, honoring the women in our lives.

I couldn't decide which color to do. I always like blue, but I thought I should push myself a little, so I added the reds/browns too. It doesn't surprise me that I like the blue set better. The blue set is Washday Blues; the line is Mary's Favorite Blues circa 1800 from Windham Fabrics. The reds/browns are from Moda's Wuthering Heights lines, and the set is called Raspberry Truffle.

The first block is named “Addah” for all those able, active, adorable, adventurous, affectionate, agile, agreeable, ambitious, amusing, animated, ardent, articulate, attractive and audacious ladies whose names start with the letter A.

The second block, named “Mary” is for all those magical, magnanimous, magnificent, majestic, melancholic, marvelous, melodic, merry, mirthful, miraculous, mischievous, and sometimes mysterious women.

The third block (which showed me how many different WRONG ways there are to sew a triangle to a square) is “Thelma”. Women whose names begin with a T and those women who are talkative, talented, tantalizing, tempting, tender, thoughtful, thrifty, ticklish, tolerant, tranquil, trendy, trustful, twinkling, and truly a treasure are remembered this month.

Do not value the THINGS in your life, but value Who you HAVE in your life.”

OK! All I had to make was the last one for each color. It’s taken me most of the day! So now, I am all caught up again on these blocks - that is until the middle of next month! LOL!

I guess, it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to finish the very last one from last year’s Block Party, eh? I liked it much better. It’s called Border to Border, and each block had something significant about it regarding Kansas and Missouri (since the state line runs right through the metropolitan area), it’s quite appropriate with the story.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Christmas Cases

I've been sewing all day! The result is fancy TEN pillowcases!

I plan on using these as gift wrap for all the little girls and boys in our family for their Christmas gifts.

There are 2 each of the stripey background with girlie stuff on them, 2 each of the construction tools, two each of the cars with flames, and one of the black and white poodle girl and one of the fashion girls on pink.

So now those are done, and I can mark them off my list. BTW, I also make pillowcases if I have leftover fabric from the quilts I make, too. They make nice storage bags when the quilt isn't being used, and I also like to use them on the bed when the quilt is out. Makes it nice so I don't have to make the quilt quite as big to have a pillow roll.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Baby, it's cold outside!

Kevin with his beloved rag quilt in front of tonight's fire!

As you can see from my Weather Pixie, the winds are at 27 mph, and it is 36 degrees with 76% humitiy! It's COLD!

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Home again, home again - FABRIC!

FABRIC!! FABRIC!!! FABRIC!!! (Hear Sharon breathing hard!)

When we arrived home late Thursday night, sitting outside by my garage doors was a huge box! It weighed a ton, or so it seemed. I drug it inside along with our suitcases, and didn't touch it again until yesterday.

What was inside startled me! A friend of ours (Bonnie and I) died unexpectedly a while back. Her stash was divided between the small list of on-line friends, and I thought I had already received my part. I volunteered to finish up a couple of "started" quilts for her family, as well as make a Tom Sawyer quilt for her grandson. So, I was quite surprised to open this box and find more FABRIC!

I've gotten it washed now, and it's sitting here waiting for me to press it. Doesn't it make a pretty sight, just hanging on the back of the chair?

While I was taking pictures of it, I thought I would also show you my "stewdio". It is actually a formal (four season) sunroom on the south side of our house. When we moved my mother into the house, she took over my sewing area in the finished basement, so I had to find a new home. I started only with my sewing machine and one small table. Then, we moved Mother to a retirement community, and my hubby suggested I just take over this room. Isn't he a sweetie? I heard somewhere that you can call the room you sew in a studio if it is devoted to only sewing most of the time. Studio sounds so pretentious, so mine is called "stewdio", as it is where I do most of my stewing!

Now, onto pressing all this fabric, and planning what to do with it. It's all CHILDREN fabric - little girls, little boys, little girls and little boys, kids playing, kids posing, etc etc etc. Maybe some Linus quilts for our Neonatal unit next year?

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Home away from home

We left home to travel north for yet another surgery at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN. We've been here so often in the last 18 months, it seems like a strange homecoming everytime we roll into town.

By sheer luck, in Spring 2004, I found a wonderful short-term lease apartment just three blocks away from the clinic. It is on the clinic shuttle route, and the WalMart van will come and pick you up to go shopping with just a telephone call. The apartments are always clean and bright; the staff is always smiling and concerned.

So here we are. My husband had a liver transplant (totally unexpected) in June 2004, and the anti-rejection medicines trashed his kidneys within 6 months. So, his brother gave him the wonderful gift of a kidney, and June 2005 found us here again, along with brother for kidney transplant. A small incisional hernia developed from the liver transplant, and that's what is being fixed this trip. It was a minor surgery, and he even got to come home afterward. Home to the apartment, that is!

So, he's in bed, knocked out from the pain pills, and I've been sewing up a storm. I always bring my sewing machine and enough projects to last a year, it seems! I can't describe what I am working on, lest the people I am sewing Christmas presents for are reading this blog.

The weather was really nice the last couple of days, but today we are getting winds from the north. I think Autumn is over here in the northland! We hope to return to Kansas tomorrow, if his pain is under control.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Fleur Finale!

Les Fleurs de Jardin has finally been completed! I decided to take out all the previous machine quilting I had done, because I just didn't like it. I've spent all the extra time since I posted the original blog about this, adding some of the hand quilted parts and I like it much better now.

The stems and leaves were originally trapunto, and I think that detracted from the overall look, so they had to be re-worked too. I like the handquilting and the couched threads much better.

On this section, I added some fancy embroidery stitches and a few beads to emphasize the movement in the flower.

This is the center section that was paper-pieced. I added more of the couched embroidery threads here to give the three pieces unity.

This was a fun project to do with a couple of friends, I just wish it hadn't taken so long! It all starteda Hallmark card that I can't find right now, but when I do, it has a pocket on the back of the wallhanging so it can stay with the piece.

What is more interesting, is that I kept this piece for about 10 years before I completed it. I can look at the components and see what I've learned technique-wise, but more importantly, I look at the whole and see the colors that I liked ten years ago are still high on my list!